The LWF Blog
Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Sprinkler Installation Design – Part 43April 26, 2018 11:13 am
In LWF’s Fire Engineering blog series for Architects and others in the building design business, we have been talking about fire suppression through sprinklers. In part 42, we looked at how many precautions can be taken to reduce risks while using an enhanced sprinkler system. In part 43, the increased use of sprinklers in residential buildings will be discussed.
Although the installation and use of sprinkler systems in domestic environments is still rare, the immense life safety benefits afforded by such systems means that popularity is increasing and will continue to do so.
The main issue with the idea of installing sprinkler systems in new-build homes so far has been that of cost. However, developments in product design such as CPVC pipes and fittings, coupled with an increased awareness of the benefits that sprinkler protection can bring, mean that it is possible such fire protection will be incorporated into home design on an increasingly regular basis.
While the basic design principles of a domestic sprinkler system is similar to that in commercial and industrial environments, the anticipated flow rate necessary is less than that required by a light hazard system.
BS 9251:2014 Fire sprinkler systems for domestic and residential occupancies. Code of practice gives recommendations for the design, installation, components, water supplies and backflow protection, commissioning, maintenance and testing of fire sprinkler systems in domestic and residential occupancies.
In research undertaken by Branz (an independent research and testing company), the idea of using the domestic water distribution network, already present in a domestic building, to supply water to a domestic sprinkler system was introduced. While the concept is still largely unused in practice, it would certainly provide an economical method of fire suppression in the home.
In high rise blocks of flats, the existing dry or wet rising mains required under Building Regulations would ensure the safeguards were in place to add a domestic sprinkler system to the distribution piping already in place. While a dry rising main is not charged with water and therefore, delivery of the water would not commence until the Fire Service was on site, the connection, once made, would ensure that water was discharged directly into the residence of fire origin.
The design, installation and maintenance of a sprinkler system must always only be undertaken by those who are competent to do so. The Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) has compiled a list of companies who have been assessed to the standards in BS EN ISO 9000: Quality Management Systems (https://www.iso.org/standard/45481.html).
While the use of such third-party accreditation is not yet worldwide, it is hoped that the increasing use will ensure competence and standards where it is in place.
In part 44 of this series, LWF will discuss the use of foam systems. 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.