Ambulatory Care Occupancy Sprinklers

Q: We are in the process of renovating an existing two story office building where a dialysis unit will be located on the lower level. According to our state requirements, we have to designate the dialysis area to meet ambulatory care occupancy. We plan on installing automatic sprinklers in the renovated dialysis area, but do we have to install sprinklers in the rest of the building?

A: It depends on the construction type of the building. According to section 20.1.6.3 of the 2000 edition of the Life Safety Code, new construction standards for ambulatory care occupancies will require the installation of an automatic sprinkler system throughout the entire building (even though only part of it is ambulatory care) if the construction type is unprotected (000). Also, if the lower level that the dialysis unit is located on is below the level of exit discharge, then the floor must be at least 1-hour fire rated, unless the entire facility is under your organization’s control and all hazardous rooms are properly protected in accordance with section 8.4.