BCAB #1731 - Sprinkler System Zoning, Subclause 3.2.4.8.(2)(b)(i) (2006 BCBC)

May 16, 2013

BCAB #1731

Re: Sprinkler System Zoning, Subclause 3.2.4.8.(2)(b)(i) (2006 BCBC)

Project Description

The subject building is a 4 storey wood frame multi-family residential structure protected by an automatic sprinkler system which, as part of an alternative solution, is designed in accordance with NFPA-13, 1999, rather than NFPA 13R. The attic of this building is protected by a dry sprinkler system that extends out beyond the exterior walls to protect the top storey balconies.

Reason for Appeal

Clause 3.2.4.8.(2)(b) indicates the required annunciator shall have separate zone indication of the actuation of the alarm initiating devices in each floor area so that the area of coverage for each zone is neither more than one storey nor more than the system area limits as specified in NFPA 13, “Installation of Sprinkler Systems.”

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends, based on the definitions of floor area and storey as stated in Division A, Article 1.4.1.2., a sprinkled exterior balcony or canopy is not considered to be part of the floor area and, therefore, the sprinkler system protecting the exterior balcony or canopy is not required to be zoned as part of the storey it may serve, as stated in Subclause 3.2.4.8.(2)(b)(i).

Sentence 3.2.4.8.(2) does not restrict sprinkler systems protecting non storey and non floor area elements of the building from being annunciated with or without an appropriate storey. An example of this would be an attic sprinkler system and the floor area sprinkler system directly below that attic being annunciated together as a single zone, provided all other requirements of Article 3.2.4.8. are met.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that the zone indication for the fourth floor balconies does not meet the requirements of Article 3.2.4.8. and the intent of NFPA 72, “National Fire Alarm Code, Section 4.4.6, Zoning and Annunciation,” referred to for guidance. The first, second and third floor sprinklers have separate zone indication of the actuation of alarm indicating devices for each zone and are not more than one storey as per the requirements of Clause 3.2.4.8.(2)(b). The combined zoning and annunciation of the lower third floor attic area, upper roof attic area and the fourth floor balconies contravenes the intent of annunciation by not clearly identifying the correct zone of origin (NFPA 72, 4.4.6.1.2). The combined zoning would not enable the responding personnel to identify the location of a fire quickly and accurately by indicating the status of emergency equipment or fire safety functions that might affect safety of occupants in a fire situation as indicated by Annex A 4.4.6.1.1 in NFPA 72.

Appeal Board Decision #1731

It is the determination of the Board that including the fourth storey balcony sprinklers in the attic fire alarm system zone does not contravene the requirements of the Building Code. The zone indication on the annunciator panel can be identified as ”attic and fourth storey balconies.”

George Humphrey, Chair