Fire Protection Research Foundation project examines sprinkler protection for cloud ceilings

Research to provide guidance for NFPA 13 

August 7, 2013 – The Fire Protection Research Foundation (Foundation) completed a project aimed at better understanding Sprinkler Protection for Cloud Ceilings. The Foundation, an affiliate of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), initiated this project to obtain an understanding of how cloud ceiling panels impact sprinkler actuation with an overall goal to provide technical basis for sprinkler installation requirements.

Cloud ceilings, panels that sit beneath the structural ceiling of a room with gaps, are becoming increasingly popular in commercial and industrial buildings. This project examined how sprinkler protection is impacted by these ceilings, and studied fire sprinkler performance when they were placed above and below the panels.

NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, does not have definitive guidance on automatic sprinkler installation requirement for these ceilings. To provide guidance for NFPA 13, the primary tasks of this research project included literature and modeling data review and gap analysis, creating and implementing a modeling evaluation plan, and developing recommendations for appropriate sprinkler installation criteria.

 Video: Jason Floyd, Ph.D., senior engineer at Hughes Associates, discusses the project and its findings.

The study was conducted by Hughes Associates, Inc. The end result is guidance for sprinkler installation requirements for large, contiguous clouds by determining the maximum gap size between the wall and the cloud edge at which sprinklers located on the structural ceiling are not effective.

To learn more about recommendations of this project and guidance proposed for NFPA 13, view the full report.

About the Fire Protection Research Foundation
The Fire Protection Research Foundation plans, manages, and communicates research on a broad range of fire safety issues in collaboration with scientists and laboratories around the world. The Foundation is an affiliate of NFPA.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. NFPA develops more than 300 codes and standards to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other hazards. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed at no cost at

Contact: Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1 617 984-7275