Chapter 15.16
AUTOMATIC FIRE EXTINGUISHING SYSTEMS

Sections:

15.16.010    Where required – Specific occupancies – New construction.

15.16.011    Group A occupancies.

15.16.012    Group B occupancies.

15.16.013    Group E occupancies.

15.16.014    Group F occupancies.

15.16.015    Group H occupancies.

15.16.016    Group I occupancies.

15.16.0165    Group M occupancies.

15.16.017    Group R occupancies.

15.16.018    Group S occupancies.

15.16.019    General requirements.

15.16.020    Where required – Specific occupancies – Existing structures.

15.16.030    Where required – Specific conditions.

15.16.040    Permissible sprinkler omissions.

15.16.050    Sprinkler system alarms.

15.16.060    Indicating valves.

15.16.070    Testing and maintenance.

15.16.080    Separation walls – Floor area calculations.

15.16.090    Plans – Professional approval.

15.16.100    Plans – City approval.

15.16.105    Retrofit city permit and inspection.

15.16.110    Appeals – Filing.

15.16.120    Conflict with the building code.

15.16.130    Repealed.

15.16.010 Where required – Specific occupancies – New construction.

Subsections 903.1, 903.1.1, and 903.2 of the International Fire Code are hereby amended to read as follows:

Section 903.1 General. Automatic sprinkler systems shall comply with this section.

1. For structures with unknown tenants, the sprinkler density of .39 per 5,600 square feet shall be used for design purposes where required by the Fire Chief.

Section 903.1.1 Alternative Protection. Alternative automatic fire-extinguishing systems complying with Section 904 shall be permitted in lieu of automatic sprinkler protection where recognized by the applicable standard and approved by the fire code official.

Section 903.2 Where Required. Approved automatic sprinkler systems in new buildings and structures shall be provided in the locations described in this section.

For provisions on special hazards and hazardous materials, see the fire code.

Gross floor area defined. For purposes of this chapter, gross floor area shall be as defined in Chapter 10, International Building Code.

1. All buildings hereinafter constructed as defined by the International Fire Code shall be equipped with a fully automatic sprinkler system designed, installed, maintained and tested per NFPA 13, 13D, 13R, or 25, the edition currently adopted by the city, where the gross floor area or occupant load exceeds those listed below, or the building is 35 feet in height or three or more stories.

Buildings protected by a fire sprinkler system. Canopies 4 feet or more in width shall be protected by a fire sprinkler system.

For requirements related to additions, alterations and/or remodels to existing buildings see Section 15.16.020.

(Ord. 1484 § 1, 2014; Ord. 1462 § 11, 2013; Ord. 1357 § 1, 2010; Ord. 699 § 1, 1995).

15.16.011 Group A occupancies.

Subsections 903.2.1, 903.2.1.1, 903.2.1.2, 903.2.1.3, 903.2.1.4, and 903.2.1.5 of the International Fire Code are hereby amended to read as follows:

Section 903.2.1 Group A. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided throughout buildings and portions thereof used as Group occupancies as provided in this section. For Group A-1, A-2, A-3 and A-4 occupancies, the automatic sprinkler system shall be provided throughout the gross floor area where the Group A-1, A-2, A-3 or A-4 occupancy is located, and in all floors between the Group occupancy and the level of exit discharge. For Group A-5 occupancies, the automatic sprinkler system shall be provided in the spaces indicated in Section 903.2.1.5.

Section 903.2.1.1 Group A-1. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided for Group A-1 occupancies where one of the following conditions exists:

1. The gross floor area exceeds 5,000 square feet;

2. The gross floor area has an occupant load of 100 or more;

3. The gross floor area is located on a floor other than the level of exit discharge; or

4. The gross floor area contains a multi-theater complex.

Section 903.2.1.2 Group A-2. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided for Group A-2 occupancies where one of the following conditions exists:

1. The gross floor area exceeds 5,000 square feet;

2. The gross floor area has an occupant load of 100 or more; or

3. The gross floor area is located on a floor other than the level of exit discharge.

Section 903.2.1.3 Group A-3. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided for Group A-3 occupancies where one of the following conditions exists:

1. The gross floor area exceeds 5,000 square feet;

2. The gross floor area has an occupant load of 100 or more; or

3. The gross floor area is located on a floor other than the level of exit discharge.

Exception: Areas used exclusively as participant sports areas where the main floor area is located at the same level as the level of exit discharge of the main entrance and exit.

