New 2013 edition of NFPA 13, 13R and 13D, Part 2
By Samuel S. Dannaway, PE,
President, S.S. Dannaway Associates, Inc., Honolulu
As predicted, the NFPA membership voted to approve the 2013 editions of NFPA 13, 13R and 13D at the June Las Vegas technical sessions. The document will now go to the NFPA Standards Council for approval and should be available to the public later this year. The changes I identify are not official yet, so keep that in mind. Also, where paragraph numbers are included they are based on the 2010 edition and may change in the 2013 edition.
Last month I looked at some of the more significant changes (again thanks to NFPA’s Matt Klaus’ fine article in NFPA Journal). In this column, I will continue to present some of the changes to NFPA 13 that, though not earth shattering, may have some interest to the reader or are somewhat cool in nature.
A definition for control valve will now appear in 13, extracted from NFPA 25, along with associated annex material.
3.3.7 Control Valve. A valve controlling flow to water- based fire protection systems.
A. 3.3.7. Control valves do not include hose valves, inspector’s test valves, drain valves, trim valves for dry pipe, preaction and deluge valves, check valves or relief valves.
The definition of dwelling unit was revised to indicate that it is intended for use by the standard.
3.3.8 Dwelling Unit (for sprinkler system installations). One or more rooms arranged for the use of one or more individuals living together, as in a single housekeeping unit normally having cooking, living, sanitary and sleeping facilities that include, but are not limited to hotel rooms, dormitory rooms, apartments, condominiums, sleeping rooms in nursing homes and similar living units.
HVLS Fans are now defined
3.3.11 High Volume Low Speed Fan. A ceiling fan which is approximately 6 – 24 feet in diameter with a rotational speed of approximately 30 –70 revolutions per minute.
Also, as a result of recent research conducted by the NFPA Research Foundation, criteria applicable to use of HVLS fans in sprinklered buildings has been included in Chapter 11, Design Approaches and in Chapter 12, General Requirements for Storage. Both chapters contain similar requirements, including language limiting fan size to 24 feet, requiring three feet of clearance between blades and sprinklers and requiring automatic fan shutdown upon sprinkler operation.
220.127.116.11 Clearance to Ceiling. The distance from the top of storage to the ceiling above.
Along with how this distance is to be measured are included in Chapter 12 to clarify how this distance is measured to ceilings consisting of corrugated sections or with insulation attached to the roof. Also in Chapter 12, the term “clearance” has been changed to “clearance to ceiling” throughout the chapter for clarity.
Continuous Obstruction. An obstruction located at or below the level of sprinkler deflectors that affects the discharge pattern of two or more adjacent sprinklers.
Non-continuous Obstruction. An obstruction at or below the level of the sprinkler deflector that affects the discharge pattern of a single sprinkler.
3.11. X Seismic Separation Assembly. An assembly of fittings, pipe, flexible pipe and/or couplings that permits movement in all directions to accommodate seismic differential movement across building seismic separation joints.
• Shadow areas. Last month we indicated that proposals to include the concept of shadow area being added to NFPA 13D were rejected by NFPA 13, since NFPA 13 already has an extensive set of obstruction rules. However, in recognition of the attractiveness of the “shadow” concept NFPA 13 will include an Annex note that states:
“A.8.1.1(3) Notwithstanding the obstruction rules provided in Chapter 8, it is not intended or expected that water will fall on the entire floor space of the occupancy. When obstructions or architectural features interfere with the sprinkler’s spray pattern such as columns, angled walls, wing walls, slightly indented walls and various soffit configurations disrupt water discharging from a sprinkler and shadowed areas can occur. Where small shadowed areas are formed on the floor adjacent to their referenced architectural features, these shadowed areas are purely on paper and do not take into account the dynamic variables of sprinkler discharge.”
• Reuse of sprinklers. During the ROP meeting, the Sprinkler System Installation subcommittee of NFPA 13 voted to permit reuse of sprinklers that were removed to allow internal inspection of piping. During the ROC stage, however, the TC reversed itself and rejected this proposal. It remains that anytime a sprinkler is removed, for whatever reason, it must be replaced by a new sprinkler.
