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Revised Chicago Building Code Means New Opportunities for CPVC Fire Sprinkler Systems

By: Mark Knurek on June 18th, 2019

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Revised Chicago Building Code Means New Opportunities for CPVC Fire Sprinkler Systems

Commercial  |  Industry News

The City of Chicago Building Code has seen its first comprehensive change in 70 years as a result of recent City Council approval. The Phase 2 Building Code Modernization Ordinance makes Chicago the ninth major US jurisdiction to adopt the 2018 International Building Code and International Existing Building Code. The National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) played a major role in helping to see this through. 

These revisions mean major opportunities for new construction sprinkler systems with the following highlights:

  • High-rises stay at 80 feet. 80 feet triggers all of the high-rise rules. 
  • Sprinklers are triggered at 70 feet. All construction over 70 feet gets sprinklers. 
  • R-1: all hotels are sprinklered. 
  • R-2: apartments: Over four-units are sprinklered, however, up to eight-unit, with every two-units in a two-hour fire area, with two interior stairs are exempt. 
  • R-5: 1, 2, & 3 units are exempt from sprinklers, but have sprinkler incentives. 
  • A-2: bars, nightclubs, restaurants: threshold for sprinklers is 300 occupants or over 12,000 sq. ft. More than four-feet underground, threshold is 100 occupants. (While this is above the current IBC, it is more than Chicago has now.) 
  • Referencing 2016 NFPA 13 editions: Seismic bracing: Sprinkler systems in critical facilities and high-rises will have seismic bracing. 

New Opportunity for CPVC Fire Sprinkler Installation

Of note, R-2 apartments – smaller residential apartment buildings of more than four units, or former commercial buildings subdivided into lofts and/or apartments – may now be outfitted with CPVC pipe and fittings for fire sprinkler systems thanks to the new code. Prior to the revised code, only steel was approved for use in these buildings – and some of the buildings weren’t required to have sprinkler systems at all.

Such projects literally take an existing building with solid “bones” and gut the interiors to make way for a new, modern floor plan. This qualifies as new construction per the revised building code, and is thus covered by the revisions.

The City of Chicago has a wealth of small residential apartment buildings, as well as older manufacturing and warehouse locations that are in the midst of a gentrification boom. Now is the time to ensure that BlazeMaster® CVPC fire protection systems get their fair share of project specs as these projects move forward.

BlazeMaster CPVC supports the efforts of fire sprinkler coalitions, associations and local fire officials to reduce deaths, injuries and property damage as a result of fires. BlazeMaster Fire Protection Systems improve the safety of occupants, neighboring families and first responders. We are committed to advancing life safety for the protection of these groups and enhancing fire safety for all.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can promote changes in your community please reach out to your local fire sprinkler coalition through the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition or your local fire department’s fire prevention division because fire sprinklers save lives.


BlazeMaster CPVC Benefits Over Steel, Other CPVC Brands 

CPVC piping offers clear benefits over steel piping for fire sprinkler systems. Steel costs are inherently higher than that of CPVC – and are typically in flux. Steel is more cumbersome to install and generally costs more in terms of installation labor. CPVC also offers an advantage in terms of corrosion resistance and reliable hydraulics – think “less maintenance, lower cost of ownership” when it comes to CPVC.

But not all orange CPVC is equal to the task, either. BlazeMaster CPVC fire sprinkler pipe was the first to market, more than 30 years ago. Today, BlazeMaster Fire Protection Systems continue to lead the industry through pressure-rated compounds, state-of-the-art processing, rigorous product testing and successful manufacturing partnerships. 

BlazeMaster CPVC is also backed by the FBC™ System Compatible Program, a chemical compatibility system program that truly is the gold standard in the industry, and unique to BlazeMaster CPVC in the fire protection market. It allows specifiers, designers and contractors to quickly identify which ancillary products have chemical compatibility with BlazeMaster Fire Protection Systems – and which do not.

No other brand of CPVC fire sprinkler systems does so much to assist contractors, builders, specifiers, building owners, AHJs and fire officials. Simply put, BlazeMaster CPVC is the affordable – and reliable – way to meet safety goals. We look forward to new opportunities in Chicago – and in other markets in North America.

Click here to learn more about the revised Chicago Phase 2 Building Code Modernization Ordinance.

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