Joining the growing list of writers for this blog is newcomer Audrey Goldstein. She is an associate fire protection engineer with NFPA, responsible for responding to technical questions on NFPA 13D, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes, and other water-based suppression documents.
We've brought Audrey on board to address topics related to NFPA 13D as well as other technical aspects of home fire sprinklers. If there are any topics you'd like Audrey to address, comment on this blog or send us an email.
Audrey proudly hails from Maryland, one of only two states with requirements for residential sprinklers in all of its counties. The Fire Sprinkler Initiative team is pleased to have her contributing to the cause. Enjoy her inaugural post:
Sprinklers in accordance with NFPA 13D are designed to provide homeowners with a cost-effective system that will provide a suitable level of life safety. To meet this goal, sprinklers are permitted to be omitted from select locations that historically have not threatened life safety. One such location is from unheated projections from a house. This section was originally written to apply to spaces such as mudrooms, transitory spaces that are not intended for continual occupancy. As these building projections are unheated, sprinkler installation in these areas could drive up the cost, necessitating dry sprinkler heads cut to custom lengths or another means of freeze protection in the space.
Recently there has been a rise in popularity in lanai or “California rooms”, which are covered patios open to the exterior on one or two sides. These fully furnished spaces often feature a bar or kitchenette area. Designed for entertaining in milder climates, these unheated projections from the home pose the oft-asked question: can sprinklers be omitted?
The sprinkler omission was not originally intended to apply to spaces of living purposes. A space furnished with comfortable couches, however, is clearly intended for living purposes. Authorities having jurisdiction differ on whether the use of the space necessitates sprinklers. Some argue it does while others permit their omission. There is merit in both arguments for and against sprinkler protection in this type of space.
Although California rooms are more common in temperate climates, some may be subject to freezing temperatures and cannot be provided with a wet-pipe sprinkler system. While trying to keep home fire sprinkler system costs down we must weigh the life safety aim of an NFPA 13D sprinkler system. Until the Technical Committee on Residential Sprinkler Systems addresses these spaces and indicates either that sprinklers are or are not required, each jurisdiction must determine this balance for themselves.