Section 903.2.1.4 Group A-4. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided for Group A-4 occupancies where one of the following conditions exists:

1. The gross floor area exceeds 5,000 square feet;

2. The gross floor area has an occupant load of 100 or more; or

3. The gross floor area is located on a floor other than the level of exit discharge.

Exception: Areas used exclusively as participant sports areas where the main floor area is located at the same level as the level of exit discharge of the main entrance and exit.

Section 903.2.1.5 Group A-5. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided in concession stands, retail areas, press boxes, and other accessory use areas in excess of 1,000 square feet of gross floor area.

(Ord. 1462 § 11, 2013; Ord. 1357 § 2, 2010; Ord. 699 § 1, 1995).

15.16.012 Group B occupancies.

Group B. Businesses as described in Chapter 2 of the International Fire Code.

An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided throughout all buildings with a Group B occupancy where one of the following conditions exists:

1. Where the gross floor area of a Group B occupancy exceeds 5,000 square feet;

2. Where the gross floor area of a Group B occupancy is located more than three stories above grade; or

3. Where the combined gross floor area of all Group B occupancies on all floors, including any mezzanines, exceeds 5,000 square feet.

(Ord. 1462 § 11, 2013; Ord. 1357 § 3, 2010; Ord. 699 § 1, 1995).

15.16.013 Group E occupancies.

Subsection 903.2.3 of the International Fire Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

Section 903.2.3 Group E. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided for Group E occupancies as follows:

1. Throughout all Group E occupancies where the gross floor area exceeds 5,000 square feet.

2. Throughout every portion of educational buildings below the level of exit discharge.

Exception: An automatic sprinkler system is not required in any fire area or area below the level of exit discharge where every classroom throughout the building has at least one exterior exit door at ground level.

(Ord. 1462 § 11, 2013; Ord. 1357 § 4, 2010; Ord. 699 § 1, 1995).

15.16.014 Group F occupancies.

Subsections 903.2.4 and 903.2.4.1 of the International Fire Code are hereby amended to read as follows:

Section 903.2.4 Group F-1. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided throughout all buildings containing a Group F-1 occupancy where one of the following conditions exist:

1. Where the gross floor area of a Group F-1 occupancy exceeds 5,000 square feet;

2. Where the gross floor area of a Group F-1 occupancy is located more than three stories above grade;

3. Where the combined gross floor area of all Group F-1 occupancies on all floors, including any mezzanines, exceeds 5,000 square feet; or

4. Where the gross floor area of a Group F-1 occupancy used for the manufacture of upholstered furniture or mattresses exceed 2,500 square feet.

Section 903.2.4.1 Woodworking Operations. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided throughout all Group F-1 occupancy fire areas that contain woodworking operations in excess of 2,500 square feet in gross floor area which generate finely divided combustible waste or which use finely divided combustible materials.

(Ord. 1462 § 7, 2013; Ord. 1357 § 5, 2010; Ord. 699 § 1, 1995).

15.16.015 Group H occupancies.

Subsections 903.2.5, 903.2.5.1, 903.2.5.2, and 903.2.5.3 of the International Fire Code are hereby amended to read as follows:

Section 903.2.5 Group H. Automatic sprinkler systems shall be provided in high-hazard occupancies as required in Sections 903.2.5.1 through 903.2.5.3.

Section 903.2.5.1 General. An automatic sprinkler system shall be installed in Group H occupancies.

Section 903.2.5.2 Group H-5 Occupancies. An automatic sprinkler system shall be installed throughout buildings containing Group H-5 occupancies. The design of the sprinkler system shall not be less than that required under the International Building Code for the occupancy hazard classifications in accordance with Table 903.2.5.2.

Where the design area of the sprinkler system consists of a corridor protected by one row of sprinklers, the maximum number of sprinklers required to be calculated is 13.

