SprinklerAge INDUSTRY FORECAST +
NFPA 13 Hanging & Bracing
An An American American Fire Fire Sprinkler Sprinkler Association Association Publication Publication
Vol 34 35 / 10 01 Jan/Feb 2015 2016 October
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Vol 35 / 1
Features 10 | Revisions to Capacity of Anchors in Concrete
NFPA 13, 2016 Edition Added Tables
14 | Slots in Trapeze Hanger Angles
New Criteria in the 2016 Edition of NFPA 13
18 | Steady Growth and Recovery Continue
Economists, Contractors, Manufacturers and Suppliers Report on 2015 and Forecast 2016
22 | International Fire Sprinkler Opportunity Update
The Outlook for 2016
24 | ABC Predicts Continued Growth in 2016
Steady Economic Recovery Forecasted
26 | Building Structure Versus Shared Support
Weighing the Differences
32 | New Construction Starts to Grow Six Percent
AFSA Recognizes Mr. Sprinkler Fire Protection
34 | ABI Hits Another Bump
Business Conditions Show Continued Strength in Some Regions
35 | Recognizing Apprentices in South Dakota
AFSA Member Participates in National Apprenticeship Week
36 | FMI Reports on Labor Shortages and Millennials in Construction
This issue covers NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, Hanging & Bracing, and a review and forecast of the fire sprinkler industry.
Dodge Data & Analytics Predicts $712 Billion in 2016
33 | Quality Contractor Recognition Awarded
ON THE COVER
Skilled Labor Shortage Intensifies; Myths Debunked About Misunderstood Workforce
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT’S REPORT
46 AHJ PERSPECTIVE 48 AFSA NEWS 48 CHAPTER NEWS 48 ASSOCIATION NEWS 48 CALENDAR 50 NEW MEMBERS
38 | Hung Up on Seismic Issues?
51 U.S. CONSTRUCTION
42 | The Value of Education
52 PRODUCT NEWS
43 | Need Help?
56 INDUSTRY NEWS
Informal Interpretations Save Members Time, Money Committee Spotlight: Apprenticeship & Education Committee AFSA Has the Solution
51 CANADA CONSTRUCTION 54 PEOPLE IN THE NEWS 58
INDEX OF ADVERTISERS
44 | Sprinkler Age Goes Bimonthly
Respected Publication Expands, Diversifies Online
SPRINKLER AGE, (ISSN 0896-2685) is published bimonthly for $33.95 per year by the American Fire Sprinkler Association, Inc., 12750 Merit Drive, Suite 350, Dallas, Texas 75251. Periodicals postage paid at Dallas, Texas and additional mailing offices.
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CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE EDITORIAL: 214 349 5965 BY MICHAEL F. MEEHAN AFSA Chairman of the Board
STEVE A. MUNCY, CAE, Publisher D’ARCY G. MONTALVO, Editor, ext. 115 firstname.lastname@example.org NICOLE DUVALL, Director of Communications, ext. 126; email@example.com
ADVERTISING: 214 349 5965 CHARLOTTE JOHNSON, Communications Coordinator, ext. 134; firstname.lastname@example.org
CIRCULATION : 214 349 5965 AMY SWEENEY, Asst. to Membership Director, ext. 119; email@example.com
Sometimes in the course of the day, news comes in, or a comment or gesture takes place that makes me take pause and appreciate all the encounters and all the people that I have crossed paths with along the way. Sometimes it is meeting a new hire on his or her first day; sometimes it is sad news and the jolt of someone passing. Sometimes it is an old sprinkler joke heard by someone for the first time. It is good to go back and reflect, to laugh with and to appreciate and respect those who make up our journey. There was Skid Rowe, a giant of a man who told me to pull a makeup round on a chain tong wrapped around a piece of 6-in. threaded Schedule 40. I pulled and pulled, my feet came off the ground and I could barely make it budge. He gave me a wry smile, brushed me aside and with a cigarette hanging off his lip pulled the pipe into the fitting another full 360 degrees. Pipe chain tongs – good thing we don’t see them much anymore.
AFSA BOARD OF DIRECTORS MICHAEL F. MEEHAN, CHAIRMAN 757-213-3660 WAYNE WEISZ, FIRST VICE CHAIRMAN 209-334-9119 THEODORE C. WILLS, JR., SECOND VICE CHAIRMAN 610-754-7836 LINDA M. BIERNACKI, SECRETARY 318-841-0330 THOMAS J. MCKINNON, TREASURER 925-417-5550 JOSEPH A. HEINRICH, IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIRMAN 785-825-7710 DONALD G. ALBARES, 504-837-0572 DWIGHT BATEMAN, 713-910-3242 PAUL DELORIE, 603-432-8221 ROD DIBONA, 605-348-2342 LYLE HALL, 858-513-4949 R. DONALD KAUFMAN, 505-884-2447
There was the new designer who had been with us a couple of days and went to lunch; he is yet to return. There was my design mentor Dennis Barnes, a frustrated mathematician and a brilliant designer. This was back in the day when we drew with mechanical lead pencils and had electric erasers. No CAD, no BIM, no fax machines, just drafting tables and blue print rolls the size of small trees. He drew the outline of the building, the interior walls and the ceiling grid on the back of the Mylar, would flip it over and then design the entire sprinkler system on the perfectly clean front of the Mylar. His electric eraser might not go off all day. The lettering was flawless, the width of the lines never wavered. It was art to my eye and, best of all, the pipe always fit. I learned a ton from him and it was humbling as I had eraser shavings all around my table and a hard enough time drawing on the front of the Mylar much less the back. This past week as I was going through some daily routines, I was starkly reminded to appreciate the people around me and all my encounters. I got one of those phone calls that gives you a jolt and makes you take pause. A man with a quick smile who had I had known for 19 years, a man who started in our shop and went on to become one of our best fitters, was killed in a motorcycle accident. On top of the world one day and gone the next. Very sad, he was a great father, fitter and friend to many. The funeral for this 43-year-old man was extraordinary – sprinkler men and a long line of sprinkler trucks filled the funeral home parking lot, hundreds and hundreds of motorcycles led a roaring procession that was a sight to behold. He will not be forgotten. n
JACK A. MEDOVICH, 410-787-0639 JEFF PHIFER, 803-438-2994
AFSA MANAGEMENT: 214 349 5965 STEVE A. MUNCY, CAE, President FRANK MORTL III, CAE, Executive Vice President PHILLIP A. BROWN, SET, CFPS, Director of Technical Program Development & Codes, ext. 123 NICOLE DUVALL, Director of Communications, ext. 126 MARILYN ELLIS, Director of Administrative Services, ext. 112 MARLENE M. GARRETT, CMP, Director of Education Services & Meetings, ext. 118 ROLAND J. HUGGINS, PE, Vice President of Engineering & Technical Services, ext. 121 JEFF LIVAUDAIS, Director of Membership, ext. 133 Sprinkler Age is devoted to the professional development of the Fire Sprinkler Industry. Deadline is 1st of the month preceding publication. Published by American Fire Sprinkler Association, 12750 Merit Drive, Suite 350, Dallas, Texas 75251. Call (214) 349-5965, FAX (214) 343-8898, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information. Copyright © American Fire Sprinkler Association, Inc. All rights reserved. PRINTED IN USA. Unless expressly stated otherwise, all editorial and advertising material published is the opinion of the respective authors and/or companies involved and should not be construed as official action by or approved by Publisher or the Association. Sprinkler Age is a membership benefit, provided free of charge to AFSA members. For information on non-member and/or foreign subscription rates, call (214) 349-5965. ABOUT AFSA MEMBERSHIP AFSA annual membership dues are a sliding scale for Contractors and Associates and a flat fee for Authorities Having Jurisdiction. (Members receive a free subscription to Sprinkler Age.) Write or call AFSA for membership information. See AFSA’s website at firesprinkler.org.
6 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT’S REPORT BY FRANK MORTL III, CAE AFSA Executive Vice President
Baptism by fire. That phrase has profound meaning for me as I celebrate having served my initial year in the merit shop fire sprinkler contractor industry as the American Fire Sprinkler Association’s (AFSA) executive vice president. The common definition for baptism by fire, an employee who learns the craft by being immersed in their field of work, would certainly apply to my first 12 months on the job. As our members are well aware, AFSA never takes a breather in terms of delivering superior benefits and services while also consistently striving to develop innovative programming that will advance this critically important construction trade. By utilizing the term “fire” to describe my early impressions of AFSA and our dynamic team of members, volunteer leaders and professional staff, I’m reminded everyday of the purpose of our association to provide training, consulting, communication, representation and related services to the merit shop fire sprinkler contractor community. Challenging objectives indeed, particularly when demands on time and resources are at a
premium. Fortunately, as an association governed by volunteer leaders, it has become abundantly clear that AFSA has an incredibly robust pool of dedicated individuals from the field of fire sprinkler contracting that are more than willing to share their professional acumen for the betterment of their industry. Upon arriving to AFSA in January of 2015, I quickly realized that regardless of whether I was learning about our technical resources and informal interpretation processes, understanding our administrative challenges, helping coordinate educationrelated and meeting programming, or offering to lend a hand with our communication efforts, the fabric of membership along with the association’s ability to help fire sprinkler contractors succeed is consistently what motivates every decision made by your AFSA staff. To that end, I ordered a large wall map of the United States for my office and have subsequently placed a green pin in all areas of the country where our members are located. “Frank’s Map” has become a source of pride for me whenever I interact with our volunteer leaders and affords me the opportunity to study member demographics and chapter jurisdictions while maintaining a focus on AFSA’s commitment to our tremendous industry. The Dallas staff is not AFSA. The members are AFSA, and the local chapters are the lifeblood of the organization. I invite all members to find your unique pin in my office, if you’re ever in the Dallas area. I am honored to work on behalf of the fire sprinkler industry and hope to enjoy many years of service toward improving the working conditions of all AFSA members. A blueprint for fire sprinkler contractors to realize significant advancements in the field has been strategically developed by your AFSA member peers. Maximizing AFSA member benefits allows for a competitive edge to be realized, particularly in this challenging economic environment. Members of AFSA represent the cream of the crop in the fire sprinkler trade, and in addition to the myriad stellar professional opportunities for members to take advantage of, new industry programming has been identified and is being developed by our volunteer leadership teams. Whether it’s creating an unparalleled training program for developing NICET certified inspectors, generating additional depth to the study of technical issues and standard-making processes, or constructing a Next Generation platform aimed to improve communication and efficiencies across all age groups, AFSA is poised to launch effective new services that will propel the businesses of members who participate. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to join this thrilling ride. n
8 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016
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Revisions to Capacity of Anchors in Concrete NFPA 13, 2016 Edition Added Tables KEN WAGONER, C.F.P.E., C.F.P.S., S.E.T. | Parsley Consulting
Now that the 2016 edition of NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, has been published and shipped, sprinkler contractors, layout technicians, and Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) are reviewing the newly added Tables 184.108.40.206.2 (a) through (f) with respect to the load capacity for post-installed wedge-expansion and undercut anchors in concrete. These revisions to the values in the 2013 edition are the result of several issues which needed to be addressed in order for NFPA 13 to maintain its standing as an equivalent reference to ASCE 7, Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures, for seismic protection of fire sprinkler systems. Please note that what follows is only applicable to post-installed anchors in concrete. One of the major items given consideration was the effect of prying on the anchor capacity. This issue had been addressed in previous editions of the standard in the annex, meaning it was advisory in nature. It is now mandatory to consider this when determining the
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capacity of an anchor in concrete. Each of the hardware manufacturers will have to provide the prying factor (PR) for their devices in order for them to be properly evaluated, from the tables or from approved software as allowed in newly added Section 220.127.116.11.8.3. The effect of prying, similar to that of a crowbar or nail puller being used to remove a nail from wood, can reduce the maximum load (FPW) that can be applied to an anchor when all the factors have been taken into account. In order to verify that the impact of this action does not result in a load on the anchor which exceeds the acceptable limits, the prescriptive tables show the maximum loads for a range of prying values for the hardware in all nine NFPA 13 categories. Additionally, it was learned that in previous editions of the standard, the values for the anchor capacity taken from the manufacturer were converted to “allowable stress design” (ASD) using overly lenient equations. Recent information from the ASCE 7 committee provided more conservative guidance on reaching an acceptable conclusion for the final value of the anchor capacity. A careful review of the new material in Annex E.7 will provide a more detailed description of the processes which were used to populate the new anchor capacity tables. To develop the values in the new tables, certain assumptions had to be made in order to simplify the process for layout technicians and AHJs alike. Among those assumptions was a “starting point” for prying factors from currently available hardware throughout all the various angle categories, and representative capacities for anchors in concrete. The range of values for the available brace hardware, and the load resistance factor design (LRFD) values for the anchors used to achieve the resulting maximum are shown in Tables E.7(a) and (b), respectively. With all of the above information taken into account, it isn’t necessary for a contractor, layout technician, or AHJ to seek the services of a structural engineer to select the proper anchor for use in attaching seismic bracing for sprinkler systems to concrete structural members. The values in Tables 18.104.22.168.2 (a)-(f) provide a workable prescriptive table which can easily be applied. Among the information necessary to use a post-installed anchor in concrete includes: • The design strength of the concrete, expressed in pounds of compressive strength, and whether that concrete is to be light or normal weight or over a metal deck.
• The thickness of the concrete into which the anchors will be installed. Manufacturers have limits on the depth of the hole to be used, and the minimum thickness of the concrete. Selecting a longer anchor may not be appropriate as its use may be outside the parameters established by the manufacturer. • The prying factor from the hardware manufacturer for the intended brace angle, and angle configuration (ABC, DEF, or GHI) per NFPA 13, Figure 22.214.171.124.1 • Verification that the post-installed anchor has been pre-qualified for such use in accordance with the procedures in American Concrete Institute (ACI) 318, Chapter 17. This information will most likely be included on catalog data sheets for the anchor, however it may be necessary to review a document similar to an ES report from the ICC Evaluation Service to verify such a qualification. Once those items have been clarified the use of the tables is fairly simple. A couple of quick notes – you’ll notice in some anchor manufacturer’s data sheets the anchor capacity can be shown in both “cracked” and “uncracked” concrete. For the purposes of attaching seismic bracing of sprinkler systems it is considered a more conservative position to regard all concrete as having developed cracking. If the data sheet shows a modification factor for cracked concrete this should be used. Also, it is worth noting that other capacities than those shown in the new tables are allowed if the calculations are performed by
“approved” software. A quick review of the definition of “approved” in Section 3.2.1 of NFPA 13 shows that this designation only requires the acceptance by the AHJ to be utilized. When using such software to establish a capacity for the anchor-hardware combination other than the prescriptive values shown in the new tables it is imperative to use the correct variables (anchor size/length, concrete strength, brace angle, etc.) in order for the results to be valid. Further information of a much more detailed nature can be found in Annex E.7 of the 2016 edition, and in a new supplemental article in the handbook edition, for those who need or desire such supporting data. n ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ken Wagoner, C.F.P.E., C.F.P.S., S.E.T. is a 1977 graduate of Bethany College (Kansas), and owner of Parsley Consulting, located in Escondido, California. He has 35 years of experience in automatic sprinkler system and fire alarm system design, plan review, and construction management. He is an AFSA-designated alternate representative to the NFPA 1031 committee, principal member of the Hanging and Bracing Committee of NFPA 13, and chairman of the NFPA 24 committee. Wagoner has published numerous articles on seismic bracing, hydraulic calculations, system design and the plan review process; has presented online virtual seminars, and teaches classes sponsored by AFSA and the San Diego Fire Protection Association. He is an active member of NFPA, AFSA, and SDFPA. IMPORTANT NOTICE: The article and its content is not a Formal Interpretation issued pursuant to NFPA Regulations. Any opinion expressed is the personal opinion of the author and presenter and does not necessarily present the official position of the NFPA and its Technical Committee.
