Thanks for those who have provided feedback thus far - here's the progress on the Trapeze Sizing Tool.
Also, quick note: today is the last day to get the custom mousepad with the Toolkit. If you're an all-access subscriber of the Toolkit (new today or prior), be sure to fill out your information to get a free one on the dashboard. Those will be sent out starting next week.
The tool was not allowing any entry when it initially posted but that's cleaned up now.
I've updated some hanger detailing, labels, and Unistrut sizing.
What else would be helpful to incorporate here? I plan to add some flexibility on structure types, include a graphic scale, and offer options for which trapeze to show (the default is Schedule 10 pipe).
Also, for contractors - what is your preferred method of attachment and hanging for the trapeze? A washer and nut would typically be used for Unistrut and angle iron, but what about pipe as a trapeze? I'd like to detail what is realistic and preferred in the field.
As always, feel free topost comments here or shoot me an email with ideas. Thanks in advance!
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First, a huge thank you to everyone who's expressed interest and purchased the Toolkit - I very much appreciate the fantastic response to the launch over the last three weeks!
It's a short post this week - I've been developing a Trapeze Hanger tool that sizes and schematically details trapeze hangers. This will likely be the first of three posts while developing this tool.
Questions for you at this point in time:
(1) What other possible standard trapeze materials do you use that could be helpful as part of this tool?
(2) What would you like to see shown in the detail?
(3) If the detail could be easily translated to AutoCAD from this calculator, could it be something helpful for your projects? If so, what would you want shown and identified?
Click here to test and comment on the Trapeze Hanger tool, thanks in advance!
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I've occasionally run into predicaments on projects that put me in a tough position.
A couple weeks ago as part of a rural project in a small town outside of Memphis I was helping coordinate a flow test between a hired sprinkler contractor and the water utility.
I had initially asked both the fire and water department if they conducted tests or had interest in witnessing, asked for sprinkler contractor recommendations, and then called the nearest sprinkler outfit I could find (which happened to be an hour and a half drive away). They agreed to run a flow test for $500. I gave parameters on which hydrants I felt we needed tested and gave the go-ahead.
Results from the test were very poor. A static of 65 psi dropped to 40 at only 580 gpm, with the extrapolated curve showing a maximum capacity of around 800 gpm at 20 psi.
Flow test results are dependent upon quality visual readings and calibrated equipment.
Based on the intent of the project with significant storage capacity (think ESFR), we were looking at both a pump and a tank to supplement both pressure and flow.
The hiccup came when I caught word from the water department who told the general contractor (our client) that the sprinkler company used a gauge that didn't zero out and the water department suspected was not calibrated. Based on past history the water department expected better flow in the area (at least), and were surprised that the flow had been so low.
Now to the minor dilemma - we need the test re-run (especially if there's water storage tank implications) - so does that mean having the same sprinkler contractor run the test again? The water department, after talking the situation with them, wasn't a big fan. Do I find another sprinkler contractor, and have to eat the original $500? Do I play the game that many general contractors would run, and not pay the $500?
Pressure gauges can become less calibrated over time - and the further they get from true readings
the less reliable the resulting data becomes.
I'm not the kind of person that generally makes a phone call without some kind of directive or question in mind, but I called the contractor and just laid out what I had heard and asked how they wanted to handle it. Fortunately, the sales manager was extremely helpful and offered to re-run the test at no additional charge (despite the one-way 1.5 hour drive to the site) with a new set of gauges.
I'll get the results this week or next, and I suspect that with even slightly better flow information there could be big impacts on the sizing of water storage.
I was on the receiving end of generosity and being well-served in this case, and I am very thankful for it.
Being in business affords us the opportunity to make many decisions and serve other people. One of my favorite aspects of running a small team is having the opportunity to serve people very well and own our mistakes. Clients don't always expect perfection, but a full-fledged genuine effort to serve in a client's best interest usually results in successful projects and happy clients.
I don't expect every flow test, every installation, or every encounter to be perfect - but having people who are willing to own a mistake and take steps to correct it are the type of people I enjoy working with.
This blog began as a way to share weekly takeaways in my role as a fire protection engineer. If you know someone who might be interested in the resources and articles, send them a link or subscribe yourself here.
It's that time of year to find someone who is taking the PE Exam and give them a hug. Or don't, because that's kind of unprofessional, but do be very empathetic.
It's always clear from my end that there are so many people who are spending lots of time preparing for the big day on October 26th.
Interest Way Up
Thanks in large part to word of mouth from those who had purchased the PE Prep Guide and Weekly Exam series in past years and the use of the guide in the 2018 SFPE Online Course, I've seen a major uptick in interest this year.
As an estimate from the overall participation in last year's exam, roughly 2/3rds of all examinees this year will walk into the exam room with the 2018 Edition of the Prep Guide. That's very encouraging and I thank you all who have promoted the book and continue to give feedback to help make it better for others.
I'm shipping copies daily with even more in inventory, so if you're looking to get a copy you can still get one today.
Big Impact with Weekly Exam
This year was the first summer I've been able to use data from last year's users to refine and improve the questions. It's been a major improvement over last year and I am glad to continue to get positive feedback and interest. The Leaderboard posted weekly on the Daily page shows these all-stars at work. I think each year the folks studying seem to get better and better in their preparation and this year is no exception.
We've had some requests for even more problems (above the 300 in the weekly exams and the on-demand series), so I've just opened 4-hour and 8-hour exams that mixes old problems from weeks 1-18 to test yourself again. If you're a Weekly Exam user you can see those here.
Checklist of Resources
Occasionally around this time of year I hear from a few people that don't know about some of the available prep materials. Here's a short list to make sure you're taking advantage of everything available.
1. A list of all Fire Protection PE Exam materials I know
2. Join the free private Facebook group with many great discussions and questions about the exam
3. Daily PE Exam Problems (over 90 to date)
4. PE Prep Guide and Weekly Exam Series, with Errata
Last Exam Tips
If you have a copy of the Prep Guide you already know there's quite a bit of detail on exam advice passed down through the years included in the book.
For this summer I'd just like to say to remember that no matter how hard you've prepped, there will be questions that seem to come completely out of left field, are over-emphasized in the exam, or are worded poorly. Not only do some of these questions not even end up graded, but remember that everyone else taking the exam will have a similar experiences. All you can do is your best and forget the rest!
The Toolkit package is here!
This week, as part of the big launch, you can get every tool we have available: Get access to the Sprinkler Database, downloaded tools, post-a-question and more today. The Toolkit is a downloadable package that allows you to PDF, print and save your calculations as well as get access to the Sprinkler Database and a host of other benefits.
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Joseph Meyer, PE, is a Fire Protection Engineer in St. Louis, Missouri. See bio on About page.