Posted August 14th, 2018 by Fire & Life Safety America

This reorganization was done to better match and align with the fire sprinkler system design/analysis processes, as opposed to current and past editions which tended to jump around.

Relevant information has been grouped together to limit that “jumping around.”

Redundancies have been removed from the standard wherever possible to avoid confusion.  This is especially true for chapters associated with storage occupancies, where in prior editions the designer would find the required design criteria in the chapter(s) associated with the commodity and the storage method.  Within each storage chapter in prior editions, we would find criteria for systems designed with CMSA, CMDA and ESFR sprinklers based on a 20 ft. storage height, with modifiers for storage height greater and lesser.

In the 2019 edition of NFPA 13, we still need to know the commodity classification and the storage arrangement but now, the chapters are based on the sprinkler technology or type of sprinkler (CMDA, CMSA or ESFR) we plan to use for protection the facility or portion of the facility under review.

The intent of the reorganization was to provide a sequential layout based on how a system is designed and built.  There are two general requirements chapters and requirements in the old chapter 8 have been split into multiple chapters.

So, here is a summary of what the new layout will look like in terms of content:

  • Chapters 1 and 2 to remain the same.
  • Chapter 3 to be organized alphabetically.
  • Chapter 4 General Requirements (to be expanded as “true” general requirements chapter)
  • Chapter 5 Water Supplies
  • Chapter 6 Installation Underground Piping
  • Chapter 7 System Components and Hardware
  • Chapter 8 System Requirements
  • Chapter 9 Sprinkler Location Requirements
  • Chapter 10 Installation Requirements for Standard Spray Sprinklers
  • Chapter 11 Installation Requirements for Extended Coverage Sprinklers
  • Chapter 12 Installation Requirements for Residential Sprinklers
  • Chapter 13 Installation Requirements for CMSA Sprinklers
  • Chapter 14 Installation Requirements for ESFR Sprinklers
  • Chapter 15 Installation Requirements for Special Sprinklers
  • Chapter 16 Installation of Piping, Valves, and Appurtenances
  • Chapter 17 Installation Requirements for Hanging and Support Systems
  • Chapter 18 Installation Requirements for Seismic Protection
  • Chapter 19 Design Approaches and Calculations
  • Chapter 20 General Requirements for Storage
  • Chapter 21 Standard Spray Sprinkler Requirements for Storage Applications
  • Chapter 22 CMSA Requirements for Storage Applications
  • Chapter 23 ESFR Requirements for Storage Applications
  • Chapter 24 Alternative Sprinkler System Designs
  • Chapter 25 In-rack Sprinklers
  • Chapter 26 Special Occupancy Requirements
  • Chapter 27 Systems Acceptance
  • Chapter 28 Existing System Modifications
  • Chapter 29 Marine Systems
  • Chapter 30 System Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance

There was a limited number of actual technical changes for this edition, however for those of you who want to see a section changed, omitted or revised, you can wo to www.nfpa.org/13 and click on the “next edition” tab to submit a “Public Input” for consideration by the committee for the 2021 edition.

Here are just a few of the new requirements:

  • Where an air compressor is the dedicated air supply, it shall be installed in accordance with NFPA 70, Article 430.
  • The disconnecting means for an automatic air compressor shall not be a general-use light switch or a cord-and-plug connected motor.
  • Effective January 1, 2021, removal of an electric actuator from the pre-action or deluge valve that it controls shall result in an audible and visual indication of system impairment at the system releasing control panel.
  • Residential sprinklers shall be permitted in dwelling units and their adjoining corridors, provided they are installed in conformance with their listing and when installed under the following conditions:
    • A flat, smooth, horizontal ceiling
    • A flat, horizontal, beamed ceiling
    • A smooth, flat, sloped ceiling with no beams
    • A sloped ceiling with beams up to 14 in. (355 mm) deep
    • A sloped ceiling with beams of any depth
  • Where construction features or other special conditions exist that are outside the scope of sprinkler listings, listed sprinklers shall be permitted to be installed beyond their listing limitations when acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction.
  • Pendent, recessed pendent, and flush-type pendent sprinklers shall be permitted to be installed directly under a beam having a maximum depth of 14 in. (350 mm) with the sprinkler deflector 1 in. to 2 in. (25 mm to 50 mm) below the beam, or in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions for recessed or flush sprinklers if the deflector is less than 1 in. (25 mm) below the beam.


  • Pendent sprinklers shall be permitted to be installed adjacent to beams where the vertical centerline of the sprinkler is no greater than 2 in. (50 mm) from the edge of the beam and with the sprinkler deflector 1 in. to 2 in. (25 mm to 50 mm) below the beam, or in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions for flush sprinklers if the deflector is less than 1 in. (25 mm) below the beam, as shown in Figure 12.1.8.1.2(b).


  • Where nonmetallic pipe installed in accordance with 16.3.9.6 supplies sprinklers in a private garage within a dwelling unit not exceeding 1000 ft2 (93 m2) in area, it shall be permitted to be protected from the garage compartment by not less than the same wall or ceiling sheathing that is required by the applicable building code.
  • Automated Valves.
    • A listed indicating valve with automated controls shall be permitted.
    • A listed automated water control valve assembly with a reliable position indication connected to a remote supervisory station shall be permitted.
    • An automated water control valve shall be able to be operated manually as well as automatically.
  • All the wedge anchor table values have been revised
  • Cavities within unsprinklered wall spaces shall not require a minimum area of sprinkler operation of 3000 ft2 (279 m2): (Section 9.2.1.3 allows for wall cavities over a certain size to be unsprinklered).
  • 25.2 K-Factor design criteria has been added to the CMSA design criteria tables based on testing from UL


  • New requirements for in-rack sprinklers in combination with ESFR ceiling level design
  • New criteria for exposed expanded group A plastic
  • Working plan submittals shall include the following:
    • Working plans of the system(s), per 4.6.3
    • Hydraulic calculations where systems are required to be calculated
    • Data sheets for the system components where required by the AHJ
    • *Signed owner’s certificate
    • Submittals shall be permitted to be in electronic format when approved by the authority having jurisdiction.
  • A copy of the approved plans shall be given to the owner or owner’s representative.

After we receive our copies of the new 2019 edition of NFPA 13, we will take a deeper dive into technical changes with a focus on how we can use new rules to our advantage.

For additional information about this or any technical questions, please feel free to contact Bob Caputo, FLSA Technical Support & Training at bgcaputo@flsamerica.com or by cell phone (602) 568-7392.