Does NFPA 188.8.131.52 ever allow storage less than 18 inches from a sprinkler head? The annex explanation is confusing.
8.6.6 Clearance to Storage (Standard Pendent and Upright Spray Sprinklers).
The clearance between the deflector and the top of storage shall be 18 in. (457 mm) or greater.
The 18 in. (457 mm) dimension shall not limit the height of shelving on a wall or shelving against a wall in accordance with 8.6.6, 8.7.6, 8.8.6, and Section 8.9.
Where shelving is installed on a wall and is not directly below sprinklers, the shelves, including storage thereon, shall extend above the level of a plane located 18 in. (457 mm) below ceiling sprinkler deflectors.
Shelving, and any storage thereon, directly below the sprinklers shall not extend above a plane located 18 in. (457 mm) below the ceiling sprinkler deflectors.
Where other standards specify greater clearance to storage minimums, they shall be followed.
Are you asking about this section???:::
If that section does this answer your question::: Basically it is a wall, but to me depends on where the sprinkler is located::
Hi everyone, it’s Scott Wallask, and I was just on the ASHE e-mail group talking about 18-inch clearance requirements for sprinklers in storage areas. The question of storage along walls seems to come up a lot.
As many of you know, there is an exception for perimeter walls that allows you to forgo the 18-inch clearance between the top of storage shelves and the bottom of sprinkler pendants as long as the perimeter storage isn’t directly below a sprinkler.
The NFPA reference isn’t in the Life Safety Code, though — it’s in NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems. I’ll use the 1999 edition of NFPA 13 because it’s what The Joint Commission currently recognizes.
Under that edition, look at annex note A-5-6.6:
The 18-inch dimension is not intended to limit the height of shelving on a wall or shelving against a wall in accordance with 5-6.6. Where shelving is installed on a wall and is not directly below sprinklers, the shelves, including storage thereon, can extend above the level of a plane located 18 inches below ceiling sprinkler deflectors. Shelving, and any storage thereon, directly below the sprinklers cannot extend above a plane located 18 inches below the ceiling sprinkler deflectors.
Also, if you’re Joint Commission accredited, check out LS.02.01.35, EP 6, as this also mentions the perimeter exception. EP 6 notes section 5-184.108.40.206 as the reference in NFPA 13, which also talks about clearance below sprinklers but doesn’t directly mention wall storage.
The theory behind permitting wall storage to extend above the 18-inch plane is that the wall will already obstruct sprinkler spray discharge patterns, so shelving along a wall isn’t going to make that situation worse. In the center of a storage room, however, storage that is too close to a sprinkler pendant could indeed alter discharge patterns, thus the 18-inch clearance requirements.
Thank you for your answer, but I am still confused. I understand that shelving against the wall can be closer to the ceiling than 18 inches from the plane of the sprinkler head deflectors, but if an item is stored on that shelf can that item be stored within the 18 inch perimeter surrounding a head that is either on the ceiling above the shelf or on the sidewall next to the shelf? Would that area of the shelf have to be kept clear?
Mary M Gates
Division of Nursing Homes and ICF/IID Surveillance
New York State Department of Health
875 Central Avenue
Albany, NY 12206
Mary, the 18-inch clearance is not a perimeter measurement, it is a vertical measurement between the plane of the bottoms of the sprinkler deflectors and the plane of the top of storage or other obstructions. For the scenario in which you've described, with 6-inch deep shelves mounted to the wall, the storage is permitted to go to the ceiling, if need be. The sprinkler(s) would have to be at least 4-inches laterally (horizontal measurement) from any storage on the shelves.
8.6.6 does not specify a 4" lateral distance between the sprinkler head and storage on shelves. I will agree that 220.127.116.11 requires sprinkler heads to be a minimum of 4" from a wall since we are discussing perimeter wall shelving, but also note the code specifies a variety of clearance dimensions for other objects. With the case in point example of a 6" shelf; only if the sprinkler head was in the range of 4" to 6" away from the wall and thus still directly above the shelf would any storage on the top shelf need to be limited to 18" below the sprinkler deflector.
With 18.104.22.168.2 the sprinkler head must not be directly above the shelf or an item stored on the shelf otherwise the 18" clearance still applies. The most common problem I tend to see when sprinkler heads are not above the shelf but are located fairly close to the face of the shelf is large boxes / items that project beyond the face of the shelf enough to still be directly below the sprinkler head. It really becomes an education / awareness issue to help staff understand these fine distinctions.
I want to say yes normally you can store on top of the shelf.
If the sprinkler is directly over that shelf NO.
I wish we could discuss this over the phone. I’m not being clear. I’ll give you a scenario: There is 6 inch deep shelving against a wall. The top shelf is 12 inches from the ceiling. There is a sprinkler head on the ceiling 15 inches from the front edge of the shelving. A 6 inch box is placed on top of the shelf in a direct line with the ceiling sprinkler head, therefore there is only a 15 inch horizontal separation between the box and that head. Is this permissible?
Here you go I was trying to find an example and finally did::::
Does that answer your question??
The arrangement you describe is acceptable. This allowance would permit storage above the top shelf literally up to the ceiling.
Please note this allowance for wall shelving does not stipulate a maximum depth of the shelf (noting your shelf is only 6" depth from the wall). Both solid and open (perforated) shelving types are permitted. In my experience most AHJ's will permit both fixed shelving and mobile shelving units to take advantage of this allowance. In certain occupancies, having mobile shelving is preferred for periodic housekeeping below and behind the shelving.
The two (2) major points to remember are: 1. shelving must be along perimeter wall sections, and 2. a sprinkler head must not be directly above any portion of a perimeter wall shelf.
Freestanding shelving units anywhere within the room would need to maintain 18" clearance from the sprinkler deflector to the top of any materials stored. This isn't just materials stored immediately below a sprinkler head; it is an 18" clear plane across the entire room, but does not include the perimeter wall shelves.
Please call if you have any further questions.
You. have received alot of good advice and help but still seem confused. In this cases I would suggest contacting your LAHJ for their input. and advice, they have final approval authority. You also may want to contact the Joint Commission on Accreditation for their input. As I have found for the best advice and direct answer to a question as this a phone call to the NFPA is very helpful. The wrote the standard, who better to get advice and help from. Just my opinion. Hope this was helpful.
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