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Fire Sprinkler Design-Part1

Fire Sprinkler Design-Part1

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Published by Henry Suarez

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Published by: Henry Suarez on Nov 06, 2011
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02/04/2012

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By Samuel S. Dannaway, PE,President, S.S. Dannaway Associates, Inc., Honolulu
FPE Corner 
Fire Sprinkler Design — Part 1
Continued on page 22 
in the review of fire protection installation shop drawings forcompliance with the engineer’s design and specifications.• Oversight by a licensed professional engineer is required inthe installation of an original permitted design.”In practice, the contract/design documents prepared by theengineer represent a performance-based design. The engineer’sdesign documents for a fire sprinkler system should include abasis of design (or design analysis) and a set of contract docu-ments. The contract documents normally include drawings andspecifications.The basis of design should document the objectives of thesystem and document key design decisions. It is also veryimportant that the basis of design confirm the adequacy of thewater supply. The engineer must document the available watersupply either by conducting or witnessing a fire hydrant flowtest. In some jurisdictions flow tests are not permitted and theengineer may have to rely on data provided by the water pur-veyor or by calculation. With the available water supply datathe engineer then must perform a preliminary sprinklerhydraulic calculation to confirm that it is feasible for the firesprinkler system to be designed within the available water sup-ply. If water supply improvements are needed such as a largerunderground feed main, booster fire pump system, or pumpwith tank, they need to be included in the bid documents.Leaving it up to the bidding contractor to do their own flow testto verify the water supply adequacy could, for example, resultin a large change order for a booster fire pump during con-struction. Copies of the fire hydrant flow test report and theengineer’s preliminary hydraulic calculations should be includ-ed in the basis of design.The contract drawings for the performance-based design of fire sprinkler systems should address the following:1. Identify the building and/or fire code of the ruling juris-diction. Also, identify applicable installation standards, whichcan include:• NFPA 13, Standard for Installation of Sprinkler Systems;• NFPA 13R, Standard for the Installation of SprinklerSystems in Residential Occupancies up to and Including FourStories in Height; and• NFPA 13D, Standard for the Installation of SprinklerSystems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and ManufacturedHomesOther applicable codes and standards from NFPA couldinclude:• NFPA 14, Standard for the Installation of Standpipe andHose Systems;• NFPA 20, Standard for the Installation of Stationary Pumpsfor Fire Protection ;• NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, andMaintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems; and• NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code2. Identify the type of fire sprinkler system being provided.Paragraph 3.4 of NFPA 13 defines these systems, which includewet pipe, deluge, dry pipe, preaction, and combination preac-tion-dry pipe systems.3. Clearly indicate the areas to be protected by sprinklers.This would normally be the entire building. It is also important
I
n last month’s column, I discussed how to determine whenfire sprinklers are required based on the InternationalBuilding and Fire Codes. This article — and the next — willattempt to identify what the engineer must include in the designof a fire sprinkler system.First a short disclaimer, what constitutes an adequate sprin-kler design for purposes of obtaining a building permit or meet-ing requirements of individual state licensing boards varies andmust be taken into account by the engineer.This article will use — as a basis for establishing what con-stitutes a proper sprinkler design — a position statement thatwas jointly prepared and approved by the Society of FireProtection Engineers (SFPE), the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), and the National Institute forCertification In Engineering Technologies (NICET) entitled“The Engineer and the Engineering Technician — DesigningFire Protection Systems.”This document presents a model for the roles played by theengineer and the engineering technician in the development of adesign for fire protection systems. A full text version of the state-ment can be found at http://www.sfpe.org/upload/nspe-sfpe-nicet_position_statement_-_designing_fire_protection_systems_-_july_28_2008_final_nicet-nspe-sfpe_approved_version.pdf.With respect to fire sprinkler systems, the position statementindicates that the engineer is responsible for preparing a set of documents from which the sprinkler contractor’s technician canprepare layout drawings (i.e., shop drawings or working plans).The engineer’s documents also can be used to serve as bid doc-uments. The requirements for layout drawings or shop draw-ings, which are prepared by the engineering (or sprinkler lay-out) technician, are well defined under the provisions for work-ing plans in paragraph 22.1.3 of NFPA 13 Standard for theInstallation of Sprinkler Systems, 2007 edition.Not everyone in the industry agrees that the SFPE positionpaper represents the correct model. Some professional engi-neers and fire sprinkler contractors have differing views. Thereare professional engineers that feel that the preparation of lay-out drawings is “engineering” and therefore must be preparedby a professional engineer. In fact, some jurisdictions and stateengineering boards may require these drawings to be preparedby or under direct supervision of a PE. On the other hand, thereare some fire sprinkler contractors who believe that fire sprin-kler work does not require the involvement of an engineer in thedesign process, and that engineers prepare unusable and oftenunbiddable design documents.However, the National Council of Examiners forEngineering and Surveying (NCEES) agrees in principle withthe SFPE Position Statement and have issued their own positionstatement PS 25 on Fire Protection which:“… recommends that Member Boards actively pursueenforcement of state statutes and rules with local permittingauthorities having jurisdiction (AHJ) regarding the engineeringsupervision over the specification, design, and calculation of fire protection systems.” To implement NCEES recommends:• Contract drawings should include a set of fire protectiondrawings that are sealed by a licensed professional engineer.• Supervision by a licensed professional engineer is required
Page 20/Plumbing EngineerAugust 2009

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