Key Changes to NFPA 13’s Sprinkler System Codes

Recently, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) updated NFPA 13: Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems. The majority of the changes clarify issues contained in the code’s previous versions, but there have been some very significant changes that may impact manufacturing and warehouse facilities. Not all local and state jurisdictions have adopted the 2013 version of NFPA 13, so it’s important to check with the applicable permitting agencies to determine which version they use.

The key updates address the following areas:

  1. Obstructions — The code has been further defined to clarify the terms “continuous” and “non-continuous”. “Continuous” refers to obstructions that affect two or more adjacent sprinklers.
  2. Antifreeze — Antifreeze systems installed after September 30, 2012 are required to use only NFPA listed antifreeze solutions (with exceptions), which will not ignite when discharged from a sprinkler. A qualified individual must test systems installed prior to this date annually.
  3. Solid shelves — Early suppression, fast response (ESFR) sprinklers can be used with solid shelves if in-rack sprinklers are provided.
  4. Building floor requirements — In buildings with more than two stories, each floor must have an individual floor sprinkler control valve to control the sprinkler supply on that level.
  5. Shared piping — Piping for the sprinkler system can now also support other systems if an engineer professionally designs them.
  6. Hazard occupancies — ESFR and Control Mode Specific Application (CMSA) sprinklers can now be used for light hazard occupancies in addition to ordinary hazard occupancies.
  7. Hose stream allowance and water supply duration — The requirements for these two elements for fire protection have been updated by sprinkler type and size of the remote area.


It’s important to review NFPA 13 in its entirety and consult with your design professionals to ensure your facility is in compliance.

If you have questions about the new guidelines in NFPA 13 and their impact on your facility, email me at



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *