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The requirements for spacing, location, and position of sprinklers shall be based on the following principles:
  1. Sprinklers shall be installed throughout the premises.
  2. Sprinklers shall be located so as not to exceed the maximum protection area per sprinkler.
  3. * Sprinklers shall be positioned and located so as to provide satisfactory performance with respect to activation time and distribution.
  4. Sprinklers shall be permitted to be omitted from areas specifically allowed by this standard.
  5. When sprinklers are specifically tested and test results demonstrate that deviations from clearance requirements to structural members do not impair the ability of the sprinkler to control or suppress a fire, their positioning and locating in accordance with the test results shall be permitted.
  6. Clearance between sprinklers and ceilings exceeding the maximums specified in this standard shall be permitted, provided that tests or calculations demonstrate comparable sensitivity and performance of the sprinklers to those installed in conformance with these sections.
Concealed spaces of noncombustible and limited-combustible construction with minimal combustible loading having no access shall not require sprinkler protection.
The space shall be considered a concealed space even with small openings such as those used as return air for a plenum.
Small openings with both of the following limits shall be permitted:
  1. A combined total area of not more than 20 percent of the ceiling, construction feature, or plane shall be used to determine the boundaries of the concealed space.
  2. Gaps greater than 4 ft (1.2 m) long shall not be more than 8 in. (200 mm) wide.
Concealed spaces of noncombustible and limited-combustible construction with limited access and not permitting occupancy or storage of combustibles shall not require sprinkler protection.
The space shall be considered a concealed space even with small openings such as those used as return air for a plenum.
Concealed spaces formed by studs or joists with less than 6 in. (150 mm) between the inside or near edges of the studs or joists shall not require sprinkler protection. (See Figure 10.2.6.1.5.1.)
Concealed spaces formed by bar joists with less than 6 in. (150 mm) between the roof or floor deck and ceiling shall not require sprinkler protection.
Concealed spaces formed by ceilings attached directly to or within 6 in. (150 mm) of wood joist or similar solid member construction shall not require sprinkler protection.
Concealed spaces formed by ceilings attached to composite wood joist construction either directly or onto metal channels not exceeding 1 in. (25 mm) in depth, provided the joist channels as measured from the top of the batt insulation are separated into volumes each not exceeding 160 ft3 (4.5 m3) using materials equivalent to the web construction and at least 31/2 in. (90 mm) of batt insulation is installed at the bottom of the joist channels when the ceiling is attached utilizing metal channels, shall not require sprinkler protection.
Concealed spaces filled with noncombustible insulation shall not require sprinkler protection.
A maximum 2 in. (50 mm) air gap at the top of the space shall be permitted.
Concealed spaces within wood joist construction having noncombustible insulation filling the space from the ceiling up to the bottom edge of the joist of the roof or floor deck shall not require sprinkler protection.
Concealed spaces within composite wood joist construction having noncombustible insulation filling the space from the ceiling up to the bottom edge of the composite wood joist of the roof or floor deck and with the joist channels separated into volumes each not exceeding 160 ft3 (4.5 m3) to the full depth of the composite wood joist, with material equivalent to the web construction, shall not require sprinkler protection.
Concealed spaces over isolated small compartments not exceeding 55 ft2 (5.1 m2) in area shall not require sprinkler protection.
Concealed spaces where rigid materials are used and the exposed surfaces, in the form in which they are installed, comply with one of the following shall not require sprinkler protection:
  1. The surface materials have a flame spread index of 25 or less, and the materials have been demonstrated not to propagate fire more than 10.5 ft (3.2 m) when tested in accordance with ASTM E84, Standard Test Method for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials, or UL 723, Standard for Test for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials, extended for an additional 20 minutes.
  2. The surface materials comply with the requirements of ASTM E2768, Standard Test Method for Extended Duration Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials (30 min Tunnel Test).
Concealed spaces in which the exposed materials are constructed entirely of fire retardant-treated wood as defined by NFPA 703 shall not require sprinkler protection.
Noncombustible concealed spaces having exposed combustible insulation where the heat content of the facing and substrate of the insulation material does not exceed 1000 Btu/ft2 (11,400 kJ/m2) shall not require sprinkler protection.
Concealed spaces below insulation that is laid directly on top of or within wood joists or composite wood joists used as ceiling joists in an otherwise sprinklered concealed space, with the ceiling attached directly to the bottom of the joists, shall not require sprinkler protection.
Sprinklers shall not be required in vertical pipe chases under 10 ft2 (0.9 m2).
Pipe chases in accordance with 9.2.1.15 shall contain no sources of ignition.
In buildings having more than a single story, pipe penetrations at each floor shall be firestopped using materials equivalent to the floor construction.
Exterior columns under 10 ft2 (0.9 m2) in area, formed by studs or wood joist supporting exterior canopies that are fully protected with a sprinkler system, shall not require sprinkler protection.
Concealed spaces formed by noncombustible or limited-combustible ceilings suspended from the bottom of wood joists, composite wood joists, wood bar joists, or wood trusses that have insulation filling all of the gaps between the bottom of the trusses or joists, and where sprinklers are present in the space above the insulation within the trusses or joists, shall not require sprinkler protection.
The heat content of the facing, substrate, and support of the insulation material shall not exceed 1000 Btu/ft2 (11,400 kJ/m2).
Concealed spaces formed by noncombustible or limited-combustible ceilings suspended from the bottom of wood joists and composite wood joists with a maximum nominal chord width of 2 in. (50 mm), where joist spaces are full of noncombustible batt insulation with a maximum 2 in. (50 mm) air space between the decking material and the top of the batt insulation shall not require sprinklers.
