How Far Apart Should Fire Sprinkler Heads Be?

How Far Apart Should Fire Sprinkler Heads Be?

Installing a fire sprinkler system sounds like it would be simple, but the reality is, when you get into planning it, there is more to think about than originally seemed. One detail often not considered until planning is fire sprinkler head spacing.

The number of sprinkler heads needed will depend on the room size, use and area covered by an individual head. And the spacing between each head differs depending on whether you are installing them in a residential or commercial building.

In this blog, we share some guidelines and regulations for fire sprinkler placement.

Building Code Regulations for Fire Sprinkler Head Spacing

Regulations and guidelines are different for commercial and residential buildings.

Residential Guidelines

In May 2020, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities amended the guidelines, meaning that any buildings with top storeys higher than 11 metres above ground level must have a fire sprinkler system installed.

These systems need to be fitted in accordance with BS 9251 or BS EN 12845 for flat blocks.

This British Standard includes:

  • Maximum coverage of 12m² per sprinkler head
  • Heads placed 2.4 meters away from any walls
  • Maximum distance between sprinkler heads to be 4.8 meters

Commercial Guidelines

For commercial buildings, guidelines state that business premises that are 20,000 square metres or more are obligated to install fire sprinklers. Commercial buildings fire sprinklers are governed by the BS EN 12845.

This standard includes:

  • The maximum coverage area of 12m² per sprinkler head – although this can change if in a high hazard category, in which case it could be reduced to 9m²
  • Sprinkler placement should be no more than 2.3 metres away from a wall
  • Distance between sprinkler heads will depend on hazard classification:
    • Light hazard = 4.5 metres
    • Ordinary hazard = 4.5 meters
    • High hazard = 3-4.5 metres

Further Considerations

As well as the fire sprinkler head spacing, the standards require you to consider a few other things:

  • Ceiling height – higher ceilings in any building require adjusted spacing for effective coverage
  • Obstructions – the position of sprinkler heads must avoid obstructions that interfere with water distribution, additional heads should be added if obstructions are within 0.6 metres of a head
  • Type of sprinkler head – the type of sprinkler head will impact the distance between each head needed
  • Special considerations – areas such as attics, voids and industrial areas have unique requirements

Calculating Sprinkler Heads Required

To make sure your sprinklers are sufficiently distanced, you will need to work out how many sprinkler heads you need.

To do this, you will need to do the following equation:

Total area / coverage area of sprinkler head


If my office space is 10 metres by 10 metres, I would times those together to get the total area.

10 x 10 = 100

I would then divide 100 by the coverage area of a single sprinkler head (12m²).

100 / 12 = 8.333

Therefore, I would need nine sprinkler heads to ensure there was a maximum of 12m² between each sprinkler head.

Fire Sprinkler Head Spacing Experts

At South Coast Fire Sprinklers, we ensure every member of our team is up to date with regulations and guideline changes for fire sprinkler head spacing and placement.

We are quickly becoming the go-to fire sprinkler company on the South Coast thanks to our knowledge and experience.

Our qualified team will work with you to design and install an efficient and cost-effective sprinkler system that will comply with industry standards.

If you are struggling to understand the rules and regulations or would like a bit more guidance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our specialist team today.

Call us on 01202 731111 to speak to our team. We are always happy to answer questions, run through guidelines and help you work out how many sprinkler heads you might need.

Alternatively, get an online quote for our fire sprinkler installations today.

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