Hope your week is going very well.
This week I'd like to open a short series on standpipes. Today's article is a basic overview of some basic requirements associated with standpipes used for fire suppression.
Basic components of a standpipe for fire suppression.
Standpipes are used to support manual firefighting efforts by delivering water to hard-to-reach areas of a building. The intent of a standpipe system is to avoid having to distribute and connect hundreds of feet of hose for a single interior attack by firefighters.
Hard-to-reach areas of a building aren't confined to one direction. Buildings which are very tall (highrises) or are deep underground, or are very wide by nature could all have portions of the building which would be difficult to reach.
Applicable Codes & Standards
In the US, the International Building Code (IBC) and International Fire Code (IFC) are often the first stop for standpipe requirements. While the two codes mirror each other, the International Building Code requires standpipes based on:
Once it has been determined whether a standpipe system is required or not, the IBC and IFC defer to NFPA 14 to prescribe how the system is to be installed.
Class of Standpipes
Standpipes can be classified in several areas. The first is the class of standpipe, which relates directly to the hose connection type and the intended user. Based on 1-1/2 inch hose failures and the associated testing that goes along with them, 1-1/2 inch hose stations are much less common today.
I've found many situations with sprinklered buildings where hose stations have been removed as they are no longer required and are a burden for testing and maintenance. Here are the standpipe classifications, with Class I being by far the most common in the US today:
Types of Standpipe
The other defining description for standpipe is when water is delivered, and at what relative pressure. Types of standpipes include:
Components of a Vertical Standpipe
Standpipes are not always vertical standpipes, but for multi-story buildings they are the most prevalent and are the topic of discussion this week.
Standpipe Hose Connections
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Joseph Meyer, PE, owns/operates his own Fire Protection Engineering practice in St. Louis, Missouri. See bio on About page.