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Thread: Sprinkler system monitoring

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    MembersZone Subscriber ftfdverbenec770's Avatar
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    Default Sprinkler system monitoring

    We just passed the 2003 IFC with amendments to chapter 903, saying everything commerical over 5000 sq ft has to be sprinklered. The first building that is comming under these guide lines is a libary and they are fighting tooth and nail over everything. Currently they are wondering why the sprinkler system has to be monitored. We have looked all over the code and also NFPA 13 as to where it says that it needs to be monitored. The IFC said that it needes to be " Electronicly monitored".

    Can anyone define electronically monitored? Are we overlooking an area in either book where this info is listed0?

    Thanks
    pgisystems likes this.
    Your a daisy if you do.


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    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    While I can't give you a book definition, I would venture a guess it means monitored through an alarm system that reports to some monitoring station (either a central station or dispatch center).
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ftfdverbenec770 View Post
    Can anyone define electronically monitored? Are we overlooking an area in either book where this info is listed0?
    Unless you've modified that part of the code, the term is "electrically supervised". It essentially just means that most of the the sprinkler valves have to have tamper switches tied into the alarm system rather than just being mechanically locked into position. (The alarm system doesn't necesssarily have to be remotely supervised, BTW.)

    The engineer designing and the sprinkler system should know what this entails. If he doesn't, you need to find another engineer.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    The engineer designing and the sprinkler system should know what this entails. If he doesn't, you need to find another engineer.
    DeputyMarshal nailed this. In case you wanted to cite the relevant NFPA document: NFPA 101, Life Safety Code uses the term "supervised sprinkler system" when it requires sprinklers in a building.

    Supervision is addressed in Section 9.7.2. This section requires that the system be monitored for integrity in accordance with NFPA 72.

    The occupancy type may require more then a cage or chain through the OSY Valves, hence "supervison".

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    2003 IFC Section 903.4 requires the sprinkler system to be electrically supervised with exceptions. Section 903.4.1 requires this electrical monitoring to be transmitted to an approved central station, remote station, or proprietary station with exceptions.

    The way I interpret and enforce these sections is the any commercial building and/or commercial occupancy having more than 20 sprinkler heads shall be monitored by flows and tampers. These flows and tampers shall be tied into an approved alarm system monitored by either a central station or a remote location (i.e. nurses station).

    Let me take this discussion further. Lets throw in a mixed occupancy were each occupancy is seperated by fire barriers. A good example would be a strip mall. The entire building is sprinkler protected and monitored by a central station with flow and tamper switches. Would you require the occupant notification (horns/strobes) be installed?

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    MembersZone Subscriber ftfdverbenec770's Avatar
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    Like I said before, the building in question is a libary. I cant remeber the sq ft off the top of my head, but the occp. is 285. With the building be a group A building, it falls under IFC 2003 code 907.2 and 907.2.1. 907.2.1 stated anything over 300 occp. it must have a maunal system.

    We didnt get everything that we wanted, Strobes, horns, pull stations, because it was determined it fell in the month where we were going from old code to the new. We did get the system to be monitored though. We will know there is a fire before anyone inside will.
    Your a daisy if you do.

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    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ftfdverbenec770 View Post
    We did get the system to be monitored though. We will know there is a fire before anyone inside will.
    Lemme get this straight.

    You've got a sprinklered assembly building with a monitored alarm system and the Powers That Be couldn't be convinced to spend just a few hundred dollars more to add a couple of frackin' horn-strobes to alert the occupants?!?

    Hopefully the occupants will hear the water gong and run outside to see the ice cream truck...
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    yea thats exactly what im saying. The power that be dont want to put these things in the building. like i said, we will know there is a fire before the occupants know.
    Your a daisy if you do.

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    Sometimes the "powers to be" really do not understand the logic behind building codes. And will always point fingers back to the code official when something goes wrong. I always said that politics and codes do not mix. If I was you in this case, I would do a complete plan review and inform the designers that occupant notification is required per NFPA 72 section 1-5.1.1 (1999 edition) in accordance with chapter 4 of NFPA 72 (1999 edition). Then let the "powers to be" respond back, in writing, make numerous copies of that reponse and file. Now, you are covered if something happens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgallagher View Post
    inform the designers that occupant notification is required per NFPA 72 section 1-5.1.1

    That doens't help if NFPA 72 hasn't been adopted as code by the jurisidiction or if it's not referenced by what ever has been adopted...
    Last edited by DeputyMarshal; 09-12-2007 at 07:55 AM.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    If the International Fire Code has been adopted as written with no ammendments, the referenced standards are also part of the code. Example: IFC 907.2 requires that new buildings and structures comply with the code AND NFPA 72. Know you need to find out what edition of NFPA 72 is referenced. You will find in chapter 35 of the IFC the standards that are referenced. NFPA 72 edition 1999 is referenced in IFC 2003.

