Protecting your company's assets from damage during a fire should be an essential component in your overall safety plan. Fire sprinklers have the ability to help suppress flames quickly and efficiently, but many older buildings do not have fire sprinklers. Retrofitting your building to include a fire sprinkler system can be beneficial, but only if the system is designed effectively.
Here are three things you should consider when adding fire sprinklers to your company's older building in the future.
1. Access to Water
In order for a fire sprinkler system to be effective, you will need to be able to ensure that an adequate supply of water is on available at all times.
It's estimated that the average fire sprinkler can produce between 15 and 20 gallons of water each minute. Multiply this number by the number of sprinkler heads you plan to install in your building, and you will have an estimate of the total volume of water that could be needed should a fire break out.
Ensure that your building's plumbing lines can handle this volume and that you have access to a reservoir of water large enough to fully supply your fire sprinklers in the event of a fire.
2. Existing Construction Features
When retrofitting an existing building with a fire sprinkler system, you will need to ensure that you are taking existing construction features into consideration. The design of the sprinkler system should allow for maximum coverage while minimizing the amount of damage that will be done to the structure of the building.
Consulting with a fire protection engineer can be a great way to guarantee that the design of your retrofitted fire sprinkler system will work well with the existing architectural features in your company's building.
3. Code and Insurance Requirements
Many companies opt to retrofit their older buildings with fire sprinkler systems in order to comply with insurance requirements. Be sure that you check with your insurance company to determine the minimum amount of fire suppression required to qualify for policy discounts when you are designing your fire sprinkler system.
It can also be beneficial to check with your local planning and zoning office to educate yourself on the codes that must be met in order for your fire sprinkler system to be legal. Knowing code and insurance requirements before you begin the retrofitting process will ensure your fire suppression system will be designed properly.
Investing in the help of a fire protection engineer can be a great way to ensure you have access to plenty of water, you accommodate existing construction features, and you comply with code and insurance requirements when retrofitting your older building with a fire sprinkler system.