Fire Sprinkler FAQs & Permit Guidelines

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FIRE SPRINKLERS AND WATER SUPPLY Fire Sprinkler Permit Information Fire permits are deferred submittals and may be applied for after the issuance of the building permit proposing the construction of the home. A complete Fire Permit Application can be found at the following link: Please contact the Fire Department 707-543-3500 to address any specific questions associated with the permitting process. Submittal Guidelines 1. Completed applications shall be submitted directly to the Fire Department at: 2372 Circadian Way Santa Rosa, CA 95407 2. Provide a minimum of three sets of to-scale plans inclusive of site and floor plans and necessary details and specifications described in NFPA 13D – Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes or the California Residential Code. The layout, calculation, and installation of sprinklers systems shall only be performed by knowledgeable and trained people. a. Submittals SHALL have the following minimum information: i. Address ii. Site/plot plan and vicinity map iii. Reflected ceiling plans iv. Building section plan v. Size and type of existing domestic line, including length to city connection vi. Water meter size vii. Current static water pressure viii. Interior walls ix. Model, manufacture, temperature, orifice size, and spacing requirements of sprinklers x. Type of pipe xi. Hanger spacing requirement per the pipe manufacture xii. Riser Detail xiii. Installing contractor information xiv. Preliminary hydraulic calculations xv. Identify the standard used for the design of the system Additional information regarding the Santa Rosa rebuilding effort available online: |


3. The State of California makes modifications to NFPA 13D standard in Chapter 80 of the California Fire Code applicable to one- and two-family homes and can be found at: The City of Santa Rosa, by adopted ordinance, also makes modification to NFPA 13D standard and those modifications can be found here: 4. Every automatic sprinkler system shall have at least one automatic water supply a. A connection to a reliable waterworks system without an automatically operated pump b. An elevated tank c. A pressure tank designed to American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) standard for pressure vessel with reliable pressure source d. A stored water source with an automatically operated pump e. A well with a pump of sufficient capacity and pressure to meet the sprinkler system design 5. Submittal shall reference the location and size of any required backflow prevention device (water service). Note: An in-line dual check per City Standard 875F shall be installed on all domestic water connections serving fire protection systems. The backflow device must be sized to meet fire flow demands. In-line dual checks do not require any upfront or annual testing. The device shall be replaced or repaired once every 5 years. 6. System design methods may incorporate either common supply pipes or multipurpose piping systems where the piping configurations may be looped, gridded or straight run designs in accordance with NFPA 13D Note: If a multi-purpose or passive purge system with no dead-end lines is proposed, a backflow device may not be required. Contact the Fire Department at 707-543-3500 for additional details 7. A notation must be placed on the plans stating the following: “Upgrades or modifications necessary to provide adequate water flow to the fire sprinkler system may trigger the need to obtain an encroachment permit. No work in the public right-ofway may commence until the required encroachment permit is obtained.� Note: The water service and water meter shall be configured, as needed, to meet the necessary flow requirements associated with the fire sprinkler system. Modifications will be determined based on flow calculations submitted under the fire sprinkler permit.


