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Office of State Fire Marshal, Fire Sprinkler Technical Policy
Part 1: Licensing
1. Responsible Managing Supervisor (RMS) Fee: The fee for the certification of a "Responsible Managing Supervisor" (RMS) is $100. The license is good for 2 years and includes endorsements for both Inspector & Contractor for no additional fee. There is no limitation of the scope of design or inspection work, but installation work where a state permit is required is restricted to NFPA 13D systems unless proof can be provided for a minimum of a million dollars worth of insurance coverage for commercial fire sprinkler systems.
2. Contractor Fee: The fee for the license of a "Fire Sprinkler System Contractor" is $100. The license is good for 2 years. Installation work where a state permit is required is restricted to NFPA 13D systems unless proof can be provided for a minimum of a million dollars worth of insurance coverage for commercial fire sprinkler systems.
3. Inspector Fee: The fee for the registration of a Fire Sprinkler Inspection Technician is $100. The license is good for 2 years and includes endorsement for Contractor as well for no additional fee. There is no limitation of the scope of inspection work, but installation work where a state permit is required is restricted to NFPA 13D systems unless proof can be provided for a minimum of a million dollars worth of insurance coverage for commercial fire sprinkler systems.
4. Inspector Qualifications: In order to be registered as an Inspection Technician, the applicant must provide proof of qualification, such as a National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (N.I.C.E.T.) Level II certification or some training in NFPA 25. The minimum qualification is a letter from an employer who describes the work experience and/or training and states that they are satisfied that the person is familiar with NFPA 25 and is qualified to inspect, test, and maintain fire sprinkler systems.
5. License Renewals: All licenses, certificates and registrations shall be renewed before their expiration date of the appropriate year of expiration. There is no penalty for renewing an expired license. A license is valid for 2-years from the date of issue. An email notice will be provided at least 30-days before expiration. There will be no notice if there is no email address or an invalid email address.
6. Inspector Licensing Exception: In plant industry maintenance, personnel shall not need to be registered as Inspection Technicians. [An employee may inspect, test & maintain the employer's fire sprinkler system(s) without being licensed as long as the employer believes that the employee is qualified and capable of doing that work. The employee is restricted to doing just the work for his/her employee. This was originally written with the paper mills in mind, but applies to all business owners as it follows the intent of NFPA 25, 2011 edition, section 4.1.1.].
7. Inspection Reports: Inspections of public building fire sprinkler systems are to be conducted by a licensed inspector annually. Inspection reports of non-compliance, where the owner is not scheduling correction, are to be submitted to the Office of State Fire Marshal in accordance with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard # 25. All inspection reports are to include the Inspection Technician license number. All other inspection reports are to be made available to the Office of State Fire Marshal upon request.
8. Fees: There is one fire sprinkler license with endorsements and/or restrictions. The fee is $100 for the license and it is valid for 2-years from the day of issuing. There are no discounts.
10. Insurance Requirement: The first time a Fire Sprinkler System Contractor submits for a fire sprinkler permit for a commercial fire sprinkler system installation, (anything other than an NFPA 13D standard system), proof of at least a million dollars of insurance for commercial fire sprinkler system installation work must be provided.
Part 2: Design Requirements
This list is a summary of "red flags" for designers and installers. It is made up of:
1. Pressure, (Safety Margin of 5 p.s.i.): A cushion of 5 p.s.i. is required on fire sprinkler hydraulic calculations. This cushion may be waived in whole or in part by the Office of State Fire Marshal in unusual circumstances, such as in determining whether or not a fire pump will be required. The 5 p.s.i. cushion is not required on National Fire Protection Association Standard (NFPA) # 13D fire sprinkler systems.
2. Pressure, (Safety Margin & Date of Water Test): Hydrant flow tests for fire sprinkler system design shall be not greater than 5 years old. The authority having jurisdiction may require a current test when deemed necessary. Until current water data is available, an extra 1 p.s.i. of cushion is required for every year that the test data is greater than 5 years old. [For example, water data that is 9 years old will require a 9 p.s.i. safety margin]. This does not apply to NFPA Standard # 13D fire sprinkler systems. Exceptions may be granted by the Office of State Fire Marshal.
3. Pressure, (Standpipes): A maximum of 65 p.s.i. automatic will be allowed on all automatic wet standpipes if permission to do so is also granted by the local fire department.
