Equipment Room Sprinklers

Q:  We have equipment rooms on the top floor of our hospital that contain mechanical equipment, but no boilers or generators. Are these equipment rooms required to be protected with sprinklers?

A: That depends on a couple of factors. When were the equipment rooms constructed or renovated? Since the 1991 edition of the Life Safety Code, all new construction associated with healthcare occupancies are required to be protected with automatic sprinklers. So any construction that fell under the purview of the 1991 edition (or any subsequent edition) would require the equipment rooms to be sprinklered. Likewise, if the equipment rooms were renovated since the 1991 edition was in force, then the renovation would be required to comply with the new construction requirements and be sprinklered. However, as mentioned in the previous Q&A, an electrical room that is separated by 2-hour fire resistant rated construction, and does not contain any storage or liquid-filled transformers is exempt from being protected with sprinklers, and yet the hospital can still take credit for that area being sprinklered.