Author(s): Angelo Verzoni. Published on July 2, 2018.

Tech Talk

A roundup of the 2018 NFPA Technical Meeting in Las Vegas


While NFPA’s annual Technical Meeting has in the past included hours of heated debate over a single document, the more than 500 attendees at this year’s meeting in Las Vegas this June signed off on 11 documents after about eight hours.

Each year, the Technical Meeting immediately follows the NFPA Conference & Expo and gives NFPA members the opportunity to voice their opinions and vote on the certified amending motions proposed for upcoming editions of NFPA codes and standards before the documents are passed on to the Standards Council for final approval. A total of 23 motions were presented to members this year on 11 NFPA codes and standards; 18 motions passed and five failed. Six motions were not pursued, meaning submitters of the motions chose not to make their cases to members at the meeting.

The most actively debated documents this year were NPFA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems, and NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code®. NFPA 13 passed after members approved six amending motions, and NFPA 72 passed with five amending motions accepted.

One successful motion on NFPA 13 that stood out to David Hague, the NFPA staff liaison to NFPA 13, was the removal of an existing requirement that sprinklers be installed at the bottom of elevator shafts in the area known as the elevator pit. “The committee [supporting the motion to remove the requirement] did a lot of work and in the end prevailed,” he said. “I think they did a good job and wrote some good language that was important.” The motion was presented mainly to eliminate the danger of sending sprinkler installers and inspectors into elevator pits.

According to federal data, thousands of people—mostly workers performing repairs, or tasks related to installation and maintenance—are injured in elevator shafts every year. The group behind the motion argued that the risks of keeping the sprinkler requirement did not outweigh the potential benefits, citing research showing a lack of elevator pit fires.

All detailed information on the motions that passed or failed at this year’s Technical Meeting—and past tech sessions—can be found online.

ANGELO VERZONI is staff writer for NFPA Journal. Top Photograph: NFPA