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Sprinkler Plan Review 101 (Part 1)

What Should I Include on the Submittal:

Automatic sprinkler systems are a critical component to building design and are utilized by the design professional to meet the requirements of the code, as a design option or at the request of the building owner.  Many times the documents are “deferred” by the design professional and submitted by a qualified contractor (See section 106 of the IBC for more information).

The qualified contractor is typically responsible for preparing shop drawings that meet the building/fire code and the appropriate standard.  If you refer to the 2009 edition of the International Fire Code (IFC) the document refers the user to utilize the 2007 edition of NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Automatic Sprinkler System.  This is the referenced standard, although NFPA just recently release the 2010 edition of the standard.

Before we get into the nitty gritty (the how to) of sprinkler plan review its important to receive submittal documents that meet the minimum standard of the code.

Submittal documents must be prepared by a designer that is approved by the AHJ.  This may be NICET certification, professional engineer, or an approved contractor registration.  The process may be defined by local or state statute.  The designer must prepare submittals that provide adequate information to verify the documents comply with the requirements of the code.  Chapter 22 of the 2010 edition provides detailed requirements (its like along checklist) for proper submittals.

Lets start with the working plans.  The plans shall be

  • Drawn to an indicated scale
  • Utilize sheets of uniform size
  • Plan of each floor

The working plans shall show those items from the following list that pertain to the design of the system (see section 22.1.3):

  1. Name of owner and occupantsprinklerplanreview2
  2. Location, including street address
  3. Point of compass
  4. Full height cross section, or schematic diagram, including structural member information if required for clarity and including ceiling construction and method of protection for nonmetallic piping
  5. Location of partitions
  6. Location of fire walls
  7. Occupancy class of each area or room
  8. Location and size of concealed spaces, closets, attics, and bathrooms
  9. Any small enclosures in which no sprinklers are to be installed
  10. Size of city main in street and whether dead end or circulating; if dead end, direction and distance to nearest circulating main; and city main test results and system elevation relative to test hydrant (see A.23.1.8)
  11. Other sources of water supply, with pressure or elevation
  12. Make, type, model, and nominal K-factor of sprinklers including sprinkler identification number
  13. Temperature rating and location of high-temperature sprinklers
  14. Total area protected by each system on each floor
  15. Number of sprinklers on each riser per floor
  16. Total number of sprinklers on each dry pipe system, preaction system, combined dry pipe–preaction system, or deluge system
  17. Approximate capacity in gallons of each dry pipe system
  18. Pipe type and schedule of wall thickness
  19. Nominal pipe size and cutting lengths of pipe (or center-to-center dimensions). Where typical branch lines prevail, it shall be necessary to size only one typical line
  20. Location and size of riser nipples
  21. Type of fittings and joints and location of all welds and bends. The contractor shall specify on drawing any sections to be shop welded and the type of fittings or formations to be used
  22. Type and locations of hangers, sleeves, braces, and methods of securing sprinklers when applicable
  23. All control valves, check valves, drain pipes, and test connections
  24. Make, type, model, and size of alarm or dry pipe valve
  25. Make, type, model, and size of preaction or deluge valve
  26. Kind and location of alarm bells
  27. Size and location of standpipe risers, hose outlets, hand hose, monitor nozzles, and related equipment
  28. Private fire service main sizes, lengths, locations, weights, materials, point of connection to city main; the sizes, types and locations of valves, valve indicators, regulators, meters, and valve pits; and the depth that the top of the pipe is laid below grade
  29. Piping provisions for flushing
  30. Where the equipment is to be installed as an addition to an existing system, enough of the existing system indicated on the plans to make all conditions clear
  31. For hydraulically designed systems, the information on the hydraulic data nameplate
  32. A graphic representation of the scale used on all plans
  33. Name and address of contractor
  34. Hydraulic reference points shown on the plan that correspond with comparable reference points on the hydraulic calculation sheets
  35. The minimum rate of water application (density or flow or discharge pressure), the design area of water application, in-rack sprinkler demand, and the water required for hose streams both inside and outside
  36. The total quantity of water and the pressure required noted at a common reference point for each system
  37. Relative elevations of sprinklers, junction points, and supply or reference points
  38. If room design method is used, all unprotected wall openings throughout the floor protected
  39. Calculation of loads for sizing and details of sway bracing
  40. The setting for pressure-reducing valves
  41. Information about backflow preventers (manufacturer, size, type)
  42. Information about antifreeze solution used (type and amount)
  43. Size and location of hydrants, showing size and number of outlets and if outlets are to be equipped with independent gate valves. Whether hose houses and equipment are to be provided, and by whom, shall be indicated. Static and residual hydrants that were used in flow tests shall be shown
  44. Size, location, and piping arrangement of fire department connections
  45. Ceiling/roof heights and slopes not shown in the full height cross section
  46. Edition year of NFPA 13 that the sprinkler system is designed to

These requirements are for new submittals.  Pay attention to item 30 for clarification for modifications to existing systems.

In next part of this series we will look at the tools needed for starting the review including providing various checklists.  do you require additional items on working shop drawings submitted for plan review?

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Brian Duval December 9, 2009, 8:38 am

    Let’s not forget that if the system has a Backflow prevention device installed, that a cut sheet for it is also provided. If the system does utilize a Backflow device the installer must provide means to do (and preform) a full forward flow test as required by NFPA 13. This is something that is often overlooked.

  • Capt.Tracy R. Hogue December 9, 2009, 12:05 pm

    I did not see a requirement listed that should state on the drawings if you are using “flexible” sprinkler drops and heads. Also the type/manufacturer and if they are UL approved. I also ask for a manufacturer spec/cut sheet. This might be a idea for another article on your website.

  • Mike Evans December 9, 2009, 10:25 pm

    Does anyone else require a deferred submittal statement from the Architect (as the design professional in responsible charge) for deferred submittals like sprinkler and fire alarm systems? See Section of the IBC.

    • Michael O'Brian December 10, 2009, 7:25 am

      Captain Tracy, great point and it should be noted as a hanger, and in the calcs but the I don’t see it yet in the 2010 13, maybe a good code change.

      Mike, great question, I am going to clarify for some of our users you don’t know what a deferred submittal statement is. Per section of the 2009 IBC (106 in 2006) it states:

      Deferral of any submittal items shall have the prior approval of the building official. The registered design professional in responsible charge shall list the deferred submittals on the construction documents for review by the building official.

      Documents for deferred submittal items shall be submitted to the registered design professional in responsible charge who shall review them and forward them to the building official with a notation indicating that the deferred submittal documents have been reviewed and found to be in general conformance to the design of the building. The deferred submittal items shall not be installed until the deferred submittal documents have
      been approved by the building official.

  • Byron Blake December 13, 2009, 12:09 am


    I’m slowly putting up my massive collection of fire protection deficiency photos – some 2,000+. A number of have published in FPC Magazine, USFA NFA publication, at OSU Stillwater and some other publications as well.

    See Ya


  • Frank Bayer February 19, 2010, 7:51 pm

    Who is reviewing spinkler submittals in you jurisdictions. Since the International Codes defer sprinklers to the mechanical code, my jurisdiction leaves plan review and inspections to the Fire Marshall. The Building Department is kept out of it.

    • Michael O'Brian February 20, 2010, 11:09 am

      Frank, I am not sure but I believe you are refering to the Michigan exception as it relates to this. Michigan is one of the few that creates a new chapter in the Mechanical code based on a state act. I know at many of our communities the review is done by the fire marshal, or the plans examiner. Truly in the I-codes the requirements for fire suppression are found in Chapter 9 of the Fire Code, and copied into the Building Code for usability of the standard

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