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  1. #1
    Carl Schmokel's Avatar
    Carl Schmokel Guest

    Default Tough one: Sprinker system required for commercial bldg w/ residence inside?

    Hey everybody,

    I'm building a hangar / residence at a local airport. It'll be a 50x50x16 pole barn with a framed in area in the back, basically. Not necessarily going to use it as my primary residence, but I want the option. I've been told by my inspector that any structure in a commercial zone with a residence inside requires 1 hour firewalls (no biggie) and a sprinkler system (possibly a biggie).

    I've contacted a few fire marshalls who all referred me back to the inspector. My inspector doesn't know specifically what fire code mandates this, but he knows it is required. I'm trying to determine if he is indeed correct, and if so, what is involved in building a sprinkler system for a simple 50x50 pole barn? I'd prefer to do the work myself ... thanks!


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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Ormond Beach, Florida

    Default Re: Tough one: Sprinkler system required for commercial bldg w/ residence inside?

    From the 2006 IBC (International Building Code). (underlining and bold are mine)
    - SECTION 708
    - - - 708.1 General. The following wall assemblies shall comply with this section:
    - - - - 1. Walls separating dwelling units in the same building.
    - - - - 2. Walls separating sleeping units in occupancies in Group R-1 hotel, R-2 and I-1 occupancies.
    - - - - 3. Walls separating tenant spaces in covered mall buildings as required by Section 402.7.2.
    - - - - 4. Corridor walls as required by Section 1017.1.
    - - - - 5. Elevator lobby separation as required by Section 707.14.1.
    - - - - 6. Residential aircraft hangars.

    - 708.3 Fire-resistance rating. Fire partitions shall have a fire-resistance rating of not less than 1 hour.
    - - Exceptions:
    - - - 1. Corridor walls as permitted by Table 1017.1.
    - - - 2. Dwelling and sleeping unit separations in buildings of Type IIB, IIIB and VB construction shall have fire-resistance ratings of not less than
    1/2 hour in buildings equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1.

    Note that there is no fire-resistance rated 1/2 hour wall construction, the minimum fire-resistance rating for wall designs is 1 hour, so you be constructing 1 hour rated walls.

    The advantage of the 1/2 hour option, though, is in the doors and other aspects of the 1 hour fire-resistance rated wall versus a 1/2 hour fire-resistance rated wall.

    Regarding the sprinkler system, I would contact the Fire Chief and ask him what you need to do. If you are in a small town, the Fire Chief may help you design it (but do not count on it), if not in a small town or if no help is given you will likely need the system engineered, so contact a fire sprinkler supplier for a manufacturer and you MAY (but quite possibly not) get help on designing the fire sprinkler system. Your other remaining option would be to pay a fire sprinkler installer company to design the system with the knowledge that you will be installing it, do not be surprised if the design fee is quite high in relation to the installed system, they are putting their name and engineering sign and seal on the document but then washing their hands of it as YOU will be installing it and THEY will have NO CONTROL over you not doing it precisely as they designed it.

    Also check with your insurance company, they may not want you to install something as important as the fire sprinkler system.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( )


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