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Code Limits the Use of ESFR K14 Sprinklers

In accordance with NFPA 13, 2013 Edition, the option to use K-14 ESFR sprinklers for ceiling only protection without in-rack sprinklers was eliminated in buildings with a ceiling height of 35’-0” and greater. Effective January 1, 2014 the new limitations in NFPA 13, 2013 Edition, limit the use of K14 ESFR sprinklers to a maximum ceiling height/ridge height of 35’-0”. 

How to determine “Maximum Ceiling/Roof/Ridge Height”

  • Roof Ridge Height vs. Clear Height.
  • Fire Sprinkler Systems are designed to the Ridge Height of a building, NOT the Clear Height of a Building.
Code Limits the Use of ESFR K14 Sprinklers

In this example, 35’-6” is the Maximum Ceiling/Roof Height in this building.

Will the Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) require me to retrofit my building? 

The new height requirements do not affect ESFR sprinkler systems already installed. Typically the AHJ’s will require you to retrofit your building to the new NFPA standards if and when the following occurs: 1) a change of occupancy or 2) a remodel or modification to the building or the sprinkler system. To know more about what will trigger a retrofit, contact VFS.

How Does this Affect You?

If you are required to change out your existing K-14 ESFR sprinkler heads, there are a few things that you need to consider:

  • Any existing systems that you may have that are utilizing ESFR K-14 sprinkler heads have been designed to have a minimum operating pressure of 75 PSI for buildings OVER 35 feet tall.
  • If you are required to change out your system based on this new requirement, you might be changing to a sprinkler head such as an ESFR K-16.8. The good news is that some ESFR sprinkler heads like the ESFR K-16.8 have a lessor minimum operating pressure for buildings OVER 35 feet tall. The minimum operating pressure for a K-16.8 for buildings OVER 35 feet tall is 52 PSI.

So What Does This Mean?

In most cases, due to the lesser demand of 52 PSI vs. 75 PSI, you might only be required to change out the sprinkler heads without modifications to the pipe system.  To learn more about all of the changes and new requirements affective January 1, 2014, please give us a call. VFS has the experience, expertise and people to the best solutions for your unique needs.