A customer wants to purchase/install a Modula Vertical Lift piece of equipment, with the dimensions being 14' tall, 10' wide and 8' deep. In a sprinklered facility, what NFPA specific code states the need for this unit to be sprinklered?
In general, NFPA 13 does not require sprinklers to be installed inside of electrical or mechanical equipment. The committee specifically brought this into the standard in the 2016 edition [see section 8.1.1(8)], but this philosophy can be found in other statements from the committee going back many years.
Depending on exactly how the equipment is installed and whether it moves or not, section 188.8.131.52.3 night require sprinklers to be installed under the equipment since it is more than 4 ft long and more than 4 ft wide (the sprinklers would be required if the equipment does not move and has clear space under it where storage could occur or debris could accumulate).
I have done several installations all over the country and from my experience it varies from Jurisdiction to Jurisdiction what they want to enforce. I have some that say you need sprinklers in the units. What they do not understand is that simply installing a sprinkler in one location may not provide much benefit.
In addition to the reply above by nfcss, you may want to check directly with the AHJ and the manufacturer. Companies such as Hänel have issued guidance to address the installation of sprinklers inside their equipment (I will attempt to attach an image on one of their protection schemes). This was in response to fire testing that was performed several years ago in Europe on these types of units and up until recently was available via the NFPA website.
From a risk point of view there are a couple of items that need to be considered. The list below are just a few of the many questions that should be asked in order to develop a holistic fire strategy.
Image is from guidance provided by Hänel...
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