I hope you are having a great week.
This week is a 2020 update to a popular post from 2016 with a free PDF cheatsheet. It's usefully for novice designers or experienced inspectors, with clear code references and purposes of each of the components that go into a floor control assembly serving a fire sprinkler system.
A breakout of each of the components that go into a fire sprinkler floor control assembly.
If you find any of these tools helpful, consider sharing with a friend or colleague and nudge them to subscribe for more tools and tips like this here: www.meyerfire.com/subscribe. Thanks in advance!
Last week I introduced a Remote Area Analyzer that evaluates remote area size and shape.
This week could possibly be the biggest and best expansion of any tool created thus far. I'm thrilled to present a beta version of our Sprinkler Estimator tool.
With a few default adjustments, you can quickly get a remote area's pressure and flow demand, remote area shape, and have a live schematic of the calculation that updates without a need for "re-running" the calculation.
For a long time now I've wanted a tool where I could quickly estimate pipe sizes and a remote area's demands before I started laying out the system so that I could be as efficient in my design workflow as possible. What typically takes me 30 minutes to a couple hours can now be gathered in less than 30 seconds.
Another fun application? Want to see what effect k-factors have on your calculation? What about long sprigs? Or what about pipe schedule changes? Wet versus dry systems? What about a consistent branch size versus changing pipe diameters? With this tool you can adjust parameters with just a click and see the live impact it has on your calculation.
I'm really not trying to hard sell this one, I've just had my morning coffee and I'm thrilled to have you give it a try. It's been something I've thought about and developed piece by piece for a couple years now.
The best way to experience it is with the downloadable version of the Toolkit. You can get a free 30-day trial of that here, or download the latest full version here. The downloadable version has a split-screen that shows the live preview and live calculated results while also allowing you to adjust parameters... no scrolling required.
Click here to give it a try on our cloud version, and shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any feedback or suggestions.
Thanks and I hope you have a great week!
When I initially set up a hydraulic calculation for a tree-style sprinkler system, there are a few key points I have to consider. All of these points today and the tool are specifically for tree systems (not gridded).
First, we need to determine what the remote area actually is. In NFPA 13, for instance, there are multiple adjustments (quick-response sprinklers, dry systems, sloped systems, high-temperature, etc.). Even if we start with a 1,500 sqft remote area, it could look a lot different after multiple adjustments.
Second, we need to determine the minimum length of the remote area along a branch line. This is a relatively straightforward at 1.2 x √ (remote area size), but it's still another hand-calculation that needs to take place.
We then round up to determine the sprinklers along the first branch line, then expand by branch lines to figure out how many sprinklers are actually in a calculation.
The tool I'm introducing today (which is also now available on the Toolkit) is a schematic-level remote area analyzer that will apply multiple adjustments and quickly estimate the important parameters associated with a remote area.
With only a few quick inputs, you'll see an initial remote area laid out with a live schematic of your situation. Click either of the images below to give it a try:
A new remote-area analysis tool which incorporates adjustments and gives a live schematic layout. See it here.
If you already have the toolkit, you can download this and three other recently added tools in today's Toolkit update here. If you're interested in giving this tool a try, check it out here. I'll have it up without any login credentials for a couple months.
In time, I'm looking forward to expanding this tool to have some powerful estimating abilities.
Any suggestions, tips or feedback? Post a comment or shoot me an email at email@example.com.
A Hurting World at Large
Just like I don't ask hollywood to be my moral compass, you don't come here for my my personal opinions. I get it. That said there has been a tremendous amount of unrest here locally, nationally, and worldwide this past week.
I think there's a major feeling that our collective perspective has to improve. I want to do better and be part of a better future for everyone. I want you to know that whoever you are and wherever you are, I very much care about you and your well being. You have tremendous value. Hope you and yours are safe, healthy, and doing well.
Thanks & I hope you have a great week.
Did you know there are over 1,500 variations of sprinkler models which are actively on the market today?
Around three years ago we began development on one of the largest research projects we've ever undertaken - organization of all the fire sprinklers available on the market today. It took several hundreds of hours to finely comb through all the k-factors, pressure listings, spacing distances, model numbers, responses, and links to websites and product data.
The Comprehensive Fire Sprinkler Database
In late 2018, we finally released it - a comprehensive Fire Sprinkler Database. With it you can search by SIN, k-factor, type, spacing distances.... most any parameter you need to in order to find the sprinkler that's the best fit for your design.
