BCAB #1634 - Sprinkler Protection for Balconies, Sentence 3.2.5.13.(1) (1998 BCBC) NFPA 13

June 13, 2007

BCAB #1634

Re: Sprinkler Protection for Balconies, Sentence 3.2.5.13.(1) (1998 BCBC) NFPA 13

Project Description
The subjects are two highrise residential buildings built under Article 3.2.2.42. of the 1998 BCBC (non combustible construction, sprinklered throughout).
The buildings incorporate exterior balconies where the upper suite balcony creates a roof/canopy over the balcony below.

Reason for Appeal
Sentence 3.2.5.13.(1) indicates where an automatic sprinkler system is required, it shall be installed in conformance with NFPA 13. The NFPA 13 standard indicates:
- Sprinklers shall be installed under roofs or canopies exceeding 4ft in width.
Exception: Sprinklers are permitted to be omitted where the canopy or roof is of noncombustible or limited combustible construction.
- Sprinklers shall be installed under roofs or canopies over areas where combustibles are stored and handled.

Appellant’s Position
The appellant is of the opinion that balcony sprinklers are not required for buildings of noncombustible construction.

Building Official's Position
The Building Official considers that combustibles may be stored and handled on a residential balcony and that sprinkler protection for the balcony is required.

Appeal Board Decision #1634
The Board considers the intended use of a residential balcony does not include the storage and handling of combustibles. Further, the combustible loading of a residential balcony does not warrant sprinkler protection. Therefore it is the determination of the Board that in accordance with NFPA 13, these balconies are not required to be sprinklered.

George Humphrey, Chair