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Slots in Trapeze Hanger Angles New Criteria in the 2016 Edition of NFPA 13 TOM WELLEN, P.E. | American Fire Sprinkler Association
When using angle iron as a trapeze member, slots in the angle would provide some flexibility during installation. The problem was that criteria were provided for holes for bolts, but there were no criteria for slots. Information for slots in angle iron is now provided in the 2016 edition of NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems. Typically, whenever a structural member is modified, this affects the structural integrity where one should obtain approval by an engineer. Since there were no past criteria in NFPA 13, a professional engineer should have approved slots provided in the angle. The reason is that if the slot is installed incorrectly, this could cause failure of the angle iron as a structural member. How would one know how long or wide the slot could be and not have a structural failure? Slots have to be provided correctly so that pull through of the washer and bolt does not occur. Prior to the new criteria, Section 126.96.36.199.7 indicated that holes for bolts must not exceed 1/16 in. greater than the diameter of the bolt. This effectively eliminated the use of slots. However, some companies regularly used slots in angles as standard industry practice so some guidelines were necessary in the standard. Refer to the 2016 edition for the exact wording in Section 188.8.131.52.9 where angles are used for trapeze hangers and the slotted holes are used. (See Figure 1.) The new criteria is as follows: • Each slotted hole shall not exceed 3 in. in length. This is the maximum length where shorter lengths are permissible and encouraged. The shorter the slot, the stronger the angle. • The width of the slot cannot exceed 1 /16 in. greater than the bolt or rod 14 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016
3 in. min. from Edge
Washer and Nut Above and Below
3 in. max. Slot in Angle
3 in. min. between Slotes
Figure 1. Example Arrangement of a Slot in an Angle.
diameter. The 1/16-in. width was maintained where this limitation should sound familiar since the dimension is also referenced when drilling holes for bolts in concrete, wood, and steel. • The minimum distance between the slotted holes shall be 3 in. edge to edge. This is necessary to ensure there is enough material between the slots to maintain its structural integrity. The minimum distance shouldn’t be an issue for our applications since trapeze hangers are used to transfer loads to appropriate structural members. It would be very rare to have an application with slots installed within 3 in. • The minimum distance to the edge of the slotted hole to the end of the angle shall be 3 in. Like above, the angle needs sufficient material on the end to ensure structural integrity. • There is a limitation of three slots per angle. This is typically done when loads span to where three points of attachment to the structure may be needed. For example, loads may be too heavy for two
points of attachment or to accommodate parallel feed or cross main pipe runs. If four or more are needed, then the trapeze arrangement likely needs to be designed or reviewed by a structural engineer. • The washers on the trapeze must have a minimum thickness of one-half the thickness of the angle. The first draft of this section had wording that multiple washers could not be used to obtain the minimum thickness. This was removed during the second draft. Thus multiple washers can be used. The concern with a single standard washer is with pullthrough of the slot. A thicker washer would reduce the likelihood of pullthrough. Note that the hole in the washer should not exceed 1/16 in. greater than the bolt or rod diameter. • Lastly, the washers and nuts must be installed on both the top and bottom of the angle. This arrangement maximizes the integrity of the trapeze angle especially in areas prone to earthquakes. Do slots have to be installed on both ends of the angle? The answer to that is no. If the
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sole purpose of slots is to provide flexibility for installation, one slot should do it. As such, a hole drilled or punched on one end with a slot on the opposite end should be sufficient. This will depend on the installation and cost of labor or fabrication of the slot in the angle. Do these requirements apply to manufactured slotted material such as Unistrut? The answer to that is also no. These requirements only apply when slots are provided in angles. Slotted materials by manufacturers are structures that have published section modulus or design loads. The key is to install the assembly per the manufacturer’s
instructions. We see in Section 184.108.40.206.2 that any other sizes or shapes giving equal or greater section modulus shall be acceptable. As such, other structural materials other than pipe or angles can be used. The argument against using the slotted materials is that the slots are 1⁄16 in. greater than the bolt or rod diameter. That could be true but it is not a violation of the standard. When using a manufactured slotted material, their instructions should include how it is to be installed. The instructions commonly refer to the use of thicker square washers with the slotted product. These assemblies have been proven through testing of the allowable loads or
Now meet more specs
section modulus. As such, the new requirements for slots in angles do not apply to the slotted material assemblies by manufacturers. The other notable change regarding trapeze slots was the reference to bolts. This was changed to also include rod material. Rod material at times is preferred over using bolts. This is advantageous such as when bolting through a thick wood beam. At times, there is not a bolt long enough for the application where all thread rod material will do the job. This is industry practice and when the reference to bolt was made that also included rod material. The tensile and shear strength between bolts and rods can differ. One can argue that all thread rods are weaker than bolts and that can be true. That’s also true for different grades of bolts. However, the differences are not that much to create separate criteria between the use bolts and rods. Regarding fire sprinkler applications, the use of bolt or rod is synonymous and now the 2016 edition makes that known. Some of you reading this are thinking it will be a long time before the 2016 edition will be adopted in your local jurisdictions. An avenue to use the new criteria is to pursue an equivalency as specified in Section 1.5. What is a better method that demonstrates equivalency than a newer edition of the NFPA 13 standard? This will likely require approval or written acceptance by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). n
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tom Wellen, P.E., is senior engineer in AFSA’s Technical Services Department. He holds a bachelor of science degree in Engineering Technology, Fire Protection and Safety Technology from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, and is actively involved with NFPA and SFPE. He has over 20 years of designing, testing, reviewing, and engineering experience. He is a registered fire protection engineer in California and Texas. Wellen serves on committees for the NFPA 13, NFPA 14, NFPA 20, and NFPA 101 standards. IMPORTANT NOTICE: The article and its content is not a Formal Interpretation issued pursuant to NFPA Regulations. Any opinion expressed is the personal opinion of the author and presenter and does not necessarily present the official position of the NFPA and its Technical Committee.
Steady Growth and Recovery Continue Economists, Contractors, Manufacturers and Suppliers Report on 2015 and Forecast 2016 D’ARCY MONTALVO | American Fire Sprinkler Association
After a year of finally seeing signs of recovery and growth in 2015, the construction and fire protection industries seem to be at the same pace or better for 2016. Dodge Data & Analytics forecasts that overall U.S. construction starts for 2016 will climb 6 percent, following gains of 9 percent in 2014 and an estimated 13 percent in 2015. FMI Corp., Raleigh, North Carolina, focuses on construction put-in-place and calls for 7 percent growth in 2016. Finally, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), Washington, D.C., is forecasting growth in nonresidential construction spending of 7.4 percent next year along with growth in employment and backlog.
surveyed several AFSA members across the country, gathering reports on 2015 and forecasts for 2016. Most respondents had a good year and anticipate continued or stronger growth in 2016.
According to Engineering News Record (ENR), FMI also reports that manufacturing should come in at 18 percent growth for 2015 with a 5-7 percent growth for 2016 through 2019. Lodging increased 15 percent in 2015 and should increase 12 percent in 2016. FMI also forecasts the retail sector to increase 10 percent in 2016. Dodge is predicting a strong non-residential building market, forecasting a further 6 percent increase in total growth for construction starts for 2016. It is also predicting commercial buildings will grow 11 percent and the institutional building market will increase 9 percent. Four out of five U.S. regions are forecast to grow in 2016, ENR reports. The strongest growth will be in the South Atlantic region, which is projected to increase 12 percent in 2016.
In the Northwest, Tiffany Moore, director of operations for Moore Fire Protection, Issaquah, Washington, says that business was “fantastic” in 2015 with a profit increase of 23 percent.
For its annual fire sprinkler industry review and forecast, Sprinkler Age 18 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016
The Year in Review and Ahead For 2015, most contractors interviewed stated they had a strong year and were very busy. Some contractor members reported less work, but it was still steady. Overall, AFSA members seem to agree with forecasters that 2016 will continue with the steady recovery begun in 2015. In California, one contractor reports: “our volume is off by about 10 percent, but we should be on pace to do the same volume as last year .”
“The increase was due to a large influx of available construction work in our area,” comments Moore. “Business looks steady for 2016, with the potential for more growth in 2016 if we can make internal improvements to increase our work capacity.” Greg Patrick, vice president of sales and operations for Treasure Valley Fire Protection, Boise, Idaho, says business in 2015 was “strong with market pricing still recovering.” “Business for this year looks positive. Local architects and engineers appear to be busy with a large amount of project
development that will start in 2016 and the current backlog of projects looks strong,” states Patrick. AFSA Region 3 Director Rod DiBona, Rapid Fire Protection in Rapid City, South Dakota, also reports a “very good” 2015 with the same outlook for 2016. AFSA’s Immediate Past Chairman of the Board Joe Heinrich, president of Bamford Fire Sprinkler Company, Salina, Kansas, tells Sprinkler Age, “Our business volume for 2015 increased from 2014 as we projected. There was very solid improvement in both the private and public sector. In general, I believe the entire construction industry in this area experienced similar increases. A very key element of the increase was due to private sector investment, which is very encouraging.” Heinrich continues: “Our backlog is robust and we are aware of significant projects on the horizon so we are anticipating a very solid increase in business for 2016. This continues a trend that began in 2012 and we anticipate remaining for the foreseeable future. Many government-funded projects, mostly educational (elementary, high school and university), have been placed, or are ready to be placed in the competitive bid process. Private sector work throughout the area also has many relevant projects nearing the bid proposal and construction stage.” AFSA At-Large Director and Board Secretary Linda Biernacki, president of Fire Tech Systems, Shreveport, Louisiana, reports that, “We were fortunate this year
to have had a healthy backlog coming into 2015, which helped us overcome some of the significant downturn in construction due to the oil and gas industry.” But she comments that 2016 looks to be “very challenging.” “Most of our work comes from the oil and gas states like Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma, and these states have been hit the hardest with the drop in oil prices,” Biernacki states. “But we never back down from a challenge so we are concentrating on other growth markets for our company. Since we are a full-service life-safety company, which includes sprinklers and alarms, we have opportunities to grow other departments like our fire alarm and special hazards department, inspection and maintenance departments, as well as extinguishers and small pre-engineered systems.” AFSA’s Mid-Atlantic Chapter Vice Chair and Next Generation Workgroup Chair Meaghen Wills, purchasing manager, Anchor Fire Protection, Perkiomenville, Pennsylvania, comments, “The work in southeastern Pennsylvania has increased immensely over the last year. “The renovation work has been steady, but there has been an increase in new buildings and privately funded projects,” she reports. “We expect to see this trend continue into 2016.” Dan Laird, construction manager at Commonwealth Fire Protection, Leela, Pennsylvania, concurs. “Business was very successful in 2015,” Laird reports. “We are starting out with a similar backlog of work for 2016. It’s very positive.” AFSA Region 7 Director Paul DeLorie, vice president, Hampshire Fire Protection Company, Londonderry, New Hampshire, comments, “We had growth in sales volume and profit. Our summer was extremely busy and we had a very difficult time meeting job schedules. “We are optimistic for 2016, but we expect our sprinkler contract business to decline,” DeLorie continues. “Hopefully that will be offset with more profitable service type work.”
Potential Problems While the construction industry appears to be steady into 2016, there is always the potential for problems. What are some areas of concerns for our members? “The only problem I can foresee is a lack of manpower and the ability to grow as fast as the growing economy is demanding,” says Moore. “One- and two-family work will remain soft in Idaho due to state legislation eliminating the requirement for sprinklers,” states Patrick. “All other areas appear to be showing signs of continued growth. The steel pipe market continues to be a problem area with shortages and unstable pricing in the northwest. With the influx of continued work, we anticipate that this will continue to be problematic in the coming year.” DiBona, Heinrich and Laird all see field labor shortage as a problem for 2016. Heinrich elaborates, “Attracting young people to the industry is certainly a challenge and needs the collective effort of leaders in all trades to engage in promoting construction as a career and developing recruitment methods that appeal to the late teens, early 20s population.” DeLorie doesn’t foresee any particular problems in his area but comments, “Our challenge, like everyone else, is to
secure new work with a decent margin and then execute.” Residential Rocks Along The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports that single-family housing will “pick up steam in 2016” with a jump to 27 percent in 2016 after increasing 11 percent in 2015. The organization believes the trend will continue into 2017 with a 25 percent increase. However, multi-family housing is expected to slip 2.3 percent in 2016. Dodge forecasts that singlefamily will increase 20 percent in dollars and 17 percent in units, with multi-family increasing 7 percent. In Washington State, Moore says that NFPA 13D, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes, work is 30 percent of their business. “There has actually been a decrease of residential due to the increase of commercial recently,” Moore notes, “but this is unusual as our company normally does approximately 60 percent residential and 30 percent commercial.” In Idaho, “NFPA 13R [Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in Low-Rise Residential Occupancies] work is on the rise, but NFPA 13D is fairly slow,” comments Greg Patrick. Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016 19
DiBona states that while his company doesn’t do much NFPA 13D work, there has been an increase in residential activity in his area: “There is more than ever before, but that’s still not much.” Heinrich reports that one- and twofamily dwelling projects are “essentially non-existent” in his area. “A very few municipalities are promoting NFPA 13D systems in exchange for reduced infrastructure requirements (water main sizes and street widths, etc.) in new housing developments but this has yet to have a measurable impact,” Heinrich states. Biernacki comments, “We are still hoping for our Louisiana State Fire Marshal Chief Butch Browning to bring up legislation giving home owners tax credits if they voluntarily install residential sprinklers.” Laird reports that there has been some increase “in multi-unit dwellings and apartments only while single-family home starts are low.” Retrofit Report Retrofit work will likely fluctuate from 2015 into 2016, depending on the region. Some reports indicate that retrofit work seems to be increasing in California, as it has over the past few years. Patrick still sees a “good market” for retrofit work in Idaho, although “new construction has the majority of the market share.” DiBona reports that in South Dakota there doesn’t seem to be as much retrofit as in years past. Heinrich has a positive report: “Retrofit has been very solid for the past several years and remains strong. Building code updates continue to increase the number of locations where sprinkler coverage is required, so most building additions and renovations now include the addition of sprinkler protection.” Laird comments that retrofit work is a “fairly large percentage of our backlog. This has always been our specialty.” DeLorie states that retrofit work is “not 20 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016
really happening” in the New Hampshire area, as most retrofits are integrated with the renovation of the building. “Pure retrofit work is in the past,” he says. In contrast, Moore comments that their retrofit work “decreased by 70 percent in 2015 due to the increase in new construction, limiting our capacity.” The retrofit market in Biernacki’s area has “dwindled down to structures that can meet the federal and state historical tax credits, which we have a few of these on the books.” Legislation Most respondents didn’t have activity in the legislative arena for their area, but a few reported on some action. “We have been working with the Washington State Fire Sprinkler Coalition to achieve legislation that would make it mandatory to install fire sprinklers in all new townhomes,” comments Moore. “However, this was recently voted down by the building code council so the coalition is restrategizing for the next three-year code cycle.” DiBona noted that in South Dakota, “The state banned any local ordinance requiring sprinklers; however, our local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) has given appropriate tradeoffs that encourages sprinklers.” Heinrich reports: “State legislation was passed prohibiting any building code authority (city or county) from adopting any statute that could require fire sprinkler system protection in one- and two-family dwellings. Therefore, very little residential sprinkler work is installed.” Laird said attempts at legislation were made but “… the building contractors stopped the legislation in its tracks.” Manufacturer/Supplier Outlook Tim Freiner, vice president of North American sales, Potter Electric Signal Company, St. Louis, Missouri, and chairman of AFSA’s Manufacturers/ Suppliers (M/S) Council, notes that “overall, the year has been surprisingly
strong and looks to continue into 2016.” He continues, “According to the American Institute of Architects, they are forecasting an 8.2 percent construction growth for non-residential in 2016. In addition, we don’t foresee any problem areas at this time.” Freiner reports that the majority of contractors have stated that their retrofit work has remained strong and should continue through 2016. In the residential arena, Freiner notes, “We have seen significant growth in areas such as Arizona, California and Florida.” M/S Council Vice Chairman Randy Lane, vice president of sales, Globe Fire Sprinkler Corporation, Standish, Michigan, reports, “As 2015 was a positive year for growth in all sectors, 2016 might have some challenges.” He continues: “If interest rates increase, that could cause a slowdown. Again, we are going into an election year. This could result in a more conservative future in spending. We are all thinking positive, but getting prepared.” Conclusion As ENR proclaimed “slow and modest vs. fast and furious.” That may be a good mantra for 2016. After an inaugural year of recovery, 2016 looks to continue along a similar path. And slow and steady may be the best course. “We are staying positive, knowing this is the best industry to work in,” Biernacki says. “The future looks bright for our industry,” comments DiBona. “We need to work hard to bring in young, bright talent,” he advises. Moore is “excited for the future of our industry.” She concludes: “I believe that we are on the precipice of something great as long as we take the opportunity to grab it.” n
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International Fire Sprinkler Opportunity Update The Outlook for 2016 RUSS LEAVITT, S.E.T., C.F.P.S. | Telgian Corporation
In 2010 I authored an article for Sprinkler Age regarding international opportunities for American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) contractors. As you recall, at the beginning of 2010 we were in the midst of the economic crisis that is referred to as the “Great Recession.” I wrote of the increasing awareness, use, and adoption of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards around the globe along with the growth of United States-based insurance companies in new international markets. Here we are six years later and the use of sprinklers as a principle part of the fireand life-safety protection strategy continues to grow. In fact, statistics show that more sprinklers are now installed internationally than in the United States. However, this is a “good news, bad news” scenario. The rapid increase in the use of sprinklers has created problems including the use of “unlisted” or “certified” system components and a severe shortage of trained system design and installation technicians. I have witnessed firsthand the use of counterfeit sprinklers. Last year I toured a 40-story luxury condominium building in a major Central American city. It was constructed by a widely known United States developer that specializes in high-end properties. The sales price for units in the building ranged from a half million to several million dollars. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was a completely sprinklered facility, but was dismayed to find counterfeit sprinklers used in the residential units. In addition, I continually find properties where the correct components are 22 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016
supplied but are used or installed inappropriately. When I travel internationally, I look for and book my stay at hotels that are protected with fire sprinklers. Imagine the shock when I walked into the lobby of a world-class hotel in Saudi Arabia to find all of the sprinklers in the lobby, meeting rooms, and other common areas to be upright sprinklers installed in the pendent position. This is not an infrequent scenario. In fact, my experience indicates that almost all systems that I encounter outside of the United States and Canada have serious deficiencies – things that we would consider to be elementary design and installation knowledge and skills. As in the past, I share information such as this because there is a tremendous opportunity for those who are looking for new markets or challenges. Before you simply dismiss international work out-of-hand, remember that the globalization of business is not slowing down. The ease of communication and the proliferation of electronic design, remote project administration, and the need for expertise using NFPA codes and standards makes this work more accessible and desirable than ever. An increasing number of sprinkler contractors are providing consulting, design services, and on-site project management throughout the world. The world needs your knowledge and skills! That said, I agree that it is not for everyone. There is risk and working internationally requires a commitment of resources and capital. However, with the right partners and customers, there is a tremendous upside for those who do it right. As I wrote six years ago – do
some self-examination. Evaluate your capabilities to do this work. There is little to lose and potentially much to gain by investing some due diligence with international work. You may find that you are closer to having the ability to do this work than you think. n ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Russell Leavitt, S.E.T., C.F.P.S., is the executive chairman of Telgian Corporation, an international fire protection and life safety services organization. He holds a Level IV certification from NICET in Fire Sprinkler Layout, is a Certified Fire Protection Specialist, and a licensed contractor with 32 years of experience. He currently serves as the chair for the Technical Correlating Committee on Sprinkler System Discharge Criteria (NFPA 13), and is a member of the Technical Committee for Sprinkler System Installation (NFPA 13), NFPA 25, NFPA 3 and 4, and the NFPA 5000 Technical Correlating Committee. He may be reached at: Telgian Corporation, 2615 S Industrial Park Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85282; 480-282-5361, rleavitt@ telgian.com, website: telgian.com.
