A building requires a class III or Class IV emergency standpipe system if the building has more than three stories. The height requirement is based on the floor level of the highest story being more than 30 feet above and below the lowest floor level where a fire department’s vehicle can access the building. The height requirement may be met in two ways. A Class III system is permanently installed in a building while a Class IV emergency standpipe is portable.
The NFPA lays down a set of requirements for installing standpipe systems. These requirements include fire service piping, hose outlets, and valves. They are a critical safety component for a fire department and help to control the spread of fire. NFPA 14 is the standard for installing standpipe and hose systems. It is important to read the requirements and make sure that you are installing the right standpipe system in your building.
The International Building Code requires that buildings with three or more stories have a standpipe system for fires and dealing with liquid spills (see spill trays and bunding). For buildings with four or more stories, it is recommended to install a Class III standpipe system. The distance to the farthest floor will be greater for buildings with more stories. The pipe size for Class III standpipe systems is usually four inches (100 mm) in diameter, but can be reduced if calculated hydraulically. Branch lines must be hydraulically calculated.
If a sprinkler system fails, a standpipe will provide critical fire protection. In addition, standpipes eliminate the need to carry heavy wet hoses up stairwells, reducing the firefighting effort. They also allow firefighters to keep stairwells clear for faster egress. A standpipe system is becoming increasingly common in other areas. The best place to install a standpipe system is under the fire level.
A fire department may require both Type I and Type II emergency standpipes. Both types of systems provide water under high pressure. The Type I system consists of 2.5-inch hose connections, and the Type II system uses 1.5-inch nozzles for building occupant protection. Regardless of the type of fire protection system you require, make sure you have enough hose lengths and connections to meet these requirements. Class II emergency standpipes are not required for underground buildings, but are available for those in need.
When purchasing a Class VI emergency standpipe, make sure it meets the standards established by the NFPA. A roof slope of less than four units vertical by twelve units horizontal equals 33.3%. Hose connections should be placed at the highest level of each stairway. Additional hose connections should be provided for testing purposes. Once you have determined which type of standpipe is required for your building, make sure to contact a fire protection company with 70 years of experience.Wayne Saman