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I’m doing a cost-plus estimate for a complete house renovation that the owner wants fire sprinklers installed. The sprinklers aren’t required by code or the fire marshal. My contract with the owner requires at least two bids for all subcontracted work, and, I’ve gotten two sprinkler system estimates so far, one 2/3 the cost of the other. The architect specified in the bidding instructions that the system be open, and that the estimates include the manufacturer, head type, system type, piping type, locations to be sprinkled, and total number sprinkler heads, and unit cost for any additional heads beyond an initial bid. The assumption is that the installer will do the design and get approvals from the AHJ.

With both bids excluding the smaller bathrooms and linen/clothes closets, there seem to be only a few major differences between the bids: the lower bid excludes hallways, the pantry, master bath, and the enclosed basement stair.

The owner is asking my advice on whether the exclusions with the lower cost are a safety compromise, and I have stated that it is outside of my area of knowledge, and I can’t take on the liability for any advice (the architect has taken a similar stance). I’ve worked with the lower cost plumber before, and I very much appreciate his expertise. When questioned, he said that as long as he advises the owner that more is better, if the AHJ does not require sprinklers, then he could put in just one sprinkler, say, in the kitchen, and he’d not incur any liability.

I’ve read the statistics on where fires start, and those excluded rooms are lower risk areas, but does anyone know if there is a NFPA or some other source for recommendations on what rooms should be covered I could refer the owner to? For those who design sprinkler systems, are there spaces you often exclude?
 

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After years of commercial construction, I would want to know why closets and baths are being excluded in the first place? My understanding is the NFPA requires all locations to be sprinklered, and I am unaware of any exclusions for fully optional locations.
 

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After years of commercial construction, I would want to know why closets and baths are being excluded in the first place? My understanding is the NFPA requires all locations to be sprinklered, and I am unaware of any exclusions for fully optional locations.
NFPA 13R systems. Bathrooms, closets, attics do not need to be sprinkled. A 13R system is designed to allow occupants to escape from the building in case of a fire, but not necessarily save the structure.
 
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