We have received a request from an owner of a small office/warehouse (Group S-1) which is approximately 2,000 sqft to omit sprinkler drops into the office buildout portion.
The office buildout portions is about 500 sqft of the total space.
There are existing sprinklers located at the ceiling level throughout the space and 1-hour partitions dividing the space from other owners.
The background: This individual office/warehouse is in an inline building that is separated into multiple office/warehouse spaces, all individually owned as "office condos". The overall building (approximately 14,000 sqft) was provided with a sprinkler system throughout as it was unknown how the building was going to be divided in the future for the individual spaces. The ownership closing documents and the "condo" association that controls the building have no comments or requirements for the individual owners regarding the installation of dropped sprinkler heads into built-out areas.
Since the individual office/warehouse space is per code (2015 IFC) too small to require a sprinkler system and the existing sprinkler overhead system is already in place providing protection for the space, is it OK for the owner to omit the drops into the small office area if not required by code?
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9/19/2022 07:36:13 am
Seems like it should be. An area not required to be protected by a sprinkler system is not required to be protected by a sprinkler system. But ultimately, if any AHJ is reviewing or overseeing this, it's their call.
9/21/2022 04:05:56 pm
9/19/2022 08:07:39 am
It is not ok.
9/19/2022 08:09:09 am
Codes are minimum requirements. My opinion. If no ceiling or obstructions in the office area, then no. If drop ceilings or obstructions, then heads are required below like if it was a cloud.
9/19/2022 08:12:19 am
I personally would need more information before making that call. In MA, with exceptions, buildings over 7,500 sq.ft. require sprinklers. Is that fire wall constructed as to make separate buildings OR constructed for mixed use? You will need to review the original drawings.
9/19/2022 08:21:09 am
unless these condos are open to above with no ceilings ... no.
9/19/2022 08:24:29 am
There are several reasons asking to provide sprinklers inside.
9/19/2022 08:42:03 am
Sprinklers are required in the office spaces below the roof level.
9/19/2022 08:42:57 am
If the building was provided sprinklers when built (under the assumption it is considered "Fully Sprinklered"), any modifications need to continue with that "Fully Sprinklered" requirement.
Todd E Wyatt
9/19/2022 08:58:05 am
The scoping Code that requires an automatic sprinkler system (ASPS) in a building is the adopted Building Code, typically the IBC. The referenced standard (e.g. NFPA 13) identifies the design, installation, inspection and maintenance requirements for the ASPS, where required by the scoping Code (IBC), but the standard does not determine WHERE an ASPS is required, the IBC does that.
9/19/2022 10:16:13 am
I think Dan and Todd pretty much nailed it. If the building was originally required to have a sprinkler system then it needs to remain and modified to fit all modifications (architect may have taken some trade offs with including the sprinkler system). Unless you have the original code review/life safety drawing and analysis, it's hard to say what the architect has done for trade offs or if the system was optional. It's safe to say the system was probably required originally, and not provided as an optional system. For the building to be considered fully sprinklered it must meet NFPA 13 requirements.
9/19/2022 10:46:21 am
Thank you to everyone for all of the thoughtful insight. Your contributions are what makes this the "go-to" fire code resource for us. I agree with the majority of the commentators that since the building was originally provided with a sprinkler system, it needs to remain and be modified as needed for any additional hazards or build-outs. All of the other office/warehouse spaces have complied and have provided the additional drops into the built-out spaces. We were just getting push-back from this one owner with this interesting request. They provided no other documentation to prove why they thought they could avoid the install other than it being a budget issue.
9/19/2022 12:50:42 pm
Late to the party today, but wanted to add that another facet of this issue worth mentioning isn't a code or engineering one, but a legal one with regard to condo associations and their bylaws.
Dwight H Havens
9/20/2022 12:12:14 pm
I'm not sure how they get to the statement that automatic fire sprinklers are not required in small office buildouts. Can someone walk through the code path that might even allow it.
9/22/2022 10:21:57 am
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