What sprinkler standards are used worldwide?
The NFPA series of standards is widely used in the US and in other parts of the world as well.
But there are other standards which are also used for fire protection systems.
It might be interesting to note that the International Building Code is not that international. It’s normally not used outside of the United States.
FM Global, and the associated Data Sheets, are being used for insured members of FM Global all over the world.
But these data sheet are also used as a reference for specific hazards by other insurance companies. Sometimes, large companies will also use FM Data Sheets to set up their own internal guidelines.
In addition, almost each Insurance company has developed its own guidelines, with possible deviation from local standards or NFPA.
This is particularly useful when you provide insurance for locations in different countries as standards may vary from one country to the other.
Then some countries have developed their own local standards for fire protection systems.
In France, for example, APSAD rules have been developed in 1957 for its first Edition of Rule R1, which is the standard for sprinkler systems and associated water supply.
But each European country developed their own standard.
LPC and BS 9251 in the UK, VdS in Germany…
With the advent of the European Union, a common standard was developed in the early 2000s.
For sprinkler systems, this is EN 12845 Fixed firefighting systems. This standard is a mix of other standards, mainly from France, Germany and the UK and usually have replaced the previous local standards.
This document covers, like NFPA 13, the classification of hazards and installation of sprinkler systems, but also covers the requirements edited in NFPA 20, 22, 25 with the installation and design of water supplies and the testing and maintenance programs.
There are some deviations from NFPA standards, such as the possibility to use old-style sprinklers (also known as conventional sprinklers).
Note that some countries have not developed any standard and are using standards from their neighbors, or the European standard, or NFPA.
All these standards may be recommended by local authorities as a minimum guideline, in particular for buildings open to the public like hospitals, mercantile occupancies and so on.
Some small insurance companies, who cover limited risk, may also impose the use of the local standard to their insured members as they have no capability to inspect and check the adequacy of the fixed fire protection as large insurance companies do.
By using local standards and contractors that are approved to work with these standards, they have some confidence on the fact that the minimum requirements from the local standards will be implemented on site.
Note that this is not limited to Europe.
Canada has also its own standard, the National Fire Code of Canada, Australia has developed the AS 2118 for automatic fire sprinkler systems, standard GB 50084 is used in China…
So, in summary, NFPA 13 is by far the most widely used and recommended standard for the installation of sprinkler systems worldwide. But it’s not the only standard that is used as many countries have developed their own, with their own variations.
For Franck Orset I’m Jeff Kelm, this is MeyerFire University.
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