The Codes, Class of '09
A roundup of proposed changes to other selected codes and standards in this year's revision cycle, by NFPA technical experts.
NFPA Journal®, May/June 2009
NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems
The 2010 edition of NFPA 13 contains significant revisions, with the addition of criteria for the protection of three new special storage arrangements in Chapter 20, Special Designs of Storage Protection. Sprinkler protection of carton records storage with catwalk access is new to this edition as a specific protection scheme. Another new section addresses compact shelving of commodities consisting of paper files, magazines, books, and similar documents in folders and miscellaneous supplies with no more than 5 percent plastics up to 8 feet (2.5 meters) high. This topic encompasses the storage arrangement that was addressed by fire testing, and research performed by the Fire Protection Research Foundation. Protection of high-bay record storage is also included in this chapter.
Another major change in the 2010 edition is the combination of large drop sprinkler and specific application control mode sprinkler information, and revision of the terminology to identify them as control mode specific application (CMSA) sprinklers. This change not only occurs here in Section 8.4.7, Large Drop Sprinklers, but also affects other requirements in the standard, most notably in the requirements for storage in Chapters 12 through 19.
The new edition also includes significant changes to rack storage, including a new method to calculate the rack shelf area.
Criteria for the use of smoke vents have been added, recognizing that their use and affect on sprinkler operation can be limited if the vents are either manually operated or if they are automatic. Chapter 9, Housing, Bracing, and Restraint of System Piping, includes a number of changes related to sway bracing of sprinkler systems, including the introduction of new zone-of-influence tables for Schedule 5 steel pipe, CPVC, and Type M copper tube.
NFPA 13D, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One-and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes
In the 2010 edition, new definitions and requirements have been added for stand-alone and passive purge systems. There has been a great deal of confusion regarding the use of passive purge systems. The standard does not consider these systems to be multipurpose systems because they truly do not serve the domestic needs of the dwelling. Instead, they have been used to mollify concerns about water stagnation in the sprinkler system to lessen or eliminate the demand for backflow devices on the part of some water utilities.
The 2010 edition also added the term "townhouses" to the definition of dwelling in order to clarify that townhouses that meet the definition of dwelling can be protected by an NFPA 13D system.
The most noticeable change in the standard will be the addition of a prescriptive pipe sizing method as an alternative to the hydraulic calculation method. This new eight-step method was included with the intention of encouraging more widespread use of residential sprinklers by establishing a design methodology for residential sprinklers that may be more appealing to homebuilders and code officials.
Finally, new annex material has been added to provide clear guidance for the owner on how to properly inspect, test, and maintain the system. As a final note on that subject, the Technical Committee on Residential Sprinkler Systems also received approval to expand its scope and the scope of NFPA 13D to include inspection, testing, and maintenance of NFPA 13D sprinkler systems.
NFPA 13R, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in Residential Occupancies up to and Including Four Stories in Height
The 2010 edition has been reorganized and expanded to 11 chapters by dividing into separate chapters material on installation, discharge, plans and calculation, water supplies, acceptance testing, and care and maintenance.
Clarification has been provided in the annex of Chapter 1 for assistance in determining when NFPA 13R is applicable, and establishing that the building code defines the structure and NFPA 13R is used after such determination has been made.
The standard also now states that sprinklers are not required on balconies or balcony closets.
NFPA 20, Installation of Stationary Pumps for Fire Protection
Some of the most complex fire pump installations exist in high-rise buildings. In light of this fact, the Technical Committee on Fire Pumps determined it timely for NFPA 20 to provide special requirements in a new Chapter 5, Fire Pumps in High-Rise Buildings. The requirements were developed after reviewing current code requirements, current design practices, firefighting operations, maintenance implications, and overall reliability and risk exposure. One of the provisions in the high-rise chapter now requires fire pumps operating in series and their controllers to be located in the same fire pump room.