4. Standpipe Type: Standpipes not required by NFPA Standard #101 may be manual dry or manual wet subject to approval by the local fire department.
5. Fire Sprinkler Standards: Fire sprinkler systems required by the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code, or any internationally or nationally recognized building code, or required by any local ordinance or required by any insurance company must be approved by the Office of State Fire Marshal and shall meet National Fire Protection Association Standards #13, #13R, #13D, or other adopted standard.
6. Permit Triggers: Prior to construction of any new fire sprinkler system over 6 heads or any addition to an existing fire sprinkler system of more than 20 heads, a fire sprinkler permit shall be required in accordance with 32 M.R.S.A. sub-section 1371-1382. [Relocated heads and/or the replacement of existing heads only count toward the 20 heads when there is an addition in pipe length.]
7. Electrical Cables: Non-combustible/limited-combustible concealed spaces having 15 or more combustible electrical cables grouped together such as in cable trays, shall be fully sprinklered in the area of the cables in NFPA Standard #13 fire sprinkler systems. Plenum-rated and riser-rated telecommunication cables however are considered to be limited combustible/fire resistive according to standards established by NFPA Standard #70 and therefore do not trigger this fire sprinkler requirement.
8. Pressure, (Industrial Hose Stations): All industrial hose stations shall be required to be reduced to 100 p.s.i..
9. Permit Triggers: Fire pumps and standpipes shall be considered part of the sprinkler system and subject to review and permitting.
10. Low-Air Alarms: All dry pipe systems shall have a low-air alarm in addition to a low-air switch for the compressor.
11. Freezers/Coolers: Operating freezers (and coolers that are maintained at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit) shall not require fire sprinkler protection if they are not used or intended to be used with fork lifts and the storage does not exceed 8’ in height, and the door(s) are all self-closing, positive-latching and the rooms do not exceed 800 square feet. This exception does not apply to Health Care facilities that are inspected by Federal authorities, because the Federal inspectors do not recognize this exception.
12. Canopies: Exterior canopies shall not require fire sprinkler coverage if they are less than 4’ wide and are constructed of non-combustible/ limited-combustible material, regardless of the use beneath them.
13. Canopies: With prior approval of the Office of State Fire Marshal, canopies that meet an exception in the currently-adopted edition of NFPA Standard #13 for not requiring fire sprinkler protection beneath them may not require fire sprinkler protection within them, (even if the interior construction contains combustible material).
14. Elevators: When fire sprinkler heads are required in elevator shafts they shall have a shut-off outside of the shaft, arranged in such a way so that servicing of the head will have a minimum amount of water to drain into the shaft. This also applies to LULAs, (Limited Use/Limited Application "lifts"), since they are in totally enclosed shafts. [This also applies to Vertical Platform Lifts when they are in fully enclosed shafts.]
15.Elevators: Fire sprinkler heads in elevator machine rooms shall have a shut-off outside of the machine room, arranged in such a way so that servicing of the head in the machine room will have a minimum amount of water to drain into the room.
16.Elevators: The shut-off for the elevator shaft head and the elevator machine room can be the same control valve, but if there is a head at the top of the shaft and one in the elevator pit, then they shall have separate shut-offs.
17. Hose Connections, (Stages): Hose connections on stages are to be on the audience side of the proscenium curtain. Exceptions may be granted by the Office of State Fire Marshal.
18. FDC: The type and location of the fire department connection and of the standpipe connection are subject to the local fire department.
19.Vaults: Vital records storage vaults less than 800 square feet in area and for no more than brief occupancy may have smoke detection/heat detection within, plus a fire extinguisher in the near proximity, in place of fire sprinkler coverage within. For this exception to apply, the rooom must be either 2-hour fire rated or be of non-combustible construction, or the exposed interior surface must be of non-combustible construction; and the smoke/heat detection must be alarmed to a constantly-attended location, and the door to the vault must be closed and locked whenever there is no occupancy.
20. Maine Life Safety: The Maine Life Safety standard shall not require fire sprinkler coverage of bathrooms that are less than 55 sq ft in area. [This is now written into the 2012 Revision of the Maine Life Safety Standard].
21. Hydro-Pro: Hydro-Pro standard shall not require fire sprinkler coverage of freezers or of elevator shafts or any exceptions mentioned in NFPA 13R, that are not specifically mentioned in the Hydro-Pro standard.