The introductory video to it is here (forgive the terrible voice narrator... it was me): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsLPg4GKaCU
Updates from This Week
Just this week we've updated the database to include recent releases for new sprinkler models from Tyco, Viking, and Reliable, including new window sprinklers, concealed sprinkler options, MRI sprinklers, institutional sprinklers, and corridor sprinklers.
Use It Today
If you haven't checked it out - here's an opportunity to do so. I've opened it up for everyone just for the next couple weeks. Just go to this link - www.meyerfire.com/sprinklerdatabase - and login using firstname.lastname@example.org as the username and sprinklerdatabase as the password if you're not already a Toolkit subscriber.
The Fire Sprinkler Database is the most current and comprehensive database of available fire sprinklers across all manufacturers we know about. Click the image to login and try it out.
For those in the inspection department - it's been asked how we can take this to the next level.
Can we get obsolete and recalled sprinklers into the database as well, so that we can quickly search to find information on recalls? That answer is yes, but I need your help. I'm not regularly involved in inspections, but I know many of you are.
If you have a good understanding of where all the various manufacturers recall information (old and current companies) and how I could best showcase that material, please reach out to me at email@example.com. I'd be happy to get some input on how I can tackle this next phase of the database and make it that much more useful for us all.
Thanks & have a great week!
While couped up in our house I've been binging on creating cheatsheets instead of Netflix. Sorry Tiger King.
This week I'm debuting an overview of the components for seismic bracing in fire sprinkler systems. Seismic bracing is a nuanced and complex topic, but my hope with this overview cheatsheet is that you'll have a starting point for reviewing all the different requirements that go into seismic bracing.
As always, be sure to check the code, the commentary, and any other information you can find on these topics to make sure your work or your reviews are top notch.
That being said, here's the two-page introductory cheatsheet for seismic bracing in sprinkler systems under NFPA 13. If you find this content helpful, please considering sharing with colleagues and subscribing to resources like this here: www.meyerfire.com/subscribe.
Thanks and have a great rest of your week!
A couple weeks ago I sent a sprinkler obstructions cheatsheet for the options with standard spray sprinklers and ceiling-mounted obstructions where the sprinkler cannot throw over the obstruction.
Thanks to some great suggestions, I've now incorporated some visuals that might help. As always, thanks for the feedback! You can download the updated cheatsheet here:
A New, Free, Fire Protection App
In case you missed it last week - there's a new free fire protection app on the market.
It's free and was developed by Michael Swahn and the helpful engineers over at Sebench Engineering out of Atlanta. It's now live on both Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. Here's links to get it:
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=al.pragmatic.sebench.android
The app has quick-calculations for Fire Pump Tests, Hydrant Flows, Equivalent K-Factors, Flow/K-Factor/Pressure Calculations, and Friction Loss. Download it today with the links above.
NFSA Expert of the Day Handbook Coming Summer 2020
One of the major projects I've been working on since last fall is development of the National Fire Sprinkler Association's Expert of the Day Handbook. It is a two-volume hardcover compilation of thousands of informal interpretations by NFSA's Experts, spanning 2004 through 2018.
The set will be available through NFSA later this summer (likely by July). I'm thrilled to be a part of compiling these in a searchable, organized manner that could very well be the go-to resource for suppression design, inspection & testing outside of the standards themselves. There will be plenty more on this as the book becomes available for sale, but wanted to share a little of the good news on this exciting undertaking.
Thanks & I hope you have a safe and great rest of your week!
There are a handful of rules in NFPA 13 covering how sprinkler protection works in and around obstructions. It's for good reason; we don't want objects getting between a growing fire and our best method of suppressing it.
The PDF cheatsheet this week covers options for throwing water below obstructions, where the top of the obstruction is at or above the sprinkler deflector, for standard pendent and upright sprinklers.
If the sprinkler deflector has the ability to throw over the top of an obstruction - different rules apply - which we'll get to in the coming weeks.
To get your free PDF download, enter your email below and you'll immediately have the PDF sent right to you. If you're already subscribed to the blog, check the Recent Resources section at the very bottom of your latest April email.
As always, any tips, ideas or feedback feel free to send my way at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope you find this helpful and that you have a great & safe week!
Today is a very big day for me. I am finally launching the start of an idea I've had and brainstormed and discussed and revisited for a number of years now.
Finally. I could not be more excited about it.
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began impacting the world around us I've been pressed to rethink my own operations and what I'm contributing to the world. Articles, design content, PE Prep, and trying to find ways to help the knowledgebase of the fire protection community is good, but I started the website around the idea of impacting the community in a real and tangible way.
