BCAB #1429 - Sprinklers for Exterior Canopies, NFPA 13, Section 4-4.9.

November 20, 1996

BCAB #1429

Re: Sprinklers for Exterior Canopies, NFPA 13, Section 4-4.9.

Project Description

The project in question is a single storey fully sprinklered elementary school of noncombustible construction designed to conform with Article of the B.C. Building Code. The recessed main entrance is protected with a canopy created by a gable of the building roof. The area below the canopy incorporates four decorative (non-structural) wood columns and beams. The roof facia is a glue laminated timber and there is a glue laminated beam over the main entry doors.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence requires the sprinkler system to comply with N.F.P.A. 13, "Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems." The 1989 edition of NFPA 13, 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 contends the area under the entry canopy is outside the exterior walls of the building and not within the "building area" as defined in Subsection 1.1.3. of the code. Sprinklers have been installed "throughout the premises" as required by NFPA 13. The premises was considered to be the building area and any other locations required by NFPA 13. Exterior sprinkler requirements are considered a "special consideration" in NFPA 13 and are dealt with under 4-4.9. The appellant contends that sprinklers are not required because the canopy is noncombustible and the area below it is not used for the storage or handling of combustibles. Just as it is possible to install landscape furnishings such as timber or plastic benches, and in fact trees and shrubs that are combustible, outside the "building area" the appellant suggests these beams and columns are acceptable as designed.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that the area in question is part of the means of egress and is within the building area because it falls within the area defined by the outline of the building's roof. As such it is within the "premises" and sprinklers are required.

Appeal Board Decision #1429

It is the determination of the Board that the canopy is considered a part of the building structure and must therefore be sprinklered under Section 4-4.9.2. of NFPA 13. Also refer to Appeal #1426.

George R. Humphrey, Chair