Standpipe systems are required in buildings to provide a quick, convenient water source for fire department use where hose lines would otherwise be impractical, such as in high-rise buildings. One of the locations for Class I standpipe connections is at the intermediate landings within every required exit stairway. However, the International Building Code (IBC) also requires standpipe systems to be installed in accordance with NFPA 14.
Up until the 2010 Edition of NFPA 14, hose connections were required to be located on the intermediate landing. When the 2010 Edition was developed, the location for the hose connections was changed to the main floor landings. The reasoning behind the change was that the preferred location by fire fighters for hose connections was the main landing, and that jurisdictions only required them at intermediate landings because of the way the standard is written (Proposal 14-52, F2009).
This code change was carried into subsequent versions of the standard, which created a conflict when the 2015 IBC was printed and referenced the 2013 Edition of NFPA 14. Due to this code change, confusion was created for projects being designed under the 2015 IBC. The following items should be considered for these projects:
- Where conflicts occur between the provision in the IBC and the referenced codes/standards, the provisions in the IBC shall apply (2015 IBC 102.4.1).
- Both the IBC and NFPA 14 specifically permit the fire official/AHJ to allow the standpipe connections to be at either main or intermediate landings (2015 IBC 905.4.1-1 & 2013 NFPA 14, 22.214.171.124).
To align the IBC with NFPA 14, the 2018 IBC was changed to require standpipe connections at the main landing (F187-16). These changes have also be carried into the 2021 IBC.
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