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Code Changes to 2016 NFPA 13

Friday, July 10, 2020

On March 31, 2020, the State of Minnesota updated several fire and building code standards. This included adoption of the 2016 version of NFPA 13 which has several changes that could impact your upcoming projects. Here is a summary of changes that could impact the design and overall cost of the fire sprinkler system on your next project:

  • When a fire sprinkler is removed from a fitting or welded outlet, it shall not be reinstalled (except for dry sprinklers removed in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation and maintenance instructions).
  • Air venting is now required on each wet pipe sprinkler system utilizing metallic pipe. A single vent shall be provided for each system.
    • Air venting can be accomplished with a manual valve that’s a minimum ½” in size, an automatic air vent, or other approved means.
  • One of the larger changes is for multi-story buildings exceeding two stories in height. The 2016 version added language that requires a floor control valve, check valve, main drain valve, and flow switch for isolation, control, and annunciation of water flow for each individual floor level. There are a couple exceptions to this rule:
    • The top-level of a multi-story building can be supplied by piping on the floor below for apartment buildings that have unheated attic spaces above the top level.
    • The additional zoning shall not be required where the total area of all floors combined does not exceed 52,000 square feet for light and ordinary hazard occupancies or 40,000 for extra hazard and storage occupancies.
    • The requirement for zoning by floor does not apply to dry systems in parking garages.
  • Backflow devices require that means be provided downstream of all backflow prevention valves for forward flow tests at a minimum flow rate of the system demand including hose allowance where applicable.
  • The design criteria for several storage scenarios was revised. ESFR criteria has been revised for plastic storage in buildings over 40’ tall, which eliminates options for utilizing 14.0 and 16.8 sprinklers at storage heights 40’ and greater.

For more information, contact Ahern today!

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