TABLE 903.2.5.2

GROUP H-5 SPRINKLER DESIGN CRITERIA

LOCATION

OCCUPANCY HAZARD CLASSIFICATION

Fabrication areas

Ordinary Hazard Group 2

Service corridors

Ordinary Hazard Group 2

Storage rooms without dispensing

Ordinary Hazard Group 2

Storage rooms with dispensing

Extra Hazard Group 2

Corridors

Ordinary Hazard Group 2

Section 903.2.5.3 Pyroxylin Plastics. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided in buildings, or portions thereof, where cellulose nitrate film or pyroxylin plastics are manufactured, stored or handled in quantities exceeding 100 pounds.

(Ord. 1462 § 11, 2013; Ord. 1357 § 6, 2010; Ord. 699 § 1, 1995).

15.16.016 Group I occupancies.

Subsection 903.2.6 of the International Fire Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

Section 903.2.6 Group I. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided throughout buildings with a Group I fire area.

Exception: An automatic sprinkler system installed in accordance with Section 903.3.1.2 or 903.2.1.3 shall be allowed in Group I-1 facilities.

(Ord. 1462 § 11, 2013; Ord. 1357 § 7, 2010; Ord. 699 § 1, 1995).

15.16.0165 Group M occupancies.

Subsection 903.2.7 and 903.2.7.1 of the International Fire Code are hereby amended to read as follows:

Section 903.2.7 Group M. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided throughout buildings containing a Group M occupancy where one of the following conditions exists:

1. Where the gross floor area of a Group M occupancy exceeds 5,000 square feet;

2. Where the gross floor area of a Group M occupancy is located more than three stories above grade; or

3. Where the combined gross floor area of all Group M occupancies on all floors, including any mezzanines, exceeds 5,000 square feet.

Section 903.2.7.1 High-Piled Storage. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided as required in Chapter 23 in all buildings of Group M occupancy where storage of merchandise is in high-piled or rack storage arrays. Permits may be required.

(Ord. 1462 § 11, 2013; Ord. 1357 § 8, 2010).

15.16.017 Group R occupancies.

Subsection 903.2.8 of the International Fire Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

Section 903.2.8 Group R. An automatic sprinkler system installed in accordance with Section 903.3 shall be provided throughout all buildings with a Group R fire area and one and two-family dwellings and townhouses constructed under the International Residential Code.

903.2.8.1 Group R-3 or R-4 congregate residences. An automatic sprinkler system installed in accordance with Section 903.3.1.3 shall be permitted in Group R-3 or R-4 congregate living facilities with 16 or fewer residents.

903.2.8.2 Care facilities. An automatic sprinkler system installed in accordance with Section 903.3.1.3 shall be permitted in care facilities with 5 or fewer individuals in a single-family dwelling.

(Ord. 1484 § 2, 2014; Ord. 1462 § 8, 2013; Ord. 1357 § 9, 2010; Ord. 699 § 1, 1995).

15.16.018 Group S occupancies.

Subsections 903.2.9, 903.2.9.1, 903.2.9.2, 903.2.10, and 903.2.10.1 of the International Fire Code are hereby amended to read as follows:

Section 903.2.9 Group S-1. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided throughout all buildings containing a Group S-1 occupancy where one of the following conditions exists:

1. Where the gross floor area of a Group S-1 occupancy exceeds 5,000 square feet;

2. Where the gross floor area of a Group S-1 occupancy is located more than three stories above grade;

3. Where the combined gross floor area of all Group S-1 occupancies on all floors, including any mezzanines, exceeds 5,000 square feet;

4. Where the gross floor area of a Group S-1 occupancy used for the storage of commercial trucks of buses exceed 5,000 square feet; or

5. Where the gross floor area of a Group F-1 occupancy used for the storage of upholstered furniture or mattresses exceed 2,500 square feet.

Section 903.2.9.1 Repair garages. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided throughout all buildings used as repair garages in accordance with Section 406.8 of the International Building Code, as shown:

1. Buildings two or more stories in height, including basements, with a gross floor area containing a repair garage exceeding 5,000 square feet.

2. One-story buildings with a gross floor area containing a repair garage exceeding 5,000 square feet.

3. Buildings with a repair garage servicing vehicles parked in the basement.

4. Where the gross floor area of a Group S-1 occupancy used for the repair of commercial trucks of buses exceed 5,000 square feet.

