This past fall, Fire Systems, Inc. was hired as the fire protection company in charge of retrofitting an existing building’s sprinkler system to fit the needs of a Cobb County Training Facility. The project is a large undertaking, ensuring that the updated sprinkler system fits the new needs for the building. A lot goes into a project such as this: from designing the sprinkler system to installation and beyond.

Project details

This project consists of retrofitting an existing warehouse building’s wet pipe sprinkler system to meet the new interior office layout of the training facility. The project began in November of 2019 and the completion date is set for October of this year, 2020.

The building being retrofitted is a BJ foods warehouse facility that closed. Cobb County bought the building to turn it into the new Cobb County Police Training Academy.

Fire Systems, Inc. was awarded this project with the Cobb County Purchasing Department.

Although the purchasing department is not an existing customer of Fire Systems’, the company has been awarded several other projects in the past with them. The Fire Systems service department has also done some service work for various Cobb County branches as well.

Designing the retrofit

The warehouse building is roughly 120,000 square feet, with a ceiling height of 25 feet. It has three existing Early Suppression Flat Response (ESFR) sprinkler systems. ESFR sprinkler systems are quick responding, high volume sprinkler systems that are intended to provide protection for high piled storage occupancies, like a warehouse. Instead of controlling a fire until the original fuel source is depleted, ESFR systems are designed to suppress the fire by discharging a large volume of water directly to the fire to reduce the heat release rate. These systems, installed at the ceiling, use large volumes of water delivering large water droplets at a high velocity to knock down the fire plume and provide enhanced protection for high piled storage occupancies. The new use for the building, as a training facility, does not require this type of sprinkler system.

The current construction drawings show keeping some areas open to structure ceilings and some areas with acoustical ceiling grids.

“The challenging part of this project was that the new ceilings were at an elevation of 10 feet, but they also were installing another ceiling above it at 16 feet to help with energy costs for heating and air conditioning,” explains Kevin, Fire Systems, Inc. Account Manager. “The tricky part of our design was that we had to design an entire sprinkler system below the false ceiling but above the new acoustical ceiling to cover the areas with ceiling grids, which most of the interior was acoustical ceilings.”

Fire Systems, Inc. has their very own in-house designers to help with projects like this one, but when those designers are tied up with other projects, the company has strong working relationships with several design firms. For this project, Fire Systems chose to work with a local design firm, Sebench.

Pre-action sprinkler system

With the help from Sebench, Fire Systems was able to design a sub sprinkler system that would connect back into the existing ESFR system for three separate systems. Cobb County specified pre-action sprinkler systems for these rooms (evidence storage room, vault, and lab).

Cobb County required this type sprinkler system so that stored evidence will be protected from leaking Micro induced corrosion (MIC) or corroded fitting. Micro induced corrosion is a type of corrosion that is harmful to most engineering materials. MIC deteriorates the metal surface of the piping, causing leaks. Since pre-action sprinkler systems are free of water, there is no chance of leaking. A wet pipe system may over time corrode and/or leak. You wouldn’t want a wet pipe system hanging above valuable evidence. A pre-action sprinkler system is similar to a dry sprinkler system in that, unlike a wet pipe system, dry sprinklers are free of water until a fire is detected. A dry pipe sprinkler system is designed so that the piping itself is filled with pressurized air instead of water.

A team effort

This project has truly been a team effort. Fire Systems sprinkler division manager Bob C., designer Darrell N., and project manager Chris H. are all heavily involved.

“When I put my bid together, I got with Bob and Darrell to help me with design ideas so I knew how it would be installed and how to help our pipe sub price the project correctly,” explains Kevin. Chris H., the project manager for this job, has been on top of the project keeping up with materials and project schedule so the team doesn’t get behind.

Why Fire Systems, Inc.

Cobb County chose Fire Systems, Inc. to do this sprinkler project because of the competitive bid the company was able to offer and the company’s reputation as a top leader in fire protection. With over 30 years in the fire protection industry, Fire Systems is well-known and well-respected nation-wide.

After the bidding process, Cobb County met with Kevin to go over the scope and process.

“I believe I was able to show them we were perfectly capable of handling this project and our past experience job references helped. I was very excited that we got this project and it goes to show how Fire Systems, Inc. can do projects of this nature,” says Kevin.

Fire Systems, Inc. is family-owned and family-operated. Since 1986, Fire Systems has been a comprehensive resource for everything from design, engineering, installations, training, inspection, and maintenance of nearly any fire equipment that local businesses may have or need. No matter your fire protection needs, Fire Systems, Inc. has the experience and expertise to assist you. Call us today at 770-333-7979 or visit the website for more information.