Our firm specializes in corporate interiors, buildings retrofits, modernizations, etc. A common problem that we encounter is how to provide sprinkler protection during construction.
As an example, suppose a tenant leases a single floor in a multi-story, fully sprinklered, office building. The design of the new office space requires the existing systems to be gutted and refitted. Ideally, the existing sprinkler system would be demolished to permit new ductwork, plumbing, conduit, etc. to be installed in coordination with the new sprinkler system that is designed to meet the proposed architectural layout and ceiling design. However, most municipalities would not permit the existing system to be demolished unless a fire watch was provided during system impairment. For a project with a construction schedule duration of 12-16 weeks, this could be extremely cost prohibitive.
Currently, the IBC Section 3312 states that the space can only be occupied once the sprinkler system is tested and accepted for service. No guidance is given for protection during actual construction activity (even though the name of Chapter 33 is Safeguards During Construction)
I have spoken with some AHJ’s about the topic. Some offer a solution of providing smoke/heat detection in lieu of the sprinklers during construction while others simply state to “follow the code”.
I see NFPA has a similar code to the IBC (NFPA-241) but it also lacks guidance for sprinkler protection during construction.
In NYC, a solution referred to as a Temp-Loop has been implemented for years. The Temp-Loop consists of a 2-1/2” pipe installed at 7’-6” AFF with heads spaced 12’-0” OC along the pipe, installed close to the ceiling slab. The Temp Loop piping is installed along a single path of egress connecting all egress stairs and elevator openings. The basic concept is to provide a protected path of egress and notify the FDNY should a fire occur. But by the time a sprinkler head is fused, a lot of damage would have already been done.
Have you encountered this situation previously?
I’m trying to get a consensus of what can be done in situations like above that would be mutually agreeable to the AHJ’s, landlords, leasing tenants, EOR’s, etc…
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