22. Hydro-Pro: Bladder tanks shall not be required for Hydro-Pro systems.
23. Maine Life Safety & Hydro-Pro, (Head Listings): Fire sprinkler heads shall be used within their listings in both the Maine Life Safety and the Hydro-Pro standards. Special exceptions may be granted by the Office of State Fire Marshal. [This is now written into the 2012 Revision of the Maine Life Safety Standard. Since this revision the Hydro-Pro Standard is no longer used.]
24. Tanks: Low-water alarms or automatic fills are required for stored water sources in all life-safety fire sprinkler standards other than NFPA Standard #13D systems.
25. Tanks: Water storage tanks that are buried or otherwise not readily visible shall have a low-water alarm. Water storage tanks that are readily visible shall have a site-glass when the water level is not otherwise obviously visible. This applies to all currently adopted fire sprinkler standards, including NFPA 13D. [NFPA 25, 2011 edition, section 9.2.1 requires either a low-water alarm or a visible inspection for NFPA 13 and NFPA 13R systems. NFPA 13D, 2010 edition in section 6.2.2.(5) requires a method of seeing the water level in the tank without having to open the tank.]
26. NFPA 13D, (Automatic-fills): Automatic-fills are prohibited on stand-alone water storage tanks for NFPA 13D systems without prior approval by the Office of State Fire Marshal. [Automatic-fills are not required in NFPA 13D systems, and when they have been used and fail, sometimes the automatic fill doesn't stop when the tank is full and therfore water overflows through the vent onto the floor.]
27. Water Duration: The required water volumes for fire sprinkler systems may be altered depending upon the occupancy type, occupant load, construction type, building height and other related factors. Prior approval must be granted by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
28. Pumps, (Monitoring):Pump power monitoring is required in NFPA 13R systems according to NFPA 20 and as outlined in the Office of State Fire Marshal's Small Pump Policy as seen on their website at http://www.maine.gov/dps/fmo/sprinklers/issues/fire_pumps.html.
29. Pumps, (Listings): Fire pumps used in the Maine Life Safety standard and the Hydro-Pro standards are not required to be listed for fire service. Fire pumps that are less than 7.5 horsepower are not required to be listed for fire service in NFPA Standard #13R systems.
30. Pumps, (Listings):Fire pumps that are less than 5 horsepower are not required to be listed for fire service in NFPA 13 systems and in NFPA 13R systems. [There are no known pumps available in the Northeast at this time of this size listed for fire service. NFPA 20, 2010 edition, section 22.214.171.124 allows the use of pumps that are not listed for fire service.]
31. Pumps, (Listings):Pumps that are not listed for fire service must have a general pump listing. [From NFPA 20, 2010 edition, section 126.96.36.199 and A.4.7.1]
32. Pumps, (Listings):A pump that is 5 hp to 7.5 hp inclusive and not listed for fire service may be used in an NFPA 13 system or in an NFPA 13R system conditional upon prior approval from theOffice of State Fire Marshal. (See the Office of State Fire Marshal “Small Pump Policy”at http://www.maine.gov/dps/fmo/sprinklers/issues/fire_pumps.html for more information on when these pumps may be approved.) [Pumps of this size that are listed for fire service are difficult to locate and very expensive for their size. The Office of State Fire Marshal Small Pump Policy on our website specifies parameters of when each type can and cannot be used. NFPA 20, 2010 edition, section 188.8.131.52 allows the use of pumps that are not listed for fire service.]
33. Pumps, (Listings, Controller Panel): When the pump used has a general pump listing rather than a listing for fire service, then the pump controller panel does not have to be listed for fire service, but must have a basic UL 508A listing, (Standard for Industrial Control Panels). [This first part comes from an informal interpretation of NFPA 20 by NFPA, and the UL 508A listing part is an industry standard for controller panels that are not listed for fire service.]
34. Pumps, (Power Supply): When the installed pump is 7.5 hp or less and is not listed for fire protection service, then the pump power supply does not need to be the same as for a pump that is listed for fire service. [This comes from an informal interpretation by NFPA.]
