For residential occupancies, a 13R sprinkler system is permitted by the building codes for many applications, and a 13R system offers numerous economic advantages for the building owner. Most notably, with a 13R system, attics and concealed spaces do not have to be protected with sprinklers.
But, be careful! Although the building codes permits a 13R system for residential occupancies, a 13R system is not permitted when a 13 system is used by the Architect for tradeoffs to other code requirements.
Specifically, check with the Architect to ensure that a NFPA 13 system was not used to comply with other building code requirements. Here are two examples where the International Building Code allows tradeoffs for NFPA 13 sprinkler systems:
2012 International Building Code
- Table 601 – Fire-Resistance Rating Requirements For Building Elements. Here a 13 system can use in lieu of fire resistance ratings.
- Paragraph 504.2 Automatic Sprinkler System Increase. A 13 system can be used to increase the allowable area by 200%.
NFPA 13R sprinkler systems offer many advantages, but proceed with caution. Due your due diligence on the front end of a project to make sure you are not double-dipping.