Section 903.2.9.2 Bulk Storage of Tires. Buildings and structures where the area for the storage of tires exceeds 20,000 cubic feet shall be equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1.

Section 903.2.10 Group S-2. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided throughout buildings classified as an enclosed parking garage in accordance with the International Building Code or where located beneath other groups.

Exception: Enclosed parking garages located beneath Group R-3 occupancies.

Section 903.2.10.1 Commercial Parking Garages. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided throughout buildings used for storage of commercial trucks or buses where the gross floor area exceeds 5,000 square feet.

(Ord. 1462 § 9, 2013; Ord. 1357 § 10, 2010; Ord. 699 § 1, 1995).

15.16.019 General requirements.

Subsection 903.3.7 of the International Fire Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

Section 903.3.7 Fire department connections. The location of fire department connections shall be approved by the fire chief. Where possible, fire department connections shall be located not less than 50 feet from the protected building and not more than 50 feet from the fire hydrant.

(Ord. 1462 §§ 10, 11, 2013).

15.16.020 Where required.

Subsection 903.6 of the International Fire Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

Section 903.6 Existing buildings. The provisions of this section are intended to provide a reasonable degree of safety in existing structures by requiring the installation of an automatic sprinkler system in all existing structures where the gross floor area or occupant load exceeds those listed in BLMC Sections 15.16.010019 that are altered, remodeled, or enlarged 50% or more of the existing floor area as defined by the International Building and Fire Code. This provision shall apply to the existing and proposed additional square footage in their entirety.

The project may be exempt from the requirements for automatic sprinkler systems provided:

1. a. There is no increase in occupied space, including existing areas previously vacant; and

b. There is no change in occupancy; and

c. The project complies with all other fire and life safety requirements of adopted construction codes; or

2. The structure is of noncombustible construction with wholly noncombustible contents, provided automatic sprinklers are not required to satisfy other requirements of adopted codes.

Existing basements in other than R occupancies, in excess of 1,500 square feet may be exempt from automatic sprinkler requirements provided the following conditions are met:

1. A one-hour fire-resistive occupancy separation is installed between the basement and the remainder of the building; and

2. The entire building must be provided with a fully automatic fire alarm system; and

3. No residential occupancy is located in the building.

(Ord. 1484 § 3, 2014; Ord. 1462 § 11, 2013; Ord. 1357 § 12, 2010; Ord. 851 § 19, 2000; Ord. 699 § 1, 1995).

15.16.030 Where required – Specific conditions.

A fully automatic extinguishing system shall be required by the building official, with the concurrence of the fire chief of Pierce County Fire Protection District No. 22, for a new building with lesser gross floor area when in his judgment any of the following conditions exist:

A. Hazardous operation or hazardous conditions;

B. Critical exposure problems where buildings are inaccessible on more than two sides;

C. Limited access to the building or property, as defined by the International Fire Code;

D. Where the available fire flow is less than 80 percent of the required fire flow;

E. Other factors which may contribute to an extreme fire hazard. (Ord. 1357 § 13, 2010; Ord. 851 § 20, 2000; Ord. 699 § 1, 1995).

15.16.040 Permissible sprinkler omissions.

Subsection 903.3.1.1.1 of the International Fire Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

Section 903.3.1.1.1 Exempt locations. Subject to the approval of the Fire Chief, automatic sprinklers may be omitted in the following rooms or areas where such rooms or areas are protected with an approved automatic fire detection system in accordance with Section 907.2 that will respond to visible or invisible particles of combustion. Sprinklers shall not be omitted from any room merely because it is damp, of fire-resistance rated construction or contains electrical equipment.

1. Any room where the application of water, or flame and water, constitutes a serious life or fire hazard.

2. Safe deposit or other vaults of fire-resistive construction, when used for the storage of record files and other documents, when stored in metal cabinets.

3. Any room or space where sprinklers are considered undesirable because of the nature of the contents, when approved by the fire code official.

4. Generator and transformer rooms separated from the remainder of the building by walls and floor/ceiling or roof/ceiling assemblies having a fire-resistance rating of not less than 2 hours.

5. In rooms or areas that are of non-combustible construction with wholly non-combustible contents.

6. Fire service access elevator machine rooms and machinery spaces.

(Ord. 1462 § 11, 2013; Ord. 1357 § 14, 2010; Ord. 851 § 21, 2000; Ord. 699 § 1, 1995).