35. Pumps, (Power Supply Monitoring): When the installed pump is 7.5 hp or less and is not listed for fire protection service, then the pump power supply shall be monitored according to the Office of State Fire Marshal Small Pump Policy’s pump controller panel specifications. [(See the Office of State Fire Marshal “Small Pump Policy”at http://www.maine.gov/dps/fmo/sprinklers/issues/fire_pumps.html). This item provides specific industry-standard guidelines on how to monitor the power supply to a general-listed pump.]
36. Pumps, (Listings, Controller Panel):Pump controller panel requirements for general listed pumps of up to 7.5 hp inclusive shall be according to the Office of State Fire Marshal Small Pump Policy found at http://www.maine.gov/dps/fmo/sprinklers/issues/fire_pumps.html. [This provides specific industry-standard guidelines for these pump controller panels used for these small pumps.]
37. Pumps, (Test Headers): A test header shall be provided on NFPA 13 and on NFPA 13R systems where pumps are used regardless of pump size. This is for testing the pump to verify that the pump is performing in compliance with the manufacturer’s pump performance curve and to verify that the water supply is adequately supplying the pump. If a water tank is the source of water, then in place of a test header it is acceptable to test the pump through a recirculation pipe, (that has a pre-calibrated flow meter, sometimes called venturi meter, built into it), attached into the water tank. Regardless of which method is used, the test is required annually by NFPA 25, 2011 edition, section 8.3.3 with a flow through the test header once every 3 years in addition to the annual test when using a closed-loop set-up. With small pumps if the main drain is large enough to accommodate full flow of the pump, then that drain can be used as a test header. [NFPA 25, 2011 edition, section 8.3.3. provides this choice of test methods, but is not clear that a test header/large main drain is required either way. This item makes it clear what is needed to fulfill the requirement. Section 8.1.6 is also a reference.]
38. Electrical Rooms: The exception for fire sprinkler coverage of electrical equipment rooms in the currently adopted edition of NFPA 13, (2010 section 184.108.40.206) may be applied to other types of equipment rooms with prior approval of the Office of State Fire Marshal. [This section alerts that 4 conditions are to be met, including being dedicated to equipment use, having minimal combustible liquids, having 2-hour rated enclosure, and no combustible storage.] For this exception to apply to other types of equipment rooms we do require either a smoke or heat detector as well.
39. Existing "Bars" Over 100: Existing Assembly occupancies that are required to have fire sprinkler protection according to section 220.127.116.11 in the 2006 & 2009 editions of the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code may be granted permission by the Office of State Fire Marshal to use the Maine Life Safety standard. [This item is to provide a cost-effective life-safety alternative for a retroactive fire sprinkler requirement].
40. Ambulance Vehicle Storage: Ambulance vehicle storage where the vehicles store oxygen will be considered to be ordinary hazard II in terms of design for fire sprinkler system coverage.
41. Pressure Gauge, (Backflow Preventers): There shall be a pressure gauge on the supply side of the backflow preventer in NFPA 13 and NFPA 13R systems. [NFPA 13, 2010 edition, section 18.104.22.168 requires a pressure gauge on each side of each system riser check valve, and then section 22.214.171.124.3.2 states that a backflow preventer is a check valve. The gauge on the supply side is used to establish a database on the available pressure in the water supply, and is also used during the 2” main drain test required by NFPA 25 to establish a database of residual pressures in the water supply. NFPA 13R, 2010 edition in section 11.3 requires inspection, testing and maintenance according to NFPA 25 as well as 6.12.1 requiring a pressure gauge on the supply side of the system. In summary, this is already required in the adopted NFPA standards but is often overlooked.]
42. Performance-Based Designs: The Office of State Fire Marshal will accept for review alternate performance-based designs that are stamped by a licensed Fire Protection Engineer, or by a licensed Professional Engineer who has experience in fire protection. [This approach has been recognized by NFPA for many years as outlined initially in their July 1995 study entitled “NFPA’s Future in Performance-Based Codes and Standards” ]
43. Code-Adoption Cycles: Whenever a newer edition code or standard is adopted by the Office of State Fire Marshal there will be an overlap period of up to 9 months when either the existing edition or the newer edition may be used. In each case the Office of State Fire Marshal will determine the cut-off date for using the older edition and may grant extensions to use the prior code or standard for special situations. The licensed industry will be notified in advance through the licensed industry group email list. [This overlap is to account for jobs that were already bid or designed under the older edition and to give time for the fire sprinkler industry to acquire the new edition. The cut-off date for using only the newest standard is typically January 1st or July 1st and the overlap is typically 3 to 6 months.]
