Fire sprinklers are a key part of fire safety for virtually all types of larger buildings. So, legally, when are they required?
Irrespective of local regulations, statewide laws in Florida are a good benchmark to start with because they’re no less stringent than federal law. Under Florida law, fire sprinklers need to be installed in buildings over 5,000 square feet. This includes buildings that surpass 5,000 square feet after being remodeled and expanded. Residential buildings over 12,000 feet require sprinklers, as well as any building over 55 feet in height. In terms of placement, fire sprinklers are required to have full floor-space coverage.
In some cases, fire pumps may also need to be installed to increase water sprinkler pressure. Pumps have to be in fire-rated rooms that are clearly marked as such and have direct outside access. Pump valve systems should be clearly signposted throughout the building, so authorities can easily identify them in case of an emergency.
NFPA 13 is a good reference point for legal sprinkler requirements. There are federal laws governing sprinkler use, and the Florida Fire Code stipulates minimum statewide requirements. Florida furthermore allows for additional rules and requirements to be added by local municipalities, as long as they don’t contradict state laws, so fire safety obligations will vary to some degree depending on location.
To seek more details about the laws that apply in your municipality, it’s often best to contact the local fire authority. Fire prevention is a significant part of their role in the community. Educating building owners, builders and renovators is important and is always preferable to the alternative of a potentially dangerous and/or costly fire.
CFC is also intimately familiar with fire sprinkler regulations on local, state, and federal levels. During inspections, we are quick to see whether the fire protection systems currently in place are sufficient. When conducting installations of fire systems, we’ll also know how to use resources efficiently to ensure that your sprinkler system has maximum coverage and is up to code.
Fire sprinklers are the first line of defense in case of an emergency. They contain fires and provide additional time for people to leave the building safely, in addition to suppressing serious damage to the structure and other valuable assets.
Feel free to reach out to us if you are in need of an inspection, have any questions about your emergency fire protection system, or your local code. We’d be glad to provide a free consultation.