How can lives and property be protected in multi-family dwellings?

March 1, 2023

by Nils Deacon, Manager, Inspections and Rating Services

In a building four or less stories in height with residential occupancy, life safety is a primary concern with regard to fire risk. Protection of property – minimizing economic impact to the building owner and residents – is also important. Sprinkler systems installed in accordance with NFPA 13R Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in Low-Rise Residential Occupancies address both aspects of protection.

This Standard outlines general requirements, installation, and other specifications designed to avoid total involvement (flashover) in the area where fire originates, allowing occupants a better chance to evacuate.

Although there are exceptions, basic requirements call for sprinkler heads to be installed throughout the premises, positioned to optimize activation and water distribution. In a townhouse-type building, each residential unit must have a dedicated sprinkler system. As an alternative, there can be a control valve for the building sprinkler system outside each dwelling unit or in a common area.

Sprinkler systems installed to Standard 13R help to control residential fires, saving lives and reducing property damage.

DISCLAIMER: This information reflects the interpretation of MSO, Inc. with regard to NFPA Standards and Codes. It does not represent NFPA’s official position on the items discussed.

Low-rise residential building.