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This paper reviews key issues in fire protection that pertain to new Building Codes presently under consideration, summarizes important information from primary industry sources, and suggests a smoke control rating standard that augment sprinklers and will help maintain a level of fire protection effectiveness and public safety in the future.
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Smoke detectors, containment area, passive fire protection and automatic fire sprinklers – taken in concert, this quartet of construction features is responsible for an improving record of life and property protection in commercial buildings that have been constructed in the U.S. over the past several decades. Unfortunately, some participants in the Building Code development and enforcement processes attribute this safety record to sprinklers alone – an invalid and dangerous assumption.
Sprinklers alone – without limitations on containment size, without tested and inspected passive fire protection, and without smoke detection – cannot deliver equivalent results. It is crucial that the new Building Codes reflect a clear understanding of the systems nature of effective fire protection if we are to avoid sanctioning the construction of buildings that are code- compliant but unsafe for life and property.
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