How about a high level overview of NFPA 14?
We could spend weeks talking about NFPA 14, and as we progress through these video segments, we will get into much more detail on standpipe systems and the requirements in NFPA 14.
But today I want to spend a little bit of time looking at an overview of how NFPA 14 is structured and where we can look to find information within this standard.
So, NFPA 14 is the standard for the installation of standpipe and host systems, its origins date all the way back to 1912, based on a report by the committee on standpipe and host systems. A modified version of this report came out in 1914 and it was adopted by the National Fire Protection Association in 1915. Since then, it's had many, many revisions and updates.
In my opinion, this standard is fairly well organized and that comes from a complete word reorganization back in 1993.
So, let's start chapter by chapter and go over big picture, what we're looking at in each area.
Chapter 1 covers administration. That includes what the standard is intended to cover. NFPA 14 is provided to establish the minimum requirements for standpipe and host systems. Like other standards that intends to define what is required for a “reasonable level of protection”.
Chapter 2 covers reference standards and Chapter 3 covers definitions.
A couple interesting changes here from the 2019 edition is a clarification of a hose connection.
A hose connection is considered the outlet of a hose valve where the fire hose connects to the hose valve.
A hose valve is defined as the valve that leads to an individual host connection with an outlet for attaching the hose.
The effort here was to get a little bit of consistency throughout the standard in terms of the verbiage used.
I learned that myself and I can make some adjustments and use that terminology going forward.
Chapter 4 gets us into system components and hardware. Here we get into requirements concerning the appropriate manufacturing standards for pipe fittings, joining methods, valves, hose stations, hose connections, fire department connections, pressure regulating devices and signs.
This chapter is generally focused on applicable standards and listing requirements for each of these pieces that goes into a standpipe system.
In Chapter 5, we have system requirements, which starts to get into the real meat of the big picture standpipe decision-making.
Here we find requirements for where equipment is to be located, size limitations on dry systems, classes of standpipes ranging from Class I which is a 2-1/2 inch hose connection to Class II systems which is 1-1/2 inch hose station or 1-1/2 inch hose connection, and Class III systems which is both an 1-1/2 inch and 2-1/2 inch hose connection, which can sometimes be accomplished by a threaded reducer. We’ll talk about this in a lot more detail later.
Chapter 5 also covers the required type of standpipe systems, which clarifies whether we can use manual or automatic, and wet or dry.
This section is really important in distinguishing whether our building is required to have automatic standpipe or we can just the manual standpipe.
Automatic standpipes in most situations would require a fire pump in order to achieve the required pressure.
Manual standpipes would typically not require a fire pump. Chapter 5 ends with requirements for gauges and water flow and supervisory alarms.
I've had to do a couple code path studies and the end results when we look through the applicable building code and NFPA 14, there are defined code paths that get us to whether an automatic standpipe is required or a manual standpipe can be provided. I think a lot of jurisdictions either amend their building code to specify what they're looking for here, but if not, it can kind of get lost in confusion whether automatic standpipes are required. It's a really big deal and a really big cost item for buildings when we go to unmixed standpipes because we have a pump and if that's electric, it needs backup power, then we're looking at generator. It's a big cost item for owners. It's a big maintenance and upkeep item and the long-term life cycle of a building. So, it's a really important topic. We'll get into that a lot more detail, but Chapter 5 is in NFPA 14 what’s addressing where we can go automatic versus manual.
Chapter 6 gets into installation requirements where we are talking about arrangement, protection, support and signage for the system.
Chapter 7 gets into the design of standpipe systems, which is in this context includes pressure requirements and limitations, rules for pressure reducing devices, locations of hose connections which is a very important section, the number and interconnection of standpipes, minimum pipe size, zones, flowrates, testing and drains, in fire department connections.
There's a lot of meat here in Chapter 7 when we're putting together design pieces for a standpipe system.
One of the more interesting comments I tend to get from plan review and fire service is when I'm talking through details of a standpipe system. I regularly get asked whether the standpipe systems are interconnected.
Meaning when the fire department hooks up, are they supplying water to all the hose connections in the building?
Well, NFPA 14 Section 7.5 tells us we have to connect the standpipes together unless it's explicitly allowed otherwise by the AHJ.
So, unless we have a particularly tall or particularly deep building where we would have different standpipe zones, those standpipes are going to have to be tied together to comply with NFPA 14.
NFPA 14, that Section 7.5 is what's giving us that direction.
When they're not tied together, we typically would still locate fire department connections adjacent to each other and have some very clear signage as to which zone is applying so that the fire department knows where exactly they're going to feed water.
Chapter 8 covers plans and calculations including requirements for what's expected on working plans.
If there was ever a concise and enforceable plan review checklist, chapter 8 lays it out nicely for us.
A set of working plans is required by code to include a whole list of things, so if you're doing plan review or you’re consulting engineer, reviewing a set of shop drawings, this is a very easy go to reference to make sure that what you’re looking at has enough detail to make you feel comfortable with the system and that it’s code compliant.
Chapter 9 is short and sweet covering water supply requirements and allowable sources for water supply.
Chapter 10 covers an evaluation of the water supply which includes considering daily and seasonal water pressure and flow fluctuations.
Chapter 11 covers system acceptance testing, including an assortment of tests including flushing a pipe, checking hose threads, hydrostatic testing, floats tests, operating valves, and a relatively new section on automated inspection and testing that came in 2019, checking alarm in supervisory tests, and providing record drawings reports in signage, and wrapping up a system.
Chapter 12 gets us into requirements for buildings that are under construction and some of the phasing details on how we functionally achieved providing standpipes for buildings under construction.
Chapter 13 gets us into maritime standpipe and hose systems, affectively providing a condensed version of the entire standard of NFPA 14 that’s specific to marinas, boatyards, marine terminals, docks, peers, and wharves.
Last, we have Chapter 14 which gives us guidance on continued Inspection Testing & Maintenance, or ITM, and that we need to maintain the system in accordance with NFPA 25.
So, at a high level, chapter by chapter, that's an overview of NFPA 14. It's got a lot of answers for us, fairly well laid out. We'll get into more detail on each of these components as time goes on.
I'm Joe Meyer, this is MeyerFire University.
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