Two NITMAMs have been submitted for the 2010 edition of NFPA 20. The technical committee has deleted limited
service controllers from the standard. A NITMAM has been submitted to reverse this action and keep limited service controllers in the standard. The technical committee has also revised Section 126.96.36.199 to state, "…the overcurrent protection device shall be rated to carry indefinitely…." A NITMAM has been submitted to reject this language and keep the original language, which states, "….the overcurrent protection device shall be selected or set to carry indefinitely…"
NFPA 52, Vehicular Gaseous Fuel Systems Code
The committee scope of the 2010 edition of NFPA 52 has been revised to better coordinate with the responsibilities of the 2010 edition of NFPA 55, Compressed Gases and Cryogenic Fluids Code, with regard to hydrogen storage systems. A number of changes were made to the chapters that contain hydrogen to update to current material in NFPA documents, in the NFPA Manual of Style for Technical Committee Documents, and in acceptable performance criteria.
Currently, there is one NITMAM on NFPA 52. The NITMAM is based on a perceived problem that in NFPA 52, where a table was to be extracted from NFPA 55 for minimum safe separation distances between outdoor gaseous hydrogen systems of certain capacities to an exposure. Other proposals and comments rearranged material within the code in anticipation of accepting the table, whereupon the committee rejected the table. The NITMAM is an attempt to correct this problem that came from the committee’s rejection of this table as an extract.
NFPA 80, Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives
This standard regulates the installation and maintenance of assemblies and devices used to protect openings in walls, floors, and ceilings against the spread of fire and smoke within, into, or out of buildings. The 2010 edition includes technical changes for the installation of glazing material in vision panels for new wood doors, installation of glazing and light kits, repair of doors and windows, operation of chute doors, and replacement provisions.
In addition, the terms "fire protection glazing" and "fire resistance glazing" are made consistent throughout the document to clarify the distinctions between the uses of the two. Updates were also made to several definitions in Chapter 3, Definitions. The document continues to make editorial changes and update terminology to be consistent with industry practices.
NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code
The 2010 edition of NFPA 99 has been totally revised to reflect how health care today is administered. Historically, the standard has addressed hospital systems such as electrical, gas and vacuum, equipment, and emergency management based upon occupancy. The protection requirements for procedures were solely based on the occupancy and not the risk to the patient.
The 2010 edition recognizes that the most important aspect of health care delivery for code purposes is not the type of occupancy, but the risk to the patient during a procedure. The new code calls for a risk-based analysis to determine the proper type and level of protection for the patient and staff. The new NFPA 99 will also address health care security, plumbing systems, heating systems, and fire protection for health care facilities.
NFPA 101A, Guide on Alternative Approaches to Life Safety
Each edition of NFPA 101A contains Fire Safety Evaluation Systems (FSES), numerical tools for measuring equivalency against the provisions of a specific edition of NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®. The new 2010 edition of NFPA 101A is to be used with the 2009 edition of NFPA 101. It includes changes that fine-tune the equivalency systems to reflect technical changes made between the 2006 and 2009 editions of NFPA 101.
NFPA 105, Smoke Door Assemblies and Other Opening Protectives
This standard prescribes minimum requirements for smoke door assemblies for use in providing safety to life and protection of property from smoke. The 2010 edition includes modifications to smoke damper inspection and testing requirements. The title of the document was also revised.
NFPA 110, Emergency and Standby Power Systems, and NFPA 111, Stored Electrical Energy Emergency and Standby Power Systems
The Technical Committee on Emergency Power Supplies is responsible for both NFPA 110 and NFPA 111, which cover electric power supplies serving loads such as emergency and exit illumination, smoke control fans, and elevators, all critical to life safety and personal protection. They contain important requirements covering the initial design and installation of emergency power systems, as well as essential maintenance and testing requirements to ensure that these systems perform under the extenuating circumstances associated with a natural disaster or an event initiated through human intervention. These standards are referenced in a number of NFPA codes and standards, including NFPA 99; NFPA 101; and NFPA 5000®, Building Construction and Safety Code®, and in the International Building Code®.
