More Than Halon Replacements
Resources for Clean Agent Systems Plan Review and Inspection
Clean agent technology has evolved over the years. The technology for the suppression as well as the application has grown leaps and bounds over the last five years. Manufactures have invested money and energy to making systems which will protect critical resources such as computer server rooms or telephone data areas.
Most model building and fire codes refer the inspector and plan reviewer to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 2001 Standard on Clean Agent Fire Suppression Systems. The most recent edition is the 2008 edition which has some changes to the body over previous years.
NFPA 2001 contains the minimum requirements for total flooding and local application clean agent fire extinguishing systems. A common misconception is that it covers CO2 or water system. The standard does not cover fire extinguishing systems that use carbon dioxide or water as the primary extinguishing media, which are addressed by other NFPA documents (NFPA 12 or NFPA 13).
The clean agent systems are intended to meet the standard as well as the manufacture requirements. Similar to wet-chemical fire suppression systems, a clean agent system could be pre-engineered in smaller applications and larger applications the system will be engineered to ensure the proper concentration of agent for the possible fire in the space.
If you are utilizing the International Code Council code texts, the user is referred to section 904.10 (of the IBC or IFC) for clean agent systems. You can see that the text never requires these systems are installed, but does give requirements when the systems are installed at the owner’s request.
The building plans examiner or the building code official should pay attention to buildings which utilize height and area increases. The code implies that these systems should not be seen as replacements for sprinkler protection but rather an additional layer.
IBC or IFC section 904.2
Where required. Automatic fire-extinguishing systems installed as an alternative to the required automatic sprinkler systems of Section 903 shall be approved by the fire code official. Automatic fire-extinguishing systems shall not be considered alternatives for the purposes of exceptions or reductions allowed by other requirements of this code.
Below are some quick resources to assist in plan review or inspection of these systems. The checklists should not replace the code language and serve as a job aid only.
- Chesterfield Virginia Special Hazard based on the IFC 2003 edition
- Chesterfield, Clean Agent based on the IBC/IFC 2003 edition
- Ask the expert, resource at the Data Center (outside of I911.com)
- General Checklist
- State of Louisiana, Clean Agent
- San Fransisco Fire Department Requirements for Plan Submittal
- Letter to Contractors on Plan Submittal, City of Coldwater