Lowering the high cost of “low cost” NFPA-13D residential fire sprinkler systems for a small studio or accessory building on your property.
Increasingly, California State regulations and Municipal codes require that the construction of a new accessory building on your residential property, or the change of use in an existing structure, will trigger the requirement for the installation of NFPA-13D compliant fire sprinkler coverage.
The NFPA-13D code is a national standard, and is written with two goals in mind: 1. Make the installation of fire sprinklers in residential buildings simpler, and therefore, more affordable, and 2. Provide additional time for residents to safely exit a building in the event of fire (but not necessarily protect the structure, itself.)
Local water utilities that provide our homes with water supplies and meters have not always gotten the message, and their policies can act in an opposite direction, driving the installed cost of a “13D” system sky high. Here’s an example of an unforeseen pricing pitfall in the East Bay and one strategy to avoid it.
Because the 13D standard only requires that we provide enough water volume and pressure to supply the needs of two fire sprinkler heads discharging at the same time, it is often possible to make use of a home’s existing water supply and meter to serve both the existing domestic uses combined with the new fire sprinkler demand. In this case, we have no new expense for water supply and meter.
However, in the San Francisco East Bay, we are served by the East Bay Municipal Water District (EBMUD), and EBMUD requires that each building on the property with fire sprinklers be serviced by its own water meter, and that the minimum size for this meter is 1”. EBMUD charges for new meter service vary, but a $ 12,000.00 charge for a new 1” service and meter are not uncommon. In years past, municipalities have ignored the requirement if the hydraulic engineering of the 13D system could be satisfied by the existing ¾” supply and 5/8” meter. The City of Berkeley Fire Department is now enforcing the EBMUD requirement regardless of the 13D engineering requirements. Yikes!
An Innovative Fire Sprinkler Solution
Working with our Fire Sprinkler Engineer, Engineered Fire of Grass Valley CA, The Lunt Marymor Company has designed an alternative sprinkler design that bypasses the requirement for the increased water supply and meter, while meeting the requirements of NFPA-13D. We have successfully received approval of our system design by local municipalities, including Berkeley and Alameda. Our design makes use of a residentially-rated, stand-alone water reservoir tank with fire pump pressure assistance. The net result has been our ability to offer designed and installed fire sprinkler coverage for rear yard accessory buildings, including; cottages, studios, home offices and garages for a fraction of the cost of a system that relies on upgraded utility services with their attendant utility fees.
For more information, contact The Lunt Marymor Company at 510-985-2889.