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ABC Predicts Continued Growth in 2016 Steady Economic Recovery Forecasted Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) forecasts a continued steady economic recovery for the U.S. commercial and industrial construction industries in 2016. Despite a weak global economy, the industry’s solid economic recovery in 2015 should continue in 2016, led by strong consumer spending. “As the mid-phase of the economic recovery continues, ABC forecasts growth in nonresidential construction spending of 7.4 percent next year along with growth in employment and backlog,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “The mid-phase of the recovery is typically the lengthiest part and ultimately gives way to the late phase, when the economy overheats.
The current recovery could end up challenging the lengthiest recovery in U.S. history, which lasted 120 months between March 1991 and March 2001. “Already, signs of overheating are evident, particularly with respect to emerging skills shortages in key industry categories such as trucking and construction,” said Basu. “Despite that, average hourly earnings nationwide across all industries collectively are up only 2 percent in the past year, well below the Federal Reserve’s goal of 3.5 percent. There are also indications that certain real estate and technology segments have become overheated, with purchase prices rocketing higher and capitalization rates remaining unusually low.
0 . 84
5 3 $
$87.26* $87.26* $130.76* $130.76*
“ABC’s leading indices each suggest that 2016 will be another solid year for the typical U.S. nonresidential construction firm,” said Basu. “ABC’s Construction Confidence Index encompasses expectations with respect to hiring, profit margins and projected sales growth. According to the most recent survey, overall contractor confidence has increased with respect to both sales (67.3 to 69.4) and profit margins (61 to 62.9). And while the pace of hiring is not expected to increase rapidly during the next six months, largely because of the lack of suitably trained skilled personnel, the rate of new hires will continue at a steady pace. ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator also signals strong demand during the months ahead. According to the latest backlog survey, average contractor backlog stood at 8.5 months by mid-year 2015, with backlog surging in the western United States and the heavy industrial category. “A weak global economy and stronger U.S. dollar will prevent the U.S. economy from surging ahead in 2016,” said Basu. “Stakeholders can expect a 2.2 percent rate of growth (or similar to that) next year. There are significant risks to the downside, including volatile financial asset prices. The recent softening of job growth may keep the Federal Reserve pinned on the sidelines for the balance of 2015. Under most conceivable scenarios, rate increases will be gradual and intermittent. However, construction stakeholders can find reasons for encouragement. The U.S. unemployment rate has fallen, and the nation is roughly a year away from full employment. Wage growth is set to accelerate, which should keep the consumer spending-led recovery in place.” Basu’s full forecast is available in the December edition of ABC’s Construc-
24 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016
tion Executive magazine, along with the regional outlook for commercial and industrial construction by economist Bernard Markstein, Ph.D. Free subscriptions are available to construction industry professionals. n Indicator
EDITOR’S NOTE: ABC is a national construction industry trade association representing nearly 21,000 chapter members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 70 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically, profitably and for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. Visit abc.org.
% Change 2015-2016
Construction Spending (millions, seasonally adjusted annual rate) – U.S. Census Bureau Total Nonresidential Lodging
Total – All Industries
Total – All Industries
Total – All Industries
Construction Employment (thousands, not seasonally adjusted) – U.S. Department of Labor Nonresidential Building
Producer Price Index – U.S. Department of Labor Inputs to Construction Industries – Index Value
ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator (CBI) National Index (in months)
Gross Domestic Product (2005 billions of dollars) – U.S. Department of Commerce Real GDP
Table 1. Year-to-Date Performance: 2014, 2015 and ABC’s 2016 Forecast. *Data predictions by ABC Chief Economist. Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016 25
Building Structure Versus Shared Support Weighing the Differences DUANE JOHNSON, P.E. | Strickland Fire Protection
For most sprinkler projects the building structure is of sufficient design and capacity to allow hanging of sprinkler components directly to the structure. Structural engineers take into account loads imposed on the structure by the sprinkler system and calculate them into the building design. Safety factors are applied to ensure adequate capacity is provided. However, there are times, whether it be in a new construction or a retrofit in an existing building, that maximum concentrated loads and/or uniform loads will not permit direct hanging to structural elements. Mains, or even branchlines, can introduce unanticipated excessive loads to beams, trusses, purlins, joists, etc. The structural engineer identifies the maximum permitted uniform loads and concentrated loads used in the structural design. The sprinkler system contractor should always check the specifications and/or consult with the structural engineer for the load limitations prior to laying out the sprinkler system. Hanger placement, quantity, and locations may have to be adjusted to be within load limitations. Chapter 9 of NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, provides requirements for hanging and bracing. The building structure integrity must be capable of supporting the weight of the water filled pipe plus 250 pounds, with some exceptions. What NFPA 13 does not indicate, is the length of the water filled pipe that must be used in the load calculation. Although, there are maximum spacing requirements between hangers for each pipe type which ultimately limits the 26 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016
Figure 1. Shared support structure.
maximum possible point loads for sprinkler piping. The industry standard is to use the midpoint of the span between two hangers when calculating pipe lengths and point loads. However, there is an equation in the Annex for trapeze hangers to adjust the equivalent length if the applied load is off center, see Figure 2. Figure 3 on page 28 is an example of a load calculation for sprinkler piping connected to the building structure. Of course, if hangers were spaced closer together, the point loads would decrease. Armovers, drops/sprigs, sprinklers, and valves would have to be added to total load to complete the point load calculations, as necessary. Of note, while the structure is only required to support the weight of the water filled pipe plus 250 pounds, the hangers themselves must be designed to support five times the weight of the water filled pipe plus 250 pounds.
So what happens when the sprinkler system imposes a load that cannot be supported by the building structure? One of the first options (if the building structure has the capacity) is to transfer the loads across two structural members by using a trapeze hanger which in turn reduces the point load at each attachment. NFPA 13 has provided a few tables in Chapter 9 to assist in sizing the trapeze hangers. Interestingly, the calculations were performed using the weight of the water filled pipe plus 250 pounds. The calculations do not include the safety factor of five times that is required for hangers. L = 4ab (a+b) L = equivalent length a = distance from one end of the support b = distance from other end of support Figure 2. Equivalent length adjustment for off-center loads on trapeze hangers.
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Steel Pipe Size (in)
Weight of Water-Filled Pipe (lb/ft)
NFPA 13 Added Load (lb)
Total Point Load (lb)
Figure 3. Sample load calculation for sprinkler piping hung to building structure.
When trapeze hangers are provided, either by the sprinkler contractor or another trade, the idea to share trapeze hangers is often contemplated, see Figure 1. Prior to the 2013 edition of NFPA 13, there was one attempt to allow sprinkler piping installed below ductwork to share supports with the ductwork, otherwise no allowance had been provided for hanging non-sprinkler components from the same support structure as the sprinkler components, unless it was the building structure itself. Sprinkler piping had to be supported independently using hangers and trapezes dedicated to fire sprinkler systems. • 220.127.116.11 Support of Non-System Components. Sprinkler piping or hangers shall not be used to support non-system components. [2010 edition] The 2013 edition finally permitted the sharing of sprinkler hanger supports with other building systems. • 18.104.22.168.2 Sprinkler piping shall be permitted to utilize shared support structures in accordance with 22.214.171.124. [2013 edition] In addition to being required to be certified by a registered professional engineer and the requirements of 126.96.36.199, NFPA 13 requires shared support structures to meet one of the following:
• 188.8.131.52.1.1 Sprinkler pipe and other distribution systems shall be permitted to be supported from a shared support structure designed to support five times the weight of water filled sprinkler pipe and other supported distribution systems plus 250 lb (114 kg), based on the allowable ultimate stress. • 184.108.40.206.1.2 Sprinkler pipe and other distribution systems shall be permitted to be supported from a shared support structure designed to support five times the weight of the water filled sprinkler pipe plus 250 lb (114 kg), and one and one-half times the weight of all other supported distribution systems. Figure 4 is an example of the same pipes and same spacing of the sprinkler piping used in Figure 3, except it is connected to a shared support structure. Also note, the total point loads of any shared distribution systems are not included. One can see, for the same piping, the required point loads are a lot heavier when connected to a shared support structure than those connected to the building structure. One may ask, why does NFPA 13 require a safety factor on the pipe of five times for shared support structures, but not on building structure? Shouldn’t the safety factor be the same? Why is there a difference?
Steel Pipe Size (in)
Weight of Water-Filled Pipe (lb/ft)
NFPA 13 Added Load (lb)
Total Point Load (lb)
Figure 4. Sample load calculation for sprinkler piping hung to shared support structure. 28 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016
The difference is in the way structural engineers analyze building structure components. Chapter 16 of the International Building Code (IBC) provides the basic requirements of structural members. Load effects on structural members take into account an overall analysis of how the structural system transfers loads from the point of origin through the load bearing elements to the foundation. As part of the analysis, various load combinations and associated safety factors are applied. Most loads are calculated using assigned, average expected uniform loads (e.g., 50 pounds per square foot live load, etc.) unless specific framing characteristics or loads require modeling differently. The load combinations are calculated using up to 22 equations with combinations of dead and live loads which include environmental loads such as rain, snow and wind. Each of these loads carry their own safety factors ranging from 0.5 to 1.6. These safety factors are additive in the equations. The combinations also take into account the probability of what level of loads will occur in combinations with others. For a shared support, load shedding through distributed framing is no longer valid. The accuracy of the applied load also becomes more critical as these loads are typically applied as point loads versus distributed loads and the consequences of underestimating the loads can be catastrophic. The NFPA 13 committee has realized this and required a 5.0 safety factor plus 250 pounds to ensure the sprinkler system is secure when connected to shared support structures. They have also required an increase of 50 percent of the other loads to reflect potential variations in the assumed load characteristics. The 250 pounds is the anticipated load of an installer if he/she has to hang onto the pipe in an emergency. n ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Duane Johnson, P.E. is design manager with Strickland Fire Protection, College Park, Maryland. He is a graduate from the University of Maryland Fire Protection Engineering program. IMPORTANT NOTICE: The article and its content is not a Formal Interpretation issued pursuant to NFPA Regulations. Any opinion expressed is the personal opinion of the author and presenter and does not necessarily present the official position of the NFPA and its Technical Committee.
