The simple answer is yes.  The area and construction and other exemptions are 
not allowed if rooms/areas that are required to be sprinklered for fully 
sprinklered buildings are not.


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From: Sprinklerforum [] On 
Behalf Of å... ....
Sent: Friday, September 16, 2016 2:16 PM
Subject: Do gas-suppression systems in electrical rooms (for example) w/o 
sprinklers void the exemptions awarded to a fully-sprinklered occupancy?

My guess as to the answer of this is, "yes",   but I want to be sure.
Feel comfortable to offer your judgment.

If a design guide calls for the occupancy to be sprinklered throughout, then if 
electronics and electrical rooms are not sprinklered but protected with 
alternative gas suppression systems, are the lucrative exemptions awarded when 
a building is "sprinklered throughout", withheld?

I sense this is a building code question, not an NFPA 13 question.

Commentary to 2009 IBC -903.1.1 states in its last sentence, if sprinklers are 
not installed as backup for alternative (i.e. gas systems ), then the lucrative 
exemptions granted via reduction to other fire safety systems throughout this 
building code are not awarded due to the lower safety offered by the less 
reliable gas suppression systems.

2009 NFPA 101 -9.7.3 commentary says it is a good idea to have sprinklers as 
backup to the 'special' first-line-of-defense alternative systems, but it does 
not go so far, as far as I could tell, as to eliminate the financially 
beneficial trade-offs linked to an occupany/building that is sprinklered 
throughout, in the event that electronic/electrical rooms have only 
gas-suppression without automatic sprinklers.

Section - of 2009 NFPA 101 says sprinklers should be throughout a 
health care facility, but in the instance where the AHJ allows omission, then 
section - states these areas need by Type I or II construction and 
enclosed with FRR.    But the commentary to the NFPA 101 on these section says 
the lucrative sprinkler exemptions remain valid.

The IBC is clear: sprinklers throughout.

The NFPA 101 seems clear—except for health care.

I do not know what the 2009 NFPA 5000 states.

If there are electronic/electrical rooms without sprinklers, but with 
alternative gas agent suppression, are the exceptions for 'fully-sprinklered 
building' withheld? I think – yes. The US Air Force seems to agree with this 

Segueing into WHY using only-gaseous agent fire suppression is NOT enough, 
consider the Air Force wording, already 15 years old, by the time of first 
draft.  ETL 01-18 is paraphrased below:

the US Air [1] states that sprinklers will be provided as backup to “clean” 
agent systems because the sprinklers are THAT reliable.  If any customer has a 
big and quasi reliable database, I would argue the US Air Force would be in 
that group.  The US Air Force requires fire sprinklers over mission critical 
electrical gear. The US Air Force discourages pre-action sprinkler systems to 
wet pipe systems, which again is in concurrence with the experiences and 
stories I have encountered.   The US Air Force states “Leaky roofing, air 
conditioning, and plumbing systems present a far greater risk of water damage 
than a wet-pipe sprinkler system properly installed in accordance with NFPA 13.

Further, mission essential information technology rooms shall be located only 
in facilities that are fully sprinklered, by a wet-pipe sprinkler system[2]. 
Alternative suppression system to wet-pipe standard spray sprinkler are allowed 
on approval of Major Command, but the alternatives both involve--water 
suppression: water mist and water pre-action.  Pre-action systems are of 
significantly lower reliability than wet-pipe systems.   [3].

[1]. ETL 01-18, Engineering Technical Letter (ETL 01-18) Fire Protection 
Criteria – Electronic Equipment Installations 24 Oct 2001, (pp. - last 

[2].  op. cit.,  ETL 01-18, -

[3]. op. cit.,  Ibid, -

Scot Deal

Excelsior Risk/Fire Engineering

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