What You Need to Know: Meeting Specialty Fire Hydrant Flow Requirements

Every jurisdiction has fire protection codes and requirements for new construction and remodels.  Many require only that you follow the International Fire Code and have signed sealed hydraulic calculations, but others have their own requirements. 

Alternatives in Engineering can help you with signed sealed hydraulic calculations and any unique requirements a jurisdiction can throw at us.

Here are some examples of unique requirements around the country:

City of Austin Fire Protection Rule requires the following:

For hydrant flow calculations, follow Appendix B of 2012 IFC but limit reduction of fire flow to 50% for certain building types

Accepted “C” values for calculations are 110 for PVC & Copper 80 otherwise

Austin Water also requires General Construction Notes and project information on drawings.

Port St. Lucie, FL requires the following in stamped sealed calculations: Continue reading “What You Need to Know: Meeting Specialty Fire Hydrant Flow Requirements” »

What You Need to Know: Water Supplies for New Development

While seemingly a small part of the overall scope of a large development, accurate water testing and modeling of infrastructure to support new development is critical to ensuring adequate water supplies are available without excessive costs.

A complete water supply analysis for a new development consists of three critical parts, testing and analysis of the pubic supplies, accurate estimations of the water needs of the development, and proper modeling of the water infrastructure associated with the development.

Determining the capacity of the existing water system

The first step is to determine the capacity of the public supplies.  This generally begins with obtaining flow test data.  Performing a hydrant flow test is a relatively simple procedure, and many jurisdictions will provide this information for free or for a minimal charge, but often this low-cost option comes with a hidden expense.  Many of the public personnel that perform flow testing on their system fail to understand the importance of the flow test data, tests are performed on the incorrect hydrants, an inadequate amount of water is flowed compounding errors, and the accuracy of these tests is often of concern as low cost, or poorly calibrated gauges are commonly utilized.  Continue reading “What You Need to Know: Water Supplies for New Development” »

Why You Should Choose a Third Party to Perform a Fire Hydrant Flow Test

By Scott Repke, P.E.

When designing a fire sprinkler system for any building, one of the first, and most important, steps is to analyze the water system in the area by having a fire hydrant flow test performed. Why is this so important? To work properly and control a fire, a sprinkler system must flow a certain amount of water with enough pressure to be effective. The entire design must be based upon how much water flow and pressure is available from the water system – if this information is not accurate, the design may fail and the fire will not be controlled!

There are many choices when it comes to getting a flow test done. Some will go right to the source and have the water department or fire department perform a test. Others have the fire sprinkler contractor working on the project go out and run a test, while yet another Continue reading “Why You Should Choose a Third Party to Perform a Fire Hydrant Flow Test” »

Why Worry About Keeping Fire Protection Systems Up to Date?

Fire Protection SystemsEvery day is busy for a growing business, whether it’s a business in St. Louis or any other across the country. So, taking the time to have maintenance completed on a fire protection system doesn’t normally land at the top of a great big list of things needing to get done, and more often than not, business owners overlook it. It’s vitally important for your business, however, to keep your fire protection system up to date.

Why Is It Important?
Ensuring your fire protection and monitoring systems are working properly isn’t something that only needs to be done every few years; you should be checking it on an annual basis. Even though it’s relatively easy to get accomplished, it can be a hard task to remember because it doesn’t directly affect your day-to-day business. You’ve put a lot of time and money into keeping your business running and growing, so ask yourself what you would do in the following situations: Continue reading “Why Worry About Keeping Fire Protection Systems Up to Date?” »

How to Keep Your Fire Sprinklers from Freezing

Fire sprinkler designs aren’t always adequately prepared for freezing temperatures, be they wet or dry designs. Wet sprinklers especially need extra precaution for harsh winter months in St. Louis and the country. Proper precautions should be taken before cold weather, during cold weather, and during long periods of vacancy to prevent freeze failures in the pipes of fire sprinkler designs.

Fire Inspection

 Preparing for Cold Weather

Wet and dry fire sprinkler designs require different preparations. AIE has helped multiple businesses prepare both wet and dry designs for cold weather in St. Louis and the country. Continue reading “How to Keep Your Fire Sprinklers from Freezing” »

The Importance of Having the Right Sprinkler System

 Installing a sprinkler system is more than just a required construction cost. Having a sprinkler system that works precisely for your building can save lives and prevent you from spending tens of thousands of dollars on property damage and lost business.

 Architects and building owners across the St. Louis area and the country are recognizing the value of sprinkler systems.

 How Do Sprinkler Systems Work?

Automatic sprinkler systems are heat activated and formed by a network of piping which holds water under pressure. Whenever the temperature rises to the system’s specific heating point, a link will melt or a glass bulb will break. Water is then released to keep the fire from growing.  Typically, only one or two sprinklers are activated. Continue reading “The Importance of Having the Right Sprinkler System” »

What we offer

Alternatives in Engineering provides fire protection engineering consulting services including code review, construction follow up inspections, system design, design supervision, bid specifications, hydraulic calculations, plan review, property loss prevention inspections, recommendation review, special investigation & analysis, and water supply testing.

CODE CONSULTING – Review can be performed for code compliance.  Work can also include determination ofWhat We Offeracceptable alternative arrangements and drafting of project fire protection specification to conform to codes.

CONSTRUCTION FOLLOW UP INSPECTIONS– Visits are made to a project under construction to assure compliance with project fire protection specifications.  They are generally performed as a consultant to the owner.  However, such services can also be of great value to architectural firms and general contractors.  Inspection frequency varies with the size of projects and scope of work provided.  Typically visits are made every 4-6 weeks on projects in the 1,000,000 sq. ft. size range. Continue reading “What we offer” »