How do high-volume low-speed (HVLS) fans affect the placement of sprinklers in buildings such as warehouses and other large, open spaces? According to Matt Klaus in his column "Heads Up" in the most recent issue of NFPA Journal, NFPA’s Technical Committee for Sprinkler System Discharge Criteria first discused he impact of HVLS fans before the publication of the 2010 edition of NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems. Because the committee had no data on the subject, however, the published standard included no design requirements.
The following year, the Fire Protection Research Foundation stepped up to find some answers, setting up a project to study the effects of HVLS fans on sprinkler performance in full-scale testing scenarios. The findings of the study were presented to the discharge committee, which used the information to develop a new set of design rules pertaining to this equipment for the 2013 edition of NFPA 13.