BCAB #1380 - Fire Department Connection for Partially Sprinklered Building, NFPA 13, Sentence 126.96.36.199.(1)
February 16, 1995
Re: Fire Department Connection for Partially Sprinklered Building, NFPA 13, Sentence 188.8.131.52.(1)
The project in question is Group C apartment building intended for seniors and incorporating two special care suites. Two storage rooms in the basement and the two special care suites are sprinklered.
Reason for Appeal
Article 184.108.40.206. governs the installation of required sprinkler systems in buildings. Sentences 220.127.116.11.(1), (2) and (3) require such systems to be designed, constructed, installed and maintained in conformance with either NFPA 13, "Installation of Sprinkler Systems", NFPA 13R, "Installation of Sprinkler Systems in Residential Occupancies up to Four Storeys in Height", and NFPA 13D, "Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family dwellings and Mobile Homes".
The appellant contends that the storage room sprinklers and the special care suites sprinklers are two separate sprinkler systems. The storage rooms are protected by an NFPA 13 system with 12 sprinkler heads and the special care suites are protected by an NFPA 13D system with 21 heads. Each system has its own water supply riser.
Exception No. 1 to NFPA 13, 2-7.1 states that a fire department connection is not required for a system with less than 20 heads and the storage room system has only 12 heads. NFPA 13D does not require a fire department connection. Therefore, no fire department connection is required for the building.
The appellant notes that the special care suites are licensed under the Community Care Facilities Act and were sprinklered in conformance with NFPA 13D as required by Sentence 18.104.22.168.(1) and Subclause 22.214.171.124.(1)(c)(ii).
Building Official's Position
The building official maintains that a fire department connection is required even though there are two separate areas with sprinklers designed under two different standards. A spokesman for the NFPA and several fire protection engineers have stated that a "sprinkler system" is the number of sprinkler heads in the building and not the number of heads on each system riser. As there are more than 20 heads in the building a fire department pumper connection is required.
The building official also maintains that the special care suites do not fall under the category of residential Community Care Facilities as intended by Sentence 126.96.36.199.(1) and the sprinkler system for this area should be designed under NFPA 13R. In fact, the sprinkler plans submitted for permit indicated that NFPA 13R was used for the special care suites and NFPA 13 for the storage rooms.
Appeal Board Decision #1380
The B.C. Building Code governs the type of sprinkler system and where they are required to be installed and the NFPA standards govern the design and installation. The Board considers the sprinklers installed in the building constitute a single system but not a system envisaged by NFPA. Based on the requirements of the two standards used to design the sprinkler system the Board does not consider a fire department connection is required because the NFPA 13 portion has less than 20 heads and the NFPA 13D portion does not require a fire department connection. This decision is based partly on the fact that if the entire building were sprinklered with an NFPA 13R system, which would be acceptable under the Code, no fire department connection would be required. With a considerably smaller system the Board could see no reason to provide a fire department connection.
George R. Humphrey, Chair