Sprinklers in a Covered Walkway
by Brad Keyes, CHSP, on Jun 9, 2021 1:00:00 AM
Q: A covered walkway is attached to the hospital by the side door. It is constructed of vinyl and aluminum frame to protect employees from rain and sun while walking. Is there a code that would require this covered walkway to be sprinklered?
A: There is a code that addresses sprinklers underneath canopies, which is NFPA 13-2010. The following sections deal with the need to install sprinklers under canopies:
22.214.171.124 Unless the requirements of 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52, or 184.108.40.206 are met, sprinklers shall be installed under exterior roofs, canopies, porte-cocheres, balconies, decks, or similar projections exceeding 4 feet in width.
220.127.116.11 Sprinklers shall be permitted to be omitted where the canopies, roofs, porte-cocheres, balconies, decks, or similar projections are constructed with materials that are noncombustible, limited-combustible, or fire retardant–treated wood as defined in NFPA 703, Standard for Fire Retardant–Treated Wood and Fire-Retardant Coatings for Building Materials.
18.104.22.168 Sprinklers shall be permitted to be omitted from below the canopies, roofs, porte-cocheres, balconies, decks, or similar projections of combustible construction, provided the exposed finish material on the roofs, canopies, or porte-cocheres are noncombustible, limited-combustible, or fire retardant–treated wood as defined in NFPA 703, Standard for Fire Retardant–Treated Wood and Fire-Retardant Coatings for Building Materials, and the roofs, canopies, or porte-cocheres contain only sprinklered concealed spaces or any of the following unsprinklered combustible concealed spaces:
- Combustible concealed spaces filled entirely with noncombustible insulation
- Light or ordinary hazard occupancies where noncombustible or limited-combustible ceilings are directly attached to the bottom of solid wood joists so as to create enclosed joist spaces 160 cubic feet or less in volume, including space below insulation that is laid directly on top or within the ceiling joists in an otherwise sprinklered attic
- Concealed spaces over isolated small roofs, canopies, or porte-cocheres not exceeding 55 square feet in area
22.214.171.124 Sprinklers shall be permitted to be omitted from exterior exit corridors when the exterior walls of the corridor are at least 50 percent open and when the corridor is entirely of noncombustible construction.
126.96.36.199 Sprinklers shall be installed under roofs, canopies, porte-cocheres, balconies, decks, or similar projections greater than 2 feet wide over areas where combustibles are stored.
The key issue here is whether or not the covered walkway is constructed with combustible materials. The aluminum framing would not be combustible, but is the vinyl covering non-combustible, or limited-combustible? I would suggest you research the vinyl and determine if it meets NFPA 703 as a limited-combustible material.