Basement Sprinkler Regulations


    Hi all,
    We are looking to build wire cage storage units in the basement of our 16 unit condo building (not new construction). There is a sprinkler system in this portion of the basement and I’ve heard that any “construction” must leave an 18″ space below the sprinkler heads. The sprinkler heads would not end up being IN the cages, but would be in the “alleyways” – but would still need to be 18″ above the top of construction. We had wanted to build the cages to the ceiling but this throws off our plans. It’s really hard to find out what the actual building regulations are. Can anyone spare any knowledge, or suggest where to look for definitive NYC building/fire codes (even the “codes” we’ve found are not that specific, or we don’t know if they are the ACTUAL codes). The vendor/builder does not want to commit (i.e. be responsible) for advising us in this area.

    6 Replies

    1. The logic, as I understand it, is that the wall not going up to the ceiling allows the sprinklers to cover the whole area with an even throw, meaning you don’t have to figure in the walled/caged areas as discrete rooms (the current sprinkler layout assumes an open space – a set of ‘rooms’ would need more sprinkler heads and also raise other building dept concerns)

      It may be that the cages’ material is open enough that this isn’t an issue, but I would suspect that the cage going to the ceiling means that from a planning standpoint, you would need to _assume_ that the cage could be filled with solid things that could go up and interrupt that open space, once again blocking the throw of the sprinkler.

      I believe there’s also a minimum distance clear directly below a head because the rebounding water can cause problems with the flow/distribution from the head.

      Just in case that makes the rules seem less arbitrary/annoying. But yes, you need to talk to a trained professional.

    2. Hmmm, monthly sprinkler inspection?!?! I don’t think we do that!?!
      I’ve succumbed to emailing the man who did our inspection before we bought 2 years ago, to ask for a bit of free advice. One would think that an inspector would know the regulation, but we’ll see.
      Thanks for the read only NFPA guidance.

    3. Do you have a sprinkler company that does your monthly inspection? They would be good people to ask.

    4. Actually, you can access a read only version of the NFPA regulations from their website. You can’t save or print them, but you can read them.

    5. 1- Leave sprinkler design to people who design sprinlklers. This work needs to be filed with NYCDOB and you need someone who knows what they are doing.
      2- If you are interested in sprinkler regs, for the most part they are governed by one of several NFPA standards as modified by NYC codes. If you want to see the text of the NFPA standard, you need to buy the standard from NFPA. You look at NYC code only to figure out which standard to follow and to figure out how NYC modified it.

    6. Hi There,

      I am Daniel Smith, a new member introducing here. I am very happy to join this forum. I found this forum very interesting and informative. So I am excited to take part in all topics. Hope I can enjoy my stay and all will cooperate with me.

      Thanks and Regards
      Daniel Smith