Facing that meets the requirements for noncombustible or limited-combustible material covering the surface of the bottom chord of each joist and secured in place per the manufacturer's recommendations shall not require sprinklers.
Sprinklers shall be permitted to be omitted from within combustible soffits, eaves, overhangs, and decorative frame elements that are constructed in accordance with 9.2.1.19.2 through 9.2.1.19.5.
Combustible soffits, eaves, overhangs, and decorative frame elements shall not exceed 4 ft 0 in. (1.2 m) in width.
Combustible soffits, eaves, overhangs, and decorative frame elements shall be draftstopped, with a material equivalent to that of the soffit, into volumes not exceeding 160 ft3 (4.5 m3).
Combustible soffits, eaves, overhangs, and decorative frame elements shall be separated from the interior of the building by walls or roofs of noncombustible or limited-combustible construction.
Combustible soffits, eaves, overhangs, and decorative frame elements shall have no openings or unprotected penetrations directly into the building.
Sprinklers shall be permitted to be omitted from spaces under ground floors, exterior docks, and platforms where all of the following conditions exist:
  1. The space is not accessible for storage purposes and is protected against accumulation of wind-borne debris.
  2. The space contains no equipment such as conveyors or fuel-fired heating units.
  3. The floor over the space is of tight construction.
  4. No combustible or flammable liquids or materials that under fire conditions would convert into combustible or flammable liquids are processed, handled, or stored on the floor above the space.
Unless the requirements of 9.2.3.2, 9.2.3.3, or 9.2.3.4 are met, sprinklers shall be installed under exterior projections exceeding 4 ft (1.2 m) in width.
Sprinklers shall be permitted to be omitted where the exterior canopies, roofs, porte-cocheres, balconies, decks, and similar projections are constructed with materials that are noncombustible, limited-combustible, or fire retardant-treated wood as defined in NFPA 703, or where the projections are constructed utilizing a noncombustible frame, limited-combustibles, or fire retardant-treated wood with an inherently flame-resistant fabric overlay as demonstrated by Test Method 2 in accordance with NFPA 701.
Sprinklers shall be permitted to be omitted from below the exterior projections of combustible construction, provided the exposed finish material on the exterior projections are noncombustible, limited-combustible, or fire retardant-treated wood as defined in NFPA 703, and the exterior projections contain only sprinklered concealed spaces or any of the following unsprinklered combustible concealed spaces:
  1. Combustible concealed spaces filled entirely with noncombustible insulation
  2. Light or ordinary hazard occupancies where noncombustible or limited-combustible ceilings are directly attached to the bottom of solid wood joists so as to create enclosed joist spaces 160 ft3 (4.5 m3) or less in volume, including space below insulation that is laid directly on top or within the ceiling joists in an otherwise sprinklered attic [see 19.3.3.1.5.2(4)]
  3. Concealed spaces over isolated small exterior projections not exceeding 55 ft2 (5.1 m2) in area
Sprinklers shall be permitted to be omitted from an exterior exit corridor where the exterior wall of the corridor is at least 50 percent open and where the corridor is entirely of noncombustible construction.
Sprinklers shall be installed under all exterior projections greater than 2 ft (600 mm) where combustibles are stored.
Unless sprinklers are required by 9.2.4.1.2 or 9.2.4.1.3, sprinklers shall not be required in bathrooms that are located within dwelling units, that do not exceed 55 ft2 (5.1 m2) in area, and that have walls and ceilings of noncombustible or limited-combustible materials with a 15-minute thermal barrier rating, including the walls and ceilings behind any shower enclosure or tub.
Sprinklers shall be required in bathrooms of limited care facilities and nursing homes, as defined in NFPA 101.
Sprinklers shall be required in bathrooms opening directly onto public corridors or exitways.
Sprinklers are not required in clothes closets, linen closets, and pantries within dwelling units in hotels and motels where the area of the space does not exceed 24 ft2 (2.2 m2) and the walls and ceilings are surfaced with noncombustible or limited-combustible materials.
Sprinklers shall not be required in clothes closets of patient sleeping rooms in hospitals where the area of the closet does not exceed 6 ft2 (.6 m2), provided the distance from the sprinkler in the patient sleeping room to the back wall of the closet does not exceed the maximum distance permitted by 9.5.3.2.
Sprinklers shall not be required in electrical equipment rooms where all of the following conditions are met:
  1. The room is dedicated to electrical equipment only.
  2. Only dry-type or liquid-type with listed K-class fluid electrical equipment is used.
  3. Equipment is installed in a 2-hour fire-rated enclosure including protection for penetrations.
  4. Storage is not permitted in the room.
Sprinklers shall be permitted to be omitted above cloud ceilings where all of the following apply:
  1. * The combined total area of the openings around the cloud are less than or equal to 20 percent of the area of the ceiling, construction feature, or plane used to determine the boundaries of the compartment.
  2. The width of the gap and the maximum sprinkler protection area are in accordance with Table 9.2.7.1.
  3. The requirements of 9.2.7.2 are met.
  4. Spaces above cloud ceilings contain either noncombustible or limited-combustible construction with minimal combustible loading.
Table 9.2.7.1 Maximum Sprinkler Protection Area Based on Ceiling Cloud Width and Opening Width
Ceiling Cloud — Minimum Width Dimension (ft) Maximum Area (ft2) — Opening Width ≤0.5 in./ft of Ceiling Height Maximum Area (ft2) — Opening Width ≤0.75 in./ft of Ceiling Height Maximum Area (ft2) — Opening Width ≤1 in./ft of Ceiling Height
2—<2.5 175 70 NP
2.5—4 225 120 70
>4 225 150 150
When sprinklers are omitted from above a cloud ceiling in accordance with 9.2.7.1, the requirements of this section shall apply.
