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When Is a Fire Sprinkler System Required in Commercial Buildings in Atlanta

Are you looking to open a new business in Atlanta? One of the more important components of building a new commercial property surrounds fire safety components, like having an automatic fire sprinkler system. However, buildings can differ in size and layout, all of which impact fire sprinkler requirements. 

When is a fire sprinkler system required in a commercial building? The experts at Cliff's Fire Extinguisher Company, one of the leading fire sprinkler companies in Atlanta, break down everything you need to know in this guide.  

Types of Fire Sprinkler Systems Available for Property Owners

Commercial building owners and managers rely on sprinkler systems to put out accidental fires. These systems prove highly effective at saving lives and extinguishing fires before local fire departments can respond. Did you know that building owners can install several types of sprinkler systems?

Your building can include any of the following sprinkler systems:

  • Dry pipe: This system's pipes contain pressurized air that prevents water from flowing until a temperature increase activates the sprinkler head. The air then leaks out of the sprinkler head, allowing the water to follow. 
  • Wet pipe: The most common type of sprinkler system, a wet pipe setup directs cold water through the pipe when the sprinkler head activates. 
  • Deluge: This sprinkler works similarly to a wet pipe system, although the sprinkler head always stays open, and the entire building's system releases water when triggered. 
  • Pre-action: To prevent building damage caused by false alarm triggers, this system uses an electronic valve to keep water out of the pipes and only releases it when smoke or a temperature increase activates the sprinkler head. 

When Is a Fire Sprinkler System Required in Commercial Buildings? 

If you're looking to build a new office space or expand a commercial building, you can ask your contractors, "When is a fire sprinkler system required?" and any other building-related questions you may have. They stay up-to-date with local codes and will provide guidance on the fire safety standards your building must meet. You can also ask Atlanta's authorities for help obtaining any necessary permits and explaining the city's fire codes.

Property owners must abide by the national standards put forth by the National Fire Protection Association. This organization continuously updates its rules regarding sprinkler systems and other fire safety equipment that must be present in certain buildings. Current fire sprinkler requirements set by the NFPA include:

  • Automatic fire sprinklers must be present in buildings with a fire area greater than 5,000 square feet. 
  • Remodeling projects that extend the fire area beyond 5,000 square feet require the installation of a sprinkler system. 
  • A tenant increase in occupancy that calls for a new certificate of occupancy requires a sprinkler system. 
  • Commercial buildings taller than 55 feet must have sprinkler systems. 
  • Fire pumps are necessary in a fire-rated room to help increase the pressure of the sprinkler system.

How To Protect an Atlanta Commercial Building Without a Fire Sprinkler System

Say you ask local officials, "When is a fire sprinkler system required?" and learn that commercial property doesn't meet the NFPA's criteria. How can you ensure the property will be safe without an automatic sprinkler system? Experts recommend incorporating both passive and active fire safety measures. 

Active fire protection centers around steps or equipment that will help you put out a blaze. Fire sprinkler systems are one of the most widely used active fire protection measures. Other forms of protection include fire extinguishers and smoke alarms. 

Passive fire protection refers to measures that focus on containing the flames or smoke in one area of the building. These steps won't put out the fire entirely, but they should prevent the flames from spreading and causing significant damage throughout the building. Common forms of passive fire protection include fire-rated walls and doors that won't deteriorate as quickly as other materials.

If your building features stairwells or should lose power due to a fire, you can also incorporate lit path markers throughout the building. These facilitate fire evacuation by leading occupants to a safe exit when navigating thick plumes of smoke. 

Protect Your Commercial Building With Equipment From Cliff's Fire Extinguisher Company

Now that you know the answer to the question, "When is a fire sprinkler system required in Atlanta commercial buildings?" be proactive about enhancing fire safety. Cliff's Fire Extinguisher Company carries all of the necessary equipment to keep your property safe, including sprinkler systems, smoke alarms, and fire extinguishers. Contact their fire safety experts today to learn more. 

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