44. Pex Pipe: Pex pipe is allowed in stand-alone NFPA 13D systems according to the Office of State Fire Marshal Pex Pipe Policy as seen on our website at http://www.maine.gov/dps/fmo/sprinklers/multipurpose systems/index.html. Pex pipe is also allowed to be exposed in basements when the entire basement area has fire sprinkler protection.
45. Seismic Bracing: Seismic bracing is not always required by the Office of State Fire Marshal on NFPA 13 systems in Maine. [NFPA 13, 2010 edition, section 9.3 tells how to install seismic bracing, "where required", (section 126.96.36.199). The requirement to install seismic bracing typically comes from a building code or insurance carrier. Maine's building code reference is the International Building Code, (2009 edition), section 1613. [Maine is in a relatively safe earthquake zone and has a history of very little seismic activity however seismic bracing is often required from the building code, which uses a calculation using a combination of soil types, building height, construction type, seismic zone and other factors.]
46. NFPA 13D, (B & Bs): NFPA 13D may be used for Rooming & Lodging occupancies, (“Bed & Breakfast “occupancies) of 4 to 16 occupants inclusive. The building must not have another occupancy other than residential. An alarm and a fire department connection is required if requested by the local fire department for installations of more than 20 fire sprinkler heads. [This is from NFPA 101, 2006 & 2009 editions, section 188.8.131.52.3 but is often missed as a more affordable fire sprinkler standard that can be used.]
47. NFPA 13D, (Small Residential Board & Care): NFPA 13D may be used for Small Residential Board & Care and similar occupancies. A 30-minute water supply will be required. All habitable areas and closets shall be sprinklered. An alarm and a fire department connection is required if requested by the local fire department for installations of more than 20 fire sprinkler heads. Valves must be supervised with tampers. The system must be inspected,tested,& maintained according to NFPA 101 guidelines. [This is from NFPA 101, 2006 & 2009 editions, section 184.108.40.206.3.2 through to 220.127.116.11.7.15 but is often missed as a more affordable fire sprinkler standard that can be used. (Small Residential Board & Care is 4 to 16 residents.)]
48. NFPA 13D, (Day Cares): Any non-required fire sprinkler system in a day care occupancy of any size may be an NFPA 13D system regardless of level of exit discharge. A fire sprinkler alarm and a fire department connection will be required when there are more than 20 fire sprinkler heads unless waived by the local fire department. [NFPA 101, 2006 & 2009 editions, section 18.104.22.168 references any of the 3 fire sprinkler standards, including NFPA 13D. This item offers clarity for non-required systems.]
49. Shutdowns: The shutdown of a fire sprinkler system, whether for repairs, seasonal/temporary, permanent, or for an indefinite time, shall be according to the Office of State Fire Marshal’s shutdown policies which are posted on their website at http://www.maine.gov/dps/fmo/sprinklers/inspections/shutdown_policy.html. [The policy is based upon NFPA 25 2011 edition, (Chapter 15), and NFPA 101 2006 & 2009, Section 9.7.6 guidelines.]
50. Antifreeze, (Expansion Tanks): In the 2010 edition of NFPA 13, Section 22.214.171.124, expansion tanks are not required on antifreeze loops that come off of wet systems when there is a small hole in the check valve to allow expanding antifreeze to bleed into the wet system, but in Maine the expansion tank is required if the volume of the wet system is less than the volume of the antifreeze loop. [This is simply to satisfy that the wet system is large enough to absorb the extra pressure/antifreeze that is being forced out of an expanding antifreeze loop.]
