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» ICC Bulletin Board » Code Chat » Fire Codes » NFPA 13 vs NFPA 13R

   
Author Topic: NFPA 13 vs NFPA 13R
texas transplant
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Need some help today. Fire Marshal and I are disagreeing and he can't explain it to me in a way that I understand. I might just be more dense today than usual [Confused] but here goes:

2006 IBC and 2006 IFC are the codes.

4500 +/- sq. ft per floor, 2 stories

R-2 use (4 apartments per floor, 8 apartments per building)

96 total units in 12 buildings

Type VA construction

Buildings are separated by at least 20 feet in all instances

Plans show NFPA 13R sprinkler system

Fire Marshal is requiring NFPA 13 system for sprinklers, I say NFPA 13R is code compliant.

Is a 13R system allowed? If not what am I missing?

Thanks in advance for your response. [Smile]

Hope I put all the required info for an answer in the post.

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Transplant, having fun everyday, when you enjoy what you are doing, everyday is a vacation.

Posts: 26 | From: South Texas | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged
genebko
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If its all residential as you say (no lobbies, exercise rooms, club houses,etc.) then a 13R system is all that's needed. Section 903.2.7 requires a sprinkler system top meet 903.3. Section 903.3 requires the installation to meet 903.3.1 through 903.3.7.

Then, 903.3.1 says that the installation shall meet 903.3.1.1, 903.3.1.2 OR 903.3.1.3. Section 903.3.1.2 specifically talks about a 13R system.

I'm not sure where the disagreement comes from.
[Confused]

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"We are the people our parents warned us about" - Jimmy Buffett

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cda
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A building offical dense, say it ain't so


dense::: stupid; slow-witted; dull.
slow to learn or understand; lacking intellectual acuity; "so dense he never understands anything I say to him"; "never met anyone quite so dim"; "although dull at classical learning, at mathematics he was uncommonly quick"- Thackeray; "dumb officials make some really dumb decisions"; "he was either normally stupid or being deliberately obtuse"; "worked with the slow students"

Can the FM point to a section that he says requires the 13 system??

is there a trade off if the 13 system is used
I keep getting lost on that one, if a psrinkler system is required if you can still get trade offs.

www.notanicodefan.com

[ 10-09-2009, 11:37 AM: Message edited by: cda ]

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Builder bob
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IS it an ISO fire flow issue. I don't think the current ISO policy gives a break for 13R systems. It may have to do with insurance ratings for the fire district and required fire flows.

Not a I-code issue except for IFC section 508 which requires the fire flows to be approved by the fire official.

The best thing to do is ask for the reason..... for he/she is the only one that can tell you why. Everything else is purely speculative on our part.


( got slow down and at least act like I can type and chew gum at the same [Smile] )

Additional revisions under consideration:recognition of fire sprinklers in residential and dwelling properties for reduction of needed fire flows (NFF)

ISo mitigation - 2009 ISo Guidelines under consideration

[ 10-09-2009, 12:54 PM: Message edited by: Builder bob ]

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Can you build to minimum standards? FWIW - MCP, CBO, CPE, CI, CFPE, ASCET
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genebko
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cda is right. Get chapter and verse from the FM.

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"We are the people our parents warned us about" - Jimmy Buffett

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rjj
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BB: That is interesting link! I am not sure I fully understand the reduction issue.
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texas transplant
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Thanks you for your help gentleman. It was a combination of my being dense today and the FM being a little pig headed. The replies and code sections you all posted got me straightened out.

To: BB, I'm with rjj, I am not for sure I fully understand the reduction issue and need to study it more. Thanks for your input.

To: cda, where did you find the origin and definition of my middle name so quickly? [Smile]
I try to call them like I see them and sometimes no matter how smart I think I am, I am really the problem. [Eek!]

You gentlemen have a great weekend.

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Transplant, having fun everyday, when you enjoy what you are doing, everyday is a vacation.

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cda
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Pig-headed

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Having a head like a pig; hence, figuratively: stupidity obstinate; perverse; stubborn.


I have seen some ugly fire marshals, but not one that looked like a pig,

does he have swine flu, maybe that accounts for the looks


Thats allright we make allowances for BO's

Posts: 6255 | From: Had to move to parent's basement without code compliant escape window | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged
Builder bob
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ISO is about property protection .... Not life safety. Sprinkler systems are designed either as property protection with life safety a bonus but not the primary design feature..... Or as a life safety system with some property protection as a bonus, but not the main purpose.

NFPA 13 is a property protection designed sprinkler system with sprinklers everywhere... Attic, all rooms, between floor levels, etc. (General ROT's - Rule of Thumbs).

ISO allows sprinkler reductions of 50% to 75% to the needed fire flow---- In other words, if the building size has a required fire flow of 3000 GPM, the required fire flow may be 1500 GPM or 750 GPM depending upon sprinkler, occupancy classifications, and specific reductions allowances by ISO.

A 13 R system is a life safety sprinkler system that is intended to prevent a room of fire origin from flashing over for 10 minutes. This system has a low water flow design, doesn't cover all areas - i.e. attics, between floor spaces, closets, overhangs, etc.

ISO does not give any reductions in fire flows because this is not a property protection sprinkelr system. Therefore, if the same building described above requires 3000 GPM for the needed fire flow, 3000 GPM would be required.

To change ISO fire flow requirements:
a true NFPA 13 sprinkler system may be considered;
Change of construction type may be considered (i.e. non-combustible vs. woodframe);
Use of firewalls to reduce building areas may be considered;
Change of occupancy design....


