Residential Balcony sprinkler requirments

Questions about Georgia Codes and Standards

Residential Balcony sprinkler requirments

Postby Blackstone on Fri Nov 21, 2008 12:28 pm

Since 2003 IFC, Section 903., specifically addresses residential occupancies of Type V construction and the Life Safety Code nor NFPA 13R does not, then as a supplemental code, it is applicable that balconies and patios “of the dwelling units” (this would not apply to balconies and patios for the entire building) would be required to be sprinklered even for a 13R sprinklered residential occupancy building,.

The ‘dwelling unit’ is the single housekeeping unit consisting of living room, bedroom(s), toilet, private balcony/patio/deck, closets, kitchen, etc. used by a single tenant/family. Egress balconies, porches, etc. used for common egress are ‘outside the dwelling unit’ by definition (see NFPA 13R), and therefore this specific code section does not apply to them.

The 2003 IFC commentary indicates the reason for this section is because of typical grilling, Bar-B-Q’s, tiki lamps, etc., that are frequently placed on residential patios/balconies that are a fire hazard. Patios/balconies off of the dwelling unit front door, used as a common area for exit access (more of an exterior walkway than a true balcony) by all the tenants, typically do not contain these activities (or at least these hazardous, open flame activities are forbidden in a means of egress…), would be exempt from sprinkler requirements in a 13R system.

This section combined with the open flame requirements of 2003 IFC, Section 308.3.1 (restricting these grills, etc. to be loacted within 10-ft of combustibles), help to protect the building from a fire that would grow much too large for the 13R system to handle.
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