51. Antifreeze, (50% Factory Premixed Gycerin):Wherever a new antifreeze system is used in residential portions of buildings, the antifreeze must be glycerin, it must be factory pre-mixed, and it must not exceed 50% concentration without special prior permission from the Office of State Fire Marshal. If this does not provide adequate freeze protection for anticipated temperatures, then refer to our full antifreeze policy on this website under "Design & Installation Issues". [Antifreeze is flammable, but tests done by the Fire Protection Research Foundation show that glycerin is safe when it is factory premixed and does not exceed 50% concentration. Glycerin is not as flammable as glycols and glycerin is compatible with CPVC fire sprinkler pipe, whereas glycol is not. ]
52. Antifreeze, (Where Allowed):Antifreeze may be used in new NFPA 13D systems or in residential portions of NFPA 13R and NFPA 13 systems when the pipe cannot be run in heated areas or is otherwise in jeopardy of freezing. When antifreeze is used in these situations, it is to be limited as much as practical to that portion of the system that is in jeopardy to freezing. Also, in these cases it is to be restricted to factory pre-mixed solutions of glycerin that do not exceed 50% concentration. [ If this does not provide adequate freeze protection for anticipated temperatures, then refer to our full antifreeze policy on this website under "Design & Installation Issues"]. Areas of coverage that are normally not occupied, such as loading docks, attics, mechanical spaces, garages, canopies, storage areas, etc, may use whatever concentrations of antifreeze are necessary to provide freeze protection and will not be required to be glycerin or factory pre-mixed, but must be thoroughly mixed to minimize the threat of separating out of solution.
53 .Alarms, (Type): A fire sprinkler alarm can be either an electric bell or a water motor gong. [NFPA 13, 2010 edition, section 126.96.36.199 and NFPA 13R, 2010 edition, section 616.3.]
54. Alarms, (Where Required): A fire sprinkler alarm is only required in NFPA 13 and NFPA 13R systems when the fire sprinkler system has more than 20 fire sprinkler heads. A fire sprinkler alarm is not normally required in NFPA 13D systems. [From NFPA 13, 2010 edition, section 188.8.131.52 and NFPA 13R, 2010 edition, section 6.16.3 and NFPA 13D, 2010 edition, section 7.6.]
55. Alarms, (Location):When a fire sprinkler alarm is required, it can be either inside or outside, wherever it makes the best sense for the particular building and that building’s location. [From NFPA 13, 2010 edition, section A.184.108.40.206 and NFPA 13R, 2010 edition, section 6.16.3.]
56. Alarms, (Alarm Panels):If the building has an alarm system then the fire sprinkler system must be tied into it, in which case a dedicated fire sprinkler system electric bell or water motor gong is not required. [NFPA 72, 2010 edition, section 220.127.116.11 and NFPA 101 2006 & 2009 editions, section 9.7.2 and NFPA 13, 2010 edition, section A.18.104.22.168. and NFPA 13R, 2010 edition, section 6.16.2]
57. Alarms, (NFPA 13D, 3 or More Units): NFPA 13D systems in buildings of 3 or more dwelling units must have an alarm for the building or for each unit when there are more than 20 fire sprinkler heads for the entire building. [These types of buildings would normally have an alarm under NFPA 13, (2010 edition, section 22.214.171.124), and in NFPA 13R systems (2010 edition, section 6.16.1) where there are a total of 20 or more fire sprinkler heads. For buildings of 3 or more dwelling units an alarm is necessary to alert all occupants of a fire and is therefore also standardly requested by local authorities. Although this would cost more, the extra cost is more than offset by the savings in the recognition to use a far more affordable fire sprinkler standard. Townhouses as defined in the 2009 edition of the International Residential Code may use NFPA 13D.]
58. Local Authorities: Always check with local authorities to see if they have any requirements different than the state. The most stringent of both state and local rules must be followed.
59. NFPA 13D, (Partial Systems,): A partial NFPA 13D system is allowed in homes whenever a local ordinance requires a new addition or renovated section to have a fire sprinkler system. The fire sprinkler system can be just for the addition and/or renovated section. Partial systems are also allowed in other special situations with prior permission from the Office of State Fire Marshal. One such situation may include an existing and/or renovated building where the authority having jurisdiction (insurance carrier, local and/or our office) is satisfied that there is adequate fire separation and independent exiting for different tenants. Another situation may include phasing in a fire sprinkler system throughout as different areas are remodeled and/or became vacant and/or transition to a new use, which may or may not have a completion date.
60. NFPA 13D, (Partial Systems, Floor Trusses): A partial fire sprinkler system is allowed to meet the exception in The Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code, (MUBEC), for protection of certain types/sizes of exposed structural floor members, (section R501.3 of the 2009 IRC, amended by MUBEC), by covering just the area below the floor members (according to NFPA 13D) and not the rest of the building.