All sprinklers shall be quick response standard spray or extended coverage pendent or upright sprinklers.
Maximum cloud ceiling height shall not exceed 20 ft (6.1 m).
Maximum spacing and area of protection shall not exceed the maximum requirements of Table 10.2.4.2.1(a) for light hazard and Table 10.2.4.2.1 (b) for ordinary hazard.
Where extended coverage sprinklers are used, the maximum distance between sprinklers shall not exceed 16 ft (4.9 m).
Cloud ceilings shall be of smooth ceiling construction.
For irregular shaped ceiling clouds (not rectangular) the minimum width dimension shall be the smallest width dimension of the cloud and for the gap shall be the greatest dimension between clouds or adjacent walls as applicable.
Sprinkler protection shall not be required within revolving door enclosures.
Sprinklers shall not be required to be installed in furniture such as portable wardrobe units, cabinets, trophy cases, and similar items not intended for occupancy. This type of feature shall be permitted to be attached to the finished structure.
Sprinklers shall not be required to be installed within electrical equipment, mechanical equipment, or air handling units not intended for occupancy.
Sprinklers shall not be required at the top of noncombustible or limited-combustible, nonaccessible vertical duct, electric, and mechanical shafts as permitted by 9.3.3.1.1 and 9.3.3.1.2.
Sprinklers shall not be required at the bottom of stairwells complying with the provisions of 9.3.4.2.3.1.
Sprinklers shall not be required for exterior stair towers complying with the provisions of 9.3.4.2.4.
Sprinklers shall not be required in locations complying with 9.3.6.4, 9.3.6.5, or 9.3.6.6.
Sprinklers shall not be required in vertical duct risers complying with 9.3.9.1.2.
Sprinklers shall not be required below open grid ceiling installations complying with 9.3.10.
Sprinklers shall not be required below drop-out ceilings complying with 9.3.11.
Sprinklers shall not be required in skylights complying with 9.3.16.
Skylights that allow venting, other than smoke and heat venting per 20.6.5, shall be provided with sprinkler protection installed in the skylight.
Where heat-producing devices such as furnaces or process equipment are located in the joist channels above a ceiling attached directly to the underside of composite wood joist construction that would not otherwise require sprinkler protection of the spaces, the joist channel containing the heat-producing devices shall be sprinklered by installing sprinklers in each joist channel, on each side, adjacent to the heat-producing device.
used in horizontal combustible concealed spaces (with a slope not exceeding 2 in 12) with combustible wood truss, wood joist construction, or bar joist construction having a combustible upper surface and where the depth of the space is less than 36 in. (900 mm) from deck to deck, from deck to ceiling, or with double wood joist construction with a maximum of 36 in. (900 mm) between the top of the bottom joist and the bottom of the upper joist shall be listed for such use.
Sprinklers specifically listed to provide protection of combustible concealed spaces described in 9.3.2 shall be permitted to be used in accordance with 9.4.1.2 where the space is less than 12 in. (300 mm) from deck to deck or deck to ceiling.
Sprinklers specifically listed to provide protection of combustible concealed spaces described in 9.3.2 shall be permitted to be used in accordance with 9.4.1.2 throughout the area when a portion of the area exceeds a depth of 36 in. (900 mm).
Sprinklers specifically listed to provide protection of combustible concealed spaces described in 9.3.2 shall be permitted to be used in accordance with 9.4.1.2 to protect composite wood joist construction.
Unless the requirements of 9.3.3.1.1 or 9.3.3.1.2 are met, one sprinkler shall be installed at the top of shafts.
Noncombustible or limited-combustible, nonaccessible vertical duct shafts shall not require sprinkler protection.
Noncombustible or limited-combustible, nonaccessible vertical electrical or mechanical shafts shall not require sprinkler protection.
Where vertical shafts have combustible surfaces, one sprinkler shall be installed at each alternate floor level.
Where a shaft having combustible surfaces is trapped, an additional sprinkler shall be installed at the top of each trapped section.
Where accessible vertical shafts have noncombustible surfaces, one sprinkler shall be installed near the bottom.
Sprinklers shall be installed beneath all stairways of combustible construction.
Sprinklers shall be installed at the top of combustible stair shafts.
Sprinklers shall be installed under the landings at each floor level.
Sprinklers shall be installed beneath the lowest intermediate landing.
In noncombustible stair shafts having noncombustible stairs with noncombustible or limited-combustible finishes, sprinklers shall be installed at the top of the shaft and under the first accessible landing above the bottom of the shaft.
Where noncombustible stair shafts are divided by walls or doors, sprinklers shall be provided on each side of the separation.
Sprinklers shall be installed beneath landings or stairways where the area beneath is used for storage.
Sprinklers shall be permitted to be omitted from the bottom of the stairwell when the space under the stairs at the bottom is blocked off so that storage cannot occur.
Sprinklers shall be permitted to be omitted from exterior stair towers when the exterior walls of the stair tower are at least 50 percent open and when the stair tower is entirely of noncombustible construction.
When stairs have openings to each side of a fire wall(s), sprinklers shall be installed in the stair shaft at each floor landing with multiple openings.
Unless the requirements of 9.3.5.4 are met, where moving stairways, staircases, or similar floor openings are unenclosed and where sprinkler protection is serving as the alternative to enclosure of the vertical opening, the floor openings involved shall be protected by closely spaced sprinklers in combination with draft stops in accordance with 9.3.5.2 and 9.3.5.3.
Draft stops shall meet all of the following criteria:
  1. The draft stops shall be located immediately adjacent to the opening.
  2. The draft stops shall be at least 18 in. (450 mm) deep.
  3. The draft stops shall be of noncombustible or limited-combustible material that will stay in place before and during sprinkler operation.
