NFPA 13 2013 Edition – ESFR Code Changes

November 2nd, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post

NFPA13_2013The 2013 Edition of NFPA 13 will be adopted by many states and jurisdictions in January 2014. In this article we will be focusing on major changes for this latest edition of NFPA 13 and specifically in the application and use of ESFR (Early Suppression, Fast Response) sprinkler systems. Upcoming articles will review NFPA 13 2013 Edition code changes in the application and use for CMSA, CMDA, and In-Rack sprinklers.

Early Suppression Fast Response Sprinkler Systems

ESFR and Solid Shelving – Sections 8.4.6.1.1, 16.2.3.2, 17.3.3.1.1

One of the biggest changes in the protection of commodities on racks with ESFR is the allowance for ESFR sprinklers in combination with solid shelving! ESFR sprinkler are now allowed to protect racks with solid shelving IF (and only if) in-rack sprinkler protection is installed. The following code sections in NFPA 13 will clarify these conditions:

  • 8.4.6.1.1 – ESFR sprinklers shall not be permitted to protect storage on solid shelf racks unless the solid shelves are protected in accordance with 16.1.6 or 17.1.5 as applicable to the type of storage.
  • 16.2.3.2 – ESFR sprinklers shall not be permitted to protect storage on solid shelf racks unless the solid shelf racks are protected with in-rack sprinklers in accordance with 16.1.6.
  • 17.3.3.1.1 – ESFR sprinklers shall not be permitted to protect storage on solid shelf racks unless the solid shelf racks are protected with in-rack sprinklers in accordance with 17.1.5.
  • NOTES: Additional language in 16.3.3 and 17.2.3 is missing, though most likely in error.

 

K-14 ESFR Storage of Class I-IV Commodities in Buildings with Maximum Ceiling Heights of 40 feet – Tables 14.4.1, 16.2.3.1 & 16.3.3.1

Changes in the application and use of K-14 ESFR sprinkler heads for Class I-IV commodities in buildings with 40-foot ceiling heights. While K-14 sprinklers are still allowed for other ceiling height configurations, the following options and configurations have been eliminated:

  • The new edition eliminates the use of K 14.0 ESFR (12-head calculation) at a minimum operating pressure of 75 psi storage of Class I-IV to maximum storage height of 20 feet and 25 feet in building with maximum ceiling height of 40 feet.
  • NOTES: Existing systems need not be retrofitted. Additionally, the K 14.0 ESFR (12-head calculation) at a minimum operating pressure of 90 psi is still available for rack storage in maximum ceiling heights of 45 feet when in-rack sprinklers are installed.
  • CAUTION: Per Table 16.3.3.1, the K 14.0 ESFR (12-head calculation) at a minimum operating pressure of 75 psi is still available for maximum storage height of 30 feet and 35 feet in buildings with maximum ceiling heights of 40 feet. Most likely this section was not changed in error.

 

K-14 ESFR Storage of Group A Plastics (Cartoned & Exposed Unexpanded) in Buildings with Maximum Ceiling Heights of 40 feet – Tables 15.4.1, 17.2.3.1 & 17.3.3.1

Changes in the application and use of K-14 ESFR sprinkler heads for Group A Plastics commodities in buildings with 40-foot ceiling heights. While K-14 sprinklers are still allowed for other ceiling height configurations, the following options and configurations have been eliminated:

  • Eliminated the use of K 14.0 ESFR (12-head calculation) at a minimum operating pressure of 75 psi storage of Group A Plastics (cartoned and exposed unexpanded) to maximum storage height of 20 feet, 25 feet, 30 feet, and 35 feet in building with maximum ceiling height of 40 feet.
  • NOTES: Existing systems need not be retrofitted. Additionally, the K-14.0 ESFR (12-head calculation) at a minimum operating pressure of 90 psi is still available for rack storage in maximum ceiling heights of 45 feet when in-racks are installed.

 

ESFR & Obstructions – Section 23.4.4.6.3.1

  • Sprinklers under the obstruction shall not be required to be included in the hydraulic calculation of the ceiling sprinklers.
  • NOTES: Previous editions required the discharge for up to 2 sprinklers (i.e. total of 14 sprinklers) from one level to be included in the hydraulic calculations. For an example, see Section 22.4.4.6.4.1 in the 2010 Edition.

 

ESFR in Lieu of Ordinary & Light Hazard Occupancy – Section 12.6.7.1

Changes for construction of shell buildings and warehouses:

  • ESFR sprinklers designed to meet any criteria in Chapter 12 through Chapter 20 shall be permitted to protect light and ordinary hazard occupancies.
  • NOTES: Allows ESFR in lieu of Light or Ordinary Hazard Occupancy. Though this change does not affect storage occupancy, it will affect shell buildings and warehouses where offices or manufacturing spaces are planned. The new change allows ESFR sprinklers to remain in non-storage occupancies where the building will be used as Light Hazard or Ordinary Hazard Occupancy.

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