The National Fire Protection Association Standards Council issued the 2019 edition of NFPA 20, Standard for the Installation of Stationary Pumps for Fire Protection, with an effective date of May 24, 2018.
Regarding NFPA 14, Standard for the Installation of Standpipe and Hose Systems, if no one submits Notices of Intent to Make a Motion (NITMAM), this standard could be available as early as this month.
Let’s look at changes to these documents which may be of interest.
Revisions to NFPA 20
126.96.36.199 and 3.46.4. New definitions for alternate power and standby power. The terms appear in several provisions of the previous edition but were not defined. “Alternate Power. A power source that is independent of the primary power supply.” “Standby Power. An alternate power source that is normally inactive but becomes active whenever the primary power is lost.” The definitions are intended to differentiate standby power supply from alternate power, as standby power is a type of alternate power.
188.8.131.52. Added a new definition for the term Lowest Permissible Suction Pressure: “The lowest suction pressure permitted by this standard and the authority having jurisdiction.” Previous editions did not establish this minimum pressure so there was often a question of how low one can take the water supply pressure supplying a fire pump for the basis of determining maximum flows that are available.
Definitions were added to address new technology related to fire pumps using variable-speed drivers and controllers. Several new provisions address separate requirements for Self-Regulating Variable Speed Fire Pump Units and Variable Speed Pressure Limiting Control Units.
Definitions were added for Automated Inspection and Testing and Distance Monitoring, and new provisions were added recognizing and permitting this technology. For example, in paragraph 4.3.1, the previous requirement for personnel to be present in the fire pump room during pump operation has been modified to permit remote monitoring of the pump through video and sensor monitoring.
3.3.65 and 184.108.40.206(5). Suction diffusers are now permitted, provided they are listed for fire protection service.
New definitions for: “3.3.78. Vertical Fire Protection Zone. A vertical zone within a high-rise building that is supplied from a fire pump(s) and/or a water storage tank(s).”
“3.3.79. Very Tall Building. A high-rise building where the fire protection water demand exceeds the pumping capacity of the fire department.”
These terms appear in Section 5.6 of Chapter 5, Fire Pumps for High-Rise Buildings, which addresses the requirements for very tall buildings. Note that the actual height of a very tall building is not defined, as it depends on the capabilities of the fire department. Also, note that the International Building Code has special requirements for high-rise buildings more than 420 feet tall, which may be a good height limit to use to designate “very tall buildings” for well-staffed and well-equipped fire departments.
Annex note 4.4.1 of the 2016 edition of NFPA 20 was brought, in part, into the body of the 2019 edition. Paragraph 4.4.3 states: “A single entity shall be designated as having responsibility for acceptable unit performance of the pump, driver, controller and transfer switch equipment as required by this standard.”
This new wording was a compromise, as committee members desiring to have the fire pump system equipment supplied by a single entity lost out to those that felt it would restrict competition from third parties with perfectly acceptable equipment. The problem with this new wording is it does not solve the problem of “suppliers” shopping all the equipment from several different vendors. Let the buyer beware.
New paragraph 4.11.3 for fire pump nameplates. The nameplate shall indicate the maximum pump horsepower demand required to power the pump at any flow, including flows beyond 150 percent of the rated capacity.
4.15.3. Restricting Orifice Identification. A new item requiring all restricting orifices including those in check valves to be identified with a permanent tag.
220.127.116.11 requires the provision of a means for inspecting restricting orifices.
18.104.22.168 Valve Closure Time. A new provision requiring that listed indicating valves cannot be closed from the fully open condition in less than 5 seconds.
22.214.171.124. Automated Valves. A new section addressing requirements for indicating valves that are automated.
126.96.36.199. Allows fire-pump relief-valve discharge lines to be combined pump test discharge lines under certain conditions.
4.21.1. Added several new subparagraphs that describe conditions where fire pump test headers are permitted to be manifolded. Tables 4.28(a) and (b) were modified to permit test connections (nonthreaded) larger than the standard 2 1/2-inch hose valves.
188.8.131.52. There are several modifications to paragraphs related to the evaluation of backflow prevention devices.
10.4.7. Fire Pump Alarm and Signal Devices Remote from Controller. Note there are several changes to this section.
10.5.2.1.1.2 and 184.108.40.206.1.2. A new requirement prohibiting water piping from being extended into a fire pump controller.
10.5.2.4.2. A new provision permitting a remote stop station, provided it is within sight of the electric fire pump controller. No similar provision for the shutdown of diesel engine drive fire pumps exists.
220.127.116.11. A new section outlining provisions for Automated Inspection and Testing Devices and Equipment.
Revisions to NFPA 14
Definitions were added for Automated Inspection and Testing and Distance Monitoring and new provisions were added recognizing and permitting this technology. A new section 11.7 addresses requirements for Automated Inspection and Testing Devices and Equipment.
4.5.3. Automated Valves. A new section permitting/addressing requirements for indicating automated valves.
18.104.22.168.1. Permits manual standpipes in open parking garages where the highest floor is located not more than 150 feet (45,720 mm) above the lowest level of fire department vehicle access.
5.6.1. Modified to exempt manual wet standpipe systems from the requirement to have a water flow alarm device.
22.214.171.124.2.1. A sign indicating the pressure required to be supplied to the fire department connection is not required if the pressure is 150 psi or less.
7.2.1, 7.2.2 and 126.96.36.199. Increases the maximum system pressure limitation from 350 psi to 400 psi.
188.8.131.52. To reduce the number of pressure-regulating devices used on 2 1/2-inch hose connections, the static pressure threshold for when these devices are required was increased from 175 psi to 250 psi.
184.108.40.206.3. New paragraph to address 1 1/2-inch hose connections, which maintains the static pressure threshold for requiring a pressure-regulating device at 175 psi.
7.2.4(3) was clarified to require two pressure-regulating devices in series where located upstream of more than two hose connections.
220.127.116.11. New paragraph giving the AHJ the authority to allow standpipes that are not interconnected.
7.11.2. There are numerous changes to this section on drains.
18.104.22.168. Regarding the number of fire department connections, in addition to high-rise buildings, two fire department connections will be required for buildings or multiple attached buildings with a perimeter exceeding 900 feet.
Also, the two connections must be located at either opposite corners of the building or, if that is not possible, physically separated to the greatest extent possible.
22.214.171.124. New requirement for fire department connections shall be visible and recognizable from and located within 50 feet of the street or nearest point of fire department apparatus access.
The addition of a new chapter, Chapter 13, Maritime Standpipes and Hose Systems.