Today's new project is the start of what I hope could be a major positive impact for AHJs, designers, and installers.
What is it? A Code Call Database.
What is CodeCalls.org?
CodeCalls.org is a free website that is bringing together local jurisdictions, fire protection designers, engineers, and installers to clarify and collaborate local code requirements.
We're taking the areas of code in fire protection design that need local input, and helping jurisdictions get what they need to help first responders do their work.
When we're done, we plan to have a searchable, filterable database where you can find local requirements based on a project's ZIP code, city or county name.
Where to Start? Indiana!
There tens of thousands of jurisdictions in the United States alone, how is all this data going to come together?
First, we're starting with our test case. If you work in the State of Indiana or have contacts who do, pay close attention today.
Our Goal is to gather jurisdictional requirements for 70% of Indiana's population by May 8th. That's in 30 days.
Indiana has a healthy mixture of urban, suburban and rural jurisdictions, so it presents a great test case to validate the concept. If we get enough momentum for Indiana, we feel confident in pursuing the project for larger coverage.
If we find that we can get enough momentum to clarify requirements for Indiana, then we feel that the project could be viable to expand to new areas beyond Indiana and beyond just the United States, too.
Why a 70% Coverage Goal?
In order for the database to work, the user experience has to be great. Both for jurisdictions and for designers & installers. We feel that if we can cover jurisdictions that account for at least 70% of the area's population, that we'll have enough data for a great user experience and a very helpful resource.
Is it Free?
Yes, the database will always be free for anyone to access. We're funding the development efforts as a joint project by MeyerFire.com and BuildingCode.Blog.
Why Should I Help?
If you're an engineer, designer or installer, why should you contribute?
For one - this is a way to clarify local requirements that will help in more fair and consistent bidding.
Second - we'll thank you by crediting your contribution with a link from the local listing directly to your company's website. If someone is looking for a local contractor or design outfit, they can search a ZIP code and immediately have contact information to you, the person who they know is already familiar with the local requirements.
If you're a jurisdiction, why should you contribute?
Simple - get your needs met. Are you tired of providing the same plan-review comments? Tired of answering the same basic questions in phone calls and emails? This platform is an easy way to clarify the gray areas of code and simply make your requirements more clear to those who are seeking them.
I Have Some Information for Some Areas in Indiana. How Can I Help?
You can contribute information for jurisdictions you're familiar with here. We'll thank you with a promotional link to your company's website and help get the information verified by the jurisdiction.
See The New Site!
Click here or the link below to check out the new project. Let us know what you think by commenting or emailing me at email@example.com. Would love to hear feedback on how we can make this helpful and accessible.
First - last week I put together a draft PDF cheatsheet for fire alarm design in elevators. Lots of great response to that tool. One major flub on my part - I didn't actually link to it. Here's an actual working hyperlink (fingers crossed).
K-Factor & Pressure Versus Area & Density
One of the hand calculations I do frequently when laying out sprinkler systems is comparing the k-factor, minimum pressures, and resulting flow for the sprinkler. It comes up all the time with residential-style, extended coverage, special application, and storage sprinklers.
Many hydraulic calculation programs do this comparison automatically. That being said, it is important to understand and compare the minimum flow from sprinklers for a hydraulic calculation.
Reducing unnecessary flow from a sprinkler reduces the total calculated flow from a system, which has major impacts on pipe sizing for some branch lines, cross mains, feed mains, and even the underground service size.
Driver #1: K-Factor and Minimum Pressure
There are two drivers for the actual minimum flow that must come from a fire sprinkler.
The first driver is the K-Factor and Minimum Pressure. This equation is
Q = k√P
Q = Flow (gpm)
k = Sprinkler k-Factor
P = Pressure (psi)
With a 5.6 k-factor and a minimum pressure of 7.0 psi (as is required by NFPA 13), we get a flow of 5.6 x √7 = 14.8 gpm
There's a wide array of k-factors available on the market, and a wide variety of minimum sprinkler pressures too. Extended coverage, residential, attic, storage, and ESFR all vary in required minimum pressures.
Driver #2: Area and Density (When Using the Density/Area Design Approach)
When reviewing cutsheets for sprinklers it's easy to take a k-factor and minimum pressure and assume that you then know the minimum requirements for a sprinkler and you're done. If you're using design criteria that only uses that approach, then you may actually be done.
However, if you're using the density/area approach of NFPA 13 then you also have to ensure the sprinkler is actually delivering the minimum density for the area its protecting.