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    Is this a city / town owned Library or private? Wonder what the covering insurance company's policy is? What do they require? Could the library get cheaper rates with a full alarm system? It may pay for itself so to speak and you get a full system in the long run.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post

    Hopefully the occupants will hear the water gong and run outside to see the ice cream truck...
    This brings up another question. Are any other places out there still requiring true water motor gongs? We still require them and have got some flack that we're hold outs. To us there is no better way of getting an idea of what's going on inside than hearing the water motor gong. The standard design today favors an electric bell which gives no indication of flow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    Are any other places out there still requiring true water motor gongs? We still require them and have got some flack that we're hold outs. To us there is no better way of getting an idea of what's going on inside than hearing the water motor gong. The standard design today favors an electric bell which gives no indication of flow.
    The code requires an electric bell if it's more than 75' away from the sprinkler valve. More and more buildings seem to have sprinkler rooms at the back with bells and FDCs at the front so more electric bells...

    I'm a big fan of water motor gongs myself but, if installed correctly, the only time you should hear the electric bell is for water flow.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    The code requires an electric bell if it's more than 75' away from the sprinkler valve. More and more buildings seem to have sprinkler rooms at the back with bells and FDCs at the front so more electric bells...

    I'm a big fan of water motor gongs myself but, if installed correctly, the only time you should hear the electric bell is for water flow.
    The 75 feet makes sense. The problem with the electric bell for water flow is that it's any water flow. We seem have a few surge days each year where improperly maintained/calibrated flow switches trip. Also when a system flips from dry to wet due to an air compressor failure the electric bell dings away. Many times when dismounting the engine, I've heard the slow dink-dink sound from a water motor gong and known the flow was minimal. And similarly I've stepped off and heard the gong spinning full bore and known there something going on, eitehr a fire or major water issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    The 75 feet makes sense. The problem with the electric bell for water flow is that it's any water flow. We seem have a few surge days each year where improperly maintained/calibrated flow switches trip. Also when a system flips from dry to wet due to an air compressor failure the electric bell dings away. Many times when dismounting the engine, I've heard the slow dink-dink sound from a water motor gong and known the flow was minimal. And similarly I've stepped off and heard the gong spinning full bore and known there something going on, eitehr a fire or major water issue.
    If you have false alarms it is because the delay build into the waterflow switch is set too low. They can be delayed as per NFPA 72 up to 90 seconds. Most are set at 20-40 seconds at the factory. Have the building owner contact the alarm company and have them set the delay higher. This should significantly reduce the false alarms you have at the building.

    If you go to Pottersignal web site and down load this cut sheet

    http://www.pottersignal.com/sprinkle...f/VSR-F-10.pdf

    You will see on page 2, figure 2 a chart on the bottom right side of the page. Approx. Retard Settings in Secs look at letter E it says 60-90, that means if set at this setting the switch has to be in contact for 60-90 seconds before it transmits an alarm. This will take care of most false alarms for a building.

    I can tell you from an insurance point of view a building without a waterflow alarm to a central station will be charged a lot more $$. Especially a library, can you think of how much water damage a broken/frozen sprinkler/pipe would result in?

    The down side with water motor gongs is birds and bees love to use them as homes as a result they may not work if not properly maintained. BUT I agree with you I like a water motor gong; however I do not see many installed on new construction because they cost more.

    Tom
    Last edited by InsuranceLCRep; 01-06-2008 at 04:32 PM.
    Fire Sprinklers Save Firefighters’ Lives Too!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ftfdverbenec770 View Post
    We just passed the 2003 IFC with amendments to chapter 903, saying everything commerical over 5000 sq ft has to be sprinklered. The first building that is comming under these guide lines is a libary and they are fighting tooth and nail over everything. Currently they are wondering why the sprinkler system has to be monitored. We have looked all over the code and also NFPA 13 as to where it says that it needs to be monitored. The IFC said that it needes to be " Electronicly monitored".

    Can anyone define electronically monitored? Are we overlooking an area in either book where this info is listed0?

    Thanks
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but IFC does not cover Business Occupancy under Sprinkler section?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monche View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but IFC does not cover Business Occupancy under Sprinkler section?
    Normally no, but it can there are some variables

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    This sprinkler system is required equipment to any buildings and facility. This provides a steady supply in case of emergency, and to prevent fire from spreading. Although, monitoring needs additional supervision by the installer.
    Last edited by jaysoncalwell; 04-01-2014 at 11:10 PM.

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