Mar 2022

Notable Changes in NFPA 13 (2022 Edition)

The 2022 edition of NFPA-13 “Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems” has undergone several changes from the 2019 edition. The following is a brief overview of some of these changes.

Chapter 8 “System Types and Requirements” now requires high and low air pressure supervision for dry systems.

The sprinkler location and obstruction requirements in Chapter 14 “Installation Requirements for Early Suppression Fast Response Sprinklers” were made a bit less stringent to align with the recent Fire Protection Research Foundation report.

Chapter 16 now calls for using the lowest mean temperature for 1-day, obtained from an Approved source, to determine if freeze protection is needed in an unheated area.

One of the bigger changes was Chapter 19 which has moved away from the use of density/area curves for the standard occupancy classes we all have been used to for many years, to single point density options for new systems. Existing systems can still use the design/density curves.

The following snips show the new single-point density options for each occupancy class, as well as the “old” density/area curves now used for existing systems only:

New Occupancy Design Points:

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Old Occupancy Design Curves (now used for evaluating existing systems):

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The most significant change in Chapter 20, which then applies to several other chapters is multi-row racks are now limited to a maximum depth of 20 ft. between aisles if they are to be considered as open frame.

Chapter 23 “ESFR Requirements for Storage Applications” has been updated with new design requirements for ESFR protection for some storage arrangements. An example of this is rack storage of uncartoned (exposed) unexpanded (non-foam) plastics. The example below compares the requirements for ESFR protection of 20 ft. high rack storage of uncartoned unexpanded plastic under a 35 ft. roof. Under the 2019 Edition, this storage can be protected with either K14 or K16.8 sprinklers operating at 75 psi and 52 psi respectively. Under the 2022 Edition, this same storage cannot be protected by either K14 or K16.8 sprinklers. One will also notice the 2022 table does not include the storage height only the roof height. Thus, for our 20 ft. high storage under a 35 ft. roof, one would have to use the criteria for a 40 ft. high roof and utilize K22.4 or K25.2 sprinklers operating at 75 psi and 60 psi respectively. These new criteria more closely track with FM Global Data Sheet 8-9 requirements (also shown below).


2019 Edition – Rack Storage of Uncartoned (exposed) Unexpanded Plastics to 20 ft. under a 35 ft. roof with ESFR sprinklers:

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2022 Edition – Rack Storage of Uncartoned (exposed) Unexpanded Plastics under a 35 ft. roof with ESFR sprinklers:

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FM Global (DS 8-9) – Rack Storage of Uncartoned (exposed) Unexpanded Plastics under a 35 ft. roof with ESFR sprinklers:

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The biggest, and perhaps the most helpful, change is Chapter 25 “Protection of Rack Storage Using In- Rack Sprinklers” which has been completely rewritten and now brings all of the in-rack sprinkler design criteria that was formerly scattered among several chapters into one chapter. One can now determine all of the protection options using in-rack sprinklers, as well as the accompanying ceiling sprinkler system designs, without having to search in other chapters.

A new Chapter 26 was also added, which contains special design criteria for storage applications such as displays in retail stores and plastic motor vehicle components.

Contact Risk Logic to have an engineering analysis of your automatic sprinklers systems to see if they are designed in accordance with the current edition of NFPA 13.