Home fire sprinklers aren't a building code requirement in Alberta, Canada, but that has not stopped city officials from getting a handle on this technology when developers and homeowners start requesting them.
At the request of the City of Calgary, NFPA hosted a free, day-and-a-half class highlighting requirements in NFPA 13D, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes. The class was the first of its kind in Canada. Nearly 30 building inspectors and plan examiners heard from fire safety experts who explained sprinkler components, water supply options, and what to look for--or red flag--when inspecting this technology in new homes. Alberta follows the 2010 edition of NFPA 13D if homes are sprinklered in the province and also has certain plumbing code requirements for this technology.
Chad Duffy, senior fire protection engineer for NFPA, led city officials through an overview of NFPA 13D and the provisions that make it a life-safety standard. Jeff Hudson, NFPA's regional sprinkler specialist, linked the group with free resources from the Fire Sprinkler Initiative and Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, in the event homeowners start requesting educational material. NFPA's partner, the Canadian Automatic Sprinkler Association (CASA), also walked the group through a general sprinkler plan review. Matt Osburn, CASA's communications manager, underscored sprinkler pressure and flow requirements, sprinkler riser components, and other details a plan submitter should provide.
Taking the lesson outside of the classroom, attendees then also got an up-close-and-personal view of fire sprinklers in some of Calgary's homes currently under construction. Under CASA and NFPA's guidance, they examined all sprinkler components, noting any concerns and accuracies. "Make sure there are no obstructions [to the sprinkler head]," Jason Ryckman, CASA's national codes and standards manager, told the group as he pointed upwards at a sprinkler. He also instructed the group to make sure the exposed sprinkler piping was from a listed brand.
NFPA has conducted similar NFPA 13D classes throughout North America for various fire sprinkler coalitions, showcasing a growing interest in this type of home fire protection. "Bringing this information and expertise to our Canadian stakeholders was a great opportunity to further our mission of helping others save lives and reduce loss from home fires," says Shayne Mintz, NFPA's Canadian regional director. "This was a great opportunity to demonstrate how borderless NFPA truly is."
Here are some additional photos from the visit:
One inspector was intrigued by this concealed fire sprinkler
Notice the fire sprinkler protecting this kitchen?
Nearly 30 inspectors participated in the class conducted by NFPA and CASA.