An up-to-date sprinkler system benefits your business in many ways, from lower insurance premiums to potential tax cuts. If you’re buying or remodeling a commercial building and need a fire sprinkler installation or modification, here’s what to do next:
Does Your Building Need Sprinklers?
Safety standards in your city or state fire codes will specify if your commercial building needs fire sprinklers. But most local regulations conform to NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems.
Several factors affect the requirement for fire sprinklers:
- Building size. New commercial structures with a fire area more extensive than 5,000 square feet must have automatic fire sprinklers.
- Structure height. Buildings taller than 55 feet must have sprinklers.
- Townhomes. Structures with more than two residential units must have sprinklers.
Adding Sprinklers During Initial Construction
Installing fire sprinklers during initial construction adds to the cost, but it’s less expensive than retrofitting an existing building. Plan to pay one to two dollars more per square foot to add fire sprinklers during the construction process. For a high-rise building, the cost would double to two to four dollars per square foot of coverage. Curious about the comparison? To retrofit an existing building, prices can range from nearly two to seven dollars per square foot.
Remodeling a Building
Adding or removing walls in remodeling can mean modifying or updating the sprinkler system to meet new building codes. As you prepare for your renovation, speak with a fire sprinkler expert early to ensure you’re prepared to adjust your sprinkler system.
The Case for Sprinkler Systems
Having new or updated fire sprinklers benefits commercial building owners. And though there are dozens of reasons to prioritize this equipment, here are a few worth noting:
- Sprinklers reduce the loss of life because of fires; from 2015 to 2019, deaths occurred in only 1 percent of fires in properties with sprinklers.
- In 95 percent of fires, sprinklers helped confine the fire to the room of origin.
- Your commercial insurer may give you a discount of up to 60 percent for having a fire sprinkler system.
- There may be income tax reductions and tax credits for your commercial sprinkler system.
Need a Fire Sprinkler System? Here’s What to do Next
Before construction begins, you’ll need an expert to design your sprinkler system. Here’s how to start that process:
Research Fire Protection Companies
For the best results, look for a knowledgeable company with expertise in fire sprinkler installation. Here are tips on choosing a fire sprinkler company.
- Review the complete list of services. A full-service company provides one contractor to design, install and service your system.
- Read reviews and check references. Ask the companies you’re considering to provide names of past customers.
- Work with local experts. These individuals will understand the city and state fire codes and be geographically close enough to respond quickly in an emergency.
Plan Your Sprinkler Approach
Advanced sprinkler systems use unique technology to respond quickly to a fire, and some of these new innovations may be perfect for your space. Set aside time to talk with your fire sprinkler installation experts about which fire suppression technology you want to invest in for your building:
- Visual flame detectors. With a traditional sprinkler, flame heat will trigger a reaction, causing water to spray. But with newer flame detectors, the unique light from open fire triggers the optical flame detectors and turns your fire sprinklers on.
- Mist systems. Instead of water droplets, mist sprinklers disperse a fine mist to smother fires. The mist then spreads through the area, absorbing heat and keeping the fire from spreading.
- Early Suppression Fast Response (ESFR) sprinklers. ESFR sprinklers spray more water than conventional sprinklers, using higher water pressure
- Foam fire sprinkler systems. Foam sprinklers use a mixture of water and foam to put out fires and are ideal in areas where combustible materials are stored. This unique chemical reaction smothers flames more efficiently than water alone.
Protect Your Building Today
At A&A Fire Protection, we design and install fire sprinkler systems in all types of structures, from new construction to historic buildings. Call today for an appointment with one of our fire protection experts and take the first step to keeping your people and property safe!