BCAB #1426 - Sprinklers for exterior canopies

September 18, 1996

BCAB #1426

Re: Sprinklers for exterior canopies

Project Description

The building in question is a new fully sprinklered elementary school. There are three exterior canopies constructed primarily of structural steel but with a soffit consisting of 19 mm x 138 mm cedar on 13 mm plywood sheathing.

Reason for Appeal

NFPA 13, "Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems," in 4-4.9.1 requires sprinklers under "...canopies over outside-loading platforms, docks, or other areas where combustibles are stored or handled..." and in 4-4.9.2 requires sprinklers under "...exterior combustible roofs or canopies exceeding 4 ft (1.2 m) in width..." except "...where construction is noncombustible and areas under the roofs or canopies are not used for storage or handling of combustibles...."

Appellant's Position

The appellant has asked the Board to determine whether the canopies which are constructed of noncombustible materials except for the soffit (and roof sheathing) are considered combustible as intended by NFPA 13 and if they are would painting the cedar soffits with a fire retardant coating satisfy any concern with a combustible finish?

Building Official's Position

The building official has required the removal of the combustible construction (cedar) from the exterior canopies and replacement with noncombustible materials such as aluminum or the sprinklering of the canopies with dry pendant heads.

Appeal Board Decision #1426

It is the determination of the Board that sprinklers are required below the exterior canopies because they contain combustible components. A fire retardant coating will not satisfy the requirement for noncombustible construction.

George R. Humphrey, Chair