If you ask virtually any commercial property owner, they’ll tell you that one of their primary concerns is protecting their buildings from fires. Not only can a fire endanger occupants, but also employees, customers and puts not just your own – but the livelihood of all of your tenants at risk.
One of the first lines of defense against fires in a commercial space is a fire sprinkler system. Sprinkler systems as you probably know – activate when in the presence of high temperatures and release water in order to fight the fire. While they don’t always put a fire out, they do contain it and allow others the chance to evacuate the building safely.
In some situations, these sprinkler systems are mandatory, but in others it’s a little more gray as to whether or not you should have one. Here are some reasons why sprinklers are mandated in certain buildings and whether your building might be prime real estate for a sprinkler system. Let’s jump right in!
Who decided this?
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is the nation-wide organization that sets fire safety standards. And following their standards is important. Want government funding for you company? You need to be up to code. You want to pass a fire safety inspection? You’d better be up to code.
While there are local jurisdictions and rules that come about from local municipalities, most to all of them adhere in some way, shape or form to what the NFPA says. So if they say so, do it.
When did they become mandatory?
In 2006, the NFPA decided that newly constructed one and two-family homes should have fire sprinklers systems – and since that decision, has subsequently added them into standards. In some states – this has even become law.
What about my building? Is it big enough to warrant a sprinkler system?
Short answer is that if you’re asking the question – chances are that yes, you need one. While mixed-use buildings get a little bit more complicated – the guidelines for commercial buildings are pretty clear. If your space is 5,000 sq feet or more, you must have a fire sprinkler system. In addition – if you decide to expand your building to a point past that or beneath that to 12,000 square feet or more – then you also must install a sprinkler system. And finally – any building that’s greater than 55 feet tall also requires sprinklers.
So who can help install a fire sprinkler system for me?
Installing a fire suppression system like this is not a DIY job. Only qualified professionals and local authorities can do it. That being said, you will play an obviously integral role in the process – from choosing which system is right for your building, helping to plan evacuation plans and the like. Fire Safety pros will help map out the system and then local authorities and the Fire Marshal will help make sure the system meets local codes.
Hopefully, this blog helped paint a clearer picture of why fire sprinkler systems are important and how and why codes are the way they are. If you have any questions about fire sprinkler system –whether it’s installation or maintenance, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation. Good luck!