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New Construction Starts to Grow Six Percent Dodge Data & Analytics Predicts $712 Billion in 2016 Dodge Data & Analytics (construction. com) has released its 2016 Dodge Construction Outlook, a mainstay in construction industry forecasting and business planning. The report predicts that total U.S. construction starts for 2016 will rise 6 percent to $712 billion, following gains of 9 percent in 2014 and an estimated 13 percent in 2015. “The expansion for the construction industry has been underway for several years now, with varying contributions from each of the major sectors,” states Robert Murray, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics. “Total construction activity, as measured by the construction starts data, is on track this year to record the strongest annual gain so far in the current expansion, advancing 13 percent. Much of this year’s lift has come from nonbuilding construction, reflecting the start of several massive liquefied natural gas terminals in the Gulf Coast region, as well as renewed growth for new power plant starts. Residential building, up 18 percent this year, has witnessed continued strength for multifamily housing while single family housing seems to have re-established an upward trend after its 2014 plateau. At the same time, nonresidential building has decelerated this year after surging 24 percent back in 2014, and is now predicted to be flat to slightly down given a sharp pullback for new manufacturing plant starts and some loss of momentum by its commercial and institutional building segments. “For 2016, the economic environment should support further growth for the overall level of construction starts. While short-term interest rates will be going up in 2016, given the expected rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, the increases in long-term interest rates should stay gradual. On the plus side, the U.S. economy continues to register moderate job growth, lending 32 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016
standards are still easing, market fundamentals for commercial real estate continue to improve, and more funding support is coming from state and local construction bond measures. Total construction starts in 2016 are forecast to advance 6 percent to $712 billion, with gains for residential building, up 16 percent; and nonresidential building, up 9 percent; while the nonbuilding construction sector retreats 14 percent. If the volatile electric power and gas plant category within nonbuilding construction is excluded, total construction starts for 2016 would be up 10 percent, after a corresponding 8 percent gain in 2015.” The 2016 pattern by more specific sectors is the following: • Single-family housing will rise 20 percent in dollars, corresponding to a 17 percent increase in units to 805,000 (Dodge basis). Access to home mortgage loans is improving, and some of the caution exercised by potential homebuyers will ease with continued employment growth. • Multifamily housing will increase 7 percent in dollars and 5 percent in units to 480,000 (Dodge basis), slower than the gains in 2015 but still growth. Low vacancies, rising rents, and the demand for apartments from Millennials will encourage more development. • Commercial building will increase 11 percent, up from the 4 percent gain estimated for 2015. Office construction will resume its leading role in the commercial building upturn, aided by more private development as well as construction activity related to technology and finance firms. • Institutional building will advance 9 percent, picking up the pace after the 6 percent rise in 2015. The educational facilities category is seeing an increasing amount of K-12 school construction, supported by the passage of recent school construction bond measures.
• Manufacturing plant construction will recede an additional 1 percent in dollar terms, following the steep 28 percent plunge for 2015 that reflected the pullback by large petrochemical plant starts. • Public works will be flat with its 2015 amount, as a modest reduction for highways and bridges is balanced by some improvement for the environmental public works categories. A new multiyear federal transportation bill is being considered by Congress, and is expected to achieve passage in late 2015 or during the first half of 2016. The benefits of that bill will show up at the construction site later in 2016 and into 2017. • Electric utilities and gas plants will fall 43 percent after a sharp 159 percent jump in 2015. The lift coming from new starts for liquefied natural gas export terminals will be substantially less, and new power plant starts will recede moderately. The 2016 Dodge Construction Outlook was presented at the 77th Annual Outlook Executive Conference held by Dodge Data & Analytics in Washington, D.C. Copies of the report with additional details by building sector can be ordered at analyticsstore.construction. com/index.php/2016-dodge-construction outlook?sourcekey=PRESREL. n EDITOR’S NOTE: Dodge Data & Analytics is the leading provider of data, analytics, news and intelligence serving the North American construction industry. The company’s information enables building product manufacturers, general contractors and subcontractors, architects and engineers to size markets, prioritize prospects, target and build relationships, strengthen market positions, and optimize sales strategies. The company’s brands include Dodge, Dodge MarketShare™, Dodge BuildShare®, Dodge SpecShare®, and Sweets. Visit construction.com.
Quality Contractor Recognition Awarded AFSA Recognizes Mr. Sprinkler Fire Protection The American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) has awarded Quality Contractor recognition to Mr. Sprinkler Fire Protection, Roseville, California. The Quality Contractor (QC) program was launched to publicly recognize and honor fire sprinkler contracting firms that have documented their commitment in four key areas of corporate responsibility: safety, training, quality of life (employee benefits) and industry and community relations. A company that meets the criteria set forth in the program is formally designated a “Quality Contractor” by AFSA. “We congratulate and welcome Mr. Sprinkler Fire Protection as a Quality Contractor,” comments AFSA Director of Membership Jeff Livaudais “It’s an achievement worth recognizing when a company makes this commitment to corporate responsibility.” In addition to national and local recognition and promotion, contractors that receive this designation are allowed to use the QC recognition logo in bid documents, letterhead, business cards, brochures and jobsite signs. Quality Contractor members may also use the program as a human resources tool by featuring the designation in job advertisements, including it as part of the employee handbook and using it to develop benchmarks in quality, safety, education, employee benefits, industry image and community activities. Other benefits include improved company morale and productivity and proof of having met highest industry standards. The Quality Contractor Recognition Award remains in effect for three years from the date the recognition is awarded.
application, visit firesprinkler.org/ qualitycontractor. n
“Obtaining a designation as a ‘Quality Contractor’ through the American Fire Sprinkler Association is a tribute to a standard of excellence set by the dedicated people who came before us,” comments Jeff Rovegno, president of Mr. Sprinkler Fire Protection. “As an industry and as Americans, we should aspire to meet the challenges ahead with a firm understanding that our virtues and ethics will be the foundation for generations to come. Meeting the Quality Contractor requirements raises that bar and we are honored to be associated with others who share our commitment to excellence.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: AFSA Quality Contractor recognition does not mean that the business’ products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by AFSA, or that AFSA has made a determination as to the business’ product quality or competency in performing services. Businesses are under no obligation to seek AFSA recognition.
AFSA’s QC recognition program is similar to programs developed by other industry trade groups that reward their members who pursue a higher level of professionalism and is not an accreditation or certification program. When you achieve AFSA QC Recognition, your company is no longer just a contractor; your AFSA QC Recognition gives you a tangible, marketable asset to grow your business. You can prove you have met the highest industry standards and have been verified by a leading national trade association. To learn more and to download the QC Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016 33
ABI Hits Another Bump Business Conditions Show Continued Strength in Some Regions As has been the case a few times already in 2015, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) dipped in November 2015. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the November ABI score was 49.3, down from the mark of 53.1 in the previous month. This score reflects a decrease in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 58.6, up just a nudge from a reading of 58.5 the previous month. “Since architecture firms continue to report that they are bringing in new projects, this volatility in billings doesn’t seem to reflect any underlying weakness in the construction sector,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Rather, it could reflect the uncertainty of moving ahead with projects given the continued tightness in construction financing and the growing labor shortage problem gripping the entire design and construction industries.” Key November ABI highlights: • Regional averages: South (55.4), West (54.5), Midwest (47.8), Northeast (46.2) • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (53.8), institutional (52.0), commercial/industrial (51.0), mixed practice (47.6) • Project inquiries index: 58.6 • Design contracts index: 53.5 The regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average, whereas the national index, 34 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016
design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers. The Architecture Billings Index (ABI), produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group, is a leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine- to 12-month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction spending activity. The diffusion indexes contained in the full report are derived from a monthly “Work-on-the-Boards” survey that is sent to a panel of AIA member-owned firms. Participants are asked whether their billings increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the month that just ended as compared to the prior month, and the results are then compiled into the ABI. These monthly results are also seasonally adjusted to allow for comparison to prior months. The monthly ABI index scores are centered around 50, with scores above 50 indicating an aggregate increase in billings, and scores below 50 indicating a decline. The regional and sector data are formulated using a three-month moving average. n EDITOR’S NOTE: More information on the ABI and the analysis of its relationship to construction activity can be found in the recently released White Paper, “Designing the Construction Future: Reviewing the Performance and Extending the Applications” of the AIA’s Architecture Billings Index on the AIA website at aia.org.
Recognizing Apprentices in South Dakota AFSA Member Participates in National Apprenticeship Week Last year, the United States Department of Labor established the week of November 1-7 as National Apprenticeship Week 2015. The event is an opportunity for the national apprenticeship community to tell the story of registered apprenticeship and is an invitation to business and industry, education, career seekers, community based organizations, students and workers to learn about the real-world advantages of apprenticeship. American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) contractor member Rapid Fire Protection, Inc., Rapid City, South Dakota, joined in last year’s event and was asked to join South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard at the state capitol to kick off the week. “It was an honor when the governor’s office asked us to come and represent apprenticeship programs,” comments Rod DiBona, vice president and part owner of Rapid Fire Protection, Inc. “We thank AFSA for all it does and has done to make our apprenticeship training the best in the world!” On Monday, November 2, 2015, Rapid Fire Protection Office Manager Melody Sime, Apprentice Rocky Thompson, and Apprentice Brandon Humphries attended a proclamation signing on the capitol steps in Pierre in honor of National Apprenticeship Week. South Dakota has more than 100 registered apprenticeship programs in industries including fire protection, construction, dental, municipalities, health services, fire medic, electric, plumbing, and building maintenance. There are nearly 1,000 apprentices currently registered in apprenticeship programs in South Dakota.
(From l to r): South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard; Brandon Humphres and Rocky Thompson, both apprentices with Rapid Fire Protection, Inc., Rapid City, South Dakota; and State Director Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship Jon Bolger celebrated the opening of National Apprenticeship Week in the state.
DiBona has a rich history with AFSA and apprentice training. He entered the fire protection industry in 1990 and enrolled in AFSA’s apprenticeship program in 1991. In October of 1993 he joined with others to create Rapid Fire Protection. DiBona started and has continued to grow Rapid Fire’s apprenticeship training into a highly recognized program. He was a national finalist in the AFSA National Apprentice Contest in 1995. Rapid Fire has had 17 national finalists, three AFSA national winners and one ABC National Craft Championship apprentice winner. DiBona was recently elected to the AFSA Board of Directors as Region 3 Director and serves on several AFSA committees, including the Apprenticeship & Education Committee. “The apprenticeship program is the backbone of Rapid Fire Protection. The AFSA staff and Apprenticeship & Education Committee Co-Chairs Tom
McKinnon and Lyle Hall really make this happen at the national level,” comments DiBona. “The apprenticeship program that AFSA has is truly what sets it apart from all other trade organizations.” McKinnon, Aegis Fire Systems, Inc., Pleasanton, California, who is also AFSA’s Region 1 Director says, “Congratulations to Rapid Fire’s dedication to apprenticeship training. Rapid Fire’s growing list achievements truly represents the standard and model for the association and its membership. They are setting the standard for apprenticeship!” Learn more about National Apprenticeship Week online at doleta.gov/oa/naw. The website also provides resources to help you host local apprenticeship events in 2016. n
Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016 35
FMI Reports on Labor Shortages and Millennials in Construction Skilled Labor Shortage Intensifies; Myths Debunked About Misunderstood Workforce FMI Corp., a leading provider of investment banking and management consulting services for the engineering and construction industry, recently released two reports: its “2015 Talent Development Survey in the Construction Industry” and “Millennials in Construction – Learning to Engage a New Workforce.” Both reports offer insight into the construction industry. Talent Survey Among the top findings in the talent development survey are: intensifying labor shortages, a widening gap between employer offerings and employee demands, and a lack of standard processes and frameworks. The survey, taking insights from executives and employees of companies in the engineering and construction
industry, presents findings on various aspects of people development, including talent retaining, labor force structure and dynamics, standard processes and frameworks, measurements, succession plans and corresponding company development strategies. The survey examines the challenges and trends impacting the construction industry and identifies the training strategies that are now required to maximize performance and development. “People development is critical to companies’ future success and ability to stay competitive. It is especially important in an environment of skilled labor shortage and increasing competition.” says Chris Daum, president of FMI Capital Advisors.
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“Firms need to have strategic and holistic processes in place for recruiting and retaining talent in order to stay viable today and in the future.” Skilled Labor Shortage Grew Over 30 Percent One of the leading findings is that skilled labor shortages are intensifying and broadly affecting construction firms. The survey shows 86 percent of respondents reported that their company was experiencing skilled labor shortages, compared with only 53 percent two years ago, a 30 percent increase in the gap. This situation stems from the structural mismatch of labor capabilities and employer demands, as well as the continuing fallout of the last recession. Moreover, the extent of labor shortages is probably more severe than expected and is starting to impact construction firms nationwide. The survey also reveals an intriguing mismatch where employee engagement is concerned, especially among millennials. Employers surveyed cite offering competitive pay (89 percent), providing an enjoyable work environment (81 percent) and offering training opportunities (76 percent) as the top-three methods they use to retain key talent in the construction industry. Conversely, millennial employees list the top three important factors for keeping them engaged are competitive pay (29 percent), work-life balance (23 percent), and personal development (16 percent). Other key findings include: • Companies in the construction industry lack processes to develop and promote high-performing employees. • Executives and field managers are expected to have the highest attrition rates over the next five years. • The majority of firms don’t connect training expenditures and performance management metrics.
• Annual performance reviews are a top priority for increasing employee performance and development. • Having a defined and well-communicated vision is critical to retaining key talent, regardless of age. The survey offers a roadmap for companies looking to strengthen existing people development programs and build out future talent-retaining strategies. Companies can benefit from developing a firm-wide vision that encourages culture and building project management and field supervision capacity. In the meantime, companies can invest in creating and implementing an effective performance management process. Millennials in Construction Findings from the “Millennials in Construction – Learning to Engage a New Workforce” report are based on a combination of survey responses and interviews from almost 400 individuals who work in the construction industry nationwide; half of those participants represent millennials (individuals born between 1980 and 2000). Some of the report’s key highlights include: • An inspiring and well-communicated vision is critical to engaging millennials long term. • Seventy-four percent of survey respondents expect to remain more than five years with their company. • Ninety-six percent of survey respondents are willing to work beyond what is required of them to help the business succeed. • Ninety-eight percent of survey respondents stated that it was important for them to understand their career path and opportunities within their company. • Survey respondents listed competitive pay, work-life balance, and personal development as their top choices for staying engaged. “While the stigma exists that millennials are entitled, disloyal and lazy, it appears that this is not true,” explains Sabine Hoover, content director at FMI. According to FMI’s findings, millennials in the construction industry are indeed very dedicated and loyal to their companies and share similar values as baby boomers and Gen Xers when it comes down to career aspirations, attitudes and goals.
According to the authors, not unlike other generations that enter the workplace, millennials have new perspectives to share, new ideas about getting things done, and new ways of tackling problems. They also want to do more than just punch a clock and take home a paycheck. They are looking to add value, make an impact and find meaning in what they are doing. FMI suggests company leaders leverage these realities by ensuring that younger workers have a clear sense of purpose and an understanding of their roles within the larger plan. The report also provides some practical insights on how to get started
with developing a comprehensive talent strategy and a culture of engagement, including specific implications for the young workforce. Paul Trombitas, research analyst with FMI and contributing author, adds, “Millennials are willing to work hard and put forth the effort when their company provides interesting and challenging work assignments that provide opportunity for career advancement.” To access the full reports on both surveys, visit fminet.org. n
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AFSA membership pays big bucks by using our informal interpretations. Utilizing the AFSA Technical Services Department could add to your bottom line. One member said, “I saved $8,000 dollars on one job by using AFSA Informal Interpretation!” Another wrote the informal interpretation saved at LEAST 8 hours of time, because it eliminated the need for a meeting with the AHJ and owner. It saved the owner several thousand. And still, another wrote, “(Technical Services) was a huge help, even going as far as talking to the AHJ.” Ten thousand dollars were saved in this dispute. Join AFSA today and start enjoying the benefits of membership that can save you lots of money! Don’t wait; Call us now at:
214-349-5965 ext. 133 or 119 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016 37
Hung Up on Seismic Issues? Informal Interpretations Save Members Time, Money The informal interpretations featured in this issue of Sprinkler Age address obstruction concerns. AFSA’s informal interpretations are provided to AFSA members by Vice President of Engineering & Technical Services Roland Huggins, a P.E. registered in fire protection engineering; Director of Technical Program Development Phill Brown, a NICET IV certified automatic sprinkler technician and NFPA Certified Fire Protection Specialist (C.F.P.S.); and Senior Engineer Tom Wellen, P.E., senior fire protection engineer. These opinions are provided for the benefit of the requesting party, and are provided with the understanding that AFSA assumes no liability for the opinions or actions taken on them. Subject: Clearance Hole Penetrating A Sidewalk QUESTION: “When a riser is on the outside of the building and the underground stub up is coming up in a sidewalk, is the annular clearance required around the piping? The underground stub up flange is 6 in. above the concrete slab. A flange by groove piece is installed on the stub up with an elbow. The pipe is installed on the elbow to enter the building for an inside riser. Is the clearance hole required for the pipe rising up through the sidewalk?” ANSWER: In response to your questions we have reviewed NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, 2013 edition as the applicable standard. Our informal interpretation is that clearance would be required around the pipe penetrating the floor or the sidewalk surface if seismic design applies per the building code. The building code would specify when seismic design is applied to systems. The 38 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016
purpose of the clearance is to prevent breakage of the fire sprinkler pipe during a seismic event. The holes for the clearance should be nominally 2-in. larger than the pipe for 1 in. through 31/2 in. and 4-in. larger for pipe sizes 4-in. and larger according to Section 220.127.116.11. The clearance around the pipe does not have to be annular or in other words, the pipe does not need to be located in the exact center of the opening. An exception to providing clearance is the use of flexible couplings within 1 ft on both sides of the opening. The problem is that since the piping is located underground, it would not be feasible to install a flexible coupling under the floor or sidewalk surface. Thus the clearance should be provided for underground piping at the penetration. Note that the piping is not limited to sprinkler risers and can include drains, fire department connections, and other auxiliary piping.
apply to pipes individually supported by rods less than 6-in. long measured between the top of the pipe and the point of attachment to the building structure.” There is no other supporting information excluding cross mains and feed mains from this section. As such, the handbook text addressing Section 18.104.22.168.10 is incorrect that states, “For the 2013 edition, cross mains as defined in 3.5.5 cannot use this exception and will need lateral braces even if short hangers are used. The concern is that if the lateral sway braces are omitted then the hangers in this situation would have to carry the load of the main and the attached branch lines, which in many applications could be a tremendous horizontal force.”
