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Homeowner Installed Fire Sprinkler Systems
Can a homeowner install a fire sprinkler system in their own home without licensing & permitting?
It is common practice in Maine for people to do their own electrical wiring and plumbing. Likewise, the homeowner can also do their own masonry, carpentry, and other home construction features, but there are some guidelines. The work must meet the federal, state and local code standards that apply. The state will allow a homeowner to install a fire sprinkler system in their home without licensing & permitting with the state, but here are the state guidelines:
The homeowner cannot install the fire sprinkler system if the home has a rental unit, or has a section for a home business where others use the business space. This would include things like a day-care center, beauty salon, group home, etc.
If the homeowner is not doing the installation work then a state-licensed fire sprinkler contractor must do the work and obtain a permit from our office.
If the homeowner hires others to do the work, then the homeowner can become licensed, ($300), but the permit must still be obtained, (an additional $25), and there must be a licensed fire sprinkler designer who is responsible for the design of the system. They are all listed on our website and can be found by going back out of this page, then clicking on "Licenses", then "Current Licensees", then scrolling down to the list with the heading of "Responsible Managing Supervisors".
If the homeowner hires a licensed designer, ("Responsible Managing Supervisor"), the RMS is allowed by law to install systems/ oversee the installation of a system. The RMS could then obtain a permit for the job and oversee the homeowners' installation work.
If the homeowner wants to install their own system, without state licensing/permit, then we would encourage the homeowner to set up a meeting with us so that we could discuss their project and provide suggestions, however we do not design systems. Ultimately it is the owners responsibility to see that their fire sprinkler system is operable and maintained according to adopted code standards. It is also their responsibility to communicate their plans with their insurance carrier.
The bottom line is that systems in Maine must meet a state-adopted standard, which is the intent of the fire sprinkler law. The standard for home fire sprinkler systems is the 2010 edition of National Fire Protection Association's standard 13D. The "D" stands for "Dwelling", and this standard may also be used for duplexes. (A copy may be purchased from 1-800-344-3555.) The purpose of abiding by a standard is to be sure that fire sprinkler systems will work as required if they are ever needed.
The law only regulates the installation of more than 6 fire sprinkler heads. Up to and including 6 fire sprinkler heads may be installed (for any isolated hazardous area) off the domestic plumbing by the homeowner or plumber. This is often done over hazardous areas such as furnaces, dryers, stoves, and gas-fired hot water heaters.
[Last updated 10-18-12 to reference the currently adopted edition of NFPA 13D. Previously updated 1-1-08]
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