Tags: Fire Services, Extinguishing equipment, Hydrants, Hydraulic Engineering, Special Installation Markets, Climate Change / Sustainability, Codes, Standards & Regulation, Innovation, Water Efficiency / Dry Drains, Australasia, Eastern Asia, North America, Southern Asia, Western Europe Page 2 of 3 | Single page
Price and Flower point to recent revisions in fire protection system inspection, testing and maintenance Standards in Australia as one of the key ways to reduce water use.
“Unlike other building services, fire services don’t use water in normal operation,” Flower says.
“Apart from system failure or modifications, it is only during a fire or system testing that water is used.”
In Australia, National Fire Protection Maintenance Standards consolidation and revisions now permit the weekly testing regimes to be done monthly. This results in an immediate and substantial reduction in water use, even if the water is not captured.
As Flower points out, the change is highly unusual in the context of Standards and regulation. In the normal course of events requirements increase as Standards, codes and regulations are revised.
“Although the maintenance frequency can be reduced, additional system requirements are imposed to ensure that system integrity and reliability are not jeopardized.
“Fire suppression system designers, installers and building owners need to be aware of the latest updates to regulations for obvious reasons, especially when major changes have occurred that can dramatically affect testing requirements, materials and the like.”
Price and Flower say another possible approach for new construction and refurbishment is to base fire safety design on performance. In a building that would require fire sprinklers under a prescriptive approach, it may be possible to do without them by using other fire protection measures. This could include more compartmentalization to minimize the spread of fire.
“However, from an energy efficiency perspective, modern designers and architects are trying to open up buildings with more natural airflow, natural lighting, shared spaces and the like. This runs counter to designing a building without active fire suppression, such as a sprinkler system.
“Sprinklers are very good at controlling and suppressing fires – they have an excellent record,” Flower says.
“Thus the use of sprinklers can open up many other possibilities for energy-efficient sustainable building development, so the trick is to find a good balance. It requires close coordination of the entire design team to work through the particular features of each building and decide on the best approach.”Continued...