I'm a plan reviewer for a project that's coming into our area. We have a local gym/special amusement facility that has several foam pit areas.
What is an appropriate sprinkler design criteria for a foam pit?
The plans call for a 5-ft platform, which leads us to believe the pit is 5-ft or less in depth, but we're not sure about the building on the platform of other foam pads; so there's a chance this depth could exceed 5-ft when it's all said and done and measured with a tape.
Best I can relate to for this type of situation is in NFPA 13 2022 edition, Section 220.127.116.11.2.4, which references Table 18.104.22.168.1.1. Also, I've referenced IFC 3203.7.1 for classification.
Is there any other information that you can point me to for guidance?
If so, it would be greatly appreciated.
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2/7/2023 07:55:58 am
The Standard is NFPA 11 (& NFPA 16 before 2020).
2/7/2023 07:58:43 am
Started writing on this - I think the question is about the foam blocks used as pads, like ones commonly used in gymnastics gyms and kids' ninja gyms - not a foam suppression system.
2/7/2023 08:40:35 am
Oh boy, I think you're right. great answer below.
2/7/2023 08:10:42 am
My gut says that the fire would perform like a solid-piled expanded Group A plastic, and that would be my starting point for assessing it in the storage chapters of NFPA 13. However, I haven't gone through this assessment myself so I'm not entirely sure that it's an apt comparison.
2/7/2023 11:21:52 am
I think there is an argument to say other than solid piled. Foam pits are generally blocks and are not neatly stacked meaning air is present throughout.
2/7/2023 08:43:26 am
The design criteria to be utilized will depend on the overall height of the space. Some of these facilities tend to be of significant height.
Todd E Wyatt
2/7/2023 09:54:10 am
The Occupancy Classification (OC) of this project should be Group A-3 Assembly (assembly uses intended for ... recreation or amusement) per 2021 IBC.
Todd E Wyatt
2/7/2023 08:51:52 am
I would recommend requesting what the amusement facility plans on using for their foam blocks... Expanded polystyrene (EPS)? Open-cell polyurethane? ... Are the foam blocks fire retardant or fire resistance? ... and what the volume of the foam blocks will be.
2/7/2023 08:52:27 am
I would start by requesting technical data on the foam cubes that will be in the pits.
2/7/2023 03:42:57 pm
While I've never worked on a project with foam pits, I do know that they make fire retardant blocks. Before you begin your design, I would recommend obtaining technical data sheets on the blocks to review their characteristics.
2/8/2023 07:27:24 am
Sounds like it could be treated like an expanded group A plastic stored in a pile. Although it's not a storage occupancy the storage chapters from NFPA 13 could give you some good insight. Also the type of foam is important, I went to an SFPE presentation on this that weighed the pros and cons of fire retardant foam since it could have adverse health effects on the kids playing in them.
2/8/2023 08:39:59 am
I did one of these gyms a few years back. We met with the AHJ and decided to call these Group A expanded, exposed, unstable. This put us in 2016 NFPA 13 Table 22.214.171.124.(A) column C
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