Where can I find if fire sprinklers can be omitted due to high ceilings? Then if so at what height? 55 feet?
Your question brings up another question that someone following this discussion may be able to answer. If sprinklers can be omitted due the height of ceiling from the floor, how would the protection of the contents, occupants, and/or the construction type in the building be protected?
Sprinkler protection is a Code requirement of the occupancy classification, construction type, height of the structure (LSC), and/or the area of the structure (IBC).
The remaining portion of the building is protected with sprinklers, like a open parking deck in a sprinklered building.
Steve if your protecting a parking garages, here is good overview:
NFPA 1: Protection of parking garages, #FireCodefridays
This question is not for a parking deck is it for an existing auditorium with a renovation but there are ceilings are 75-80 feet above the seating areas in some cases.
Sorry, I misunderstood and was going down the wrong road. Understanding the building is existing with no sprinklers in the auditorium you'll need to check the Code to see if extinguishing will be required.
It depends is a good place to start.
If you are applying the Life Safety Code you should start with Chapter 43 Building Rehabilitation.
Start with these Sections:
18.104.22.168.2 Renovation. The replacement in kind or strengthening of load-bearing elements; or the refinishing, replacement, bracing, strengthening, or upgrading of existing materials, elements, equipment, or fixtures, without involving the reconfiguration of spaces.
22.214.171.124 Renovations, as defined in 126.96.36.199.2, in other than historic buildings shall comply with the requirements of Section 43.4.
188.8.131.52 All new work shall comply with the requirements of this Code applicable to existing buildings.
The existing assembly occupancy Section 13.3.5 Extinguishment Requirements has sprinkler protection based on specific uses of the auditorium. Seating areas may be exempt. Here it depends.
If the building is a non-separated mixed occupancy (such as existing assembly and existing educational or others), consult subsection _3.5 of the applicable occupancy chapter to determine the sprinkler system requirements if any. Here it depends.
I am not aware of any exceptions in NFPA 101 or NFPA 13 to omit sprinkler protection based upon floor to ceiling height. Assembly occupancies like auditoriums or convention centers, aircraft hangers, atrium, shopping malls and other large structures commonly have significant floor to ceiling distances and buildings of this type constructed in recent years are fully sprinklered.
However, since you have described this as an existing assembly occupancy undergoing renovation the true answer lies within the adopted codes within this jurisdiction to determine if retrofitting sprinkler protection is or is not required based upon the defined scope of work. If retrofit sprinkler protection is required then sprinklers will most likely be required throughout the entire building regardless of ceiling height.
You did not mention if this was over the audience chamber or over the stage. This may have some bearing on the outcome. Stages must be sprinklered, and for one with a fly house (stage house) over 50' tall, must have a Fire Curtain, too (NFPA 80). The stage must also have smoke vents (NFPA 204). The Smoke Vents, Fire Curtain, Fire Doors, and Duct Shutters must all work in concert to suppress a fire by starving the low level entry of fresh air and venting the toxic fumes out the top and away from the audience chamber. A sprinkler system above the stage is very common. Be aware, however, that the routing of the sprinkler pipes and the placements of the heads is very critical and must be closely coordinated with the stage rigging equipment and the smoke vent locations. Failure to coordinate these items can make the stage rigging system cumbersome to install and somewhat dysfunctional, and placing the sprinkler heads in the air flow paths of the Smoke Vents can hamper their functionality, as well. There are many other unique items that must be addressed to making all of these systems 'play nice' with each-other. A white paper about this can be found here: Fire & Smoke Control Systems for Theatres by Teqniqal Systems, LLC - issuu.
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