ANSWER: In response to your question we have reviewed NFPA 13, 2013 edition as the applicable standard. Our informal interpretation is that the text in the handbook is an error and should not be applied.
The text for the 2016 edition of NFPA 13 also shows the handbook text to be in error. The new wording will indicate that the lateral sway bracing required by 22.214.171.124 shall be permitted to be omitted when 126.96.36.199.10.1 for branch lines or 188.8.131.52.10.2 for mains is met. Section 184.108.40.206.10.2 will require mains to comply with 6 criteria as: (1) The main piping shall be individually supported within 6 in. of the structure, measured between the top of the pipe and the point of attachment to the building structure. (2) At least 75 percent of all the hangers on the main shall meet the requirements of 220.127.116.11.10.2(1). (3) Consecutive hangers on the main shall not be permitted to exceed the limitation in 18.104.22.168.10.2(1). (4) The seismic coefficient (Cp) shall not exceed 0.5. (5) The nominal pipe diameter shall not exceed 6 in. (152 mm) for feed mains and 4 in. for cross mains. (6) Hangers shall not be omitted in accordance with 22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199, or 188.8.131.52.
Section 184.108.40.206.10 states, “The requirements of 220.127.116.11 shall not
The 2016 edition text will specify limitations on the size of the feed
Subject: Rods Less Than 6 in. to Omit Lateral Bracing QUESTION: “Section 18.104.22.168.10 indicates that pipe individually supported by rods less than 6 in. from point of connection to top of pipe do not require lateral sway bracing. However, the Sprinkler Systems Handbook indicates that the 6-in. rod rule doesn’t apply to feed mains and cross mains and must be lateral braced regardless of rod length. Is it required to laterally brace all feed mains and cross mains with rods less than 6 in.?”
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main and cross main, but in no way does it require that lateral bracing be provided on all feed mains and cross mains. The handbook commentary regarding this subject area should not be applied. The disclaimer provided in the front of the handbook under the heading Notice Concerning Code Interpretations that states, “The commentary and supplementary materials in this handbook are not a part of the NFPA document and do not constitute Formal Interpretations of the NFPA (which can be obtained only through requests processed by the responsible technical committees in accordance with the published procedures of the NFPA). The commentary and supplementary materials, therefore, solely reflect the personal opinions of the editor or other contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the NFPA or its technical committees.”
seismic load exceeds 1.0 Wp and the brace angle is less than 60 degrees from vertical, the braces shall be arranged to resist the net vertical reaction produced by the horizontal load.” The NFPA 13 Handbook further clarifies this section indicating this requirement was first introduced in the 1996 edition of NFPA 13 addressing the need to protect against upward vertical movement of the pipe as a result of a strong horizontal load in combination with a limited brace angle from vertical. Previous editions did not specifically address such vertical movement. When needed, this additional support could take the form of hanger rods located in close proximity of braces and reinforced against buckling by use of pipe sheathing or other means. This does not apply for your application.
Subject: Net Vertical Reaction Forces
QUESTION: “Does a drain pipe that passes through a seismic separation require a seismic separation assembly if the piping in question is beyond the drain valve?”
QUESTION: “The AHJ is requiring rod stiffeners for the all thread rod hangers on a sprinkler system which is to be seismically braced in accordance with NFPA 13. The seismic coefficient is Cp=0.35. Braces (longitudinal and lateral) are install between 30 degrees and 44 degrees. Are rod stiffeners required for this application?” ANSWER: In response to your question we have reviewed NFPA 13, 2013 edition as the applicable standard. Our informal interpretation is that providing additional support for the net vertical reaction forces is not required. Your application has a Cp of 0.35 where the requirements of net vertical reaction forces do not apply. The concern is with the pipe moving in a vertical direction. The bracing attached in a horizontal orientation may not resist the vertical movement of the pipe for higher Cp seismic loads. Section 22.214.171.124 states, “Where the horizontal seismic loads used exceed 0.5Wp and the brace angle is less than 45 degrees from vertical or where the horizontal 40 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016
Subject: Drain Line and Seismic Separation
ANSWER: In response to your question we have reviewed NFPA 13, 2013 edition as the applicable standard. Our informal interpretation is that the requirements under seismic separation do not apply to drain lines. Section 126.96.36.199 indicates that an approved seismic separation assembly shall be installed where sprinkler piping, regardless of size, crosses building seismic separation joints at ground level and above. This sentence references “sprinkler piping” and not all piping. As such, this section would not apply to drain lines passing through a seismic joint. The references used throughout the standard to “sprinkler piping” refer to pipe that supplies sprinkler heads. Other pipe or components are referenced when the requirements are applied. An example is Section 188.8.131.52 that states, “Clearance shall be provided around all piping extending through walls, floors, platforms, and founda-
tions, including drains, fire department connections, and other auxiliary piping.” As such, the drain piping for this application would be required to meet clearances, but would not be required to have a seismic separation assembly. Subject: Sprinkler Clearance Hole in Walk-in Cooler QUESTION: “Is it the intention of 184.108.40.206 to require the nominal 2-in. hole clearance on a 1-in. dry drop head penetrating a walk-in cooler ceiling in addition to the sprinkler manufactures listed escutcheon hole requirement?” ANSWER: In response to your question we have reviewed NFPA 13, 2013 edition as the applicable standard. Our informal interpretation is that the intent for a larger clearance hole for a single sprinkler is not required for this application. The issue of how to address a sprinkler pipe penetrating the ceiling of a cooler or freezer is not well presented in NFPA 13. There are two problems contributing to the confusion. First, section 9.3.4 on clearance explicitly states that this section applies to pipe extending through walls, floors, platforms, and foundations. Despite the fact that ceiling are not part of the scope, text in the annex (A.9.3.4) discusses the possible need for larger clearances in drop ceiling unless rigidly braced. Although we refer to the top of the freezer as a ceiling, it is not treated like a drop ceiling and Section 9.3.4 does not apply. In actuality, 220.127.116.11 provides the requirements for drops to freestanding structures within the building. We typically think of this section for addressing drops to racks but as discussed in A.18.104.22.168, freestanding structures include but are not limited to freezers, coolers, paint booths, and offices. I must confess that offices are typically part of the building structure so this is a bad example unless the committee meant re-locatable offices. Section 22.214.171.124 states that drops are required to have flexible
couplings. The casual use of the term drop implies that this requirement also applies to drops supplying a single sprinkler. Fortunately, we do get some clarification from A.9.3.2 where it indicates piping 2 in. and smaller in size are pliable enough so that flexible couplings are not usually necessary. As such, a coupling should not be required. As for the clearance, follow the manufacturer’s requirements for the boot seal (an issue that addresses the concern for ice build-up caused by airflow induced by the pressure differential created by the temperature difference between the interior and exterior of the freezer). Subject: Branch Line Restraints QUESTION: “Regarding the minimum length of a branch line to be restrained, I still do not see a minimum length specified. Is the starting point when there are two sprinklers on a branch line?” ANSWER: In response to your question we have reviewed NFPA 13, 2013 edition as the applicable standard. Our informal interpretation is that restraints are provided when there are two sprinklers on a branch line.
Subject: Pipe Clearance When Penetrating a Structural Member QUESTION: “Is clearance required on fire sprinkler pipe that penetrates a steel structural member such as a steel I-Beam? Are flexible groove couplings required to be located within 1 ft of each side of the steel structural member?” ANSWER: In response to your questions we have reviewed NFPA 13, 2013 edition as the applicable standard. Our informal interpretation is that clearance and couplings are not required for pipe that penetrates steel structural members.
Don’t sell Yourself short.
Michael L. Brown
ES TI M AT IN G, BI DD IN G, SE LL IN G, CO NT RACT IN G A guide for
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This is also supported by Section 126.96.36.199 that says clearance from structural members not penetrated or used, collectively or independently, to support the piping shall be at least 2 in. Flexible couplings are not required since the structural members serve as lateral bracing and branch line restraints. Flexible couplings provided on each side of the structural member where the pipe penetrates is equivalent to providing a flexible coupling before and after each lateral restraint. Requiring
EDITOR’S NOTE: These interpretations were prepared by AFSA’s Technical Services Department in answer to specific questions from contractors and/or AHJs. These opinions are provided for the benefit of the requesting party, and are provided with the understanding that AFSA assumes no liability for the opinions or actions taken on them. AFSA members can access over 7,600 informal interpretations online. Visit firesprinkler.org, click on “Technical Services” and then “Informal Interpretations.” (Member user name and password required to gain entry.)
For Fire Sprinkler
Section 188.8.131.52 specifically addresses your issue. It states, “No clearance shall be required where piping is supported by holes through structural members as permitted by 184.108.40.206.3.” Section 220.127.116.11.3 allows for holes through solid structural members to serve as hangers for the support of system piping provided such holes are permitted by applicable building codes and the spacing and support provisions for hangers of the standard are satisfied. This method secures the pipe to the structure and keeps the pipe from moving differently from the structure thus satisfying the seismic requirements. As such, the pipe should contact the beam where clearance requirements of Section 18.104.22.168 through 22.214.171.124 are not applied.
flexible couplings at these penetrations would defeat the purpose seismic design. n
ESTIMATING, BIDDIN G, SELLING, AND CONTR ACTING
Historically, the primary concern being addressed by branch line restraint was to keep long branch lines from whipping around (restrain the end of the branch line) and to avoid damage to the sprinkler if it were to strike something. Restraint has a minimum possible spacing of 26 ft and a maximum of 53 ft. Restraint is intended to address branch lines (which feeds more than one sprinkler, thus must have some length) and not armovers or drops. An armover is defined in Section 3.5.3 as a horizontal pipe that extends from a branch line to a single sprinkler or a sprinkler above and below a ceiling. There is no limitation on the length of the arm-over. Thus, an armover is defined differently from a branch line; it is not part of Section 9.3.6 and does not require restraint per Section 126.96.36.199. The only pipes feeding a single
sprinkler that must be restrained are sprigs greater than 4 ft as per Section 188.8.131.52.
Selling is a noble profession, but... you don’t make money unless you make the sale. The American Fire Sprinkler Association’s (AFSA) “Estimating, Bidding, Selling, and Contracting for Fire Sprinkler Systems” is an essential guide to help the expert – or novice – fire sprinkler professional successfully estimate, bid, sell and contract jobs. This book gives you the tools that you need to be a profitable fire sprinkler sales representative. With over 300 pages of industry insight, this guide walks through every step of the process – from receiving a set of drawings to the post-bid review.
On sale nOw www.firesprinkler.org Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016 41
The Value of Education Committee Spotlight: Apprenticeship & Education Committee CHARLOTTE JOHNSON | American Fire Sprinkler Association
When fire sprinkler professionals are looking for the best in education and apprenticeship training, they will find it with the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA). A great deal of planning, development and administration goes into training the finest fire sprinkler specialists in the country. Behind this vitally important work is AFSA’s Apprenticeship & Education (A&E) Committee. Co-chaired by Board of Directors members Tom McKinnon of Aegis Fire Systems, Pleasanton, California, and Lyle Hall of Western Fire Protection, Poway, California, this committee oversees the development of education and training for AFSA member contractors, installers, and other influential industry groups from start to finish. “There is never a dull moment on the A&E Committee,” says Leslie Clounts, AFSA’s manager of education programs and staff liaison to the committee. “It’s amazing to see this diverse group of people collect and discuss innovative ways to keep AFSA training fresh for the fire protection industry. Seeing our latest project, the ITM Inspector Development Program, come to fruition is rewarding. I look forward to working with this talented group in 2016.” The A&E Committee is currently working on creating and shaping its newest project, the Inspection, Testing & Maintenance (ITM) Inspector Development program. The program utilizes on-demand and live training courses combined with a robustly structured on-the-job training (OJT) and mentoring program with the goal of candidates passing a NICET Level II waterbased inspection certification exam in less than two years. This comprehensive program provides recommendations for implementation at every level, including hiring recommendations, applicant screening tips, training record keeping, and 42 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016
AFSA Apprenticeship & Education Co-Chair and At-Large Director Lyle Hall (left) judging AFSA’s 2010 National Apprentice Competition in Providence, Rhode Island.
more. The committee has been instrumental in bringing this program to life. Lyle Hall, co-chair of the committee, has greatly enjoyed serving with his fellow committee members. “My philosophy has always been: raise the bar for your competitors, get trained and get other people involved,” says Hall. “Create better fire protection across the board through training.” The committee is also responsible for suggesting topics for upcoming seminars, the convention, and other educational items. Training is an ongoing process. AFSA is continually seeking to improve its education programs. Therefore, AFSA encourages its members to submit their suggestions to the A&E Committee. Join us in thanking these committee members for their willingness to share their time and expertise to make AFSA programs the best they can be. Members of the 2016 Apprenticeship & Education Committee are: Co-Chair Tom McKinnon, Aegis Fire Systems, Pleasanton, California; Co-Chair Lyle Hall, Western
Fire Protection, Poway, California; Derek Allen, HD Supply Fire Protection, San Francisco, California; Dwight Bateman, Southeast Fire Protection, Houston, Texas; Debbie Bien, Quality Fabrication & Supply, Sanford, Florida; Rod DiBona, Rapid Fire Protection, Rapid City, South Dakota; George DiMatteo, Ferguson Fire Protection, Mansfield, Texas; Don Kaufman, Kaufman Fire Protection, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Chuck Kitts, System Sensor, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Jack Medovich, Fire & Life Safety America, Baltimore, Maryland; Tiffany Moore, Moore Fire Protection, Issaquah, Washington; Bernie Parsons, Wayne Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Charlotte, North Carolina; Jeff Phifer, Crawford Sprinkler Co., Lugoff, South Carolina; Chris Stason, Victaulic, Los Angeles, California; Jack Viola, JFV Engineering, LLC, South Hadley, Massachusetts; George Wagner, AFSA Virginia Chapter, Mechanicsville, Virginia; Wayne Weisz, Cen-Cal Fire Systems, Inc.,Lodi, California; and Meaghen Wills, Anchor Fire Protection Co., Perkiomenville, Pennsylvania. For more information on AFSA committees or programs, visit AFSA’s website at firesprinkler.org. n
Need Help? AFSA Has the Solution CLAYTON LANE | James Lane Air Condition & Plumbing
“I need help.” I think I say this to myself at least once a week. Early in my career I would just bang my head on the desk for a few hours; now I just pick up the phone. Being one of the young(er) professionals in this business, I rely on the wisdom of other people a lot. This wasn’t always something that I had, though – people to lean on. Before the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA), my decisionmaking process wasn’t much more calculated than one of those Magic 8 balls. Now I sometimes sound like I know what I’m talking about because I just had a 20-minute technical explanation with AFSA’s Technical Services Department staff and I picked up a few words to repeat. It’s not just the staff ’s wealth of knowledge, either. Joining a peer group like AFSA’s Next Generation Group has been an amazing thing. Now I can see how someone else’s inspection department is set up without having to don a disguise and sneak into a competitor’s building. (Not that I’ve done that or anything.) Everyone tackles their problems in their own unique way. It’s amazing to bounce ideas off other business owners, and sometimes just talking about it aloud can help solve the problem. The knowledge and wisdom of the staff at AFSA and our fellow members across the nation are like one big “Sprinkler-pedia,” ready to help at the push of a button. Who knows, maybe someday (a long time from now) I might be on the other end of that line, helping the next generation out. n
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Clayton Lane is project manager with James Lane Air Conditioning & Plumbing Co., Inc., Wichita Falls, Texas, providing service, fire protection, and engineering since 1957. He is NICET Level III certified in inspections and testing, and a third generation mechanical contractor. Lane is a member of AFSA’s Next Generation group. Visit jameslane.com.
