Fire Safety and Suppression: How to Install a Fire Sprinkler System

Several phases of a job need to occur properly when installing a fire suppression system for a fire sprinkler company to make a profit.  Job that are organized, have a thought out plan and have personnel who are properly trained in the installation of fire sprinkler systems will have a greater chance of making a profit than those that are not.

Fire Sprinkler Pre-Installation Meeting

Before any pipe or material is delivered to the jobsite or installed in the structure it is of most important that a job walk and pre-installation meeting be done.  This meeting should include the fire sprinkler engineer, the job site fire sprinkler foreman and any fire sprinkler fitters.  The agenda for the meeting should include:

  • Review fire sprinkler blue prints.
  • Review any special material being used.
  • Discuss safety & all special issues.
  • Schedule of items and task to be completed.
  • Location of water supply or underground.

Delivery of Fire Sprinkler Material

When delivering pipe and material to a jobsite, it is recommended that the foreman have a pre-determined area where pipe can be stored and properly inspected by the owner’s representative or QC personnel.  When possible, store fire sprinkler material (pipe, fittings, hangers, couplings and sprinkler heads) inside the structure.  This will protect the fire sprinkler material from things such as dirt, rain, and possible theft.

If material must be stored outside be sure to:

  • Use dunnage wood to keep pipe off ground and out of dirt.
  • Leave loose material, extra fittings and hangers on pallets.
  • Cover all pipe and pallets with visqueen or tarps to protect from dust, debris and other weather elements.
  • Have a job box that can be locked to store all tools, valves and sprinkler heads.

Layout of Fire Sprinkler System

When laying out the fire sprinkler system it is best to locate where the fire sprinkler system riser will be.  The riser will consist of: a control valve, check valve, pressure gage, main drain, alarm, inspectors test valve and a calculation plate.  This will be the starting point and it will allow the installers (fitters) the ability to determine the exact location of the hangers, mains and branch lines.

Installation of Fire Sprinkler System

After the riser and hangers have been located the fitters can now start the installation of the fire sprinkler piping.  It is best to hang the main sprinkler pipe first.  Main pipe normally consists of pipe that supplies the lines which supply the heads, generally the size range is anywhere from 2”-8” in diameter.  After the main has been completed the crew can then install any riser nipples or line piping, this pipe usually ranges from 1”-2” in diameter.  After the line piping is finished a fitter would then install all arm-overs and drops and then cut the heads to the finished ceiling.

Completion of Fire Sprinkler System

A fire sprinkler system is not done until several tasks are completed.  Task that need to be completed include:

Earthquake bracing (EQB). EQB is designed to protect the integrity of a fire sprinkler system in case it is subjected to an earthquake.  It is best to install EQB during the 2-hour hydrostatic test to make good use of field time.

Hydrostatic Testing. Each fire sprinkler system must be hydrostatically tested.  A hydro test consists of a fire sprinkler system being pumped up to 200 psi for 2 hours.  The fire sprinkler system must maintain the 200 psi in order to pass the Hydrostatic test. During this period leaks are repaired and rough-in inspections are accomplished.

Completion of As-Builts. As with most jobs, things in the field change.  As-Builts are completed by the foreman and used to show the engineer any and all changes that may have occurred during the installation of a fire sprinkler system.  These plans are also given to the owner to use as reference in the future.

Final Inspection. Final inspection occurs when the foreman, the owner’s rep and QC walk the entire building and agree that the fire sprinkler system has been installed per plans and specifications.  During this final inspection the alarm and electrical connections are also tested and approved.

As one can see if you stay organized, follow a plan, and have properly trained personnel installing the fire suppression system can be easily accomplished while also making a profit for the fire sprinkler company.

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