NFPA 13 Change Related to Suspended Cover
In their 2016 updates, the National Fire Protection Association expanded the drop ceiling portion of NFPA 13 to include reference to the use of specialized membrane materials below sprinkler systems. A concise summary of the updates to NFPA 13 can be found in this article in CSE Magazine:
This expansion of NFPA 13 is critical to the Interior Protection industry. By the nature of building design, sprinkler heads are usually located in the line of sight and above where suspended cover needs to be hung. Currently with many providers, a choice has to be made about the best location to install the containment and how that will impact the sprinkler system. Impairing the sprinkler system should not be considered an option, which is why the acknowledgement that alternative products exist is important for everyone involved. Utilizing a material that is designed to open up and allow the sprinklers to function during a fire is both a simpler and safer solution for the client.
Who do the changes impact? Roofers, Roofing Consultants, General Contractors and their clients who are planning to use Interior Protection during reroofing projects or other projects that might require dust and debris containment below the roof deck in an area where sprinklers are located.
Who follows this standard? Fire Marshals, Fire Inspectors and Fire Departments generally rely on the NFPA standards to make decisions about what best practices should be used in facilities. This includes temporary situations.
How do I know what product to use? It is important to install products that are tested and classified by UL or another indicated agency. Meaning: Only use those products that have passed a test that meets the standard and have the acknowledgement to prove it.
Can you install regular materials above the sprinkler system instead? It is possible to do so. However, there are risks and challenges to that solution. Read more here.
Does TuffWrap® have a product that meets this standard? Yes! We are happy to say we do. SmartSeam® is our proprietary suspended cover product that is Classified by UL to 723S for installation below fire sprinklers. Find out more here.
Not only does NFPA 13 impact standard facilities using fire sprinkler systems, it also affects industries that utilize temporary structures. Learn more about how the changes to NFPA 13 impact NFPA 33 in the March/April 2016 NFPA Journal: