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Authority for Using State-fabricated Fire Sprinkler Codes
There have been questions about using Maine-fabricated fire sprinkler standards, (Maine Life Safety Code, or Hydro-Pro Code). The requirement for a fire sprinkler system typically comes from an NFPA code, locally adopted building code, town ordinance, or insurance company, that specifically calls for an NFPA fire sprinkler standard (such as NFPA 13, 13R or 13D). These sources do not mention the option of using the State-fabricated fire sprinkler codes. When this happens, does the State have the right to allow, (or to require), a different standard? Here is some background information:
Within State jurisdiction, Maine State Law takes precedence over any State adopted codes. The following references are State laws that require a sprinkler standard for the occupancies listed, without specifying which fire sprinkler standard is to be used. When requiring a fire sprinkler system, it uses the phrase: ".approved automatic sprinkler system." In such cases, any State-adopted sprinkler code may be specified, including the State-fabricated codes, as long as the project is within the scope of the sprinkler code specified. (The full law can be found through the State of Maine Website, or provided in full upon request.)
Also, if the State adopted codes, such as NFPA 101, do not require a fire sprinkler system, then the State may allow a State-fabricated code to be used, as long as it is within the scope of the fire sprinkler code for that occupancy.
Just because the State allows a particular fire sprinkler standard does not mean that the town has to accept it. If a town has an ordinance or an adopted building code, that specifies which fire sprinkler standard is to be used, then that standard must be used, as long as the project is within the scope of the standard. The town cannot waive State requirements, and the State cannot waive town requirements. The most stringent requirements of the two must be met. Towns that are using the state building code, (Maine Uniform Building & Energy Code, MUBEC), cannot use state-fabricated fire sprinkler standards.
The State cannot keep up with all local ordinances and locally adopted building codes, so if the State allows a state-fabricated standard and the town requires an NFPA standard, then it is up to the town to see to it that the NFPA standard is going to be implemented before the installation begins. This can be done by contacting our office or the fire sprinkler contractor, who would then contact our office to get their fire sprinkler permit amended. If the source requiring the system (such as the town or insurance company) does not specify the fire sprinkler standard to be used, then any State approved system may be used as long as it is within the scope of the standard used. Please call 207-626-3889 if there are any questions.
[Last updated 1-3-12 by clarifying that towns using MUBEC must stick to the nationally-recognized fire sprinkler standards of NFPA 13, NFPA 13R, & NFPA 13D. Previously updated 3-31-08.]
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