It’s estimated that fires in commercial buildings cost owners more than two billion dollars a year. These fires also kill nearly 100 people and injure more than a thousand others. With such sobering numbers, it’s hard to believe that many of these structures didn’t have fire alarms in place or they were inoperable.
The lack of a commercial sprinkler system also affects first responders. The National Fire Protection Association states that for every 1,000 fires in a commercial property, around 20 firefighters are injured in structures with sprinkler systems. That number tripled to more than 60 in buildings without a fire suppression system or sprinklers installed.
There are few different types of fires that cause varying amounts of damage. Most commercial fires begin in a kitchen or where food is being cooked. Electrical problems and fires that are intentionally set make up the bulk of other fires. Regardless of the reason, having a commercial fire sprinkler system installed will decrease the amount of damage.
Sprinkler system requirements
Generally speaking, newly constructed commercial buildings of more than 5,000 square feet are required to have a sprinkler system installed. In addition to national standards, building owners must also be aware of any local building codes, too. But considering the damage fires cause every year, doesn’t it make sense to protect your investment?
If you have an older structure that currently doesn’t have a sprinkler system, you need to strongly consider installing one. In fact, if you perform any upgrades or improvements, it’s required to add an appropriate system when you remodel any part of your commercial building.
Types of sprinkler systems
There are essentially two types of sprinkler systems for your commercial building: dry pipe and wet pipe systems. Dry piping systems are filled with pressurized air or nitrogen instead of water. Once one of the sprinkler heads is activated by smoke or fire, the air is released and the water supply enters the system.
Pre-action systems are similar in that no one water is present in the pipes until a two-step process is activated. Wet pipe systems work by having the pipes already filled with water. These systems act faster than dry pipes because the water is already in the system.
So why would sprinkler system designers opt for dry pipes or pre-action systems? If the contents of an area are susceptible to water damage, and the pipes are damaged somehow, water could leak and destroy the materials. They are also used in areas where freezing is a concern.
This could be in unheated warehouses, loading docks, or even commercial-sized freezers. However, dry pipe and pre-action systems are harder to maintain, must be completely dried after use, and are more complex to install. They also have size restrictions which may limit where they can be used or added on to.
Work with safety professionals
Properly installed and maintained sprinkler systems are just one of the ways to protect your commercial structure, its contents, and the people that work there. From high rises to warehouses to office spaces, Storee Construction installs new systems and upgrades older systems to meet building regulations.
In addition to sprinkler system installations, Storee Construction also performs safety audits for your commercial, industrial, or manufacturing facility. We upgrade electrical systems to help prevent fires from starting in the first place as well as inspecting overhead catwalks, installing safety shutoffs, and reviewing/improving processes around the structure.
Do you have an aging building and are unsure about the reliability of your sprinkler systems? Contact Storee Construction for an inspection. We’ve been working on large facilities for more than 50 years and we’ll help keep your building safe for your employers and the structure itself.