We are starting to see an increasing number of large indoor play areas for children. They are typical to what you might see at some of the big name fast food restaurants but on a larger scale, containing, tunnels, slides, jungle gyms, stairs, etc. We are familiar with the appropriate sections of NFPA 1 and 101 which provide some great resource to deal with these, particularly in the area of the materials used. The question we are struggling with centers around the sprinklering of these facilities.
When the structures are large enough or generally in most cases regardless of size, they are located in sprinklered buildings. In referencing NFPA 13, 18.104.22.168 around obstructions, there seems to be a difference of opinion within our local sprinkler trade as to what parts of the areas need to have protection under components that are greater than 4' in width (assuming the other criteria of 8.5.5 are met, of course, height below obstruction greater than 24" from floor, obstruction is fixed, etc.)
Our thought is that any obstruction wider than 4' that is not constructed of a material with sufficient opening size and orientation to satisfy the Standard would require protection below. This would include the hard slides, padded stairs and sections of solid material.
I would be interested in any comments. I have attached a couple of pics to illustrate.
Assistant Fire Marshal
Province of Nova Scotia