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Home > Fire Sprinklers > Laws, Codes & Standards > Scope of Sprinkler Standards

Scope of Fire Sprinkler Standards

The Fire Sprinkler Law regulates the fire sprinkler industry in Maine. Every fire sprinkler system, (those with more than 6 fire sprinkler heads), must be installed by licensed fire sprinkler contractors according to an approved fire sprinkler standard. Those standards are both nationally-recognized and state-recognized fire sprinkler codes that have been legally adopted by the State of Maine. The most commonly used nationally recognized adopted codes are NFPA 13, NFPA 13R, and NFPA 13D, all from the National Fire Protection Association. The state-recognized fire sprinkler codes are The Hydro-Pro, and The Maine Life Safety.

Each code has a purpose and a scope. The purpose of NFPA 13 is for property protection, as well as to save lives. NFPA 13 may be used for any occupancy other than for an occupancy of a special hazard. Special hazard occupancies, such as airplane hangers, industrial ovens, and cooling towers each have their own specific NFPA code standard.

The purpose of the other four mentioned codes are not for property protection, but for "life safety", meaning that their design is not to guarantee that the building will be saved, but that the fire will be contained for a certain length of time to allow occupants to leave the building, and for the fire department to arrive. This length of time is 30 minutes for NFPA 13R and Hydro-Pro. It is 10 minutes for NFPA 13D and The Maine Life Safety codes.

The scope of NFPA 13 D is for "One-and Two-Family Dwellings" and manufactured homes, (mobile homes), as defined in that standard. NFPA 101, (2006 edition), also allows a variation of NFPA 13D to be used in a couple places. It can be used in Rooming & Lodging, (Section 26.3.6.3.3) if the building is not over four stories in height and is not part of a multiple occupancy that is classified as "mixed" (as opposed to "separated"), and as long as the entrance foyers have fire sprinkler protection. It can also be used in Residential Board & Care that are small facilities, but the water duration changes from 10 minutes to 30 minutes, and areas may be required to have fire sprinkler coverage that normally don't under NFPA 13D. These areas include entrance foyers, closets & bathrooms and other habitable areas. The details are in NFPA 101, Sections 32.2.3.5.3.2 and 32.2.3.5.5.

The scope of NFPA 13R is only for residential type occupancies. These are occupancies where people sleep overnight, such as Hotels, Dormitories, Apartments, Residential Board & Care that is not limited-health care, and any occupancies within the scope of NFPA 13D, as defined in NFPA 13R and in NFPA 101. This NFPA 13R code is sometimes used in buildings that have other occupancy types as well, but only when the residential portion is the predominant occupancy. The scope is limited to these occupancies in buildings that do not exceed four stories in height.

The scope of the two state-fabricated fire sprinkler standards is too complicated to list here, but is contained within each standard, which can be seen on-line at our sprinkler home page. Basically, the Hydro-Pro can be used for whatever is within the scope of NFPA 13R and other occupancies where only 30 minutes is necessary for the occupants to leave. The Maine Life Safety can be used for buildings where only 10 minutes will be necessary for evacuation because of the building size and occupancy type. Because of the complexity of when these two standards may be used, licensed fire sprinkler contractors must obtain permission from our office to use either system. Both standards are also not to be used in buildings that exceed four stories in height.

 

[Last updated 3-31-08]