1976 South Carolina Code of Laws
Unannotated
Updated through the end of the 2001 Session

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Title 23 - Law Enforcement and Public Safety

CHAPTER 45.

FIRE PROTECTION SPRINKLER SYSTEMS ACT

SECTION 23-45-10. Short title.

This Chapter may be cited as the "Fire Protection Sprinkler Systems Act".

SECTION 23-45-20. Legislative findings.

The General Assembly finds it necessary to assure the people of South Carolina that fire protection sprinkler systems are being installed and maintained by persons or organizations that are duly licensed to engage in the planning, sale, installation, repair, alteration, addition, maintenance, or inspection of these systems by the South Carolina Licensing Board for Contractors.

SECTION 23-45-30. Definitions.

As used in this Chapter:

(1) "Fire protection sprinkler contractor" means a person engaged in the planning, sale, installation, repair, alteration, addition, maintenance, or inspection of fire protection sprinkler systems or water spray systems but does not include local building officials, fire inspectors, or insurance inspectors when acting in their official capacity.

(2) "Licensed fire protection sprinkler contractor" means a fire protection sprinkler contractor who has qualified for and received a license from the South Carolina Licensing Board for Contractors.

(3) "Certificate holder" means an individual who has satisfactorily passed the NICET Level III Fire Sprinkler Technician's Written Competency Test.

(4) "NICET" means the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies.

(5) "Sprinkler contractor's license" means the license issued by the South Carolina Licensing Board for Contractors to a fire protection sprinkler contractor who has submitted (a) an application which is approved; (b) the fee; (c) proof of insurance in an amount and of the type required by this chapter; and (d) proof that the contractor has in its employ a certificate holder who is a full-time employee in a responsible management position. The license is issued in the name of the fire protection sprinkler contractor with the name of the certificate holder on the license.

(6) "Fire protection sprinkler system" means a system of overhead and underground piping to protect the interior or exterior of a building or structure from fire where the primary extinguishing agent is water and designed in accordance with fire protection engineering standards. The system includes the overhead and underground water mains, fire hydrants and hydrant mains, standpipes and hose connection to sprinkler systems, supplied from a reliable, constant, and sufficient water supply, such as a gravity tank, fire pump, reservoir, or pressure tank, or connection by underground piping to a city main. The system is a network of specially sized or hydraulically designed piping installed in a building, structure, or area, generally overhead, and to which sprinklers are connected in a systematic pattern. The system includes a controlling valve and a device for actuating an alarm when the system is in operation. The system is usually activated by heat from a fire and discharges water over the fire area. Fire protection sprinkler systems include the following types: wet-pipe systems, dry-pipe systems, preaction systems, residential systems, deluge systems, combined dry-pipe and preaction systems, nonfreeze systems, and circulating closed loop systems.

(7) "Water spray or water foam system" means a special fixed overhead and underground pipe system connected to a reliable source of fire protection water supply or foam supply equipped with spray nozzles for specific discharge and distribution over the surface or area to be protected. The piping system is connected to the water supply through an automatically or manually activated valve which initiates the flow of water. An automatic valve is activated by operation of automatic detection equipment, hydraulic, pneumatic, or electrically operated, normally installed in the same areas as the spray nozzles. The system is supplied from a reliable, constant, and sufficient water supply such as a gravity tank, fire pump, reservoir, or pressure tank, or connection by underground to a city main. A water foam system includes an adequate reliable supply of foaming agent.

(8) "Person" means individual, partnership, corporation, association, or joint venture.

(9) "Board" means the State Licensing Board for Contractors.

SECTION 23-45-40. Enforcement; promulgation of regulations.

The board shall enforce the provisions of this chapter and may promulgate regulations to carry out the provisions of this chapter pursuant to Chapter 23, Title 1. Nothing in this chapter shall alter or limit the Division of State Fire Marshal in the carrying out of its fire protection duties and responsibilities as provided in Sections 23-9-40 and 23-9-60.

SECTION 23-45-50. Unlawful to engage in contracting without license.

It is unlawful for any person to engage in the planning, sale, installation, repair, alteration, addition, maintenance, or inspection of a fire protection sprinkler system, water spray, or water foam system in this State except in conformity with the provisions of this Chapter.

SECTION 23-45-60. Application for license; fees.

(A) A person desiring to become a licensed fire protection sprinkler contractor shall submit to the South Carolina Licensing Board for Contractors on standard forms provided by the board an application complete with all information required. The applicant shall include with the application a reasonable fee to be determined by the board not to exceed five hundred dollars.

(B) All fees associated with the NICET Level III Fire Sprinkler Technician's Written Competency Test are the responsibility of the fire protection sprinkler contractor.

SECTION 23-45-70. Liability insurance.

