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Thread: $18,000 Bind

  1. #1
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    Default $18,000 Bind

    Question...havent' had time to discuss this with grant personel yet.

    We applied for, and was approved for, facility modification grant to install a generator, fire alarm system, and sprinkler system in our station. First two are coming along alright. The sprinkler system is where my problem has arisen.

    In our narrative, we stated a system compliant to the recommendations in NFPA Pamphlet 13 (I think that is the number -- deals with sprinkler systems). The standards call for a 4" supply line coming into the station. Problem is (why the Chief didn't do the research first, I don't know....), we have found that we have a 2" supply line instead of a 4". In order to be NFPA compliant, we will have to replace the 2" line with a 4" line.....at an additional cost of around $18,000.00. We do not have that kind of money.

    First the obvious, no increase in our award. I know that one for sure. What we are considering doing as either 1) asking FEMA if we can ammend our project, not do the sprinkler system, and return the budgeted money for the sprinkler; or 2) ask if we can stick with the 2" piping and install our system anyway. It will not be, techinically, NFPA compliant for an automatic, wet-type sprinkler system, but it will get the job done and, essentially, fullfill the grant.

    Does anyone have any experience with anything like this? With the holidays, I have not had a chance to contact my grant specialist, but I plan on trying to do that next week.

    Just looking for some thoughts first.


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    Personally I think any sprinkler is better than no sprinkler, so while it won't have the volume of the NFPA compliant system, at least it's there. And it's not like you can't upgrade it at some point.

    But to take the other side of it, they can't really sidestep NFPA recommendations on any other item like PPE or SCBA. Then again the PGs don't mention NFPA with sprinklers, so it may be something left to local building codes if it's allowed.

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    Are you guys the AHJ that does plan review? You can pretty much approve anything you want then, right?

    I recently designed the sprinkler system for a station in an area unprotected by city water. They ran out of money during construction, so the entire system was installed, without an incoming supply, which of course could still be charged by an FDC. Probably six months after completion they found the money to install an underground tank and fire pump.

    If the grant folks are okay with the installation of the system as is, go with it. At some point, I would think you could talk someone into doing the work cheap, etc.

    And yes, while NFPA 13 says that you should have a 4" supply, do you have a good water supply? I doubt you could get such a system to work after doing the hydraulic calculations, but I've seen stranger things. If the station is small, you stay away from extended coverage heads and use big pipe in a gridded system, you just never know.

    I think a call to the FEMA folks needs to be made, but don't give up all hope.

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    Quote Originally Posted by npfd801
    And yes, while NFPA 13 says that you should have a 4" supply, do you have a good water supply? I doubt you could get such a system to work after doing the hydraulic calculations, but I've seen stranger things. If the station is small, you stay away from extended coverage heads and use big pipe in a gridded system, you just never know.

    I think a call to the FEMA folks needs to be made, but don't give up all hope.
    Yes, we have a city water main that runs right in front of our firehouse. 4" - 6" main, minnimum. We have a good supply of water out front, just the 2" line coming in is half of what NFPA says is neccesary. One company won't do the work, and another company says they will and that they don't forsee a problem.

    We also have funding for a fire alarm system. If it comes down to it, I would rather have the fire alarm system, and forgo the sprinklers. At least we will have some warning. We have 7,000 gallons of water sitting in the station that we can use, plus the hydrant out front.

    I am going to call FEMA, but I figured I should wait till after the first of the year.

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    I actually left the sprinkler business, or I would reserach this a little more for you. I may actually still try and contact some well seasoned folks (I only did design for a short while, so I had a LOT to learn) that will hopefully give me some insight.

    I'd be curious if the folks that won't do the work calc their systems, or do it by "pipe schedule." I'm not familar with the sprinkler contractors south of here, but I suspect the company that's willing to do it wouldn't do it if they were opening themselves up to a liability problem.

    I'll ask around and see if I can find something out.

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    Probably speaking out of turn here.. but maybe this would be one of those things that you just go ahead and do what you planned?.. Who or what would know that your not hooked up on a 4 inch line?.. I put lots of miles of water line in the ground in the last few weeks.. .. every bit we put in is covered by dirt...lol... cant see if its 4,6, or 10 inch line if its got 30 inches of cover.. and the bottom line is this... whether its 2 or 4 inch line its going to serve its purpose if you have good water pressure on the main. I'm not advising doing anything "shady".. just dont sweat the small stuff.. and a 2 inch line that saves your department or a life would be better than not hooking up because of lack of 4 inch... just my 2 cents..

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    Yeah, that would work as no one would see the underground piping. However, when FEMA auditors come in and want to see our certs for an NFPA compliant sprinkler system, what should I tell them?

    I am not knocking you, and please don't think that. I just don't want to end up as one of those people who get their stuff taken away. I would rather have to give some of the money back, than try to do something that would put our funding now and in the future in jepoardy.
    Last edited by SWFD94; 01-03-2006 at 04:46 PM.

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    Might be one of those times to look for creative financing to get the 4" done too. I'ms sure you can find a bank or even something through the state for a low-interest loan to finance the $18K. And if the sticking point is the line size, and someone with more sprinkler experience can chime in since I don't know the answer, then can you have ths system installed with the 2" line and an FDC to make it compliant? Or is the FDC but itself compliant? If so, at least get the system put in with the FDC and then work on the 4" line later. If you have a hydrant right out front keep a length of 2.5" or 3" long enough to go from hydrant to FDC in an easy to grab spot so that if you can't get any trucks out at least you can charge the sprinklers.

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    Mike, email en route to your inbox about this issue from a friend that can help.

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    Yes, I got it. Thank you.

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