Sprinklers shall be spaced not more than 6 ft (1.8 m) apart and placed 6 in. to 12 in. (150 mm to 300 mm) from the draft stop on the side away from the opening.
Where sprinklers are closer than 6 ft (1.8 m), cross baffles shall be provided in accordance with 10.2.5.4.2.
Closely spaced sprinklers and draft stops are not required around large openings such as those found in shopping malls, atrium buildings, and similar structures where all adjoining levels and spaces are protected by automatic sprinklers in accordance with this standard and where the openings have all horizontal dimensions between opposite edges of 20 ft (6.1 m) or greater and an area of 1000 ft2 (93 m2) or greater.
Sidewall spray sprinklers shall be installed at the bottom of each elevator hoistway not more than 2 ft (600 mm) above the floor of the pit.
The sprinkler required at the bottom of the elevator hoistway by 9.3.6.1 shall not be required for enclosed, noncombustible elevator shafts that do not contain combustible hydraulic fluids.
Automatic fire sprinklers shall not be required in elevator machine rooms, elevator machinery spaces, control spaces, or hoistways of traction elevators installed in accordance with the applicable provisions in NFPA 101, or the applicable building code, where all of the following conditions are met:
  1. The elevator machine room, machinery space, control room, control space, or hoistway of traction elevator is dedicated to elevator equipment only.
  2. The elevator machine room, machine room, machinery space, control room, control space, or hoistway of traction elevators are protected by smoke detectors, or other automatic fire detection, installed in accordance with NFPA 72.
  3. The elevator machinery space, control room, control space, or hoistway of traction elevators is separated from the remainder of the building by walls and floor/ceiling or roof/ceiling assemblies having a fire resistance rating of not less than that specified by the applicable building code.
  4. No materials unrelated to elevator equipment are permitted to be stored in elevator machine rooms, machinery spaces, control rooms, control spaces, or hoistways of traction elevators.
  5. The elevator machinery is not of the hydraulic type.
Automatic sprinklers in elevator machine rooms or at the tops of hoistways shall be of ordinary- or intermediate-temperature rating.
Upright, pendent, or sidewall spray sprinklers shall be installed at the top of elevator hoistways.
The sprinkler required at the top of the elevator hoistway by 9.3.6.5 shall not be required where the hoistway for passenger elevators is noncombustible or limited-combustible and the car enclosure materials meet the requirements of ASME A17.1, Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators.
Sprinklers shall be installed at the top and bottom of elevator hoistways where elevators utilize combustible suspension means such as noncircular elastomeric-coated or polyurethane-coated steel belts.
The sprinklers in the elevator hoistway shall not be required when the suspension means provide not less than an FT-1 rating when tested to the vertical burn test requirements of UL 62, Flexible Cords and Cables, and UL 1581, Reference Standard for Electrical Wires, Cables, and Flexible Cords.
Where books or records are stored in fixed open book shelves, sprinklers shall be installed in accordance with one of the following:
  1. Sprinklers shall be permitted to be installed without regard to aisles where clearance between sprinkler deflectors and tops of stacks is 18 in. (450 mm) or more.
  2. Where the 18 in. (450 mm) clearance between sprinkler deflectors and tops of stacks cannot be maintained, sprinklers shall be installed in every aisle and at every tier of stacks with distance between sprinklers along aisles not to exceed 12 ft (3.7 m) in accordance with Figure 9.3.7(a).
  3. Where the 18 in. (450 mm) clearance between sprinkler deflectors and tops of stacks cannot be maintained and where vertical shelf dividers are incomplete and allow water distribution to adjacent aisles, sprinklers shall be permitted to be omitted in alternate aisles on each tier, and where ventilation openings are also provided in tier floors, sprinklers shall be staggered vertically in accordance with Figure 9.3.7(b).
FIGURE 9.3.7(a) Sprinklers in Multitier Bookstacks with Complete Vertical Dividers.
FIGURE 9.3.7(b) Sprinklers in Multitier Bookstacks with Incomplete Vertical Dividers.
Duct protection shall be required to meet the requirements of 9.3.8 where required by the authority having jurisdiction or the applicable referenced code or standard.
Unless the requirements of 9.3.9.1.2 or 9.3.9.1.3 are met, ducts shall have one sprinkler located at the top of each vertical riser and at the midpoint of each offset.
Sprinklers shall not be required in a vertical riser located outside of a building, provided the riser does not expose combustible material or provided the interior of the building and the horizontal distance between the hood outlet and the vertical riser is at least 25 ft (7.6 m).
Horizontal exhaust ducts shall have sprinklers located on 10 ft (3.0 m) centers beginning no more than 5 ft (1.5 m) from the duct entrance.
Sprinklers in exhaust ducts subject to freezing shall be properly protected against freezing. (See 16.4.1.)
Access shall be provided to all sprinklers for inspection, testing, and maintenance.
A listed line strainer shall be installed in the main water supply preceding sprinklers having nominal K-factors smaller than K-2.8 (40).
Open-grid ceilings shall only be installed beneath sprinklers where one of the following is met:
  1. Open-grid ceilings in which the openings are 1/4 in. (6 mm) or larger in the least dimension, where the thickness or depth of the material does not exceed the least dimension of the opening, and where such openings constitute 70 percent of the area of the ceiling material. The spacing of the sprinklers over the open-grid ceiling shall then comply with the following:
    1. In light hazard occupancies where sprinkler spacing (either spray or old-style sprinklers) is less than 10 ft × 10 ft (3 m × 3 m), a minimum clearance of at least 18 in. (450 mm) shall be provided between the sprinkler deflectors and the upper surface of the open-grid ceiling. Where spacing is greater than 10 ft × 10 ft (3 m × 3 m) but less than 10 ft × 12 ft (3 m × 3.7 m), a clearance of at least 24 in. (600 mm) shall be provided from spray sprinklers and at least 36 in. (900 mm) from old-style sprinklers. Where spacing is greater than 10 ft × 12 ft (3 m × 3.7 m), a clearance of at least 48 in. (1.2 m) shall be provided.