61. Maine Life Safety & Hydro-Pro, (Additions): Whenever an existing Maine Life Safety or Hydro-Pro system is in place and there is an addition to the building, then those standards may be used to continue the fire sprinkler coverage into the new expanded areas, assuming that the hazard is the same, and that the hydraulics work.
62. Maine Life Safety & Hydro-Pro, (Assemblies): Both the Maine Life Safety and the Hydro-Pro fire sprinkler standards state in their Applications sections that they "ordinarily" are restricted in Places of Assembly of up to 300 occupants. Note however that the key factor is egress time and not occupant load. Both standards may be used for Places of Assembly of greater than 300 occupants when the evacuation time is easily achieved for the water supply duration and/or response time of the local fire departments. Approval to use these standards are limited to prior permission from the Office of State Fire Marshal.
63. NFPA 13R, (Attics): Attics are not required to have fire sprinkler under NFPA 13R, however, whenever an attic does have fire sprinkler coverage in NFPA 13R then it will be acceptable to do a 4-head calculation because NFPA 13R is not designed for property protection. Dry systems may be used for the attics. Residential heads may not be used in the attic.
64. Sprinkler Coverage Exceptions: Fire sprinklers may be omitted for certain spaces in special situations with prior permission from the Office of State Fire Marshal.
65. Six Heads Not a System: NFPA 101, (2009 edition), section 126.96.36.199 allows up to and including 6 fire sprinkler heads for any isolated hazardous area to be installed off domestic plumbing. A system riser is not required since it is not a fire sprinkler system, just added protection. A fire sprinkler permit is not required, and the installer does not need to be licensed with our office. This allowance is meant for ordinary hazardous areas, not light hazard or extra hazard areas. It is meant for areas such as boiler rooms, dryers, kitchen stoves, propane-fired hot water tanks, etc. One might end up with 1 each in these areas, plus 4 in the garage, plus 6 in a cellar workshop/storage area, so the total for a building might be more than 6, but never more than 6 for each isolated hazardous area. The only real requirement is a readily-available away to shut them off for each area.
66. NFPA 13D, (Townhouses): NFPA 13D systems are allowed to be used for townhouses as defined by section R202 of the 2009 edition of the International Residential Code, (IRC). [Note also that all new townhouses are required to have fire sprinkler protection, (section R313.1), that NFPA 13D may be used to do this, and that each unit is required to have 1-hour fire separation according to section R302.2, (which can be achieved using sheetrock). In NFPA 13D, 2010 edition, section 6.2.3 each unit of a duplex or townhouse has to have their own riser, such that any unit could have the water shut off without shutting down the others. Of course if a duplex has one wide-open basement and is under the control of the same client, (such as an owner and an in-law apartment or rental unit), then one riser would be ok for that set-up, but otherwise this rule applies for separate system risers. Although our office doesn’t mind if the units share the same feed, the water district wants a separate feed to each unit so that they can shut off a unit for non-payment without shutting down the others. I believe the water district doesn’t mind if there is a common feed to the outside of the building from the city main, and then there are separate outside shutoffs. Our office wants a shutoff for each unit within the building as well. Please confirm details for the feed with the applicable water purveyor.]
67. NFPA 13D, (Live/Work Units): NFPA 13D systems are allowed to be used for "live/work units" as defined by the 2009 edition of the International Building Code, (IBC), section 419. Note that the 2009 edition of the IRC, section R101.2 was amended in 2011 by the MUBEC Technical Board to recognize live/work units as one & two-family dwellings.
68. NFPA 13D, (Allowed in Special Situations): NFPA 13D systems may be allowed in special situations to be used with prior permission from the Office of State Fire Marshal when the building is approximately 50% or greater in area of one & two-family dwelling use.
69. NFPA 13R, (Balconies): Note that section 903.3.1.2.1 in the 2009 IBC requires balconies and decks to have coverage in NFPA 13R systems in dwelling units of wood-frame construction whenever there is a roof or deck above. If the town has a population of more than 4,000 people, then the state building code applies. The local authorities enforce the building code. It meets the state fire codes without doing the balconies & decks, so a fire sprinkler permit will be issued if they don't show coverage, however later the local authorities may require it so be careful how you bid.
