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Good day, I am just beginning to learn about egress in detail. For example say I have a (150 by 40 foot building, a basic warehouse) with exit doors on each end. Once a distance of "X" is exceeded you need to add sprinklers. If I add extra doors along the long walls "here and there", since now exits are much closer, can I eliminate a sprinklered system? It seems more cost effective, and no sprinkler maintenance/repair work to constantly be done over time? Thanks for any input you have. Matthew

Thanks, good advice from you all !!! I was just trying to get a "handle" of the concept use or not use, for "basic" UBC type rules. As mentioned, I am just jumping into the game and have no experience yet on Fire sprinkler systems, so I am gathering info so I can create a Pros and Cons checklist of "all things to consider". As I start to learn what's what.

All info above is great! Thank you !!! The idea of of cost savings/consequences from choosing (yes or No) in construction costs, maintenance upkeep costs, ongoing inspection testing over time costs, etc."

  • I did not think about insurance costs, or if they come into play?
  • It's more of a gated industrial complex area (all our property), 1/2 of our buildings are sprinklered 1/2 are not.
  • The concept I was using to see what the financial construction differences would be, was for a basic empty building This concept was just a building to park cars and trucks in to keep them safe and out of the weather. I figured as mentioned above 150 by 40 (Arbitrary choice) was big enough to see cost differences. I think travel distances greatly come into play? so instead of doors just on the ends as I have seen, I am playing with the Idea to see what happens if I add 3 or four doors along each long side of the building. Changing the exit distance from center at 75 feet to about 30 feet? I don't know yet if this even makes a difference... still learning. Again, thanks for your advice! Matthew
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    It would help immensely to know where you are so people know what codes apply to you. – FreeMan Jan 14 at 14:48
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    Where do you live? What is the building used for? These things combined create the requirements. – Ed Beal Jan 14 at 14:49
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    Sprinklers can save you a lot of money - on your insurance rates when the building does not have a fire, and on replacement costs when it does. – Ecnerwal Jan 14 at 15:06
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    Yeah, sprinklers can mean the difference between a one-head mop-and-bucket overhaul for the FD and a total building loss or worse yet, an unwanted appearance on national news... – ThreePhaseEel Jan 15 at 0:31
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    I think the biggest difference is that while either approach can keep a fire from killing anyone, when a fire does happen, with just good egress the building and everything in it may still burn down, whereas with sprinklers the stuff inside just gets a little wet. Whether that extra property protection is worth the extra cost will very much depend on the building's intended use, and the value of the stuff in it. – Nate S. Jan 15 at 19:35
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There are three types of fire sprinkler systems: 1) Illegal and uncertified , 2) legal and certified, 3) Approved residential.

  1. Fire sprinklers are not installed randomly. They are based on number of occupants, size of facility, etc. You can install sprinklers, but if they’re not certified (installed with certain size head, proper distance from wall, proper size pipe, etc.,) then they are just dead weight that will require larger roof joists AND will not help insurance rates, etc.

  2. Fire Sprinkler systems properly designed provide a safe exit for tenants and can protect the building in case of an emergency. However, the hidden costs is upsizing the entire roof structure, providing a larger waterline to the building (usually a 4” minimum) and extending it back to the nearest 4” branch line, (which is usually located at a fire hydrant.) If you add future walls, then it needs to be redesigned because the walls could block sprinkler heads.

  3. Fire Sprinkler systems are now required in all residential buildings with 3 or more units. However, that can be modified with the installation of fire walls (2 layers of drywall on both sides of the party wall). In addition, Residential Fire Sprinkler systems can be extended from nearby waterlines WITHIN the building, like kitchens, bathrooms, etc.

In addition, sprinklers are required if you don’t have openings every 50’ on two sides of the building. (Firemen like to squirt water in those openings.)

Most people don’t realize there is little to no cost savings on insurance. Whatever you save, they’ll charge you extra for water damage. Be careful.

Also, remember that Fire Sprinkler systems protect PROPERTY while additional egress doors protect LIVES.

If you want to do both, I’d suggest smoke detectors with extra alarms. They’re easy to install and easy to relocate when remodeling. They provide an EARLY warning system so both the tenants and building can be saved.

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  • Smoke detectors and alarms save lives. They do little to nothing to protect property unless someone is at the building awake and competent to deal with it or if (typically in large commercial buildings but not individuals homes) centrally monitored. Sprinklers can save a building - and the neighboring buildings - even if nobody is there. – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Jan 15 at 19:23
  • @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact That’s why they’re connected to dialers. The dialers can call the building owner or fire department or both. – Lee Sam Jan 15 at 19:49
  • In my area, commercial and big residential, yes. Individual homes -dialer not required and most don't have that unless they have a burglar alarm with combined monitoring. – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Jan 15 at 20:21
  • My understanding (from reading HO policies) is that even at the dwelling level, there are overall savings offered for sprinklering, and the savings are more significant in commercial work. (The costs of prompt remediation of water damage are minimal compared to fire/smoke damage remediation) – ThreePhaseEel Jan 15 at 21:40
  • Also, sprinklers have the net effect of protecting property and lives -- the statistical record is vividly clear on this point. – ThreePhaseEel Jan 15 at 21:42

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