The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Planning Sprinkler Installations – Part 29

January 18, 2018 2:20 pm

In LWF’s Fire Engineering and Risk Assessment blog series for Architects and others in the building design industry, we have been reviewing the proper planning of sprinkler protection as a part of the design process. In Part 28, the necessity for consultation with all relevant parties was discussed and in Part 29, we examine the building itself and how that will impact upon sprinkler installation.


It is important to ascertain the nature of the proposed occupancy of the building and processes which are anticipated to take place within, as both are essential in determining the hazard classification which will apply to the risk.


Once this is established, it is not uncommon for there to be different risk classifications within the same building, due to different activities taking place under the same roof. For instance, a building may be part offices, part manufacturing, or there may be the storage of hazardous materials to consider.


The storage of goods on the premises must be investigated and the following aspects planned for:


 What type of goods are to be stored


 Potential height of storage


 Methods of storage


 Types of goods must be categorised


 Type and classification of protection based on previous points.


In addition to those factors within the building under design, there is the potential for issues from outside of the premises. Reliable water provision is essential for the correct operation of a sprinkler system and so it is essential that full flow testing of the mains water supply is undertaken. This will establish if water can be supplied directly to a sprinkler system, or if the water mains can be used as infill to a water storage tank.


Mains water is not the only source which can be utilised for a sprinkler system. Nearby reservoirs, lakes, rivers etc. might have the potential to feed into the sprinkler system. The possibility of existing water tanks should also be investigated.


Locations for installation control valves must be considered, along with the necessity for the Fire Service to be able to access the source, plus the need to dispose of test and system drain water.


The proposed locations of main risers within the building and subsidiary control valve locations, as well as storage tanks and pump house must be taken into consideration, if they are a part of the design plan.


Where an electric pump is required, the electrical supply must be planned and should be of sufficient capacity and reliability.


Finally, an outline of the routes of main distribution pipes for the sprinkler system should be produced in order that any impacts upon the building in terms of structure or design can be mitigated early in the design process.


In Part 30, LWF will continue to look at the planning process involved in sprinkler installation, as part of building design, before moving on to look at the specifics of how the sprinkler system itself should be designed. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this blog, or wish to discuss your own project with one of our fire engineers, please contact us.


Lawrence Webster Forrest has been working with their clients for over 25 years to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact Peter Gyere on 020 8668 8663.


While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.



Share this post