70. NFPA 13R, (Storage Areas): Common resident storage areas in NFPA 13R systems shall be covered with quick response heads at a .15 gpm/sq ft density with maximum head spacing of 130 sq ft per head or spacing according to the listing of the head. A maximum of a 4-head calc may be used when the storage area is compartmented to no more than 500 sq ft per compartment, (see section 7.2.2 in the 2010 edition). A maximum of a 4-head calc may also be used when the storage area is incidental to the building use. The storage area shall be considered to be incidental when it does not exceed 10% of the total building area. When the storage area does not meet either of these two exceptions, then the hydraulically design area must be according to NFPA 13, however the standard for the overall building is still considered to be NFPA 13R and no hose stream will be required.
71. Shadow Areas:" Dry shadow areas" are allowed up to and including 15 square feet per fire sprinkler head in NFPA 13D, NFPA 13R, and Maine Life Safety Systems. For NFPA 13 systems follow the obstruction rules, including the "3-Times Rule" and the "4-Times Rule", which create "dry shadow areas" of various sizes.
72. Partial Systems: Partial systems may be allowed for any fire sprinkler standard when specified within that standard or by building or fire codes or by laws or with special permission by the Office of State Fire Marshal. This also applies to timing on phase-in projects. [This clarifies an already existing hierarchy of authority, with the standards being subject to codes, laws, rules, policies and AHJ implementation of the standards.]
73. Dwelling Units with 6 or Fewer Fire Sprinkler Heads: The Fire Sprinkler Law does not require a new system to obtain a state fire sprinkler permit when there are fewer than 7 heads…or even for it to installed by a licensed fire sprinkler contractor. That’s because it only recognizes a fire sprinkler system as one with more than 6-heads. This is in sync with NFPA 101, which has for many years allowed up to 6-heads for every isolated hazardous area, (“ordinary hazard”), to have fire sprinkler protection from heads off of ½” domestic piping, with no riser assembly.The following outline has been our long-standing guideline policy for these small dwelling unit situations with no more than 6-heads: It may come off of the domestic plumbing, but if so, then make sure that there are no dead-end lines and that a licensed plumber is involved. Have a way to shut it off. Have a way to drain it. Use listed residential fire sprinkler heads and in the correct configuration. Have the correct temperature-rating fire sprinkler heads. Use spacing of the fire sprinkler heads according to the fire sprinkler standards, (including the largest room rule). Follow the obstruction rules of the fire sprinkler standards. Have a minimum of a 10-minute water supply. Have a .05 gpm/sq ft water density, (which is standardly required for residential systems). No hydraulic calculations or plans are required.
[Last updated 5-20-13 with major changes to all of Part 1 regarding licensing and licensing fees. Previously updated 4-2-13 by clarifying item # 38 by adding the specific reference and expanded text. Previously updated 3-12-13 by adding item #73. Previously updated 10-6-12 by adding item #72. Previously updated 10-1-12 by adding item #71. This is in line with the 2013 editions. Previously updated 9-19-12 by expanding item #59 for special situations. Previously updated 9-5-12 by adding bold summary headings at the beginning of each line item to make it easier to find the item you seek. Expanatory text was added to item #6 in Part One, then items #20 & #23. Previously updated 8-1-12 by adding item #70. Previously updated 7-9-12 by adding some lines to item #66. Previously updated 5-7-12 by adding item #69. Then previously updated 4-3-12 by deleting an obsolete sentence in item #39. Then it was previously updated 2-28-12 by clarifying item #57. Then previously updated 2-27-12 with the addition of items #66, #67, & #68. Previous to that it was updated 2-16-12 by the addition of item #65 and the removal of all underlines and then adding to item #44 and more explanation to item #45 and adding a line to item #11. Then it was previously updated 2-15-12 by the addition of item #64. Previous change to that was 1-1-12 by adding more explanation to item #6. Then it was previously updated 9-6-11 by editing items #51 & # 2 on antifreeze. Prior to that it was updated 9-2-11 by editing item #9. Before that it was updated 8-31-11by the addition of item #63, and editing of item #52. Previously on 8-29-11 by the addition of item #62. Previous to that it was updated 7-12-11 by the addition of items #59, #60 & #61 and adding the bold text to item #47. Before that it was updated 6-15-11 by adding the phrase "using heads within their listing" for item #39.
This Technical Policy also establishes Sprinkler Procedures and Fees for Certification, Licensing, and Registration.
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