15.16.050 Sprinkler system alarms.

Subsection 903.4.2 of the International Fire Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

Section 903.4.2 Alarms. Approved audible devices shall be connected to every automatic sprinkler system. Such sprinkler water-flow alarm devices shall be activated by water flow equivalent to the flow of a single sprinkler of the smallest orifice size installed in the system. Alarm devices shall be installed on the exterior of the building in an approved location. An approved audible sprinkler flow alarm to alert the occupants shall be provided in the interior of the building in a normally occupied location. Where a fire alarm system is installed, actuation of the automatic sprinkler system shall actuate the building fire alarm system.

(Ord. 1462 § 11, 2013; Ord. 1357 § 15, 2010; Ord. 851 § 22, 2000; Ord. 699 § 1, 1995).

15.16.060 Indicating valves.

Subsection 903.4.3 of the International Fire Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

Section 903.4.3 Indicating valves. All automatic sprinkler systems shall be provided with a listed and approved indicating valve. Such valve shall be provided on the exterior of the building in a location to be determined by the Fire Chief. When possible, such valve shall be located not less than 50 feet from the protected structure.

(Ord. 1462 § 11, 2013; Ord. 1357 § 16, 2010; Ord. 851 § 23, 2000; Ord. 699 § 1, 1995).

15.16.070 Testing and maintenance.

Subsection 903.5 of the International Fire Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

Section 903.5 Testing and maintenance. Sprinkler systems shall be tested and maintained in accordance with Section 901. A copy of the annual inspection report shall be signed by the individual conducting the inspection, and a copy of the report shall be forwarded to the fire department.

(Ord. 1462 § 11, 2013; Ord. 1357 § 17, 2010; Ord. 699 § 1, 1995).

15.16.080 Separation walls – Floor area calculations.

Area and occupancy separation walls as defined in the International Building Code shall not be used to separate a building into smaller areas in order to delete the automatic extinguishing system requirement. In buildings with mixed occupancy groups, the floor area shall be calculated with the structure’s gross square footage and computed with the highest group in place. For the purposes of this chapter, when buildings are attached by common walls and each building is located on a separate parcel of land, each building shall be considered as a separate building. (Ord. 1357 § 18, 2010; Ord. 699 § 1, 1995).

15.16.090 Plans – Professional approval.

Only plans approved by the Washington State Survey and Rating Bureau, NICET level as approved by the Washington State Fire Marshal certification program, or certified and stamped by a fire protection engineer shall be accepted. Four sets of approved automatic sprinkler system plans shall be submitted to the building official or fire code official. (Ord. 1357 § 19, 2010; Ord. 851 § 24, 2000; Ord. 699 § 1, 1995).

15.16.100 Plans – City approval.

No building shall be occupied prior to installation and approval of required automatic sprinkler and fire alarm systems as set forth in this chapter. (Ord. 1357 § 20, 2010; Ord. 699 § 1, 1995).

15.16.105 Retrofit city permit and inspection.

Underground automatic fire extinguishing systems which are part of a water system extension will be permitted and inspected as part of the water system extension permit. Underground automatic fire extinguishing systems installed as part of a remodel, retrofit or change of use will be permitted in accordance with Chapter 15.36 BLMC. (Ord. 1432 § 3, 2012).

15.16.110 Appeals – Filing.

Whenever the fire chief disapproves an application or refuses to grant a permit applied for, or when it is claimed that the provisions of the code do not apply or that the true intent and meaning of the code have been misconstrued or wrongly interpreted, the applicant may appeal the decision of the fire chief to the board of appeals within 20 days from the date of the decision as provided by Chapter 15.04 BLMC. (Ord. 1357 § 21, 2010; Ord. 988 § 2, 2003; Ord. 851 § 25, 2000; Ord. 699 § 1, 1995).

15.16.120 Conflict with the building code.

In the event there is a conflict between the provisions of this chapter and the provisions of the International Code Council’s International Building Code the more restrictive shall apply. (Ord. 1462 § 11, 2013; Ord. 1357 § 22, 2010; Ord. 699 § 1, 1995).

15.16.130 Enforcement.

Repealed by Ord. 988. (Ord. 699 § 1, 1995).