• Concealed spaces filled with insulation. Provisions will be added recognizing that a maximum two-inch gap will be permitted to allow for the settlement of insulation materials
• Relief valve downstream of floor control valves on combined systems. A requirement for a relief valve downstream of the required check valve on floor control valves connected to combined system risers has been added to allow relief of any excessive pressure trapped downstream of the check valve due to fire pump operation or fire apparatus system pressurization.
•Additional control valves for preaction/deluge risers. NFPA 13 will now clearly permit the installation of an additional control valve on the riser above a preaction or deluge riser to make it easier to trip-test to the valves.
• Prohibiting sprinklers in elevator machine rooms/spaces serving occupant evacuation elevators and first responder use elevator. A GSA proposal was accepted to prohibit the installation of sprinklers in these areas.
• Minimum exposed barrel length of dry pendent sprinklers. The standard will contain tables indicating required minimum exposed barrel lengths for dry pendents based on ambient temperature at the sprinkler and ambient temperature of the exposed barrel.
• Closets less than 400 ft3. Closets used for storage and for mechanical equipment that have a volume less than 400 ft3 may be provided with a single sprinkler, and the sprinkler may be installed without concern for obstructions or minimum distances to a wall. This is a good idea. My dear AHJ friend in Frostbite Falls will now be up at night fretting the loss of yet another club to beat me over the head with.
• Obstructions against the wall less than 24 inches deep and more than 18 inches below the sprinkler. A new provision will permit this type of obstruction as somewhat of a corollary to the same provision for 48-inch-wide obstructions which would have sprinkler coverage on both sides.
• Back-to-back sidewall sprinklers on a soffit or lintel. The standard will now limit the maximum lintel or soffit width to 16 inches without requiring a pendent sprinkler below the lintel or soffit.
• Open gratings. Open gratings are now considered an obstruction and will require protection underneath the grating regardless of the “open-ness” of the grating.
• Straddle areas. A novel concept to address calculations for those small pockets of OH1 or OH2 areas in a larger Light Hazard or OH 1 area. being calculated using the Density/Area method. The following two provisions will need to be complied with:
18.104.22.168.1.4 Where the available floor area for a specific area/density design criteria, including any extension of area as required by 11.1.2 and 12.3, is less than the required minimum design area, the design area shall be permitted to only include those sprinklers within the available design area.
22.214.171.124.1.5 Where the total design discharge from these operating sprinklers is less than the minimum required discharge determined by multiplying the required design density times the required minimum design area, an additional flow shall be added at the point of connection of the branchline to the cross main furthest from the source to increase the overall demand, not including hose stream allowance, to the minimum required discharge as determined above.
• C-value for galvanized pipe. The c-factor for galvanized piping in dry pipe and preaction systems has been reduced from 120 to 100. The c-factor for wet pipe and deluge systems remains at 120.
• Table summarizing signage requirements. A new table will be included in the annex of Chapter 6 summarizing sign location and information requirements.
• Waterflow signal for high-rise buildings. Here is an example of a correction that was needed to require what we all thought the standard did already. Following is the verbatim proposal with revised text. New text is shown with underline and removal of existing text with strikeout. The changes are subtle so you may have to read it twice (Don’t you just love code language?).
126.96.36.199(1). Where e Each sprinkler system on each floor is shall be equipped with a separate waterflow device,. it The waterflow device shall be connected to an alarm system in such a manner that operation of one sprinkler will actuate the alarm system, and the location of the operated flow device shall be indicated on an annunciator and/or register.
• Water supply data. Rather than accepting ROP Proposal 4-473 which proposed to provide the designer some leeway regarding the 12-month age limitation on flow test data in cases where it may not be possible to have data that recent (it would have permitted the use of older data with an additional safety factor if approved by the AHJ), the SSI committee created its own proposal (ROC 13-472) leaving it entirely up to the AHJ, under the presumption that most AHJ’s know best their water systems and any needed safety factors. I fear that some do, but many do not.
Last month we noted that there will be a new definition of “Sprinkler System.” Expect this definition to continue to cause controversy and expect it to be changed in the 2016 edition.
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Samuel S. Dannaway, PE, is a registered fire protection engineer and mechanical engineer with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Maryland Department of Fire Protection Engineering. He is past president and a Fellow of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers. He is president of S. S. Dannaway Associates Inc., a 15-person fire protection engineering firm with offices in Honolulu and Guam. He can be reached via email at SDannaway@ssdafire.com.