The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Sprinkler System Installations – Part 26

December 21, 2017 4:35 pm

In LWF’s fire engineering and risk assessment blog series for Architects and others involved in building design, we have been exploring the different types of sprinkler system available for particular uses. In Part 25, we covered pre-action installations and the two main categories; Type A and Type B. In Part 26, we will give an overview of the final two types of sprinkler system before beginning to discuss the components which make up a sprinkler system.


Recycling installations work alongside a heat detection installation. When the heat detectors are activated by a fire starting, the flow control valve opens to release water to the sprinkler head(s). After an amount of pre-determined time, the valve closes. Should the fire recover and re-establish itself, the process will begin again.


Recycling installations are usually found in industrial environments and offer the advantage of reduced water consumption and damage, however, they would only be suitable for particular purposes.


A Deluge installation is the type of sprinkler system which is most similar to the type shown in many Hollywood movies. All the sprinkler heads in a deluge system operate simultaneously, with all the heads being of the open type. The associated pipework is connected to a deluge valve or multiple control in the case of smaller systems.


Either electronic fire detection or dry line pilot systems can be used in order to ascertain the presence of a fire and activate the system. It may also be possible to activate the system manually. A deluge system is most commonly found where there are oil or flammable liquid risks, gas risks, cooling from exposure and high hazard group 4 process risks.


Sprinkler System Components


Many components of a sprinkler system are tested and approved by a third-party testing facility. These include:


Alarm Valves, Accelerators and exhausters, Deluge Valves, Direct Reading Flow Meters, Adjustable Drop Pipes, Pipe Couplings and fittings, Multiple Controls, Pre-action systems, Recycling Systems, Electrical Alarm Pressure switches, Suction Tanks, Vortex Inhibitors, Sprinkler Heads, Water Flow Alarm Switches, Water Sprayers and Systems and Fire Pumps.


Items which are standardised between systems, such as pipes, fittings and stop valves are usually referred to within the codes by a recognised national or international standard. It is important, therefore, to ascertain that the components of a sprinkler system are fit for purpose and of a quality suitable for the intended longevity of the system.


The environment which is to house the system should also be considered. If the environment is corrosive, wet system components must be protected. Alternate wet and dry systems can suffer internal corrosion more quickly than those systems which are always charged with water. Unprotected steel pipe for this purpose can reduce the life of the pipework to 20 years or fewer. The use of galvanised pipe will certainly extend the lifespan of this part.


In Part 27 of this series, the components of a sprinkler system will be further discussed. 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.


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