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  • Baltu Yorkos, PE, LEED AP

When is the Fire Protection System Required for NYC Buildings

Updated: Aug 23, 2018

If you are worried about if your building needs fire protection system, this article will answer your questions about the Fire Protection needs in New York City.

New York city has changed after 9/11. It was decided the fire protection systems in NYC buildings were not sufficient. New local code was created and ultimately implemented to the Building code. Engineers reference NFPA, NYC code chapter 9, appendix Q and title 27 for NYC fire protection systems. There are other guidelines and NFPA sections about annual testing and certification, but this article does not include them. Fire protection has many detailed requirements for NYC, stand pipe, hose connections etc.

Section BC 903 of the NYC Building Code establishes documentation requirements for automatic sprinkler systems, and provides specific requirements for each occupancy classification, indicating whether fire sprinklers are mandatory or optional. In other words, while NFPA codes are the reference for design and installation, this section of the NYC Building Code provides instructions that are specific for certain occupancy groups or special applications.

Basic questions you may ask

When do I need to add a fire protection or sprinkler system to an existing building?

It is very simple, chapter 901.9.4 defines the parameters. If the alteration is more than the 60% of the value of the building, fire protection shall be added per code. Percentage is little different for residential buildings, but concept is the same.

Does the new building require sprinkler or fire protection system?

It depends on the building type and height. Title 27 defines the requirements, Group B (office building) does not require fire protection system. But building insurance may require fire protection system.

Group J-2 (residential) does not require fire protection system if the building has less than four dwellings. Larger buildings will require fire protection systems.

Building is taller than 100’, do I need protection?

Buildings taller than 100’, regardless of their occupancy type, will require fire protection systems.

I have an existing building. When do I need to comply with new code?

Local law 26 requires all large sprinkler systems and buildings to comply the current code by 2019.


Deciding and installing fire protection systems can be complicated since there are various codes. Contact qualified engineer to determine your needs and provide you code compliance design.

Contact us for designing MEP systems

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