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Sprinklers in Small Spaces: Do You Need One?

May 4, 2015 by Total Fire and Safety

commercial-sprinkler-maintenanceMany people question whether or not a small, concealed space on their premises actually needs a sprinkler. There is a lot of confusion about the matter, and truthfully, it is wise to always seek a professional opinion before installing. NFPA 13 Section 8.15.1.2 describes 18 requirements by which a space can be considered safe without a sprinkler, or sprinkler-exempt. ¬†However, in general, concealed spaces that are “sprinkler-exempt” should have one or more of these characteristics

Construction that is limited combustible or non-combustible. These types of constructions will greatly reduce the chance of ignition and spread of fire and thus may not need a sprinkler.

Unoccupiable space. If a person cannot potentially do work in the space or occupy it for a time, it may not be necessary to install a sprinkler.

Small, empty spaces or storage spaces that are not used to store combustible materials. These tight quarters are not occupied by people, and if they are not being used to store anything that would ignite or spread fire, they may not require a sprinkler.

Spaces that are inaccessible. If a space is accessible, it could allow storage of combustible materials. If not, the space may be sprinkler-exempt.

If you have a small or concealed space where you do not wish to install a sprinkler, it is best to check with a professional to make sure your decision is within code. This list covers the recurring factors that have the final say in whether a concealed space might need sprinklers installed. For more information, refer to the NFPA 13 document, the website nfpa.org, or call Total Fire & Safety. We offer sprinkler system inspection and installation and can help you determine definitively whether a small space is sprinkler-exempt according to NFPA guidelines.  Contact us at 630.960.5060.

 


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