The board may not issue a license unless the applicant provides proof that comprehensive liability insurance coverage has been obtained. The liability insurance policy must provide coverage in an amount not less than one hundred thousand dollars and cover any loss to property or personal injury caused by the fire protection sprinkler contractor. The policy must be purchased from an insurer authorized to do business in this State.

SECTION 23-45-80. Issuance of license.

If a completed application has been approved, the fee has been paid, proof of insurance provided, and the certificate holder found to be at present a full-time owner, partner, officer, or in a management position of the fire protection sprinkler contractor, the board shall issue within thirty days a license in the name of the fire protection sprinkler contractor with the name of the certificate holder noted thereon.

SECTION 23-45-90. Limitations and conditions on certificate.

In no case is a certificate holder allowed to obtain a license for more than one fire protection sprinkler contractor at a time. If the certificate holder leaves the employment of the fire protection sprinkler contractor, he shall notify the board within thirty days. The certificate holder is not eligible to obtain a license for more than one other fire protection sprinkler contractor for a period of twelve months. If the certificate holder leaves the employment of the fire protection sprinkler contractor, the contractor has six months to submit a new application on another certificate holder who is at present a full-time owner, partner, officer, or in a management position of the fire protection sprinkler contractor and be issued a new license. If the application is not received and a new license issued within the allotted time, the board shall revoke the existing license of the fire protection sprinkler contractor.

SECTION 23-45-100. Expiration of license; renewal.

The sprinkler contractor's license shall expire annually at midnight on July thirty-first. At least thirty days before, the fire protection sprinkler contractor shall submit a renewal application. A renewal fee of one hundred dollars must be submitted with the application. A revoked or expired license may be reinstated by making application as before and payment of the fee.

SECTION 23-45-110. Local license.

If a fire protection sprinkler contractor desires to do business in any part of the State he is required to deliver to the local building official a copy of his sprinkler contractor's license. The local building official shall require a copy of the license before issuing a local license or building permit. The licensed fire protection sprinkler contractor is required to pay any fees normally imposed for local licenses or permits but the local official shall impose no other requirements on the licensed fire protection sprinkler contractor to prove competency other than a valid sprinkler contractor's license.

SECTION 23-45-120. Effect upon municipal regulation.

Nothing in this chapter limits the power of a municipality, county, or the State to regulate the quality and character of work performed by contractors, through a system of permits, fees, and inspections which are designed to assure compliance with, and aid in the implementation of, state and local laws for the protection of the public health and safety. Nothing in this chapter limits the power of a municipality, county, or the State to adopt any system of permits requiring submission to and approval by the municipality, county, or the State, of plans and specifications for work to be performed by contractors before commencement of the work. The official authorized to issue building or other related permits shall ascertain that the fire protection sprinkler contractor is licensed by requiring evidence of a valid sprinkler contractor's license.

SECTION 23-45-130. Application of chapter.

This chapter applies to any fire protection sprinkler contractor performing work for any municipality, county, or the State. Officials of any municipality, county, or the State are required to determine compliance with this chapter before awarding any contracts for the planning, sale, installation, repair, alteration, addition, or inspection of a fire protection sprinkler system, water spray, or water foam system. When a fire sprinkler contractor submits a bid directly to the State, the bid must include on it his fire sprinkler license number.

SECTION 23-45-135. Inapplicability of chapter to certain persons performing emergency repair work and to persons working on their own property or that of their employer.

The provisions of this chapter do not apply to licensed mechanical contractors performing emergency repair work on existing fire protection sprinkler systems or existing water spray systems or existing water foam systems where the labor cost of the work does not exceed one thousand dollars or to persons engaged in the repair, alteration, maintenance, or inspection of a fire protection sprinkler system or water spray system or water foam system on their own property or that of their normal employer. Plumbing contractors holding a Group 2 or 3 plumbing contractor license are not required to be licensed under this chapter to install standpipe systems, including hose connections, hose cabinets, and related branch lines, provided that they do not supply automatic fire protection sprinklers. A utility contractor holding a Group 2 or 3 utility contractor license is not required to be licensed under this chapter to install underground water mains, hydrant mains, and fire hydrants to the point of the connection to the underground fire protection sprinkler system mains.

SECTION 23-45-140. Standards for fire protection sprinkler system design and installation; approval of plans.

Fire protection sprinkler systems as defined in Section 23-45-30(6) must be designed and installed according to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Chapter 13, 1991 Edition; NFPA 13A, 1987 Edition; NFPA 13D, 1991 Edition; NFPA 13R, 1991 Edition; NFPA 14, 1993 Edition; NFPA 20, 1993 Edition; and NFPA 24, 1992 Edition, and all pamphlets referenced in them. In addition the following codes and standards must be followed when applicable: NFPA 1, 1993 Edition; NFPA 10, 1990 Edition; NFPA 14A, 1989 Edition; NFPA 22, 1993 Edition; NFPA 25, 1992 Edition; NFPA 101, 1991 Edition; NFPA 231, 1990 Edition; NFPA 231(C), 1991 Edition; NFPA 231(D), 1989 Edition; and NFPA 409, 1990 Edition. Within thirty calendar days from the date of submission to the Division of the State Fire Marshal, the review of sprinkler plans for compliance with the above codes must be completed and a letter issued either approving the plans or listing the corrective action necessary for approval. If no letter is issued within thirty calendar days, the plans are deemed to be approved.

