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Authorities, Specifications and Codes & Standards

Codes and Standards

Application of the Building Code

The applicable building code will require different levels of fire protection, generally based on the use and occupancy of the building. For instance, in the application of fire alarm systems, the requirements in a building used for health care are significantly different from the requirements for an industrial facility. That is because the code takes into account the condition and abilities of the occupantsThe occupants in an industrial facility are expected to be alert and awake, and able to perceive a fire and move rapidly from it. However, the occupants of a hospital or nursing home may not be able to help themselves move from the danger. Therefore, it is imperative that the fire alarm system in a health care occupancy be able to alert people faster and more universally than the fire alarm system, if any, in the industrial occupancy. This also means that fire sprinklers have to react faster in a nursing home than in an industrial facility, even though the fuel load in a nursing home is less than in an industrial facility. Technology takes care of this, with the inclusion of quick response sprinklers in light hazard occupancies. There will be much more information on this later in this program.. With sprinkler protection, life safety as well as the property loss potential are both considerations.

The building code that is applied will reference some rules for the installation of fire sprinkler systems. Usually, the rules are published as another code or perhaps a standard. In the case that no commercially published code is applied, the jurisdiction may write their own rules, or they may choose to adopt some of a published document. The jurisdiction may then alter it for their own purposesIt is not uncommon for a community to adopt a "sprinkler ordinance" that requires the installation of sprinklers in any building over a certain size. The size may be significantly smaller than the applicable building code may require. The intent is to assist firefighters in control of fires in the community, thus potentially lowering the amount of equipment and manpower..

This is also true of other forms of fire protection. There may be references to other published standards, such as those for sprinkler systems, in certain occupancies, or a jurisdiction may choose to develop their own.

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NOTE: This is an unformatted excerpt from our online fire protection training library.

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