EDITOR’S NOTE: AFSA’s Next Generation Group offers networking and educational events and provides resources to help the next generation of leaders excel within our industry and compliments AFSA chapters by providing them with resources to engage their young professional members. For more information, visit firesprinkler.org/ nextgen.
Members Save Using AFSA’s Informal Interpretations How Can AFSA Assist You? One of the many benefits of your AFSA membership is access to AFSA”s Technical Services Department and its archives of Informal Interpretations. Have you taken advantage of it? In 2015, members saved over $80,000 and 200 hours on jobs by putting AFSA’s Technical Services staff to work for them. Shouldn’t your membership work for you? It’s how many times you use your membership – how many times you can use it and get the benefit of time and money savings from using it – that determines its real value. As of publication, there were 7,601 interpretations available online. This is a valuable tool that could save you time and money on a project. To obtain access take the following steps: 1. Log on to firesprinkler.org. 2. Click on “Technical Services” > “Informal Interpretations.” 3. At Informal Interpretations page, click on “Search Now” under “View Archives.” 4. Enter your user name and password. 5. Fill in the appropriate search fields. Searches can be done by subject, NFPA standard, NFPA edition or by interpretation text. The accumulated questions that are on file should be able to answer most of your questions. If your questions cannot be found in the database, feel free to submit an “Informal Interpretation Request Form” to our Technical Department (AFSA members only). The form can be downloaded from the AFSA Members Only area. AFSA’s informal interpretations are provided to AFSA members by Vice President of Engineering & Technical Services Roland Huggins, a P.E. registered in fire protection engineering; Director of Technical Program Development Phill Brown, a NICET IV certified automatic sprinkler technician and NFPA Certified Fire Protection Specialist (C.F.P.S.); and Senior Engineer Tom Wellen, P.E., senior fire protection engineer. These opinions are provided for the benefit of the requesting party, and are provided with the understanding that AFSA assumes no liability for the opinions or actions taken on them. For more information and to search online, visit AFSA’s website at firesprinkler.org.
Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016 43
Sprinkler Age Goes Bimonthly Respected Publication Expands, Diversifies Online After 33 years as the premier monthly magazine for the fire sprinkler industry, Sprinkler Age is going bimonthly. Starting with this January/February 2016 issue, Sprinkler Age’s print edition will be published six times a year in a larger format, which will allow it to run longer features and better showcase its membership and benefits. At the same time that it reduces its frequency in print, Sprinkler Age will continue to expand its presence online. That is great news on several fronts. First, the change gives Sprinkler Age the opportunity to do more topical and timely material. In fall 2015, the magazine launched its blog, sprinklerage.firesprinkler.org, and it has also been developing various digital features like video enhancements. Nicole Duvall, AFSA’s director of communications, said that stories could be spread between the magazine’s print and digital platforms, but that in essence the blog would feature more real-time news, and the print would feature thematically driven coverage. “For the first time in Sprinkler Age’s venerable 35-year history, both the print and digital properties have shared editorial and oversight capacities, and it’s given us the unique opportunity to evaluate our brand holistically,” said Duvall. “After extensive review, it’s clear that bimonthly print frequency coupled with a robust digital presence, via our blog and social media sites, will provide optimal benefit to our members, readers, and the industry as a whole.” Sprinkler Age’s longtime publisher Janet Knowles retired in September 2015 ahead of the frequency change, at which time AFSA President Steve Muncy took over as publisher. 44 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016
A look back at Sprinkler Age... the first issue, a newsletter, published in November of 1981 (at left) and a 2006 issue, during AFSA’s silver anniversary year. The magazine quickly became a resource for education, training and technical information and has evolved into the go-to publication for the fire sprinkler industry.
As noted in his December 2015 President’s Report, Muncy said the change was in-part to provide additional information in a more timely manner: “In response to the growing need for timely information to keep the industry informed and educated, Sprinkler Age is becoming more than just a printed publication. As we move forward, Sprinkler Age becomes an expanded information resource that provides timely news and information in a variety of formats: printed paper magazine, a digital magazine, an online blog, news stories on the web, social media and newsletters.” Each issue of Sprinkler Age will deliver the same accurate, objective reporting and unmatched technical articles readers have relied on since 1981. From its beginnings as a four-page newsletter first published in November 1981, Sprinkler Age has grown into a robust industryleading publication with over 4,000 print and digital subscribers, and now looks forward to adding to its list of digital offerings.
Qualified subscribers will continue receive their free three-year subscription to Sprinkler Age. To request your free subscription, in either print or digital format – or both, visit sprinklerage. firesprinkler.org/subscribe. Sprinkler Age is the official publication of the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA), the most respected nonprofit, merit shop fire sprinkler contractor association, dedicated to the educational advancement of its members and promotion of the use of automatic fire sprinkler systems. Visit firesprinkler. org to learn more about AFSA’s training, consulting, communication, and representation programs. n
Planning for your future just got a little easier.
If you are currently offering a retirement plan, American Fire Sprinkler Association has a better way to offer 401(k) to your employees. It’s called a Multiple Employer 401(k) Plan. This plan is sponsored by American Fire Sprinkler Association and managed through Transamerica Retirement Solutions (“Transamerica”), and the firm of Pinnacle Financial Services. A Multiple Employer Plan, also referred to as an MEP, is a retirement plan for businesses that typically have a common interest, but that are not commonly owned or affiliated. These businesses are referred to as “Adopting Employers” when they elect to join the Multiple Employer Plan. What are the Benefits? • Potential costs savings • Hours of Administrative time savings • Reduction of work for your staff • Shifting of plan responsibility • Reduction of fiduciary liability • No more plan audit (if applicable) • No more plan document or legal filings • Allows you to focus on your business • Flexibility to have maintain your own plan design and features To learn more about this new AFSA Retirement Plan benefit,
contact John.Hershenberg@pfslink-e.com or 817-300-5539.
AHJ PERSPECTIVE BY RONNY J. COLEMAN
Remembering the Small Print Did you ever sign a document without reading the small print? Personally, I have always thought that the small print was designed to keep attorneys well funded, because the
only time small print is important is when it is violated. The primary concern about your insurance policy or contract small print is
that if you do not fulfill the intent of the small print, liability may be attached. I was reminded of this recently in a conversation with Janet Knowles when she was preparing for her retirement from the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA). The issue was whether or not the fire service is aware of the NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, requirement called “an owner’s certificate.” Janet is off to retirement now, but her conversation provoked me into researching why this could be important to you as an Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). If you hadn’t heard of the owner’s certificate I am not going to be surprised. But, if you want to protect yourself against sprinkler system failures, you might want to become more knowledgeable. Janet provided an excellent article on this already. It is in the March 2015 issue of Sprinkler Age entitled the “Owner’s Information Certificate.” I do not wish to be redundant and repeat her column, but I do think it is important that we in the regulatory arena know of this requirement, and perhaps require it to be provided as part of our data collection. The specific requirement, as stated in Chapter 4 of NFPA 13 is as follows: “4.3* Owners Certificate. The owner(s) of a building or structure where the fire sprinkler system is going to be installed or their authorized agent shall provide sprinkler system installer with the following information prior to the layout and detailing of the sprinkler system.” I will leave it up to you to do the rest of the homework to look up this informa-
46 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016
tion requirement. There is even a two-page form in the NFPA 13 Annex, Section A.4.3. The very first thing that I observed when reviewing Janet’s original article, is the fact that the AHJ is not part of this requirement regarding information. The second thing I observed is if we don’t ask for the information, who is going to enforce the provision? Understandably, contractors are not too crazy about more paperwork. And building owners are not likely to be excited about it either. However, this column is aimed at AHJs and I believe it is appropriate to ask the question of: why aren’t we making sure that the owner’s information certificate is completed? Maybe some of you out there already have. If you are, you are on the leading edge of change. But a more important question is what if you are not asking for it? I will readily admit that this is a personal opinion and can be argued that it is not a requirement by the AHJ. My reason for stating this opinion is based on the practical experience of having to deal with occupancies that have gone through multiple changes over the years and there was no documentation of the issues that can result from change of occupancy. Going back to Section 4.3 there are three basic questions that this document provides. They are: 1. Intended use of the building including materials within the building and maximum height of any storage. 2. A preliminary plan of the structure along with the design concepts necessary to perform the layout and detail for the fire sprinkler system. 3. Any special knowledge that the water supply including known environmental conditions that might be responsible for corrosion including microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC). You might think of this information as a time capsule. Looking at your own inventory of sprinklered buildings, how many of them are over 25 years old? How many of them are over 50? You are not going to be able to do much about lack of information on those systems. But, here comes a new hotel, a high-
rise, a commercial occupancy that you are going to be dealing with immediately. If your record keeping system is robust, asking for a copy of this owner’s information certificate helps establish a starting point. Future fire marshals and fire inspectors will be glad you looked into it.
plan check or you will have it contracted out, so requiring this certificate placed in your sprinkler files is a prudent act. n ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ronny J. Coleman is currently the president of Fireforceone. He is a past president of the IAFC and CFAI. Over his lifetime, he has received numerous awards including the AFSA’s 1989 Henry S. Parmelee Award, the 2011 Mason Lankford Award from the Congressional Fire Services Institute, and the Tom Brennan Lifetime Achievement Award from Fire Engineering in 2014. He continues as a contributor to the fire service in many ways.
Currently, the NFPA standard requires the owners certificate to be filled out and submitted to the contractor. The NFPA standard does not require that the AHJ receive a copy of it but for all practical purposes they should. The primary reason why we, as an AHJ, should require it is to level the playing field regarding uniformity in our plan check processes. You will be doing the
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Calendar February 8-12 AFSA Carolinas Chapter NICET Seminars Concord, NC AFSAcarolinas.com
8-19 Beginning Fire Sprinkler System Planning School AFSA Headquarters, Dallas, TX firesprinkler.org
17 NFPA 13, 2016 Update: Part 1 Webinar firesprinkler.org
March 10 5th Annual Sacramento Valley Chapter Trade Show Thunder Valley Resort & Casino, Lincoln, CA firesprinkler.org
System Planning Schools Filling Fast The American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) Fire Sprinkler System Planning School, offered six times per year at AFSA’s Dallas headquarters, presents a comprehensive, practical approach to preparing fire sprinkler system drawings. Students receive two full weeks of instruction, 60 percent is study and review of NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, (2016 edition). The other 40 percent is preparation of fire sprinkler system layout, shop drawings and hydraulic calculations. The school is designed to train a beginner to be productive immediately upon returning to work. The January 11-22 school was completely sold out by mid-December 2015. Remaining dates for 2016 include February 8-19, April 4-15, May 16-27, July 18-29, and October 3-14. Call 214349-5965 ext. 132 or visit firesprinkler.org/ education-center/schools.
30 NFPA 13, 2016 Update: Part 2 Webinar firesprinkler.org
April 4-15 Beginning Fire Sprinkler System Planning School AFSA Headquarters, Dallas, TX firesprinkler.org
13-16 AFSA NC/SC Joint Convention Myrtle Beach, SC AFSAcarolinas.com
18 AFSA ITM Inspector Development Program – Cycle One Kick-Off Live Webcast firesprinkler.org
AFSA Contractor Members Can Access 401k Retirement Plan Contractor members of AFSA have access to a great solution when it comes to planning for retirement. It’s called a Multiple Employer Plan (MEP). This plan is sponsored by AFSA and managed through Transamerica Retirement Solutions and the firm of Pinnacle Financial Services. A MEP is a retirement plan for businesses that typically have a common interest, but that are not commonly owned or affiliated. These businesses are referred to as “Adopting Employers” when they elect to join the MEP. It is a lower cost plan that includes no audit cost and no cost for 5500 filing. It means a reduction of work for your staff, and a reduction of fiduciary liability. If you are a contractor member of AFSA looking to save for retirement, this just might be the plan for you. Visit firesprinkler. org/member-center/business-solutions. n
Southern California Great things are happening in the newly revived Southern California chapter. Its first three meetings have had out-
standing attendance with over 30-plus contractors and associates at each meeting. “We are excited about what we can accomplish in 2016,” says Jeff Bridges, JB Fire Protection in Lake Forest, California. The chapter’s latest meeting, held in Burbank on December 15, 2015, was so packed it was impossible to get everyone in one photo. The chapter board is currently working out the details for its 2016 agenda. For more information contact Lorelei Sweet Upshaw at email@example.com. n
ASSOCIATION NEWS Georgia On December 8, the Georgia Fire Sprinkler Association (GFSA) held its annual holiday gathering at Hamilton Mill Golf & Country Club in Dacula, Georgia. The event was hosted by GFSA supplier members Ameripipe Supply, Central Pipe & Supply, HD Supply Fire Protection, Morris Group International/Potter Roemer, Viking SupplyNet, and Watts Water Technologies. The gathering began with general business, and contin-
ued with a party of much merriment and plenty of hot hors d’oeuvres. To join the party, the ticket to enter was a small unwrapped gift for a child, to be donated to the Georgia Fire Fighters Burn Foundation for burn victims and their families. Approximately 30 contractors and suppliers attended the event, and 75 gifts were donated. Distribution will be to the children throughout the year in the Georgia Burn Units. Visit georgiafiresprinkler.org. n
NFPA 20, 2016 Update Webinar firesprinkler.org
Seminars subject to change. Call (214) 349-5965 to confirm locations and times. For information on Chubb and/or OSU programs, visit firesprinkler.org and click on “Training Calendar.”
48 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016
Left photo: GFSA members gathered for their holiday event on December 8. Right photo: McKenzy Williams of the Georgia Fire Fighters Burn Foundation (left) and Elnora Williams of the Grady Burn Center accepted and are grateful for GFSA’s donations.
