Commercial fire protection systems involve a lot more than just sprinklers. A properly designed fire suppression system is a sophisticated, multi-layered environment tailored to a specific structure, taking into account the building’s size, purpose, occupancy, and construction, to name a few variables. A warehouse or storage facility, for example, will have different fire-protection requirements than a multi-tenant office building.
Planning for fire protection involves an integrated approach in which the system designer analyzes the building components as a comprehensive package. In most cases, the analysis needs to go beyond basic code compliance and the owner’s minimum legal responsibilities to what it really takes to minimize damage and downtime. It’s important for building owners and managers to understand that most municipal building and fire codes are legal minimum requirements that often don’t satisfy the building owner’s need to protect their tenants, assets, and employees as much as possible. Although some building owners think of their fire protection systems as a minimal requirement to gain occupancy, a poor fire protection design can become such a cost and maintenance burden to the owner that the main intent to protect people and property can take a backseat.
Because there is such a wide variety of fires that can occur depending on the building and its use, there is an equally wide variety of responses to contain those fires. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other international health and safety organizations have a variety of standards that apply to fire suppression which vary depending on the particular hazards that are present in a specific workplace.
Water-based fire suppression systems such as sprinkler systems are popular because they pose a low risk to human health and use a readily available material. In situations where the source of the fire is difficult to reach or extinguish – for example, the interior of an electrical system — use of a “total flooding system” that saturates an affected room with a chemical suppressant may be necessary to successfully extinguish a fire and prevent it from spreading.
At Kuegler Associates, we have the expertise and experience to design and install effective and cost-efficient water- and chemical-based fire suppression systems for a wide range of retail, commercial, and industrial buildings. To learn more, contact us today for a free consultation.