NFPA 1:  Automatic sprinkler systems, where required. #FireCodefridays

Blog Post created by kristinbigda Employee on Jan 27, 2017

A few week's ago I wrote about NFPA 1's requirement to provide automatic sprinkler protection for new buildings housing emergency fire, rescue, or ambulance services.  In addition to that requirement, there are many other instances in the Code where sprinkler protection is mandated.



Section 13.3.2 of NFPA 1, Fire Code, addresses those scenarios.  As NFPA 1 extracts from 50+ other NFPA codes and standards, the requirements for sprinkler protection may also be included elsewhere.  However, Section 13.3.2 is where to start to determine if a building/structure needs sprinklers.  The first subsection, reminds users that were required anywhere in NFPA 1 or by the referenced codes and standards in NFPA 1, the automatic sprinkler system is required to be installed in accordance with the provisions of 13.3.1, which mandates compliance with NFPA 13.


NFPA 1 requires automatic sprinkler protection in the following scenarios:

  • Basements exceeding 2500 ft2 (232 m2) in new buildings. (
  • New building housing emergency fire, rescue, or ambulance services (
  • New buildings three or more stores in height above grade (
    • Stand-alone open parking structures that are detached from other occupancies are not required to be protected with sprinklers. (


In addition to the conditions specifically noted by NFPA 1, other requirements may drive the need to automatic sprinkler protection.

  • Section, extracted from NFPA 13, addresses exterior roofs, canopies, porte-cocheres, balconies, decks, and similar projections.
  • Section begins a series of code sections, extracted from NFPA 101, that address the occupancy specific sprinkler requirements based upon the occupancies (new and existing) that are contained in the Life Safety Code.
  • Section mandates that all new high-rise buildings be protected by sprinklers.  Existing high-rise buildings must be fully sprinklered within 12 years of adoption of the Code.


Finally, Section requires automatic sprinkler protection for all occupancies containing areas greater than 2500 ft2 (232 m2) used for high-piled storage of combustibles.  Any occupancies containing areas greater than 12,000 ft 2(1115 m2) used for general storage of combustibles must also be sprinklered. An automatic sprinkler system is also required throughout all occupancies containing storage commodities classified as Group A Plastics in excess of 5 ft (1.5 m) in height over an area exceeding 2500 ft2 (232 m2) in area.


Sprinkler requirements for other facilities such as mini-storage buildings, bulk storage of tires and woodworking operations are extracted from NFPA 5000.


There are a lot of instances that trigger the need to automatic sprinkler protection.  With the importance of these life saving and property protecting systems its critical to understand where in the Code to locate and identify these requirements...Section 13.3.2!


Happy Friday and thanks for reading!


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