In the comparison of fire extinguishing systems, the design bases of the systems are clarified, for example the requirements set for water supplies and other key factors affecting the price and the chosen technology. In addition to the technical solution, the comparison must take into account the advantages and disadvantages of the system as well as the possible limitations of construction and use. Choosing the right fire extinguishing system is always a construction site-specific solution.
Savings potential in structures and building technical systems or alternative space solutions is evaluated in the costs. The costs are evaluated both during the investment phase and during operation, taking into account the possibilities for remote monitoring and remote maintenance. At the same time, the need for reinvestments during the building’s life cycle is considered and the necessity of a fire technical risk analysis is assessed.
Design principles in the project planning phase
- A general specification of the equipment is drawn up.
- Principle drawings are produced, which show, among other things, the sprinkler classes and the required pressure levels.
- Key information on water supply requirements is clarified – if a local water service main, measurement data, actual flow and pressure level, as well as related location and measurement time data are presented. If a water storage tank, effective volume and operating time, as well as other information required by the standard are presented.
- The documentation prepared during the project planning phase is processed and approved by the authorities or the fire extinguishing equipment inspector, who, if necessary, gives a preliminary opinion on the design basis.
- The basic system that turns out to be more affordable during the life of the building is choosed.
In order for the comparison to be successful, basic dimensions and principle drawings must be drawn up. These are used to clarify, for example, the nozzle coverage, the placement of the nozzles, the locations of the fire loads and other details that affect the final results of the comparison simulations. The work requires solid cooperation between the extinguishing systems expert and the fire safety engineer. It is advisable to use an experienced extinguishing system expert who knows both systems thoroughly and has references from both design and life cycle cost calculation. In simulations based on assumed fire development, it is advisable to rely on an experienced and competent fire consultant. In some cases, it is worth including an architect in the team.
From the point of view of the principles of sustainable development, it is important that the costs are taken into account for the entire life cycle of the building. The comparison includes the lifetime of the system and the maintenance activities that take place on it, the need for possible reinvestments during the building’s life cycle, and an estimate of the possible risks and damages caused by a false alarms. The advantages and disadvantages should be considered on a construction site basis, because, for example, high-rise construction sites and wood construction both have their own requirements.
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