SECTION 23-45-145. "Fire Sprinkler System Specification Sheet"; contents; submission.

A "Fire Sprinkler System Specification Sheet" must be completed for every fire protection sprinkler system, as defined in Section 23-45-30(6), to be installed in South Carolina, in the following manner:

(A) A form approved by the State Fire Marshal must be used and must contain the following minimum information:

(1) available static and residual water pressure;

(2) available water flow in gallons per minute and duration;

(3) source of water supply;

(4) classifications of hazards;

(5) occupancy use of the building (or area to be sprinkled);

(6) type of system to be installed;

(7) applicable National Fire Protection Association standards to be followed for each component of the system;

(8) other state and local statutes, regulations, codes, or ordinances that must be followed;

(9) name, address, and phone number of the author.

(B) The form must be completed by and bear the stamp and signature of:

(1) a professional engineer registered in South Carolina if the services of a registered professional engineer are required by a specific statute or ordinance; otherwise it may be prepared by the person described in subitem (2) of this item (B);

(2) a fire sprinkler contractor holding a valid South Carolina fire sprinkler license.

(C) The form must be submitted to the authority having jurisdiction, as follows:

(1) New construction: if a fire protection sprinkler system, as defined in Section 23-45-30(6), is required by code or called for in the bid specifications, the Fire Sprinkler System Specification Sheet must be made part of the bid specifications and must be submitted to the authority having jurisdiction, along with the architectural and/or engineering drawings and specifications when applying for building and/or other required permits. The Fire Sprinkler System Specification Sheet also must accompany the shop drawings when they are submitted for review;

(2) Existing structures: if permits are required by the authority having jurisdiction, the Fire Sprinkler System Specification Sheet must accompany the permit applications; it also must accompany the shop drawings when they are submitted for review.

SECTION 23-45-147. Shop drawings of sprinkler system required; contents; submission; certificate of compliance.

(A) Shop drawings must be prepared for every fire protection sprinkler system, as defined in Section 23-45-30(6), to be installed in South Carolina and must meet the following requirements:

(1) shop drawings, along with any attached specification sheets, must contain sufficient information to show compliance with the National Fire Protection Association standards called for in the Fire Sprinkler System Specification Sheet to the degree required by the regulations of the State Fire Marshal;

(2) shop drawings must bear the stamp, authorized signature, and license number of the fire sprinkler contractor licensed in South Carolina who prepared them.

(B) shop drawings must be submitted to the registered professional engineer who prepared the Fire Sprinkler System Specification Sheet, if applicable, to determine compliance with the Fire Sprinkler System Specification Sheet. Otherwise, the shop drawings must be submitted, to determine compliance with the Fire Sprinkler System Specification Sheet, to one of the following:

(1) the local authority having jurisdiction;

(2) the South Carolina State Fire Marshal's office; or

(3) the engineering/review department of the owner's insurance underwriter or its designee.

(C) The local authority having jurisdiction, the awarding authority, or the state agency having jurisdiction over the project may also require the submission of fire protection sprinkler system shop drawings for review, in addition to the requirements stated above, or may require their submission to the State Fire Marshal's office or other designee for review, but in no case may the stamp or seal of a registered professional engineer be required on shop drawings.

(D) In lieu of performing its own plan review on plans submitted, the State Fire Marshal's office may accept the plan review of an insurance underwriter or its designee if it meets the standards established by the regulations of the State Fire Marshal's office.

(E) A Certificate of Compliance certifying that the fire protection sprinkler system was designed and installed in accordance with the "Fire Sprinkler System Specification Sheet" must be delivered to the owner of the building, the authority having jurisdiction, and the State Fire Marshal's office on a form approved by the State Fire Marshal's office before a certificate of occupancy may be issued.

SECTION 23-45-150. Enforcement powers.

Whenever the board has reason to believe that any person is or has been violating any provision of this chapter the board may issue and deliver to the person an order to cease and desist such violation. The board may impose a penalty, not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars, for each day the violation exists. Violation of any provision of this chapter or failure to comply with a cease and desist order is cause for revocation of the license. Decisions may be appealed as provided for in Chapter 23, Title 1.

SECTION 23-45-155. Repealed by 1990 Act No. 528, Section 17, eff May 31, 1990.

SECTION 23-45-160. Redesignated as Section 23-9-155 by 1990 Act No. 528, Section 16, eff May 31, 1990.





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