    2. In ordinary hazard occupancies, open-grid ceilings shall be permitted to be installed beneath spray sprinklers only. Where sprinkler spacing is less than 10 ft × 10 ft (3 m × 3 m), a minimum clearance of at least 24 in. (600 mm) shall be provided between the sprinkler deflectors and the upper surface of the open-grid ceiling. Where spacing is greater than 10 ft × 10 ft (3 m × 3 m), a clearance of at least 36 in. (900 m) shall be provided.
  2. Other types of open-grid ceilings shall be permitted to be installed beneath sprinklers where they are listed for such service and are installed in accordance with instructions contained in each package of ceiling material.
Drop-out ceilings and ceiling materials shall be permitted to be installed beneath sprinklers where the ceiling panels or ceiling materials are listed for that service and are installed in accordance with their listings.
Drop-out ceilings and ceiling materials meeting the criteria in 9.3.11.1 shall not be installed below quick-response or extended coverage sprinklers unless specifically listed for that application.
Drop-out ceilings and ceiling materials meeting the criteria in 9.3.11.1 shall not be considered ceilings within the context of this standard.
Piping installed above drop-out ceilings and ceiling materials meeting the criteria in 9.3.11.1 shall not be considered concealed piping.
Sprinklers shall not be installed beneath drop-out ceilings or ceiling materials meeting the criteria in 9.3.11.1.
Old-style sprinklers shall be installed in fur storage vaults.
Sprinklers shall be installed under the roof at the ceiling, in spaces under the stage either containing combustible materials or constructed of combustible materials, and in all adjacent spaces and dressing rooms, storerooms, and workshops.
Where proscenium opening protection is required, a deluge system shall be provided with open sprinklers located not more than 3 ft (900 mm) away from the stage side of the proscenium arch and spaced up to a maximum of 6 ft (1.8 m) on center. (See Chapter 11 for design criteria.)
Where spaces have ceilings that are lower than the rest of the area, the space above this lower ceiling shall be sprinklered unless it complies with the rules of 9.2.1 for allowable unsprinklered concealed spaces.
Where the space above a drop ceiling is sprinklered, the sprinkler system shall conform to the rules of 19.2.2 and Section 20.10.
Where there is a noncombustible space above a noncombustible or limited-combustible drop ceiling that is sprinklered because it is open to an adjacent sprinklered space and where there is no possibility for storage above the drop ceiling, the sprinkler system shall be permitted to extend only as far into the space as 0.6 times the square root of the design area of the sprinkler system in the adjacent space.
The sprinkler system shall extend at least 24 ft (7.3 m) into the space above the ceiling.
Where sprinklers are used in combination with glazing as an alternative to a required fire-rated wall or window assembly, the sprinkler-protected assembly shall comply with the following:
  1. Sprinklers shall be listed as specific application window sprinklers unless the standard spray sprinklers are specifically permitted by the building code.
  2. Sprinklers shall be supplied by a wet pipe system.
  3. Glazing shall be heat-strengthened, tempered, or glass ceramic and shall be fixed.
  4. Where the assembly is required to be protected from both sides, sprinklers shall be installed on both sides of the glazing.
  5. The use of sprinkler-protected glazing shall be limited to non-load-bearing walls.
  6. The glazed assembly shall not have any horizontal members that would interfere with uniform distribution of water over the surface of the glazing, and there shall be no obstructions between sprinklers and glazing that would obstruct water distribution.
  7. The water supply duration for the design area that includes the window sprinklers shall not be less than the required rating of the assembly
Sprinklers shall be permitted to be omitted from skylights not exceeding 32 ft2 (3.0 m2) in area, regardless of hazard classification, that are separated by at least 10 ft (3.0 m) horizontally from any other unprotected skylight or unprotected ceiling pocket.
When a sprinkler is installed directly beneath a skylight not exceeding 32 ft2 (3.0 m2), the distance to the ceiling shall be measured to the plane of the ceiling as if the skylight was not present.
Skylights not exceeding 32 ft2 (3.0 m2) shall be permitted to have a plastic cover.
Concealed spaces of exposed combustible construction shall be protected by sprinklers except in concealed spaces where sprinklers are not required to be installed by 9.2.1.1 through 9.2.1.19 and 9.2.2.
Sprinklers in concealed spaces having no access for storage or other use shall be installed in accordance with the requirements for light hazard occupancy.
When otherwise noncombustible or limited-combustible concealed spaces that would not require sprinkler protection have localized exposed combustible construction, or contain localized areas of exposed combustibles, the combustibles shall be permitted to be protected as follows:
  1. If the exposed combustibles are in the vertical partitions or walls around all or a portion of the enclosure, a single row of sprinklers spaced not over 12 ft (3.7 m) apart nor more than 6 ft (1.8 m) from the inside of the partition shall be permitted to protect the surface. The first and last sprinklers in such a row shall not be over 5 ft (1.5 m) from the ends of the partitions.
  2. If the exposed combustibles are in the horizontal plane, the area of the combustibles shall be permitted to be protected with sprinklers on a light hazard spacing. Additional sprinklers shall be installed no more than 6 ft (1.8 m) outside the outline of the area and not more than 12 ft (3.7 m) on center along the outline. When the outline returns to a wall or other obstruction, the last sprinkler shall not be more than 6 ft (1.8 m) from the wall or obstruction.
