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Hazard Classification Of Gyms And Sports Arenas

It is important in winning a job bid and obtaining a sprinkler permit, to know the required water density. This water density demand depends upon the hazard classification for the area of coverage. The hazard classification depends upon the use of that area as well as the type & volume of fuel loading. This is fully outlined in sections 5.1 to 5.6 of the 2007 NFPA 13 Fire Sprinkler Standard.

Gyms and sports arenas are not specifically listed in NFPA 13, but in section A.6.1.2.1 of the 2006 edition of NFPA 101 gymnasiums are listed as an example of an assembly occupancy along with 23 other examples of assembly occupancies. Except for stage areas within large theaters, and stack areas within libraries, these examples are all typically recognized as light hazard especially since many of these examples are specifically mentioned in NFPA 13.

It is only when gyms and sports arenas are used as mercantile type occupancies, including flea markets and auctions, or events with similar fuel loads that they would fall into the ordinary hazard (2) occupancy group.

Our office at one time required gyms and sports arenas be considered as ordinary hazard II occupancies for fire sprinkler design purposes, but we will now recognize them as light hazard occupancies as long as their regular use remains in the general assembly category, which includes auditoriums, assembly halls, dance halls, special amusements and even exhibition halls unless there is some unusual fuel load/ignition sources that are non-typical for these type of event gatherings.

 

[Last Updated 4-10-09]