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Earthquake Bracing

Section 9.3 of the 2010 edition of NFPA 13 says that sprinkler systems shall be protected to prevent pipe breakage where subject to earthquakes. NFPA 13 does not require earthquake bracing, except where subject to earthquakes. It then explains how to do the earthquake bracing, if it is required.

Seismic charts of Maine indicate minimal to medium risk due to impact from earthquakes, and history tells us that earthquakes are a rare occurrence in Maine, and then of only minor size. I know of no fire loss to life or property in Maine due to the failure of a fire sprinkler system because of an earthquake. For these reasons, our office traditionallly has not required earthquake bracing on any fire sprinkler systems.

The International Building Code, 2009 edition section 1613 however, (part of M.U.B.E.C. the state-wide building code that applies to towns with a population greater than 4,000 people), does require seismic bracing unless exempted. Exemptions pretty much apply only to one & two-family dwellings, townhouses, and agricultural storage buildings.

In summary, where earthquake bracing is required by a building code, insurance company, other source, or voluntarily installed, then we expect for that information to be supplied for the fire sprinkler plan review, and those jobs would be reviewed for earthquake bracing compliance before the permit would be issued from the State.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact us if there are any questions.


[Last Updated 1-11-12 to provide current code & standard references.]