Unless the requirements of 9.2.2 are met, sprinklers shall be installed in spaces under all combustible ground floors and combustible exterior docks and platforms.
Unless the requirements of 9.2.3.2, 9.2.3.3, or 9.2.3.4 are met, sprinklers shall be installed under exterior projections exceeding 4 ft (1.2 m) in width.
Sprinklers shall be installed under all exterior projections greater than 4 ft (1.2 m) where combustibles are stored.
Unless the requirements of 9.2.6 are met, sprinkler protection shall be required in electrical equipment rooms.
Sprinklers shall be installed in accordance with their listing.
Where no sprinklers are specifically listed for construction features or other special situations that require unusual water distribution, the requirements of 9.4.1.1 shall not apply and listed sprinklers shall be permitted to be installed in positions other than anticipated by their listing to achieve specific results.
Upright sprinklers shall be installed with the frame arms parallel to the branch line, unless specifically listed for other orientation.
Where solvent cement is used as the pipe and fittings bonding agent, sprinklers shall not be installed in the fittings prior to the fittings being cemented in place.
Protective caps and straps shall be removed using means that are in accordance with the manufacturer's installation instructions.
Protective caps and straps shall be removed from all sprinklers prior to the time when the sprinkler system is placed in service.
Protective caps and straps on all upright sprinklers or on any sprinklers installed more than 10 ft (3.0 m) above the floor shall be permitted to be removed from sprinklers immediately following their installation.
Unless the requirements of 9.4.2.2, 9.4.2.3, 9.4.2.4, or 9.4.2.5 are met, ordinary- and intermediate-temperature sprinklers shall be used throughout buildings.
Where maximum ceiling temperatures exceed 100°F (38°C), sprinklers with temperature ratings in accordance with the maximum ceiling temperatures of Table 7.2.4.1 shall be used.
High-temperature sprinklers shall be permitted to be used throughout ordinary and extra hazard occupancies, storage occupancies, and as allowed in this standard and other NFPA codes and standards.
Sprinklers of intermediate- and high-temperature classifications shall be installed in specific locations as required by 9.4.2.5.
The following practices shall be observed to provide sprinklers of other than ordinary-temperature classification unless other temperatures are determined or unless high-temperature sprinklers are used throughout, and temperature selection shall be in accordance with Table 9.4.2.5(a), Table 9.4.2.5(b), Table 9.4.2.5(c), and Figure 9.4.2.5:
  1. * Sprinklers in the high-temperature zone shall be of the high-temperature classification, and sprinklers in the intermediate-temperature zone shall be of the intermediate-temperature classification.
  2. Sprinklers located within 12 in. (300 mm) to one side or 30 in. (750 mm) above an uncovered steam main, heating coil, or radiator shall be of the intermediate-temperature classification.
  3. Sprinklers within 7 ft (2.1 m) of a low-pressure blowoff valve that discharges free in a large room shall be of the high-temperature classification.
  4. Sprinklers under glass or plastic skylights exposed to the direct rays of the sun shall be of the intermediate-temperature classification.
  5. Sprinklers in an unventilated, concealed space, under an uninsulated roof, or in an unventilated attic shall be of the intermediate-temperature classification.
  6. Sprinklers in unventilated show windows having high-powered electric lights near the ceiling shall be of the intermediate-temperature classification.
  7. Sprinklers protecting commercial-type cooking equipment and ventilation systems shall be of the high- or extra high-temperature classification as determined by use of a temperature-measuring device. (See 8.9.6.)
  8. Sprinklers protecting residential areas installed near specific heat sources identified in Table 9.4.2.5(c) shall be installed in accordance with Table 9.4.2.5(c).
  9. Ordinary-temperature sprinklers located adjacent to a heating duct that discharges air that is less than 100°F (38°C) are not required to be separated in accordance with Table 9.4.2.5(a) or Table 9.4.2.5(c).
  10. Sprinklers in walk-in type coolers and freezers with automatic defrosting shall be of the intermediate-temperature classification or higher.
  11. Sprinklers in closets containing ventless clothes dryers shall be of the intermediate-temperature classification or higher.
FIGURE 9.4.2.5 High-Temperature and Intermediate-Temperature Zones at Unit Heaters and Radiant Heaters.
Table 9.4.2.5(a) Temperature Ratings of Sprinklers Based on Distance from Heat Sources
Type of Heat Condition Ordinary-Temperature Rating Intermediate-Temperature Rating High-Temperature Rating
(1) Heating ducts
(a) Above More than 2 ft 6 in. (750 mm) 2 ft 6 in. or less (750 mm)  
(b) Side and below More than 1 ft 0 in. (300 mm) 1 ft 0 in. or less (300 mm)  
(c) Diffuser Any distance except as shown under Intermediate-Temperature Rating column Downward discharge: Cylinder with 1 ft 0 in. (300 mm) radius from edge extending 1 ft 0 in. (300 mm) below and 2 ft 6 in. (750 mm) above  
    Horizontal discharge: Semicylinder or cylinder with 2 ft 6 in. (750 mm) radius in direction of flow extending 1 ft 0 in. (300 mm) below and 2 ft 6 in. (750 mm) above  
(2) Unit heater and radiant heater      
(a) Horizontal discharge   Discharge side: 7 ft 0 in. (2.1 m) to 20 ft 0 in. (6.1 m) radius pie-shaped cylinder (see Figure 9.4.2.5) extending 7 ft 0 in. (2.1 m) above and 2 ft 0 in. (600 mm) below heater; also 7 ft 0 in. (2.1 m) radius cylinder more than 7 ft 0 in. (2.1 m) above unit heater 7 ft 0 in. (2.1 m) radius cylinder extending 7 ft 0 in. (2.1 m) above and 2 ft 0 in. (600 mm) below unit heater
(b) Vertical downward discharge (for sprinklers below unit heater, see Figure 9.4.2.5)   7 ft 0 in. (2.1 m) radius cylinder extending upward from an elevation 7 ft 0 in. (2.1 m) above unit heater 7 ft 0 in. (2.1 m) radius cylinder extending from the top of the unit heater to an elevation 7 ft 0 in. (2.1 m) above unit heater
(3) Steam mains (uncovered)      
(a) Above More than 2 ft 6 in. (750 mm) 2 ft 6 in. or less (750 mm)  
(b) Side and below More than 1 ft 0 in. (300 mm) 1 ft 0 in. or less (300 mm)
(c) Blowoff valve More than 7 ft 0 in. (2.1 m)   7 ft 0 in. or less (2.1 m)
Table 9.4.2.5(b) Temperature Ratings of Sprinklers in Specified Locations
Location Ordinary-Temperature Rating Intermediate-Temperature Rating High-Temperature Rating
Skylights   Glass or plastic  
Attics Do not use Ventilated or unventilated  
Peaked roof: metal or thin boards, concealed or not concealed, insulated or uninsulated Ventilated Unventilated  
Flat roof: metal, not concealed Ventilated or unventilated Note: For uninsulated roof, climate and insulated or uninsulated occupancy can necessitate intermediate sprinklers. Check on job.  