For the 2010 edition, proposed changes to NFPA 110 accepted by the technical committee clarify that the standard is intended to apply to those emergency power supply systems (EPSSs) classed as either Level 1 or Level 2 systems; revisions to the application section indicate that the operation testing and routine maintenance requirements of Chapter 8, Routine Maintenance and Operational Testing, cover new and existing EPSSs; and revisions of the definitions of "automatic transfer switch" and "nonautomatic transfer switch" were made for consistency with NFPA 111 and for correlation with relevant product standards covering the construction of transfer switches.
Proposed changes to NFPA 110 also include revisions to the Chapter 4, Classification of Emergency Power Supply Systems (EPSSs); descriptions and associated annex material on Level 1 and Level 2 EPSSs clarifying the function and applicability of each type of system; revisions of the requirements of Chapter 7, Installation of Environmental Considerations, for acceptance testing that distinguish what is required for new and unoccupied buildings and facilities versus the requirements for existing occupied buildings and facilities with modified requirements for test duration, step-testing intervals, and required documentation; and revisions to the requirements of Chapter 8 on operational test durations for diesel and spark-ignited prime movers. In addition, the 36-month test requirement has been revised to clarify the maximum duration, the minimum acceptable EPS loading or operating condition, and the method of test initiation.
Proposed changes to NFPA 111 accepted by the technical committee include revisions of the document scope clarifying that a UPS supplied through an EPS such as a generator is not a stored emergency power supply system (SEPSS) and is not subject to the requirements of the standard; the addition of new definitions for battery cell types other than lead-acid, including nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH); the addition of a new definition of "bridging system" to identify this type of stored energy system as one that provides a temporary "ride-through" period of uninterrupted power to critical equipment until the emergency power supply can assume this load; and the addition of a new definition and requirements for "electrochemical energy storage device" to recognize that new stored energy technologies such as "ultracapacitors" are available and can be used as an SEPSS.
Other proposed changes to NFPA 111 include revisions to the definitions of "automatic transfer switch" and "nonautomatic transfer switch" for correlation with NFPA 110; revisions to the Chapter 4 descriptions and associated annex material on Level 1 and Level 2 EPSSs clarifying the function and applicability of each type of system; extensive revisions to Chapter 5, EPS: Energy Sources, Converters, and Accessories, covering energy sources, converters, inverters, and accessories for clarification of existing requirements, recognition of new battery types, and to provide requirements covering stored energy sources other than batteries; revisions to the requirements for ventilation of areas containing electrochemical energy storage devices to acknowledge that there may be flammable gases other than hydrogen associated with energy sources that are not batteries; and the addition of new diagrams in Annex A, Explanatory Material, illustrating flywheel and rotating EPSSs, along with a diagram depicting the basic switching points of an SEPSS.
NFPA 130, Fixed Guideway Transit and Passenger Rail Systems
The 2010 edition of NFPA 130 now includes provisions that allow elevators to be counted as contributing to the means of egress in stations. The 2010 edition also contains revisions relating to escalators, doors, gates, and turnstile-type equipment. Several fire scenarios have been added to Annex A to provide guidance on the types of fires that can occur in vehicles, stations, and the operating environment, as well.
NFPA 501, Manufactured Housing
This edition of NFPA 501 has incorporated revisions on a number of levels. Several of the referenced standards have been updated when appropriate and various definitions have been revised and updated.
A series of new requirements and revised performance criteria dealing with plastic bathroom fixtures, cellular plastic materials, and foam plastic materials has been added. These provisions address flame spread indices, radiant panel indices, performance with the room corner test, or some combination of the three.
Enhancements to fire safety systems include a standing requirement to provide smoke alarm systems that comply with the requirements of the 2007 edition of NFPA 72. A significant change in the systems area includes a mandate for residential sprinkler systems in all new manufactured homes. This establishes parity with similar provisions for other types of single-family houses that are governed by NFPA 101, NFPA 5000, and the International Residential Code®.
Finally, a series of changes to several energy-efficiency provisions is included. Revisions to the coefficient of heat transmission (UO) values, coupled with changes to the design climate map and certain glazing provisions, will move the manufactured housing energy efficiency targets closer to those recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy.