FWIW, Texas is an ISO state. Required fire flow calculations may require certain things while the I-codes may not require them. We are an ISO state as well, we are always having issues with developers, engineers, and building code officials.........because the insurance rates for our area are determined by the ISO rating schedule, Thus to serve and protect the public - we have to abide by two (sometimes) conflicting codes/standards to ensure that we are serving the public to the bet of our abilities.
(getting better , only two typos this time [Big Grin] )

[ 10-12-2009, 05:55 AM: Message edited by: Builder bob ]

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Can you build to minimum standards? FWIW - MCP, CBO, CPE, CI, CFPE, ASCET
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genebko
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Does that make funding for his office "pork financing?"
[Big Grin]

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"We are the people our parents warned us about" - Jimmy Buffett

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rjj
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BB: thanks for the explanation! I knew that iso had ties to the insurance rates from past interaction with industrial clients.

This is interesting to different code recommendations that conflict. Now I understand the reasons of ISO reductions.

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hazmatpoobah
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Texas is an ISO state but ISO does not have the force of law. Fire flows in this state are determined by the local code official based on the adopted fire code.

Your analysis of NFPA 13 versus 13R versus 13D may work in your state but it does not work in Texas as it relates to fire flow reductions. Communities in this and other states have allowed fire flow reductions in accordance with IFC Appendix B105.2, and we're not losing any sleep or being penalized by ISO.

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rjj
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Thanks haz: So if I understand you ISO is totally outside the code in Texas?
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texas transplant
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cda,

Thanks for making allowances for BO's, believe it or not I like my fire marshal. Doesn't mean we always agree, so that's why I read this and ask questions.

Besides, the words he uses to describe me can't be printed on the Bulletin Board and he is mostly correct.

BB and Haz,

Thanks for the info. It has been helpful and educational.

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Transplant, having fun everyday, when you enjoy what you are doing, everyday is a vacation.

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Builder bob
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Hazmat Poobah - You are correct as far as sprinklered buildings go... the only issue that we have seen IFC vs. ISO for fire flows is in unsprinklered buildings with exposures within 150 feet.

FWIW, the local zoning ordiance here references ISO for fire flow determinations.

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Can you build to minimum standards? FWIW - MCP, CBO, CPE, CI, CFPE, ASCET
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TJacobs
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13 might be required if an area increase was taken for sprinklers, see IBC 506.3.

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Sometimes a great deal of effort is expended to avoid the inevitable.

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AegisFPE
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The allowable building areas based on fire-flow as identified in IFC Table B105.1, which can be considered to be drawn from the ISO method, can be surprising if the only allowable areas otherwise considered are in IBC Table 503.

Health departments may require the water purveyor to determine fire flow based on a residual pressure of 20 psi throughout the entire system. Depending on system conditions, the resulting fire flow can be much different than the traditional method where the 20 psi residual is measured at the test location (as may be anticipated by most fire officials applying IFC Table B105.1 and the ISO).

Therefore, there may be some building area at stake depending on how the reported fire flow was calculated.

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rjj
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AegisFPE: Your post is interesting! Could you give an example of how this would work! ie: areas at stake?
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AegisFPE
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From the OP, consider about 9,000 square feet of Type V-A building area. We're all fine with IBC Table 503 and Section 506.

Then we look at the IFC, which shows a base fire flow of 1,750gpm per IFC Table B105.1. The Exception to IFC Section B105.2 allows <b>up to</b> a 75% reduction, as approved, for NFPA 13 or NFPA 13R. Some officials or local ordinances may limit the reduction to less than 75% for 13R and/or 13.

Say they allow no reduction for 13R, and allow 25% reduction for a straight 13 (these limited reductions are intended to be ultra-conservative and only for purposes of this illustration). This would mean the building needs a fire flow of 1,750gpm using 13R or 1,500gpm with a straight 13 system.

So, we need to know the fire flow.

The City water department ran a model based on the State health department requirement to maintain a minimum of 20psi throughout the distribution system during a fire flow event. They present 1,680gpm as the available fire flow at your location down in the City while maintaining 20psi for the homes up in the hills adjacent to the water tank.

Looks like they better plan on the full 13 system.

But, then you discover City field fire flow test records from last year, based on ISO and NFPA 291 test standards measured just a couple blocks away where the residual pressure was extrapolated out to 20psi at the test hydrant resulting in a fire flow of 1,780gpm.

Oh, so the project works with 13R!?

Effectively, IFC Table B105.1 is driving the project; potentially affecting either the size of the building (5,900 square feet instead of 9,000 square feet), the construction type (Type II-A instead of V-A), and/or the sprinkler system (NFPA 13 instead of 13R), dependent upon negotiations with the fire code official.

And, adding to the mix is two fire flow values for the same location, 1,680gpm and 1,780gpm, each with different implications.

The difference? One is based on a theoretical calculation for planning purposes based on estimated static and dynamic head through the distribution system while maintaining a prescribed pressure at essentially the highest point in the system, and the other is more similar to the ISO measurement, upon which the subject IFC table may arguably be based intended to ensure fire department emergency operations during which time it is doubtful the incident commander would entertain someone miles away reading a gauge at the base of a water tank and telling him to limit fire ground operations because the remote system pressure was dropping below 20psi; but that may be a topic for another thread.

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rjj
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AegisFPE:
Great example! Very clear! Thanks!

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