Administrative Ruling 2007-01 on Sprinklers
In accordance with Chapter 36, Article III, known as the Land Development Code, Article 36-1226, the following administrative ruling is made:

NFPA Sprinkler Criteria
All sprinkler work, underground or within a building shall be permitted under an "FIS" permit only.

Permits will no longer be issued based on the building permit submittals unless the entire system (underground and building) including the calculations are included as a part of the building permit submittals.

Explanatory Comment
A great deal of confusion has arisen between the building submittals, the sprinkler and fire service engineered design documents and the actual installation in the field. In the past we have tried to release underground permits based on the building design documents but in most if not all cases they are not detailed enough to constitute a complete design. Too many issues are left to the installer and as a result the contractor is left to do his own design and then the inspector is left to "sort out" the project. With the plan submittal requirements presented below it is hoped that the confusion of the current "fractured" plans and process can be reduced.

Permit Option 1
If an underground fire service permit is desired then the necessary plans sealed by a licensed engineer shall be submitted for review and approval. The drawings must include all installation details and material requirements for a complete installation. Calculations will not be required. It must be understood that the City of Springfield assumes no responsibility with the approval if the hydraulic design indicates that the line approved is too small. Upon approval of the plans an "FIS" permit may be issued for the underground portion of the fire system.

Permit Option 2
If separate plans are submitted for the building portion of the system they must include the hydraulic design calculations and each set must include the underground design sheets attached to each set of the documents. Upon approval an "FIS" permit may be issued for the building portion of the fire system. A separate permit for each building system will be issued.

Permit Option 3
If the complete design for the underground and building system is submitted as one "package" they will be reviewed as one unit and upon approval the necessary permit or permits may be issued.

If the project consists of multiple buildings then the underground portion will be issued as one permit and each building will be issued a separate permit.

If the project consists of one building then one permit may be issued providing that both the underground work and the building work is done by the same contractor.

All sprinkler submittals, be they underground or the building system, shall be submitted as complete documents in accordance with Chapter 4 Sections 4.1 through 4.1.4 of NFPA 24 and/or Chapter 6 Sections 6.2.1 through 6.2.7 of NFPA 13R or Chapter 14 Sections 14.1.3 and 14.2.1 of NFPA13. Note: Failure to follow this requirement may result in denial of the permit until the required design data is provided.

If the sprinkler drawings are not submitted as a part of the building design documents then the building design documents must show the scope of the sprinkler work including the following:
  • Code to be used in the design, including the year
  • Location of the city main connection
  • Basic layout of the main locations on site
  • Fire hydrant locations on and off site which impact the project
  • Proposed riser location
  • Sprinkler coverage areas
Underground Private Fire Service Mains
NFPA 24 Underground Piping
All underground fire lines and fittings shall comply with NFPA 24 Chapter 10 as to materials, fittings, and installation requirements. The following clarifications to this standard are as follows.

Explanatory Comment
This criteria reduces the confusion of what is allowed and not allowed in the field. This should reduce the installation of different types of material on the same fire line and better ensure that the proper material and system compatibility is being used. A cost comparison has been done and it appears to be an approximate additional cost of $70.00 per building with regard to the pipe. The mixture of fittings should be reduced which should lower the labor cost which has not been calculated.

Delete Section 10.4.2 as Written in NFPA 24
Section 10.4.2 Clarification

The top of the pipe shall be buried a minimum of 42 inches below the finish grade.

Explanatory Comment
The 42 inch depth required is greater than the code standard requires and has been enforced for many years. We wish to maintain the 42 inches depth in that it allows some latitude when establishing the finish grades on site and still maintaining the necessary protection for the pipe.

Delete Section 10.9.4 as written in NFPA 24
Section 10.9.4 Clarification

The annular space around all underground pipe material shall be protected with a minimum of 6 inches of consolidated gravel or sand. An additional 12 inches of consolidated gravel or sand shall be provided on top of the pipe to provide a minimum of 18 inches of consolidated material measured from the top of the pipe.