14-17 North Americaâ€™s Largest Fire Sprinkler Exhibition Annual Apprentice Competition World-Class Seminars firesprinkler.org/convention
AFSA MEMBERSHIP New Members The following is a list of new members that have joined as of December 15, 2015. Region 1
Contractor DLB Fire Protection Daniel L. Boyance Bakersfield, CA
Contractor Advanced Fire Design, Inc. Boyd Olar West Haven, UT
Contractor All Safe Fire Protection Vincent Corbin Kansas City, MO
AHJ University at Buffalo Steven Herbuger Buffalo, NY
MS Fire Protection, Inc. Richard Sever Fresno, CA
Coffman Engineers Mark Gouveia Bozeman, MT
Corcoran Enterprises Chris Corcoran Burton, MI
Neptune Fire Protection David Biton Laguna Hills, CA
Vanguard Fire & Security, Inc. Keith Olstrom Boise, ID
Contractor Monroe Piping & Sheet Metal, LLC Owen Breese Rochester, NY
Region 5 Associate Southern Valve & Fitting USA, Inc. Robert Richard Naples, FL Contractor Farmer & Irwin Corporation Mechanical Co. Toby Charles Riviera Beach, FL
AFSA Chapter Contacts Arkansas Coleman Farrarr– Chair. 479-986-9091
Carolinas afsacarolinas.com Dean Bush – Chair. 704-732-3343 John Turnage – Exec. Dir. 919-624-3456
Chesapeake Bay afsachesapeakechapter. org Jay Strickland – Chair. 301-474-2441 Danielle Fowler – Exec. Dir. 410-964-0841
There’s no question about the benefits of AFSA products.
Connecticut afsact.org Rick Russo – Chair. 203-877-7983 Ina Boucher – Exec. Dir. 203-238-2122 Florida afsafl.org Bart Trueblood – Chair. 813-662-9200 Carolyn Mohr – Exec. Dir. 239-771-3907 Greater Bay Area Tom Peterson – Chair. (925) 484-5157 Lorelei Upshaw – Exec. Dir. 925-913-0145 Greater Kansas City 2nd Wed. of each month Mark McKenzie – Chair. 913-432-6688 Cliff Becker – Exec. Dir. 816-221-1651 Louisiana Linda Biernacki – Chair. 318-688-8800 Mid-Atlantic afsamac.org Meaghen Wills – Chair. 610-762-0642 Heather Field– Exec. Dir. firstname.lastname@example.org
AFSA’s training and education products cover the gamut of fire sprinkler industry needs such as: • Apprenticeship • System Design/Layout • Foremanship • Inspection • Management • NFPA and other codes • Safety • Public Education
AFSA’s product range includes: • Online Courses • Webinars • Correspondence courses • Inspection Forms • Designer and Fitter Resources • Publications • Training Kits • Videos • Programs • Seminars
Visit firesprinkler.org to find answers to your questions. 50 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016
New Jersey Thomas J. Bowlby Jr. – Chair. 908-229-9595 Robert K. Melofchik Sr. – Exec. Dir. 201-741-0056 New Mexico 2nd Mon. of each month Pete Newsted – Chair. 505-980-1261 Dave Wilson – Exec. Dir. 505-573-6712 North Central As called by Chair Michael Winiecki – Chair. 651-484-5903 Michelle Loren - Exec. Dir. 320-676-3771
Rocky Mountain Brent Heiner – Chair. 801-540-3473 Adam Millward – Exec. Dir. 801-216-4545 Sacramento Valley Byron Weisz – Chair. 209-334-9119 Paulene Norwood – Exec. Dir. 916-296-0635 San Diego As called by Chair. Jamil Shamoon – Chair. 619-588-6364 Terri Leyton – Exec. Dir. 619-684-5845
Northern New England Ryan Gadhue – Chair. 802-922-3236 Bob Broughton – Exec. Dir. 802-899-3769
South Carolina scfsa.org Jason Strickland – Chair. 243-664-0077 Jule Buffington – Exec. Dir. 803-951-2800
Pacific Northwest afsanw.org Randy Knighton – Chair. 360-786-8606 Ron Greenman – Exec. Dir. 253-576-9700
Virginia afsavirginia.com Jack Medovich – Chair. 410-787-0639 George Wagner – Exec. Dir. 804-514-3154 Yankee Joshua Fitzgerald – Chair. 617-594-6105
AFSA Affiliate Contacts Alabama Affiliate alfiresprinkler.org Charles Bielair – Pres. 334-270-8571 Greg Willis – Exec. Dir. 334-546-4257 Georgia Affiliate georgiafiresprinkler.org Ray Vance – Pres. 678-993-2054 Billy Wood – Exec. Dir. 404-226-8304
Oklahoma Affiliate ofsa.info Doug Souder – Chair. 405-682-0960
Texas Affiliate fscatx.org David Stone – Pres. 713-466-9899 Carol McCain – Exec. Dir. 281-361-8069
CONSTRUCTION REPORTS U.S. Construction... New Construction Starts in October Climb 13 Percent New construction starts in October advanced 13 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $591.1 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The increase follows the lackluster performance for construction starts during August and September, when activity fell to the lowest levels reported so far in 2015. Much of Octoberâ€™s gain for total construction was due to a sharp rebound by nonresidential building, with additional support coming from a moderate upturn for housing as the result of further strengthening by multifamily housing. At the same time, the nonbuilding construction sector (public works and electric utilities/gas plants) settled back in October, reflecting a decreased amount of power plant projects. During the first ten months of 2015, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were $551.9 billion, up 10 percent from the same period a year ago. Leaving out the volatile electric utility and gas plant category, which was boosted in early 2015 by the start of several massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, total construction starts during the first ten months of 2015 would be up 4 percent relative to last year.
Monthly Summary of Construction Contract Value Prepared by Dodge Data & Analytics
MONTHLY CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT VALUE Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rates, In Millions October 2015 September 2015 % Change Nonresidential Building $200,710 $152,523 +32 Residential Building $260,281 $239,002 +9 Nonbuilding Construction $130,151 $133,603 -3 Total Construction $591,142 $525,128 +13 THE DODGE INDEX (Year 2000=100, Seasonally Adjusted) October 2015...............125 September 2015.....................111 YEAR-TO-DATE CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT VALUE Unadjusted Totals, In Millions 10 Mo. 2015 10 Mo. 2014 % Change Nonresidential Building $173,040 $184,340 -6 Residential Building $223,903 $195,108 +15 Nonbuilding Construction $155,001 $120,206 +29 Total Construction $551,944 $499,654 +10
November Construction Slides 5 Percent At a seasonally adjusted
annual rate of $563.3 billion, new construction starts in November fell 5 percent from the previous month, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The decline represented a partial pullback after the 13 percent increase reported for total construction in October, as nonresidential building lost some momentum following its improved October pace. Decreased activity was also reported for housing in November, while the nonbuilding construction sector (public works and electric utilities/ gas plants) held steady. During the first eleven months of 2015, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were $597.9 billion, up 8 percent from the same period a year ago.
Monthly Summary of Construction Contract Value Prepared by Dodge Data & Analytics
MONTHLY CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT VALUE Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rates, In Millions November 2015 October 2015 % Change Nonresidential Building $175,384 $200,749 -13 Residential Building $257,387 $261,992 -2 Nonbuilding Construction $130,489 $130,589 0 Total Construction $563,260 $593,330 -5 THE DODGE INDEX (Year 2000=100, Seasonally Adjusted) November 2015...........119 October 2015...............125 YEAR-TO-DATE CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT VALUE Unadjusted Totals, In Millions 11 Mo. 2015 11 Mo. 2014 % Change Nonresidential Building $188,817 $205,610 -8 Residential Building $243,337 $213,054 +14 Nonbuilding Construction $165,713 $135,006 +23 Total Construction $597,867 $553,670 +8
Canada Construction... October CANADATA Y-T-D Figures on Construction Starts Types of Construction
TOTAL CANADA ($ Millions) RESIDENTIAL COMMERCIAL Major Sub-categories: Office Buildings Stores INSTITUTIONAL Major Sub-categories: Medical Education INDUSTRIAL Major Sub-categories: Plants ENGINEERING Major Sub-categories: Waterworks Roads Electric Power Oil and Gas ALL CONSTRUCTION
2015 2014 5,254 549
Oct 4,176 1,012
% Change 26 -46
300 2,102 42 127 286 -55 1,207 665 82 682 215 244
128 244 52
430 -11 364
1,010 1,078 -6 1,816 1,073 68 6 13 -57 0 0 0 10,409 8,640 20
*Start figures are also available for many more categories of construction and according to provincial, city and county levels of regional detail. CanaData is a statistics-gathering and forecasting agency for the construction industry and is a part of CMD Canada, (416)-758-6400.
November CANADATA Y-T-D Figures on Construction Starts Types of Construction
TOTAL CANADA ($ Millions) RESIDENTIAL COMMERCIAL Major Sub-categories: Office Buildings Stores INSTITUTIONAL Major Sub-categories: Medical Education INDUSTRIAL Major Sub-categories: Plants ENGINEERING Major Sub-categories: Waterworks Roads Electric Power Oil and Gas ALL CONSTRUCTION
2015 2014 22,515 7,450
Nov 22,598 7,113
% Change 0 5
2,721 2,683 1 1,030 1,771 -41 9,414 7,616 24 3,081 4,300 732
2,071 3,030 2,142
48 41 -66
3,721 3,290 13 7,671 6,364 20 12,302 5,320 131 5,580 33,036 -83 80,200 95,374 -16
*Start figures are also available for many more categories of construction and according to provincial, city and county levels of regional detail. CanaData is a statistics-gathering and forecasting agency for the construction industry and is a part of CMD Canada, (416)-758-6400.
Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016 51
Reliable Introduces New Sprinklers Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Co. Inc. introduces a residential dry horizontal sidewall sprinkler – the Model F3Res44 Dry (pictured above). The F3Res44 Dry is a dry horizontal sidewall sprinkler that is a cULus Listed Residential sprinkler for use in accordance with NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems; NFPA 13R, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in Low-Rise Residential Occupancies; or NFPA 13D, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in Oneand Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes. Providing coverage up to 16 ft by 20 ft (4.9m by 6.1m), the F3Res44 Dry has a K-Factor of 44 (63 metric). This sprinkler is used where a wet-pipe sprinkler system in a temperature-controlled space protects an adjacent space that is subject to freezing temperatures. The F3Res44 Dry uses a fast-response thermal element with an Ordinary 155°F (68°C) or Intermediate 175°F (79°C) temperature classification. Installation options include: flush, recessed and extended. The F3Res44 Dry has a standard 1-in. NPT threaded inlet. Threaded inlet fittings in 3/4-in. NPT, ISO 7-R1, or ISO 7-R3/4 are also offered. The sprinkler can be ordered in lengths ranging from 4-1/4 in. (108mm) to 24 in. (610mm) in 1/4-in. (6.35mm) increments. Reliable also announces a new flat cover plate, concealed, dry pendent sprinkler – the Model G5-56 Dry. With a KFactor of 5.6 (80 metric), the G5-56 Dry (SIN RA5114) is intended for installation in accordance with NFPA 13. It is UL Listed as a quick response concealed dry pendent for light and ordinary hazard occupancies. The G5-56 Dry is FM Approved as a standard response concealed dry pendent sprinkler intended for use in accordance with FM Loss Prevention Data Sheet 2.0. The G5-56 Dry sprinkler has a dropdown deflector design that allows the sprinkler to 52 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016
be recessed into the ceiling and concealed by a flat cover plate. The G5-56 Dry sprinkler utilizes the same G4 cover plate assembly as our current line of G5 sprinklers. The G4 cover plate threads into the sprinkler’s cup and provides 1/2-in. (13mm) of cover adjustment. The cover plate assembly consists of a flat cover plate that is attached to the skirt using either 135°F (57°C) or 165°F (74°C) temperature rated solder. The 135°F (57°C) cover plates are for use with Ordinary temperature classification sprinklers and the 165° (74°C) cover plates are for use with Intermediate temperature classification sprinklers. These cover plates (either solid or perforated) are available in a variety of finishes. This sprinkler is available in lengths ranging from 4-1/4 in. (108mm) to 48 in. (1219mm) in 1 /4-in. (6.35mm) increments. The sprinkler is installed using Reliable’s Model FC sprinkler wrench. Visit reliablesprinkler.com.
Potter’s PAV Air Vent Meets New NFPA 13 Code Requirement In a major change that impacts installers, the 2016 NFPA 13 adds a new requirement that a single air vent be installed for each wet sprinkler system to help reduce potential corrosion activity due to trapped air. The Potter Automatic Air Vent (PAV) is the ONLY UL-listed and FM-Approved automatic air vent for fire sprinkler systems. It is designed to reduce the amount of air in a fire sprinkler system will little or no maintenance. It is the ideal choice for meeting NFPA 7.1.5. The product is also available as a PAAR-B with drip pan. Visit pottersignal.com. Enhanced DryPaK and PrePaK from Reliable Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Co., Inc. has enhanced its popular DryPaK and PrePaK systems by offering a new, larger size – 8 in. (200 mm). The new 8 in. DryPaK systems uti-
lize the DDX-LP dry pipe valve, which is a hydraulically operated, differential-type valve for low-pressure dry pipe valve systems. Available sizes range from 2 in. (50 mm) through the new 8 in. (200 mm). The new 8-in. PrePaK systems utilize the lightweight Model DDX deluge with galvanized trim. Two options are offered. The Type D, which can be programmed either as an electric single interlock or as an electric/ electric double interlock preaction system. Sizes include: 4 in. (100 mm), 6 in. (150 mm) and 8 in. (200 mm). The Type F is an electric/pneumatic double interlock preaction systems. Sizes start from 2 in. (50 mm) through 8 in. (200 mm). Visit reliablesprinkler.com. ASA Manual Helps Construction Subcontractors Navigate Retainage Law A reference manual published by the American Subcontractors Association (ASA), “Retainage Law in the 50 States,” is helping construction subcontractors understand retainage laws where the projects they bid and work on are located. As it applies to subcontractors, retainage is the practice of regularly holding a portion of progress payments that subcontractors earn for performing construction services. Each state entry in the manual reviews critical factors in retainage law for private and public work, including the retainage rate permitted under law, retainage release milestones, and any options to provide alternative securities in lieu of retainage. Retainage is generally held as an assurance for the timely completion and quality of a contractor’s or subcontractor’s work. It is calculated as a percentage of the total contract price. However, the practice places a severe financial hardship on contractors and subcontractors, and in some cases, contractors and subcontractors are burdened with sizable retainage receivables long after project completion. The manual is available free to ASA members as a downloadable PDF in the “Contracts & Project Management” section under “Advocacy & Contracts” on the ASA website at asaonline.org (member login required).
BEGINNERS COULD BE PRODUCTIVE IN TWO WEEKS? AFSA Beginning Fire Sprinkler System Planning School The System Planning School presents a comprehensive, practical approach to preparing fire sprinkler system drawings. Students receive two full weeks of instruction, 60 percent of which is study and review of NFPA 13 (2013 edition). The other 40 percent is preparation of fire sprinkler system layout, shop drawings and hydraulic calculations. The school is designed to train a beginner to be productive immediately upon returning to work. This class is designed for those with no experience, or those who need assistance with design. The students learn by actually planning and drawing sprinkler systems while studying and applying NFPA 13. Visit firesprinkler.org/education-center/schools. 2016 SCHEDULE January 11-22 SOLD OUT! February 8-19 April 4-15 May 16-27 July 18-29 October 3-14 Enrollment is now open. Visit firesprinkler.org.
- PHILL BROWN, SET, CFPS
AFSA Director of Technical Program Development & Codes In my role as lead instructor of AFSAâ€™s Beginning Fire Sprinkler System Planning School we introduce the beginning layout technician to the codes, hydraulic calculations and knowledge of system layout techniques. This combined with real world problem solving ability will help to develop the layout technician into a contributing member of your team. In just two short weeks, the school provides powerful knowledge that unleashes a new world of possibility.
