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Ambiguity in (2018) 903.2.4.1. Is it misapplied?
December 3, 2018
11:36 am

Forum Posts: 10
Member Since:
February 24, 2016
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The 2015 IBC Code Commentary (for advisory purposes only) states that the intent is NOT to require woodworking areas of less than 2500 square feet to be sprinkled even though they may be within a larger fire area. 

The Building Official has the call,  although the intent provided in the commentary may help her/his decision. 

June 18, 2018
5:48 pm
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Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
June 18, 2018
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I am brand new to the forum. I have read the etiquette post and hope I don’t step on toes here. 


903.2.4.1Woodworking operations.

An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided throughout all Group F-1 occupancy fire areas that contain woodworking operations in excess of 2,500 square feet (232 m2) in area that generate finely divided combustible waste or use finely divided combustible materials.

Please note the code as written states: ”… Group F-1 occupancy fire areas that contain woodworking operations in excess of 2,500 square feet (232 m2)

and does not read as … Group F-1 occupancy fire areas in excess of 2,500 square feet (232 m2) that contain woodworking operations.

To clarify; as written, the code states the wood working area in a fire space must not exceed 2500 sq.ft.. It does not state that the entire fire area may not exceed that square footage.  It would be wonderful to know exactly what the committee’s intention of this is supposed to be. 

We have been cited for violation of 903.2.4.1 for a wood working area of approx 1,000 square feet that resides inside of a fire area of 5,300 square feet.  As written, it appears the code has been misapplied in our case.   Can anyone with access to committee members or committee notes chime in on this?  

Misapplication of this could be costing businesses untold amounts of capitol and jobs. In our case, bids are just under $200,00.00 to do the tap and install a suppression system in an existing structure. 

At the very least, I believe this bit might be a good submission for a review for the 2021 edition.