Sprinklers for Technical Thinkers
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We talk a lot about the requirements for the installation of Fire Department Connections (FDC), but often leave out their intended use and the priority of pressurizing or supplying systems from those FDCs. There are very different considerations as to why we install an FDC on a building. Simply speaking, we have them for two different reasons; supplement and supply.
Lack of proper maintenance is one of the leading reasons for fire sprinkler system failures. Fire sprinkler systems shall be properly inspected, tested, and maintained (ITM) in accordance with NFPA 25, The Standard for Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems. Systems exposed to cold weather are especially vulnerable.
This short guide highlights the top positions for fire sprinkler systems in the proposed 2024 editions of the IBC and IFC. ICC validated code officials are encouraged to support these positions for life safety and property protection in their communities. The Cycle A Online Governmental Consensus Vote (OGCV) agenda and voting period is scheduled to open October 15 and close November 1, 2021. For more information on the voting period and how to register your vote, go to the www.cdpaccess.com website.
Standpipe system working pressure definition has changed over the last few editions of NFPA 14 Standard for the Installation of Standpipes and Hose Connections. The original intent was to clarify maximum system working pressure, exclusive of surge pressure but inclusive of system design pressure required at the fire department connection (FDC). Simply speaking, the working pressure is the anticipated design pressure needed to meet system demand and must be included in the complete design aspect, including the FDC.
Many technicians understand the basics of how a dry pipe valve works, but often the specifics of how differentials work is not known. In this blog we will explore how to determine the trip pressure of a dry pipe valve and how to determine the proper air pressure for these valves, or what is known as the differential. We will discuss both legacy as well as other differential valves.
A standpipe branch line is simply a horizontal pipe connecting a standpipe to a single hose connection. Branch lines are typically added to meet travel distance requirements or where it is impracticable to install an additional vertical standpipe in a building. This pipe must be sized for the required flow and be at least 2 ½ inches in diameter. If the pipe extends more than 40 feet, measured along the pipe from the standpipe to the hose connection, a control valve must be provided. This control valve allows for isolation of the branch line for testing and maintenance without causing interruption to the rest of the system.
I remember the day like it was yesterday. As a fire code official with only a few years of experience I was assigned to a complaint inspection. In this situation, the details of the complaint were valid. The complaint revolved around an existing 200,000 square foot warehouse with high-piled storage and the business was adding on an additional 150,000 square feet of storage space. The problem? The building addition was designed by the local lumber company in town (no architect) and the owner had no intention to install fire sprinklers. After I concluded my inspection, I sat down with the owner of the company and told him about the fire code requirements; his response was, “well, I guess I’ll have to close the company”.