This week I'm wrapping up some coverage of fire standpipe systems. In case you missed it, here are the recent articles on this topic thus far:
An Introduction to Standpipes
Addressing Egress & Clearances for Standpipe Hose Connections
Standpipe Connection Location by Code Edition
Whether a standpipe hose connection should be located on a floor-level landing or an intermediate-level landing has been a classic tactical and design discussion in the fire protection community.
Defining Floor versus Intermediate Landings
A main floor-level landing is the horizontal portion of a stairway where the stair risers stop and occupants can enter a floor level, leave a floor level, or turn to walk on the stair itself.
Intermediate-level landings are the horizontal portion of a stairway where the stair risers top and occupants can turn to continue onto the stair.
Defining floor-level versus intermediate-level landings.
Landings offer a resting space when transcending stairs as well as limit the distance someone is likely to fall down a flight of stairs. Stairs that jog back and forth with landings offer some benefits. They help limit the building area dedicated to stairwells, they create a consistent door location on each floor, and they to help break up long stretches of stairs.
Do hose locations matter?
They do. Hose connection locations have implications on the tactical approach for firefighters, the ease of installation for contractors, the complexity of design for designers & engineers, and the cost implications for building owners.
Standpipes at floor level landings offer a simpler overall installation with design benefits.
Benefits of Connections at Floor-Level Landings
Benefits to standpipe connections at floor-level landings include:
Crossing the stair with sprinkler feeds from combination sprinkler/standpipe risers on intermediate-level landings can create head-height issues or knee-knockers, depending upon the approach. Standpipe hose connections at main-level landings help avoid these issues.
Connections at intermediate level landing requires that designers and engineers account
for the additional hose length needed just to cross the stair.
Benefits of Connections at Intermediate-Level Landings
With all the benefits to designers, installers, and overall simplicity, why would intermediate-level landings be considered? Mostly it’s about first responders and the tactical approach in firefighting.
Connections at intermediate-level landings offer more tactical than design benefits.
Benefits to intermediate-level connections include:
Conversations with AHJs
Regardless of approach, code stipulates a prescribed method but allows the AHJ the latitude to shift the landing location as he or she sees fit. Like other nuances of suppression design, it can be very beneficial to make the call and confirm an approach well before submitting plans.
Here are a few important considerations that accompany standpipe design:
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Joseph Meyer, PE, owns/operates his own Fire Protection Engineering practice in St. Louis, Missouri. See bio on About page.