It's easy to skip over this step. If you've ever laid out residential-style sprinklers, then you probably already know this.
Residential-style sprinklers can have small k-factors and relatively low minimum pressures to cover a reasonable floor area. However, these sprinklers can be used in NFPA 13, 13R, or NFPA 13D systems. 13R and 13D specifically can allow densities less than 0.10 gpm/sqft. The cutsheets often offer the minimum pressure for a given k-factor and floor area coverage, but the cutsheet may be assuming a 0.05 gpm/sqft density.
When we have higher densities (such as residential-style sprinklers in an NFPA 13 design), we have to consider this second driver for sprinkler flow.
The equation for density/area coverage is also straightforward:
Q = D x A
Q = Flow (gpm)
D = Minimum Density (gpm/sqft)
A = Area Covered by Sprinkler (sqft)
A sprinkler spaced at 15 ft x 15 ft with a minimum design density of 0.10 gpm/sqft requires a flow of 22.5 gpm.
With this, a k-5.6 sprinkler at 7 psi, spaced 15 x 15 feet with a 0.10 gpm/sqft density will actually need to flow 22.5 gpm.
Here's how this scenario looks when graphed:
The red line above represents the hydraulic pressure/flow relationship that a k-5.6 sprinkler offers. As the minimum pressure increases, the flow will increase. Similarly, as the flow needed through the sprinkler increases, the minimum pressure required to deliver that flow also increases.
For this scenario, the actual flow through the sprinkler must be the higher of the two amounts, or 22.5 gpm which will occur at 16.1 psi (see the blue lines above).
This means for a light-hazard, typical sprinkler we're demanding that the pressure at the sprinkler is over double what the code minimum is!
Will this difference break your calculation? No, it won't.
But let's look at another example where these decisions become a little more critical.
Take a Viking VK460 residential sidewall sprinkler. It's a 5.8 k-factor and has varying coverage areas with varying pressure and flow requirements.
Based on a 12 ft x 12 ft spacing, the minimum pressure required under the product data is 7.6 psi.
The Sprinkler-Driven minimum flow becomes Q = k√P = 5.8 x √7.6 = 16.0 gpm.
Assuming an NFPA 13 design, the Density-Area minimum flow becomes Q = 0.10 gpm/sqft x (12 ft x 12 ft) = 14.4 gpm.
In this scenario, the flow is Sprinkler-Driven. The actual flow through the sprinkler is driven by the k-factor and minimum pressure, and not the density/area point.
This same sprinkler, however, at a 16x20 spacing, looks a little different.
Based on a 16 ft x 20 ft spacing, the minimum pressure required under the product data is 20.1 psi.
The Sprinkler-Driven minimum flow becomes Q = k√P = 5.8 x √20.1 = 26.0 gpm.
Assuming an NFPA 13 design, the Density-Area minimum flow becomes Q = 0.10 gpm/sqft x (16 ft x 20 ft) = 32.0 gpm.
The demand through this sprinkler now becomes density-driven, and notice the actual pressure required to achieve this density is now 30.4 psi. If you have a poor water supply then these decisions can begin to really impact your hydraulic calculations.
Do you need to assess whether your sprinklers are driven by the k-factor and pressure or density/area? No - many hydraulic calculation programs cover this already.
These differences to become critical though with sprinkler selection, reducing the system demand, reducing the system pressure, and refining a design to end up with the most efficient system possible as an end result.
This Tool Available Now
If you're a Toolkit user, you can give this new tool a try today. Click here for online access to it.
This tool comparison tool allows different k-factor inputs, minimum pressures, density and areas with immediate graphed comparisons.
This tool will also be available for download with the latest Toolkit release here in a few weeks. More on that to come.
Thank you for reading and have a great, safe week!
While it is a basic question, the code path is somewhat complex. When does an elevator require fire sprinkler protection?
Today I'm exploring the code requirements for elevator sprinkler protection under the International Building Code (IBC) and NFPA 13. Here's a free PDF cheatsheet for navigating these requirements. To download, just hover over the image and click print or export.
A special thanks to Philip Valdez who sent over the suggestion to put this one together. I hope you find it helpful!
If you don't already get these free tools to your inbox, subscribe here. If you're having trouble viewing the image below, view it in your browser here.
If you've found this helpful, consider sharing it with a friend or colleague. As always you can subscribe and get more free tools like this at www.meyerfire.com/subscribe.
Thanks & have a great rest of your week!
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Joseph Meyer, PE, owns/operates his own Fire Protection Engineering practice in St. Louis, Missouri. See bio on About page.