Fire Sprinkler Installation
This is a guest post by Heather McPhearson. If you would like to Guest Post, check out the Guidelines here.
Fires are rarely sympathetic to any environment and can quickly destroy weeks, if not months of workmanship during a construction project. It is therefore crucially important that some often simple steps are taken to ensure your project takes the necessary precautions to prevent fire.
Keeping the construction area as clear as possible, particularly when left unattended, should be a key consideration on every foreman’s list. Reducing the amount of debris and combustible materials both within the build site and around its immediate boundaries can prevent a fire starting from a loose spark. Clearing the site of these materials should be carried out as often as practicable.
Many fires are started within the roof space of a build therefore it is important to prevent such an occurrence as much as possible. Do this by selecting materials that are fire resistant or do not combust such as Class A asphalt shingles, metal, cement or concrete products.
CPVC fire sprinkler pipe. Why do we use it? This is a product that the fire protection industry has used for years, but now we seem to be seeing it fail at an increasing rate. What is causing this? There is an excellent article on this that I feel all should read. It can be found on the web at:
It identified 4 basic causes of failure. Contamination, Installation practices, Manufacturing defects, and other. Of all of these contamination is the most prevalent and also in so many ways beyond our control. If we get a good product that is not defective, If it was shipped and stored properly, Then we have to make sure that the installer is well trained and all of our products are compatible with the pipe. But after that we are at the mercy of so many others.
Therefore it is important to document the products we use and practice good CYA in informing the customer of the risks associated with possible contamination of the pipe by other trades and by service personal after the project is turned over to the owner.
Which Recessed Escutcheon?
I have run into this issue many times in the last few years. What recessed escutcheons can be used with what pendent sprinklers? The short and most correct answer is: Recessed sprinklers are listed for use with a specific escutcheon. i.e., Order the recessed escutcheon form the same manufacturer as the pendent sprinkler. All the manufacturers indicate that recessed sprinklers are to be ordered as a unit, even though most ship the escutcheons separately.
The reason this is such an issue is the number of independent suppliers of fire protection products who sell recessed escutcheons. I know a lot of fire sprinkler companies keep these generic escutcheons on the shelves and use them with what ever pendent sprinkler they got the best price on that week. It eliminates an inventory headache and helps reduce costs. But what is their liability?
After a lot of checking on the web I found only one manufacturer of escutcheons which was UL listed. ARGCO is UL listed File EX4170 and their product data states :
There is no possibility of a sprinkler head failure due to ARGCO escutcheons. It is no longer a warranty issue, since UL announced, “Installed properly, the product cannot affect sprinkler head operation.”
So while the possible liability of installing pendent sprinklers with generic escutcheons might be small, It would seem prudent to at least use a manufacturer such as ARGCO which provides a UL listing and would stand behind their product.
I for one, however, will continue to specify and order escutcheons from the same manufacturer.