Flat roof: metal, concealed, insulated or uninsulated Ventilated Unventilated  
Show windows Ventilated Unventilated  
Note: A check of job condition by means of thermometers might be necessary.
Table 9.4.2.5(c) Temperature Ratings of Sprinklers in Specified Residential Areas
Heat Source Minimum Distance from Edge of Source to Ordinary-Temperature Sprinkler Minimum Distance from Edge of Source to Intermediate-Temperature Sprinkler
in. mm in. mm
Side of open or recessed fireplace 36 900 12 300
Front of recessed fireplace 60 1500 36 900
Coal- or wood-burning stove 42 1050 12 300
Kitchen range 18 450 9 225
Wall oven 18 450 9 225
Hot air flues 18 450 9 225
Uninsulated heat ducts 18 450 9 225
Uninsulated hot water pipes 12 300 6 150
Side of ceiling- or wall-mounted hot air diffusers 24 600 12 300
Front of wall-mounted hot air diffusers 36 900 18 450
Hot water heater or furnace 6 150 3 75
Light fixture:
0 W—250 W 6 150 3 75
250 W—499 W 12 300 6 150
In case of occupancy change involving temperature change, the sprinklers shall be changed accordingly.
The minimum temperature rating of ceiling sprinklers in general storage, rack storage, rubber tire storage, roll paper storage, and baled cotton storage applications shall be 150°F (66°C).
Sprinklers in light hazard occupancies shall be one of the following:
  1. Quick-response type as defined in 3.3.205.4.16
  2. Residential sprinklers in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 12
  3. Quick response CMSA sprinklers
  4. ESFR sprinklers
  5. Standard-response sprinklers used for modifications or additions to existing light hazard systems equipped with standard-response sprinklers
  6. Standard-response sprinklers used where individual standard-response sprinklers are replaced in existing light hazard systems
Where quick-response sprinklers are installed, all sprinklers within a compartment shall be quick-response unless otherwise permitted in 9.4.3.3, 9.4.3.4, or 9.4.3.5.
Where there are no listed quick-response sprinklers in the temperature range required, standard-response sprinklers shall be permitted to be used.
The provisions of 9.4.3.2 shall not apply to in-rack sprinklers.
In other than light hazard occupancies, where a sprinkler carries a listing for both standard-response protection and quick-response protection at different coverage areas, that sprinkler shall be permitted to be installed within a compartment at the spacing for both the quick-response and standard-response listings without any separation between the areas so covered.
When existing light hazard systems are converted to use quick-response or residential sprinklers, all sprinklers in a compartment shall be changed.
Sprinklers shall have a minimum nominal K-factor of 5.6 (80) unless otherwise permitted by 9.4.4.
For light hazard occupancies, sprinklers having a nominal K-factor smaller than K-5.6 (80) shall be permitted, subject to the following restrictions:
  1. The system shall be hydraulically calculated.
  2. Sprinklers with nominal K-factors of less than K-5.6 (80) shall be installed only in wet pipe sprinkler systems or in accordance with the limitations of 9.4.4.3 or 9.4.4.4.
  3. A listed strainer shall be provided on the supply side of sprinklers with nominal K-factors of less than K-2.8 (40).
Sprinklers with nominal K-factors of less than K-5.6 (80) shall be permitted to be installed in conformance with 19.4.2 for protection against exposure fires.
Sprinklers with nominal K-factors of K-4.2 (57) shall be permitted to be installed on dry pipe and preaction systems protecting light hazard occupancies where piping is corrosion resistant or internally galvanized.
Sprinklers having a K-factor exceeding K-5.6 (80) and having 1/2 in. (15 mm) National Pipe Thread (NPT) shall not be installed in new sprinkler systems.
Sprinklers shall be located, spaced, and positioned in accordance with the requirements of Section 9.5.
Sprinklers shall be positioned to provide protection of the area consistent with the overall objectives of this standard by controlling the positioning and allowable area of coverage for each sprinkler.
The requirements of 9.5.2 through 9.5.5 shall apply to all sprinkler types unless modified by more restrictive rules in Chapters 10 through 15.
