Code Development & Analysis

Residential Fire Sprinkler and California Codes

The California Building Standards Commission approved the State Fire Marshal's Building, Fire and Residential Code adoption packages for the 2010 California Building Standards Codes at the hearing on January 12, 2010. The 2010 California Building Standards Codes published July 1, 2010, with an effective date of January 1, 2011. A key component in the 2010 code adoption is the addition of residential fire sprinklers in all new one-and two-family dwellings and townhouse construc­tion statewide. For many years, installation of fire sprinkler systems has only been required in office buildings and multi-family dwellings (i.e. apartments). These sprinkler systems are proven to save lives and extinguish fires. Prior to the adoption of the 2010 California Building Standards Codes, more than 150 jurisdictions in California had a local residential fire sprinkler ordinance.


Residential Fire Sprinkler Implementation Issue Form
In a continued coordinated effort, the Office of the State Fire Marshal and the California Building Industry Association has introduced this form to collect information, help clarify the State's requirement, and assist in resolution of misunderstandings or misrepresentation of issues associated with implementation of this code requirement.
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History of California Residential Fire Sprinklers
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Awareness Level Course on Residential Fire Sprinkler and the 2010 California Residential Code
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The Residential Fire Sprinkler/Final Task Force Reports
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Fire Flow Water Consumption in Sprinklered and Unsprinklered Buildings: An Assessment of Community Impacts

Over the past thirty years, selected municipal water authorities have implemented strategies, including stand by fees and other policies, to recover costs for water consumed in fires in sprinklered buildings. Typically these fees are not directly related to sprinkler fire flows but rather are recognition of the fact that these flows are not metered and thus not accounted for in conventional water cost recovery mechanisms. In contrast, water consumption at fires at unsprinklered properties is typically not subject to fees nor metered at the hydrant. With the growing adoption of residential sprinkler ordinances in communities across the country, the National Fire Protection Association commissioned this study to assess the relative community impacts of water consumption in sprinklered and unsprinklered properties.
The study considered the water used in various building types with and without automatic sprinkler protection during a fire condition and estimated the water used per year for commissioning, inspection, testing and maintenance of buildings with systems for each building type. The anticipated water used for fire protection was compared with fees in sample jurisdictions; methods were developed to calculate fire water fees that are proportional to the anticipated volume of fire water used. Follow the link below for the document.

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Residential Fire Sprinklers - Product/Components (Listing and Websites)
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OSFM Regulations within Antifreeze

On October 19, 2010, the California Building Standards Commission approved the Office of the State Fire Marshal's emergency regulations amending sections of the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 24, Part 2, 2.5, and 9 (California Building Code, California Residential Building Code, and California Fire Code). The approved emergency regulations addresses the use of antifreeze solutions in concentrations not to exceed 40% propylene glycol and concentrations of glycerin not exceeding 50% in residential occupancies and other dwelling units for the protection of sprinkler pipe in freezing conditions. This change would be effective on January 1, 2011.
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The Fire Protection Research Foundation
Residential Fire Sprinklers – Water Usage and Water Meter Performance Study

When mandates for sprinkler requirements in one and two family dwellings are discussed at a local or state level, a number of issues come up with respect to water supply requirements. Often, these issues are true barriers to residential sprinkler requirements because the water authority is not knowledgeable about residential sprinklers systems and how they are different from commercial fire sprinkler systems. There are two related issues: one is total water usage during sprinkler actuation at a fire scene (fire flow) in comparison with water usage by the fire service; the other is conventional water meter performance during sprinkler actuation. This report describes the results of a study on water usage and water meter performance during residential sprinkler system actuation in residences, designed to provide guidance information on this topic in a format suitable for water utilities and local jurisdictions. It includes the results of a survey of fire departments on their average use of water at fire scenes at single family homes; fire flow calculations for a variety of single family home fire sprinkler systems and a study of the performance of conventional residential water meters in maximum and minimum fire sprinkler flow scenarios.

To view or download a copy of the report click here.


Antifreeze within Residential Fire Sprinkler Systems

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has recently released an updated safety alert and additional news release that discusses the use of antifreeze within residential fire sprinkler systems. This type of system accounts for less than five percent (5%) of the total residential fire sprinkler systems installed in the state. The updated safety alert can be found at http://www.nfpa.org/assets/files//Antifreeze.safety.alert.Aug.2010.pdf and www.nfpa.org/itemDetail.asp?categoryID=206&itemID=48038 and the most recent news release at http://www.nfpa.org/newsReleaseDetails.asp?categoryid=488&itemId=48583.

At the August meeting of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards Council meeting held in Boston, Massachusetts a final decision was made to issue the tentative interim agreements (TIA) 1000, 995, and 994 on NFPA 13, NFPA 13R and NFPA 13D, respectively to prohibit the use of antifreeze solutions within all NFPA 13D applications and within the dwelling unit portions of NFPA 13 and NFPA 13R sprinkler systems. It is important to note that this agreement is NOT A REGULATORY NOR A CODE REQUIREMENT but an avenue to move discussion and research further that may lead to changes in regulation.

To share information statewide, the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) has issued a number of informational bulletins on this subject. These bulletins are posted on our website at http://osfm.fire.ca.gov/informationbulletin/informationbulletin.php. We are working very closely with a number of state and national organizations and other stakeholders to provide additional information and provide the essential facts. As more information is released, the OSFM will continue to send out emails and documents through our mass email system and website postings. Additionally, the OSFM strongly suggest reviewing the OSFM Residential Fire Sprinkler/Water Supply Purveyor Task Force reports developed for the implementation of residential fire sprinkler systems 2010 California Residential Code: http://osfm.fire.ca.gov/codedevelopment/residentialsprinklerandcacodes.php.

The sustained efforts of all stakeholders must focus on sharing information; working together; and continue to support the message that fire sprinklers are one of the most effective ways to save lives and property from fire; and to that end, assure the successful implementation of the 2010 California Residential Code and the residential fire sprinkler provisions.


California Water Purveyors and Health Officials - Code Adoption of Statewide Residential Fire Protection Sprinkler Systems

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Landmark Residential Fire Study Shows How Crew Sizes and Arrival Times Influence Saving Lives and Property

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The National Fire Protection Research Foundation has released their important report entitled Home Fire Sprinkler Cost Assessment. The purpose of this study is to "provide information on the topic, and to understand the factors that may influence the cost and hence impede the widespread use of residential fire sprinklers". The Foundation undertook this study to provide a national perspective on the subject matter. Please click the link to obtain a copy of the final report.
Click here to view the final report.


USFA Releases Multiple-Fatality Fires in Residential Buildings Topical Report
Contact: USFA Press Office: (301) 447-1853
WASHINGTON D.C. - The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued a special report examining the causes and characteristics of residential multiple-fatality fires. The report, Multiple-Fatality Fires in Residential Buildings, was developed by the National Fire Data Center, part of FEMA's U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). The report is based on 2004 to 2006 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).
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A Message from the United States Fire Administrator about Residential Fire Sprinklers.
Posted on June 1, 2009 by Glenn A. Gaines, Acting U.S. Fire Administrator
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NFPA Releases New Report on Home Structure Fires.
Fires strike where people live. For more information click here.


Fire Sprinkler Systems Information for Manufactured Homes, Mobilehomes and Multifamily Manufactured Homes.
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Residential Fire Sprinkler Video.




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