Continuing on our sample workflow, today we’re gonna cover Initial Layout.
PROJECT SETUP & DESIGN
So, the next category in our workflow example is for the initial layout of our system. Practically speaking, this stage includes the drafting or modeling of the bulk of the actual system that we’re designing.
Here I'm doing some of the drafting or modeling details that will end up being my deliverable later in the project. Some of these I can cover pretty quickly and a few others I want to make some special notes about.
It's only at this stage after I've really surrounded my model with the big picture information that I get into laying out mains laying out sprinklers and then laying out the rest of the pipe for branches, things like auxiliary drains and everything else. Sometimes I want to get right into this because it's my favorite part of design, rushing into it too early almost always means I'm going to be doing some level of rework and I really want to avoid that at all cost.
The time that you spend on something that has to be redone, it’s just wasted. You don't get that time back. it always drags down your effectiveness on a project.
My personal process is to first lay out the mains. I want to get a pretty good idea on routing, height, and where everything will be fed from. We’ll spend a lot of time on this process in our FX series on sprinkler layouts.
After laying out the main, I go space-by-space and lay out sprinklers and branch pipe together, around the same time. Here I want to be cognizant of sprinkler locations, heights, structure, obstructions, and pipe routing locations and heights. I typically go space-by-space locating sprinklers and branch line locations together. I don’t always connect the sprinklers to the branch pipe right away. I can save this step of connecting the “armovers” once I run my hydraulic calculations for just a remote area and know exactly the size branch pipe and armover style that I want, that way I only have to make that armover connection once.
Again – a whole lot more detail on this as a separate video series on how I actually go through this layout process in the FX series and how I do it and Revit specifically in our tool series, the TL series. But for now, this is where layout falls in my workflow.
As I'm laying out pipe and as I'm working through the building, I have a reminder here for coordinating with mechanical. Now I say mechanical specifically, I'm actually looking at all disciplines, but ductwork is generally the biggest contributor to conflicts outside of the building structure. This line item is a reminder to myself to be sure that I'm coordinated with all the other disciplines. It's not worth progressing into the other steps like doing pipe tags for diameters and pipe lengths. If I have to move pipe and sprinklers due to other systems, I want to be sure that at this stage I'm dialed in and coordinated with other building systems, so I'm not redoing work later on.
I'm getting super preachy and I apologize, but I hope that you're seeing a consistent theme here. Having a workflow that goes start to finish for project without duplicating work is the best way to have just the seamless consistent experience. We really don’t want to repeat our work. It’s hard enough to do our job with the deadlines that we’ve got and the craziness all around us. Last thing we wanna do, is have to do it twice.
INSPECTOR’S TEST & DRAINS
The next step is inspectors tests and drains. I'm looking for sections of trap pipe and thinking about the ways that this system can be drained completely. Sometimes I've had projects where I've realized I can fix a design and eliminate auxiliary drains all together. This is a good time to be thinking about that and not just at the end of the job. It's also the point when I’m thinking about adding the inspectors tests right at the riser or whether that has to be remote.
FIRE PROTECTION SITE PLAN
Next step, creating a Fire Protection site plan. I usually take an architectural site plan or civil utility drawing, clean it up and modify over the top with the critical details for Fire Protection. Here, I want to show things like hydraulic nodes in the distance to the water supply.
I like to include a fire protection site plan, especially when I’m doing shop drawing design, my set of shop drawings may only be submitted. That may be the only piece of information that a planned reviewer gets, and it doesn’t go in with the building set, so they don’t have architectural background, or they don’t have that civil utility plan.
Well, here with my fire protection site plan, even if it’s only for reference and people aren’t mentioning off of it. It’s a nice way to show the relationship of my building with everything that’s going on outside the building.
Also, if somebody is trying to verify hydraulic calculations, they’re able to see that underground distance, the underground main size distance to the site source elevation, the site source, all of the information. This is a one stop shop for a complete set that somebody can do a full review of the suppression system without having to go and grab other drawings or plans that are from other consultants.
My next step, detailing out the sprinkler riser. This could be a pump room or it could be a combination standpipe riser, or it could be a basic shotgun riser with the water service entry. Whatever that is, this is the point where I want to detail that out and put in all of those individual components.
You'll notice that this is still before I do hydraulic calcualtions. For me, even though I want to go ahead and estimate the pipe sizes are and get a really good idea of the hydraulic calculations. I still have to go in and input all the details that go into the risers so my hydraulic calculations are accurate. It’s this point where I’m including things like the back flow preventer, any valves, water flow switches, and I’m adding the friction losses for each of those components.
When I first get to hydraulic calculations, I want to be sure that I’m including those losses. It’s way too easy to hop right into hydraulic calcs, start fine tuning things, only to go back later and go. “Oh, you know, I didn’t have the loss for the back flow.” I didn’t have the loss for water flow switch or a valve or whatever it is. I like to have those things in. So the very first time I’m doing hydraulic calculations, I know I’m including losses for the components that need the losses. I want to move sequentially through the project so that I'm always moving forward and never moving back.
AIR / NITROGEN DETAILING
My next step is including an air compressor or a nitrogen generator or any kind of other system add on. I like using schedules for these type of things so when it's time to go to order or a contractor is looking to pull something right off the plants, boom, it’s right here. It's really obvious to everybody what my intent is from a design standpoint.
At this stage in the project, I’m detailing the fire department connection that includes the auto drip drain and the check valve that both serve the fire department connection. If I don't detail those components, just take for example that auto drip drain, I’ll get a call from the field almost every time asking if we need to include it. It's way faster just for me just to detail and include it from the beginning and avoid that phone call later on.
This is my reminder. Don’t forget the check valve service that fire department connection and two, don’t forget that drip drain.
READY FOR CALCS & DETAIL
So here, as part of our workflow, we've pretty much put in most of the things that will make up the layout for the system.
I hope this walkthrough of what my personal workflow looks like helps you think about what your own process is, and how you can customize and craft your own start-to-finish workflow.
in the next video, we're going to cover the next steps in constructing what I would consider our permit set. This includes detailing, tagging and calculating the system to the extent that we're ready to go for a building permit set.
I'm Joe Meyer, this is MeyerFire University.
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