All fire line penetrations through a concrete floor shall be sleeved in a manner to allow for a minimum of one half (1/2) inch movement in any direction by the floor or pipe.

Explanatory Comment
Section 10.9.4 states that if the trenching is through cut rock then it must be bedded and no rocks must be placed in the trench. Due to the local soil conditions this is impossible. The code also calls for 2 feet of bedding above the pipe. We wish to make the minimum bedding of 6 inches a standard for all installations with a minimum of 18 inches of bedding above the pipe. Using 18 inches instead of 24 inches allows for more soil on top for vegetation growth and compensation for the finish grade variable. Some contractors sleeve the floor and some do not. We want all lines through the floor to have the ability to move without putting a strain on the pipe. This can be done with a sleeve or by simply wrapping the pipe with a material, which has compression characteristics.

Section Clarified as Follows
All piping and attached appurtenances subjected to system working pressure shall be hydrostatically tested at 200 PSI (13.8 bar) and shall maintain that pressure at + or - 5 PSI (0.35 bar) for 2 hours.

Explanatory Comment
Section of the code allows for a test of 50 PSI above the system working pressure. In order to avoid confusion we desire one test to cover all installations. The 200 PSI test is our current practice.

New Section
All underground fire lines shall be tested prior to trench backfill as a unit from the city connection point or downstream of the back flow prevention device to the base of the system riser and site hydrant if provided. If the "Lateral Lines" from the main to the base of the riser are not tested with the main then they shall be tested from the point of the tee connection at the main line or the elbow (end of line lateral) to the point of connection of the riser assembly above floor. Testing of "short runs" from outside the foundation wall to the above floor riser shall not be permitted.

Explanatory Comment
It is impossible to test the short 5-foot runs. This allows for a better test with fewer "breaks" in the line and if the entire site is tested at one time then the number of inspections may be reduced.

NFPA 13R Amendments

Section Clarified as Follows
If the building is equipped with a supervised fire alarm system then all valves including the listed backflow prevention device and flow switches shall be supervised.

If the building is not provided with a fire alarm system then all valves must be locked in the open position with padlocks.

If the required, listed backflow prevention device is located in a valve pit outside of the building and a supervised fire alarm system is not provided for the building then the valves in the pit shall be chained and padlocked in the open position and a locking manhole cover shall be provided.

Explanatory Comment
Section allows for three (3) different methods of valve supervision. Under the IBC all valves must be supervised by a fire alarm. As a result we desire to require what is prescribed in the clarified section, which follows the principles set forth in NFPA 13R.

Delete Section as Written
Section Clarification

If the required, listed backflow prevention assembly is located at the street an additional list backflow prevention assembly is not required at the system riser and a rubber faced check valve shall be required at the system riser.

If the required, listed backflow prevention assembly is located at the system riser then the rubber faced check valve shall not be required.

Explanatory Comment
Section is presented to clarify the confusion created between the NFPA standards and the requirements of DNR regarding backflow prevention. With the backflow device at the street then the same device is not required at the riser. The rubber faced check valve is needed in this case so as to prevent false alarms in systems located upstream of an open hydrant or open system.

Section New Section
The system riser shall be located in a secure and dedicated area. The dedicated area between the riser and the adjoining walls shall be free and clear from any and all equipment not related to the fire sprinkler system except the incoming main domestic water line.

If no walls or permanent barriers exist then an area 24 inches measured from the sprinkler riser and components shall be clear of any and all equipment not related to the fire sprinkler system riser except for the incoming main domestic water line.

Access to the sprinkler riser system and components shall be kept free and clear of any and all equipment including the incoming domestic water main for service and testing.

Explanatory Comment
With the confined spaces for these systems we are finding that owners are adding other systems such as phone or cable panels in the same rooms, conflicting with access to the sprinkler riser for maintenance and testing. The space criteria set forth is consistent with current room sizes being provided and is nothing more then a coordination of the installation of multiple systems in the same room.

The above procedures and requirements shall be effective October 1, 2007.