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.