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Fire Sprinklers – Frequently Asked Questions I’ve heard that the design of my fire sprinkler system is very dependent on the water pressure in the City’s public system. How do I determine the water pressure at my property? The best way to determine the available pressure at the property is to reactivate the water service and attach a pressure gauge to the plumbing behind the water meter. General static pressures are also typically displayed towards the base of fire hydrants. Properties at a higher elevation than the hydrant will likely experience lower water pressures and properties at a lower elevation will likely experience higher pressures. Water pressure increases or decreases at a rate of 0.433 pounds per square inch for every foot of elevation change. A rough calculation can be performed if the elevation differential between the house and the hydrant is known. This method only generates an approximate result if both the property and the hydrant are in the same pressure zone. A pressure reading is a snap shot of the conditions present in the water system at the time the reading was taken. Factors such as demand on the system and the height of the water level in the reservoir can cause the pressure to fluctuate throughout the day. It is strongly recommended that the sprinkler design factor in the potential pressure fluctuations, specifically pressure reductions, that can occur during times of peak demand on the system. Contact Water Engineering Services at 707-543-4200 to discuss the reactivation of the water service or to obtain additional information regarding the pressure zone boundaries. Can the City increase the pressure if my fire sprinkle designer determines that additional pressure is needed to support the system? The City’s water system varies in pressure in part due to topography and whether or not the area is served by a reservoir. Properties in the Fountaingrove and Hidden Valley areas tend to be served by reservoirs. Depending on the elevation of the property and how close it is to a reservoir, the pressure will be much lower at properties at a higher elevation and much higher at properties at a lower elevation. Increasing the pressure throughout entire zones is not feasible as it would cause pressure levels to rise above a safe level at homes that are at lower elevations and properties would have to install pressure reduction valves. What options do I have if the available pressure in the public water system is not high enough to meet the fire sprinkler demand? Low pressure is typically overcome with the installation of a pressure pump on the fire sprinkler system, or potentially the installation of both a pressure pump and water tank designed to increase flow. Your Fire Sprinkler Contractor will develop a site-specific solution to address this issue.

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Can I avoid the installation of a tank and a pump if the water service in the street is enlarged? Upsizing the water service to the property will increase the volume of water available to the property, but it will not increase the pressure. Prior to allowing an upsize of the water service line, the Fire Sprinkler Contractor must justify the need. The upsize is not performed by the City. The property owner will be required to hire a private contractor to perform the installation and will be responsible for the full cost of the improvement. Water service upsizes can trigger a significant cost. Your Fire Sprinkler Contractor can assist with determining the most cost-effective method to address lower pressures and flows. Upsizing water service lines is not needed in the Coffey Park area and will not be allowed. Am I required to install a backflow device due to the fire sprinklers? The presence of a fire sprinkler system within the home typically requires the installation of a backflow device. Water within the automatic fire protection system does not circulate and may degrade over time. The purpose of the backflow device is to prevent water within the sprinkler system from back siphoning into the public water supply. It is possible to design the sprinkler system in a fashion that reduces water stagnation. If a toilet supply line is connected to the end of the fire sprinkler main line and the system avoids any lateral connections (no dead-end sections of pipe running off the main line), the flushing of the toilet will cause water to circulate through the system. This type of design is referred to as a passive purge or multipurpose system. A backflow device is not required in this situation. There may be additional features on the property, other than fire sprinklers, that require the installation of a backflow device. Please review the Backflow Device Requirements guide posted at for a full description of all the potential backflow requirements. What size backflow do I install? Your Fire Sprinkler Contractor will size the backflow device to ensure that the necessary pressures and water flow rates are provided to the sprinkler system. Backflow devices for residential sprinkler systems tend to be either 1” or 1 ½”. What size does the plumbing from the meter to the backflow device need to be? The plumbing between the meter and the backflow device shall be the same size as the backflow. If a backflow device is not required, the plumbing will be sized by your Fire Sprinkler Contractor to meet flow requirements for the system.

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Do I need an encroachment permit for the installation of the backflow device? The installation of the backflow device typically falls under the building permit process. This work may be included in the building permit associated with the reconstruction of the home or performed under a separate building permit. Backflow devices are typically installed along the property owner’s edge of the sidewalk. If the replumbing of the water line for the backflow device involves any work underneath the sidewalk or disturbs the existing water meter box or meter, an encroachment permit will be required. Encroachment permits cover any work in the street, planter strip or sidewalk areas. Contact the Resilient Permit Center at 707-543-4649 for additional details. Who do I talk to if I have additional questions about my fire sprinklers? Contact the Fire Department directly at 707-543-3500. Who do I talk to if I have specific questions regarding backflow device requirements? Contact the Water Department at 707-543-4200.

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