The protection area of coverage per sprinkler (As) shall be determined as follows:
  1. Along branch lines as follows:
    1. Determine distance between sprinklers (or to wall or obstruction in the case of the end sprinkler on the branch line) upstream and downstream
    2. Choose the larger of either twice the distance to the wall or the distance to the next sprinkler
    3. Define dimension as S
  2. Between branch lines as follows:
    1. Determine perpendicular distance to the sprinkler on the adjacent branch line (or to a wall or obstruction in the case of the last branch line) on each side of the branch line on which the subject sprinkler is positioned
    2. Choose the larger of either twice the distance to the wall or obstruction or the distance to the next sprinkler
    3. Define dimension as L
The protection area of coverage of the sprinkler shall be established by multiplying the S dimension by the L dimension, as follows:
The maximum allowable protection area of coverage for a sprinkler (As) shall be in accordance with the value indicated in the section for each type or style of sprinkler.
The maximum area of coverage of any sprinkler shall not exceed 400 ft2 (37 m2).
The maximum distance permitted between sprinklers shall be based on the centerline distance between adjacent sprinklers.
The maximum distance shall be measured along the slope of the ceiling.
The maximum distance permitted between sprinklers shall comply with the value indicated in the applicable section for each type or style of sprinkler.
The distance from sprinklers to walls shall not exceed one-half of the allowable maximum distance between sprinklers.
The distance from the wall to the sprinkler shall be measured perpendicular to the wall.
The distance from the wall to the sprinkler shall be measured to the wall behind furniture, such as wardrobes, cabinets, and trophy cases.
The distance from the wall to the sprinkler shall be measured to the wall when sprinklers are spaced near windows and no additional floor space is created.
The minimum distance permitted between a sprinkler and the wall shall comply with the value indicated in the applicable section for each type or style of sprinkler.
The distance from the wall to the sprinkler shall be measured perpendicular to the wall.
A minimum distance shall be maintained between sprinklers to prevent operating sprinklers from wetting adjacent sprinklers and to prevent skipping of sprinklers.
The minimum distance permitted between sprinklers shall comply with the value indicated in the applicable section for each type or style of sprinkler.
The distances between the sprinkler deflector and the ceiling above shall be selected based on the type of sprinkler and the type of construction.
For corrugated metal deck roofs up to 3 in. (75 mm) in depth, the distance shall be measured to the sprinkler from the bottom of the deck.
For decks deeper than 3 in. (75 mm), the distance shall be measured to the highest point on the deck.
For ceilings that have insulation installed directly against underside of the ceiling or roof structure, the deflector distance shall be measured from the bottom of the insulation and shall be in accordance with 9.5.4.1.3.1, 9.5.4.1.3.2, and 9.5.4.1.3.3.
Insulation used to measure sprinkler deflector distance shall be batt insulation or insulation that withstands 3 lb/ft2 (0.13 kg/m2) uplift force.
For insulation that is installed directly against the ceiling or roof structure and is installed flat and parallel to the ceiling or roof structure, the deflector distance shall be measured to the underside of the insulation.
For insulation that is installed in a manner that causes it to deflect or sag down from the ceiling or roof structure, the deflector distance shall be measured as half of the distance of the deflection from the insulation high point to the insulation low point.

(A)

If the deflection or sag in the insulation exceeds 6 in. (150 mm), the deflector distance shall be measured to the high point of the insulation.

(B)

The deflector shall not be positioned above the low point of the insulation.
Heat collectors shall not be used as a means to assist the activation of a sprinkler.
Deflectors of sprinklers shall be aligned parallel to ceilings, roofs, or the incline of stairs.
Sprinklers shall be located so as to minimize obstructions to discharge as defined in 9.5.5.2 and 9.5.5.3, or additional sprinklers shall be provided to ensure adequate coverage of the hazard. (See Figure A.9.5.5.1.)
Continuous or noncontinuous obstructions less than or equal to 18 in. (450 mm) below the sprinkler deflector that prevent the pattern from fully developing shall comply with 9.5.5.2.
Sprinklers shall be positioned in accordance with the minimum distances and special requirements of Section 10.2 through Section 14.2 so that they are located sufficiently away from obstructions such as truss webs and chords, pipes, columns, and fixtures.
Continuous or noncontinuous obstructions that interrupt the water discharge in a horizontal plane more than 18 in. (450 mm) below the sprinkler deflector in a manner to limit the distribution from reaching the protected hazard shall comply with 9.5.5.3.
Sprinklers shall be installed under fixed obstructions over 4 ft (1.2 m) in width.
Open grate flooring over 4 ft (1.2 m) in width shall require sprinkler protection below the grating.
Sprinklers located under obstructions shall comply with one of the following:
  1. Installed below the obstruction
  2. Installed adjacent to the obstruction not more than 3 in. (75 mm) from the outside edge of the obstruction
Where sprinklers are located adjacent to the obstruction, they shall be of the intermediate level rack type.
The deflector of automatic sprinklers installed under fixed obstructions shall be positioned no more than 12 in. (300 mm) below the bottom of the obstruction.
Sprinklers shall not be required under noncombustible obstructions over 4 ft (1.2 m) wide where the bottom of the obstruction is 24 in. (600 mm) or less above the floor or deck.
Sprinklers shall not be required under obstructions that are not fixed in place, such as conference tables.
Sprinklers installed under obstructions shall be of the same type (spray, CMSA, ESFR, residential) as installed at the ceiling except as permitted by 9.5.5.3.3.1.
Spray sprinklers shall be permitted to be utilized under overhead doors.
Sprinklers installed under open gratings shall be of the intermediate level/rack storage type or otherwise shielded from the discharge of overhead sprinklers.
In all closets and compartments, including those closets housing mechanical equipment, that are not larger than 400 ft3 (11 m3) in size, a single sprinkler at the highest ceiling level shall be sufficient without regard to obstructions or minimum distance to the wall.
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