The Massachusetts State Building Code 780 CMR (9th edition), based on the 2015 International Building Code (IBC), has specific requirements regarding the protection of fire pump rooms. In order to meet the protection requirements, a fire pump room must be enclosed in a fire-resistant barrier or meet minimum separation requirements.
For fire pumps located inside of fully sprinklered buildings, 780 CMR §913.2.1, Exception 1 allows for a 1-hour fire barrier to protect a pump room in low-rise construction. For high-rise buildings, a minimum fire-resistance rating of 2-hours is required. These requirements are consistent with NFPA 20 Installation of Stationary Fire Pumps for Fire Protection (2013 edition) §126.96.36.199, which is adopted via reference by 780 CMR §913.1.
Access to the fire pump room is addressed separately by NFPA 20 §4.12.2. Access is required to be pre-planned with the Fire Department and consist of either (1) direct exterior access or, (2) through a fire-rated passageway (e.g. enclosed stairway, access corridor, etc.) with the rating to match the fire pump room enclosure (1- or 2-hr as determined by the above). The rating of the fire pump room is independent of whether access is provided direct from the exterior or via rated passageway.
780 CMR §913.2.1, Exception 2 allows for the protection requirements to be met through the physical separation of the fire pump from the building it protects. The overall goal of this requirement is to limit the exposure of the fire pump to a potential fire inside the protected building. Exception 2, in conjunction with NFPA 20 Table 188.8.131.52.2, allows for this objective to be met through the physical separation of the fire pump from the building by a minimum of 50 feet.