NFPA 501 was originally scheduled to report in the Fall 2008 cycle. However, three NITMAMs were received and certified. The certified amending motions to further revise NFPA 501 will be addressed at the Association Technical Meeting in Chicago: accept comment 501-7; accept comment 501-8; and accept comment 501-10. All three comments are published in the Fall 2008 Report on Comments. Comments 501-7 and 501-10 address requirements for the test protocol used to evaluate the flame spread index/smoke developed index of plastic tubs and shower units. Comment 501-8 addresses the difference between flame spread index and smoke developed index testing for the base unit itself and any finish materials that are added.
NFPA 909, Code for the Protection of Cultural Resource Properties—Museums, Libraries, and Places of Worship
NFPA 909 describes the principles and practices of fire safety for cultural resource properties and for those who operate, use, or visit them. The code also covers ongoing operations and rehabilitation, and acknowledges the need to preserve culturally significant and character-defining building features and sensitive, often irreplaceable, collections and to provide continuity of operations. Because of the special nature of cultural resource properties, the code supplements other applicable codes and standards to apply specifically to buildings or portions of buildings devoted to such use.
The proposed 2010 edition of NFPA 909 is a complete revision that reflects the addition of security to the committee’s scope. Technical changes include the addition of "hazards other than fire" to the code’s goals and objectives; requiring a vulnerability assessment; new chapters on planning for protection, emergency operations, and security; and a new annex describing commonly used premises protection systems and equipment.
Other changes include reorganizing requirements pertaining to construction, alteration, addition, and renovation projects into one chapter; the addition of design and installation requirements to reduce the risk of corrosion damage in dry-pipe and preaction sprinkler systems; and the addition of requirements for sprinkler protection inside some exhibit cases. In addition, annexes pertaining to the renovation of historic structures and fire ratings of archaic materials were deleted, but are intended to be retained in NFPA 914, Code for Fire Protection of Historic Structures.
Two certified amending motions to further revise NFPA 909 will be addressed at the Association Technical Meeting in Chicago: accept comment 909-7 and accept comment 909-8. Both comments were published in the Fall 2008 Report on Comments and address requirements for interior wall and ceiling finish materials in cultural resource properties.
NFPA 1221, Installation, Maintenance, and Use of Emergency Services Communications Systems
NFPA 1221 has long required protection of the building that houses the communications center against hazards such as storm-related flooding, exposure from adjacent burning buildings, and the collapse of adjacent buildings. The standard also requires security measures to prevent the entry of unauthorized personnel into the communications center, as well as bullet-resistant exterior windows and walls.
Proposed revisions to NFPA 1221 include additional language to protect the communications center against attack using a vehicle laden with explosives. Since the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has already done extensive research on this topic, the committee elected to reference the DOD’s standards.
The revised standard provides requirements that keep unauthorized vehicles at least 82 feet (25 meters) from the building. If unauthorized vehicles are allowed closer than that, the building must be designed as blast-resistant.
Editorial changes were made so that terms used within the standard are more consistent so that other NFPA standards can interface with its dispatch and response criteria.
Finally, a new section was added to address radio coverage for fireground or tactical radio communications. Requirements for in-building, minimum signal level for acceptable radio performance were added where the jurisdiction requires installation of two-way radio communication enhancement systems within special structures. NFPA 1221 provides the minimum necessary system performance and operational power requirements for these systems.
NFPA 1710, Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments, and NFPA 1720, Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Volunteer Fire Departments
In these proposed revisions, both documents update definitions and clarify existing text. Both clarify that the standard applies to a fire department’s deployment of resources, and that arriving resources should be able to handle an offensive attack on a low-hazard occupancy, such as a 2,000-square-foot (186-square-meter), two-story, single-family dwelling with no basement and no exposure hazards, or provide emergency medical care to up to two patients.
The committee dealt with the issue of time. Many of the definitions were clarified to state when each portion of a specific time starts and ends, and to correlate with NFPA 1221, Installation, Maintenance, and Use of Emergency Services Communications Systems. The turnout time, or time from when responders are alerted to when they leave the station, has been increased from 60 to 80 seconds for fire and special operations responses. The issue of turnout time is being researched by the Fire Protection Research Foundation in an upcoming project.