In this post we revisit a Journal article written by Matt Klaus, NFPA's principal fire protection engineer, where he explains the reasoning behind the fire sprinkler omission from certain areas in NFPA 13D: Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes.
Matt explains; "Everyone wants to save money, builders and building owners included. One way they can do that is to omit sprinklers from areas where the codes say it’s okay to leave them out. But it’s important to know precisely what those areas are."
NFPA 13D was developed with a singular fire protection goal: life safety. For this reason, there are several additional areas that can be unsprinklered, as fires in these areas are not linked to a loss of life.
NFPA 13D permits sprinklers to be omitted from bathrooms less than 55 square feet (5.1 square meters) and closets no larger than 24 square feet (2.2 square meters) in NFPA 13D systems. Nor are sprinklers required in NFPA 13D systems in attics, penthouse equipment rooms, elevator
machine rooms, and concealed spaces containing only dwelling unit ventilation equipment. Where fuel-fired equipment is present, at least one quick response sprinkler must be installed above the equipment.
NFPA 13D also permits some unique portions of one- and two-family dwellings to omit sprinklers. For example, sprinklers are not required in covered, unheated projections at the entrance and exit as long as the dwelling has another means of egress. In addition, sprinklers are not required in garages, attached porches, carports, and similar structures.
Matt concludes; "Ideally, all spaces within a structure would be provided with automatic sprinkler protection. However that simply isn’t possible. The NFPA technical committees that prepare the sprinkler documents have scrutinized areas from which sprinklers can be omitted and limited them to the greatest extent possible."