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Sprinkler Requiirements

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  • Sprinkler Requiirements

    Hi All,

    I'm looking for input on an apartment building with attached garages and sprinkler requirements. The building is arranged like row homes except there are 4-units below and 4-units above with garages attached to the front side of the building. Each apartment would have its own 2 stall garage. We have determined the units do not meet the definition of a townhome and therefore the building will need to built under the IBC (2009) and sprinkled. Section 903.2.8 requires a sprinkler system to be installed throughout all buildings with a Group R fire area. Do they typically sprinkle the garages or can they separate them by fire barriers thus creating a separate fire area? Or would they need to be a separate building separated by fire walls? How do most people handle this? We are in a cold climate so sprinkling garages would not be easy. Thanks in advance for any input.

  • #2
    I think the phrase "shall be provided throughout all buildings with a Group R fire area" explains it. Whether a building has separated occupancies or not, if there's a Group R in the building, then a sprinkler system is required.

    Therefore, to consider the garages in a building that does not have a Group R, then a fire wall would be required.
    Ron Geren
    RLGA Technical Services
    www.specsandcodes.com

    Comment


    • #3
      I would concur or detach the garage.

      Edit: Adding a dry system for the garage is not a big deal from a separate riser served by the existing water supply (if sufficient) provided the space in the riser/mechanical room will allow it. Seek consultation from your fire protection designer.

      "Fire suppression is a failure in prevention, practice fire safety, the life saved may be your own"

      Comment


      • #4
        I concur with my esteemed colleagues above.
        Arguing with an inspector is like wrestling with a pig in mud, pretty soon you realize that the pig is enjoying it!

        This response brought to you by one of the paying members of the Building Code Forum.
        You can join the paying members and support this forum, for a small donation at
        http://www.thebuildingcodeforum.com/forum/payments.php

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        • #5
          I concur. The garage area can be covered using a Dry Type Sprinkler.

          Even if they separate the garage from the R, I still think you will have to install a sprinkler system.

          Also, how many openings can you have in a firewall separating two buildings?

          Comment


          • #6
            Fire walls can be used to create separate buildings.

            So firewalls can be used to place the garages in unsprinklered buildings without a Group R fire area (but they won't).

            There is no definition of "townhome" in the IBC or IRC.

            Comment


            • #7
              You can have openings so long as the aggregate length of openings does not exceed 25% of the length of the fire wall and each opening cannot exceed 156 sq. ft.
              Ron Geren
              RLGA Technical Services
              www.specsandcodes.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks all. O-k we've determined the garages will either need to be sprinkled or separated by 2-hour fire walls with protected openings. Assuming they will choose to sprinkle the garages, do the garages only need to be separated from the apartments by 1/2-inch drywall? Section 406.1.4 says "The private garage shall be separated from the dwelling unit and its attic area by means of a minimum 1/2-inch gypsum board...". If a garage also abuts another dwelling do you still only require the 1/2-inch gypsum or is Section 406.1.4 only applicable when separating a private garage from the same renters apartment? Maybe I'm just creating confusion now but do appreciate any advice. Thank you.

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                • #9
                  I would want to see the design professional's code analysis before I made a determination.

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                  • #10
                    IMHO Throughout any building containing a Group R FIRE AREA to me means that even if the garage is seperated by a 10 hour concrete bunker
                    it's throughout the structure. fire rating does not matter?

                    As Designer or inspector

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Architect1281: Remember what the IBC says about fire walls: "Each portion of a building separated by one or more fire walls that comply with the provisions of this section shall be considered a separate building." Thus, with a fire wall, one building has a Group R fire area and the other one doesn't.
                      Ron Geren
                      RLGA Technical Services
                      www.specsandcodes.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Architect1281 View Post
                        IMHO Throughout any building containing a Group R FIRE AREA to me means that even if the garage is seperated by a 10 hour concrete bunker
                        it's throughout the structure. fire rating does not matter?

                        As Designer or inspector
                        A structure is not always the same as a building in the IBC.

                        Comment

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