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If someone asked you to name the elements of a sprinkler system, could you do it? You’ve most likely seen certain elements before; on a basic level, there are sprinkler heads, piping, and valves – but there is so much more! A sprinkler system is designed to control or extinguish fires in the early stages, making it easier and safer for building occupants to exit the building, and for firefighters to extinguish any fire that remains. 

Beyond the importance of having a fire sprinkler system, an efficient layout/design is required to allow for cost control and high performance. The variations in building design, and the coordination needed based on components within the building, make fire sprinklers complicated in design. However, understanding the fundamentals of sprinkler design will provide good insight into the specific needs of the project and the detail required for specifications.

Determining the Water Supply

A fire sprinkler system begins with water and having enough of it to control a fire. Most sprinkler systems are automatic, meaning human intervention isn’t necessary. Because of this, a source is required, which can include city water, ponds, rivers, reservoirs, water tanks, and more. No matter the source, it must have a sufficient capacity.

Factors that determine the capacity include: 

  • Flow Rate (Gallons per minute/GPM)
  • Pressure (Pounds per square inch/PSI)
  • Duration (How long it can maintain the required pressure & flow)
  • Flow Test (provided by nearby fire hydrants)
Picture of a fire hydrant

Water supply is fundamental in the development of a sprinkler system, no matter the building layout. 

Understanding the Building

Picture of a school main entrance

As simple as it sounds, to determine the sprinkler system required, you need to understand the building. Typically, once a contractor has been selected, the contractor then engages their engineer during construction. Unfortunately, this approach can hamper coordination between the sprinkler system and other building elements. Common questions to ask are: Is this a commercial project? Industrial? Or are there specifics required for the building?

For projects where a performance specification is not appropriate, however, our team can provide full sprinkler design services including:

  • Sprinkler head layout
  • Pipe layouts
  • Pipe sizing

Wet, Dry, or Preaction System?

Beyond the capacity and building demands, it’s necessary to determine if a wet, dry, or preaction system is required. Fire sprinkler engineering services offered by Falcon include wet and dry systems, pre-action systems, and specialty gaseous systems for mission-critical infrastructure.

Wet systems, which have pipes filled with water at all times, are the most commonly used system for buildings. Water flows when each sprinkler head reaches its design temperature and the glass element bursts, allowing a plug to drop out.

Dry systems, as the name suggests, don’t contain any water, and are pressurized with air. When a sprinkler head activates, the air is discharged, causing an automatic valve to open and allow water into the piping system. Dry systems are generally reserved for areas with freezing concerns. Lastly, there are preaction systems, where the cost of an accidental discharge would be severe, in places such as data rooms. In this system, water is held back by a preactivation valve and activation relies on a separate trigger, providing another layer of protection or control when activating water.

Fire sprinkler engineering

Conclusion

If there is one point we hope you take away from this, it is that fire sprinkler systems are complicated yet essential. While there are many factors to consider with these systems, evaluation, assessment, and specifications are instrumental to the performance of the system.

At Falcon Engineering, we can offer performance specifications or full design and engineering services, depending on the specific needs of the project. We are committed to providing effective system designs for mechanical projects.

Should you have any questions about how our team can help you with your mechanical projects, including Fire sprinkler engineering, get in contact by using our contact page

Check out our service offerings here

Want to learn more about mechanical engineering? Check out some of our other blogs!

Electrical engineering is quite a big term, and actually very recent as well. Within the 19th Century, Electrical engineering was established as a brand of engineering that deals with technology and electricity. Electrical engineers deal with a wide range of components, devices and systems, all the way from tiny microchips to giant power station generators.

A part of that range includes wiring different forms of electrical components. However, projects dealing with lighting today – both residential and commercial, have changed drastically over the years. The adoption of technological advancements have led electrical engineers to have a hand in everything that uses, creates, or harnesses electricity. 

With all that said, electrical engineers play an integral role in lighting design, overall assembly of electrical components, and innovative solutions that are based on electrical code standards. How their role is critical in the development process of lighting design can be broken down into three categories: Function, energy efficiency and aesthetics.

Function

As mentioned earlier, the adoption of technology has strongly influenced the building systems and design disciplines. This holds true when it comes to commercial and residential lighting. The lighting system within a stadium compared to a two-bedroom home, has unique functionality differences. The success of an overall electrical engineer in the realm of architecture – means understanding the materials, physics, and mathematics that goes into the complicated structure.

ice rink lighting design for electrical engineering

In terms of a larger stadium for instance, there are many components and timelines the electrical engineer must abide by to ensure the project is completed. A project within a stadium is larger, and relies heavily on the coordination of architects, budgets and time. Because of this, electrical engineers are an integral part of achieving deadlines with projects this large in scope.

Energy Efficiency

energy efficient engineering

Electrical engineers are needed for every step within the project; including drafting the design, development and control. There is so much more to an electrical engineer’s role when it comes to building systems – in particular, in relation to energy efficiency. While the project may differ in terms of the scope, energy efficient buildings continue to hit an all time demand. With growing demands for upgrading outdated systems with the energy efficiency in today’s world – electrical engineers offer a huge role in adapting to these trends.

Energy efficiency lighting includes the illumination of a given space from less power by replacing high power consumption lighting with energy-preserving alternatives. Electrical engineers understand the concepts, bring technicality to the project and run the system behind implementation to provide renewable energy systems.

Aesthetics

Besides the technical aspect of understanding functionality, cost and operating an efficient flow within the process, electrical engineers play an important role in the overall aesthetic of lighting design. Consider a large structure; while it’s important to evaluate the cost, design, development, testing and equipment involved, one must also take into consideration that this is a structure which will eventually house people.

electrical engineering project

Because of this, electrical engineers will determine the quality of product and amount of lighting as a result. These aesthetics are critical in the overall comfort of guests, and the electrical engineer is key in establishing limitations involved.

Conclusion

No matter the scope of your project, an electrical engineer is integral to any process. While we are a one-stop-shop for mechanical and electrical engineering services, we also provide niche engineering services in the sustainable energy space. 

Falcon Engineering is a leader in geoexchange engineering services and energy modelling – Committing to long term solutions and in-house resourcefulness. As the largest mechanical, electrical and energy engineering practice in the BC interior, Falcon Engineering brings an unmatched breadth of experience to any project. 

Learn more about our electrical engineering services and what we do here.

Want to learn more about engineering services? Check out some of our other blogs!