A fire escape plan and a few extinguishers are not everything you need to safeguard your business from the threat of a fire. Fire protection services executed by trained technicians are an integral part of a comprehensive, compliant, fire protection plan. (If you aren’t sure what may be handled by you and what should be left to a professional, ask us.)
Fire protection services generally fall into three broad categories. Below is a synopsis of each category.
Every fire sprinkler system and fire suppression is different. Prefabricated systems that can be easily installed in new construction or a renovation project simply do not exist because every project is at least a little different.
When your fire protection service provider working on the design of your system, things like the existing water supply and purpose of the facility will be considered. A high-pile storage area, a typical office space and a welding facility have vastly different needs. If the business owner has any particular requests, the planning phase is when those things should be considered. For example, if the business plans to add on to its current facilities at some point or expand its storage capacity, those long-term goals should be factors in the design. Other considerations include those of the business owner’s insurance company. In some cases, a carrier’s requirements can be more stringent than the standard code.
Once a design has been created, Brenneco Fire Protection, or your fire protection service provider will submit it to the appropriate state agency. Here in Indiana, that’s the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. Upon approval of the design, Brenneco will order the appropriate parts for the design to be fabricated.
The installation process can take from a few days to a few months, depending on the size of the job and whether it’s in new or existing construction. Generally, an installation will take 15-20 percent longer in an existing facility than in new construction. In addition to the fabricated parts, installation requires specialized equipment and trained technicians. If the installation is taking place in a business that is currently up and running, the technicians must also be respectful of employees and their schedules. No one wants unnecessary downtime, noise and mess.
Regular inspections and maintenance are necessary to safeguarding your business. It is not enough to design and install a fire sprinkler system. Just like your car or HVAC system, your fire protection system requires regular checks. Inspections are also a regulatory requirement associated with NFPA 25, the National Fire Protection Association’s Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems. These codes change every few years, so you need to be sure you have a trusted advisor to keep you on top of your compliance issues and requirements.
Your inspection needs will be different from other businesses’ needs. The type of system you have in place, the age of the system and any requirements mandated by your insurance carrier are just some of the factors that go into determining the type and frequency of inspections. Checks can be as simple as activating a control valve or testing swivel couplings at a hydrant connection. If they aren’t nice and loose, a little lubrication might be all that they need.
At Brenneco, we carry out certain checks quarterly for some clients and perform annual inspections for every client. Additional maintenance checks may be necessary every 10, 20 or 50 years to test things like sprinkler head functionality. It is common to go 10 years without problems. If you have a small leak or an issue within the first year of installation, your fire protection service provider should cover the repair under your warranty.
If a business is following its prescribed inspection/maintenance schedule, service calls to handle repairs will be held at a minimum. When we do get calls, it’s often a leak. The quality of the water in your sprinkler system is often to blame. When the water quality is poor, it can cause corrosion, leading to a leaking fitter or sprinkler head. A second culprit is the piping in your system, which comes in different sizes and materials. If you have a thicker wall, it will probably hold up longer.
Lots of our clients have questions about cost of service/repairs. As with most construction-related jobs, labor and materials are driving factors behind estimating many jobs. Your fire protection service provider should be very clear about anticipated costs.
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