Permit Sonoma Fire Prevention

Commercial Sprinklers Less Than 6000 Square Feet

Code Application

Historical (and current) application of fire sprinkler regulations within commercial structures less than 6000 sq ft in area that are within the unincorporated Sonoma County.

As long as a structure is less than 6000 sq ft in area, the fire sprinkler system for a commercial property is not required to meet the specific requirements of NFPA13 unless otherwise required by the California Fire Code, the California Residential Code, or the California Building Code as adopted by the State of California with state amendments.

  • Where the hazard class is considered to be a “light hazard” (“offices, including data processing”) plastic pipe is permitted to be used.
  • The system water supply demand is required to meet the demand requirements of NFPA13 for the properly identified hazard class, however this demand may be reduced on a case-by-case basis where it is determined that meeting the water supply densities required by NFPA13 is impractical.
  • An approved fire-pump, pump controller, and power supply assembly that do not meet the specific requirements of NFPA20 may be permitted, when approved by the fire code official.
  • The monitoring of the fire sprinkler system is required for fire sprinkler systems in buildings other than one- and two-family dwellings. It is recognized that, for a modest investment, the installation of additional activation devices and alarm notification devices added to the system would provide a higher level of safety and is typically encouraged.
  • A minimum of a 4 sprinkler Calculation can be used when approved by the fire code official

Historical use and applied to current use

There are many existing commercial buildings previously approved with the use of non standard compliant NFPA 13 and NFPA 20 fire sprinkler systems. Existing building shall be allowed continued use unless the following requires upgrade.

Buildings required by county ordinance required to instal fire sprinkler systems and were allowed a cost effective way to provide a fire suppression system to help slow the spread of fire, minimize damage and allow occupants additional time to exit the building in the event of a fire. There is circumstances when the previously approved system may have to be upgraded to meet current code.

The Following are a list of when a upgrade maybe required.

  • The designer may use sprinklers as a way to increase height and area.
  • The original Square feet exceeds the allowable area based on occupancy listed in state adopted codes
  • Change in occupancy
  • Change in hazard
  • The legalization of structures not previously approved
  • High Pile Storage
  • Wood working facilities.

Please consult with the fire code code official for proper application.

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