PEOPLE IN THE NEWS In Memoriam: Janice “Jan” Gratton AFSA members and staff were saddened to learn of the passing of Jan Gratton, a dedicated fire safety educator from Covina, California, who was instrumental in the widespread acceptance of smoke detectors and residential fire sprinklers. AFSA honored her as its 2004 Fire Sprinkler Advocate of the Year, in recognition of four decades of leadership in life safety education, Jan Gratton began volunteering with the Covina Fire Department in the 1960s to help educate the public about a new life saving technology, the smoke detector. She designed the first “Smoke Detectors for the Elderly and Handicapped” project, which became a model for the nation. Within a few years, her own home became the first residential fire sprinkler retrofit in the area, and she used it to provide programs to educate other communities about sprinklers. Gratton served on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Board of Directors and made history as NFPA’s first female national officer. When the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) was formed in 1996, she represented NFPA’s Board of Directors on the HFSC steering committee. Gratton also served on several Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) fire prevention and public education teams, as well as the US Fire Administration “Solutions 2000” and “Beyond Solutions 2000” initiatives to improve fire safety. In 2014, the National Fire Heritage Center in Emmitsburg, Maryland, created a display honoring Jan Gratton’s achievements. As Ron Coleman noted in his AHJ Perspective column in the July 2015 issue of Sprinkler Age, “In spite of every obstacle that was put in her way, [Jan Gratton] relentlessly pursued the development of public education programs and materials to address fire safety within the public education system.” Jan Gratton was preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, Rich, and is survived by two children and their spouses, five grandchildren and their spouses, and nine great-grandchildren, as well as a sister, a brother, and many colleagues and friends who recognize the long-lasting impact she had on fire safety. n
Sanborn Joins Reliable The Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Company announces the addition of Danny Sanborn, sales representative, to its Texas sales team reporting to Dan Merritt, regional sales manager. Sanborn joins Reliable with a sales background in both the power and water industries. Raised in Cypress, he is a graduate of Cypress High School and the University of Texas, Tyler where he earned his bachelor of science degree in marketing. Sanborn’s sales territory includes Greater Houston, San Antonio and East Texas and will be working out of the Houston office. He is excited about his new career with Reliable and looks forward to a long and successful future in the fire sprinkler industry. Visit reliablesprinkler.com. Hobson Named HD Supply Fire Protection Florida District Manager HD Supply Waterworks announces the promotion of J.R. Hobson to district manager, fire protection in Florida. In his new role, Hobson will oversee the Tampa, Orlando, Palm Beach, Miami and Jacksonville HD Supply Fire Protection locations. A former contractor, Hobson joined HD Supply Waterworks in 2009 as an outside sales representative. He became a top producer in sales and earned two HD Supply Mark of Excellence 54 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016
Awards. In 2013 he was promoted to branch manager in Maryland, where in the last 21/2 years, he has managed a strong and profitable branch, exceeding his financial objectives while also delivering fabrication, materials and outstanding customer service. Visit hdsupply.com. NFHC Announces the Ben Franklin Writer’s Award Winners for 2015 The National Fire Heritage Center announces that the top prize winner this year was Ricky Brockman of the Navy Fire & Emergency Services for his lengthy and comprehensive work on the Department of Defense newsletter. The newsletter has been under production since 2002 and provides an invaluable source of information to those who are part of the military fire service. Second place has been awarded to Marc Revere, retired, for his work in producing frequent contributions to fire magazines on a wide variety of subjects for a period of over 35 years. He has authored over 100 articles in journals and periodicals. He was a co-author on a guidance manual for professional mentoring. Third place has been awarded to Michelle Tanzola of the Austin Texas Fire Department for her original work contributing to the fire
services better understanding of the use of social media entitled “You Can’t Post That.” Nominations for next year’s candidates are now open. For details, contact Ron Coleman at email@example.com. Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors Announces New Board Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, the leading national non-profit organization dedicated to empowering anyone affected by a burn injury, recently elected new officers and members to its Board of Directors. The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy Lorraine Carli was elected as the Board’s president. Karen Colligan, founder and principal of PeopleThink, was elected as vice president. Peg Paul, communications manager for HFSC and the owner and director of Peg Paul & Associates (PPA), was elected as secretary. Tony Burke, a 20year veteran of the fire service, was elected treasurer. Newly elected board members include: Sheryl Ramstad, burn survivor peer support representative at St. Paul Regions Hospital; Dean Elliott, vice president of Corporate Compliance for AlloSource; and Victor C. Joe, MD, FACS, FCCP, medical director of the UC Irvine Regional Burn Center. Visit phoenix-society.org. CFSI Honors Congressman Steny Hoyer with 2015 Legislator of the Year Award The
Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) presented Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD05) with its 2015 Legislator of the Year Award. A co-chairman of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus since 1991, Congressman Hoyer was recognized for his legacy of leadership on behalf of our nation’s fire service. As a cochairman of the Fire Caucus, Congressman Hoyer has played a pivotal role in the passage of major fire service legislation throughout the years. In 2000, he helped guide legislation through the Congress that created the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, which has provided approximately $10 billion in grants to fire departments across the country. These funds have enabled fire departments to address their baseline needs and to increase staffing at both career and volunteer stations. Hoyer has also been a vocal supporter for increased funding for the United States Fire Administration and the National Fire Academy. Visit cfsi.org.
government bodies worldwide. In addition to NRC, this includes Dow Corning Co., Johnson & Johnson, BP America, the Standardization Organization of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and many others. Several members are based outside the United States. Since 2013, Paroli has served as a research and development director in Measurement Science and Standards at NRC. An ASTM member since 1994, Paroli has served on its board since 2011. He is a past chair of Committee D08 on Roofing and Waterproofing, and a member of D11 on Rubber and E60 on Sustainability. He also served a term on the
ASTM Committee on Standards, the body that reviews and approves all technical committee recommendations for actions on standards. Paroli is a member of the American Chemical Society, the Association of the Chemical Profession of Ontario, the Chemical Institute of Canada and the Society for Applied Spectroscopy. Paroli holds a B.Sc. in analytical chemistry from the University of Concordia in Montreal, and a Ph.D. in physical and inorganic chemistry from McGill University, Montreal.
“Having received the designation of Quality Contractor from AFSA has been a major benefit to Fire Tech. Not only does it distinguish us
from other sprinkler companies in our area, it instills pride in our employees. Our employees work hard to stay ahead of the competition and this lets them know that the hard work does pay off.” Linda Biernacki President, Fire Tech Systems, Inc. Shreveport, La.
NFPA and The Center for Campus Fire Safety Announce Winners The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), The Center for Campus Fire Safety (The Center) and the University of New Haven Fire Science Club (UNH) announced the winners of its 2015 Campus Fire Safety for Students Contest. Three winners were chosen from the more than 100 students who participated from 31 schools nationwide. To participate, students watched a one-minute campus fire safety video and entered their name and school information into a sweepstakes where two winners were randomly selected to win a Domino’s-sponsored pizza party for 50 of their friends. The winners are Jake Akstins, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois and José Luis Garcia Cintora, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware. Visit nfpa.org/campus. Paroli Begins Term as ASTM International Board Chairman Ralph M. Paroli, Ph.D., of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) in Ottawa, Ontario, has started his term as 2016 chairman of the ASTM International board of directors. ASTM’s board is made up of 25 leaders from an array of companies, associations and
To learn more or to apply, visit
www.firesprinkler.org AFSA’s Quality Contractor Program was created to publicly recognize those contractor members that have documented their commitment to corporate responsibility. It is not an accreditation or certification program. Contractors that meet the exacting criteria set forth in the application will be formally acknowledged by AFSA as an “AFSA Quality Contractor.” Visit www.firesprinkler.org for more information.
Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016 55
INDUSTRY NEWS Ferguson Fire & Fabrication Acquires Action Fire Fab & Supply Ferguson Fire & Fabrication announces the acquisition of Action Fire Fab & Supply, Inc. in an asset transaction completed November 16, 2015. Ferguson Fire & Fabrication will conduct business from the former Action Fire Fab & Supply location as Ferguson Fire & Fabrication. Action Fire Fab & Supply was established by fire protection contractor Ted M. Bolls, Sr. and his wife in 1986 in Fremont, California. They relocated the business to Tracy, California in 1990 after building the current facility. Ferguson Fire & Fab’s District Manager George DiMatteo said company officials began acquisition negotiations back in June, a few months before Bolls passed away on September 27. Ferguson Fire & Fabrication, a subsidiary of Ferguson Enterprises, offers contractors a huge inventory of sprinkler heads and devices, special hazards equipment, fittings, pipe and hangers. Ferguson supports fire protection contractors with 60 locations and 30 fabrication facilities in 29 states, and more than 700 highly trained associates. Eight of Ferguson’s 30 fabrication facilities are ISO 9001:2008 certified, making Ferguson the largest certified sprinkler fabricator in the country. The company acquired Atlantic American Fire Equipment Company and the Mobile, Ala., business of Central Pipe & Supply earlier this fall. Visit fergusonfire.com.
er fatalities to increase understanding of their causes and how they can be prevented. The study is intended to help identify approaches that could reduce the number of deaths in future years. This free report is available for download at usfa.fema.gov/data/statistics/ff_ fatality_reports.html. Save the Date: 2016 NEAFPSD 25th Chapter Anniversary and Fire Protection Symposium The New England Association of Fire Protection System Designers and the American Society Of Certified Engineering Technicians welcome all chapter members, engineers, contractors, industry manufacturer representatives and their friends and family to attend the 25th Anniversary and Symposium Event on March 9-11, 2016. There will be a formal tabletop product show, technical presentations with CEU credits, industry networking, free raffles and symposium gifts to all registered guests. Contact Paul Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leonhardt Pipe & Supply Donates to Nourish International This past holiday season, Leonhardt Pipe & Supply, a regional fire protection and supply distributor, pledged to donate 1 percent of sales to Nourish International. In 2014, Leonhardt Pipe donated over $11,000 of its December sales to Nourish International, a North Carolina based nonprofit that seeks to empower communities to make a lasting impact on extreme poverty by engaging students. Leonhardt Pipe’s donation will support the efforts of these students who are in the process of raising funds for sustainable development projects they will implement with their international community partners over the summer. Projects will address unmet needs including access to clean drinking water, sanitation, and sustainable agriculture initiatives in countries ranging from Nicaragua to India. Visit leonhardtpipe.com and nourish.org.
IRS Raises Tangible Property Expensing Threshold to $2,500 The Internal Revenue Service has simplified the paperwork and recordkeeping requirements for small businesses by raising from $500 to $2,500 the safe harbor threshold for deducting certain capital items. The change affects only businesses that do not maintain an audited financial statement. It applies to amounts spent to acquire, produce or improve tangible property that would normally qualify as a capital item. The new $2,500 threshold applies to any such item substantiated by an invoice. As a result, small businesses will be able to immediately deduct many expenditures that would otherwise need to be spread over a period of years through annual depreciation deductions. As before, businesses can still claim otherwise deductible repair and maintenance costs, even if they exceed the $2,500 threshold. The new $2,500 threshold takes effect starting with tax year 2016. In addition, the IRS will provide audit protection to eligible businesses by not challenging use of the new $2,500 threshold in tax years prior to 2016. For taxpayers with an audited financial statement, the de minimis or small-dollar threshold remains $5,000. Visit irs.gov.
USFA Releases New Report on Firefighter Fatalities in the United States The objective of the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) study “Firefighter Fatalities in the United States” is to identify and analyze all on-duty firefight-
Newly Elected Officials Need Home Fire Sprinkler Education It has been two years since the last major attempt to upgrade Illinois’ statewide model code to include fire sprinklers in all new homes. It was an un-
56 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016
successful attempt due to scare tactics and misinformation used by opponents to manipulate elected officials. Since that time, Illinois elected a new governor, appointed a new state fire marshal, and saw a 40-percent turnover in state representatives and senators. Fire sprinkler advocates saw this as a prime opportunity to educate the newcomers with accurate sprinkler information while re-educating existing officials with educational materials. To help with the effort, the Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition obtained a Bringing Safety Home Grant from the NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative and combined it with both in-kind donations and monetary support to reproduce needed educational materials that will be distributed statewide to elected officials through their local fire departments. Visit sprinkler.blog.nfpa.org. New Report from U.S. Fire Administration on Campus Fire Fatalities A new report from the U.S. Fire Administration highlights factors that led to the deaths of 118 college students in 85 fatal fires during the period 2000-2015. Safety officials can use these study findings to improve on- and off-campus fire injury prevention programs. Download the free report and campus fire safety outreach materials at usfa.fema.gov/prevention/ outreach/college.html. Three NFPA Certifications Now Provide Pro Board Accreditation The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has announced the recognition of its certification team as a Pro Board accredited entity. Candidates who successfully complete the NFPA process for the Certified Fire Inspector I (CFI-I), Certified Fire Inspector II (CFI-II), or the Certified Fire Plan Examiner (CFPE) certifications will now be automatically registered with the Pro Board and will receive an NFPA certificate bearing the Pro Board logo. Entities that achieve Pro Board accreditation are recognized as having met the rigors of review by an independent organization, assuring candidates and governance bodies that the entity’s program meets the national standards. Obtaining Pro Board accreditation for the NFPA certification team involved an intensive review of examination content as well as all certification design, development, and delivery process and policies. Visit nfpa.org/certification. ASA and Surety Industry Associations Update P3 Guide Construction of projects for public use through public-private partnerships continues
the speed of thought
Training Made Easy! THE AFSA WAY... To assist contractors in maintaining a quality workforce, the American Fire Sprinkler Association and its Fire Sprinkler eCampus offer hundreds of online training programs that award CEUs (as recognized by IACET) and CPD credits (as recognized by NICET). Online courses include: • Applied Sprinkler Technology / System Layout • Hydraulic Calculations • Seismic Bracing • Beginning CAD • Codes, and many other topics... Check it out at www.SprinklerECampus.com
INDUSTRY NEWS CONT. to increase at all levels of government, including at the state and local levels. Many of the P3 programs authorized by the states, however, provide no payment protections for subcontractors and suppliers on P3 projects, on which mechanic’s liens and the requirement for payment bonds most likely do not apply. The American Subcontractors Association, in collaboration with the National Association of Surety Bond Producers and The Surety & Fidelity Association of America, has reviewed the state laws authorizing construction projects to be financed by P3s and determined which programs provide payment assuranc-
es for construction subcontractors and suppliers through payment bonds. The revised guide published by ASA, NASBP, and SFAA, “PublicPrivate Partnership Laws in the States, including Surety Bond Requirements” (2015 Edition), will help subcontractors determine whether they have payment protections before they bid on a P3 project. Visit asaonline.com. Registration Opens for the 2016 National Fire and Emergency Services Symposium The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) is now accepting registrations for
You don’t have to be a genius.
the 2016 National Fire and Emergency Services Symposium/28th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner. The date of the 2016 program is May 4-5. Attended by approximately 2,000 fire and emergency services leaders from across the country, the event is the largest and most important gathering of fire service leaders in Washington, DC, featuring important seminars and opportunities for interaction with federal government officials. Visit cfsi.org. New NFPA Standard Requires Air Vent, Potter Offers Only UL Listed and FM Approved Automatic Air Vent In a major change that impacts designers and installers, the 2016 edition of NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, added a new requirement that a single air vent be installed on each wet pipe sprinkler system to help reduce corrosion activity due to trapped air. The Potter Automatic Air Vent (PAV) is the only UL listed and FM approved automatic air vent for fire sprinkler systems available on the market today. The PAV is designed to reduce the amount of air in a fire sprinkler system with little or no maintenance, and is the ideal choice for meeting NFPA 13 7.1.5. The product is also available as a PAAR-B with drip pan. Visit potter signal.com. n
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The solution is obvious. Firesprinkler.org is where the Fire Sprinkler industry goes online. You will find the solutions to your education and training needs, technical support and industry news and updates. Membership in the American Fire Sprinkler Association gives you full access to real benefits and services that will fit perfectly in your business plan and increase your productivity and profitability. Be a Member
Apply online at firesprinkler.org or call 214-349-5965.
Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Co. South-Tek Systems SprinkFlex, LLC Trade Tool & Supply Tyco U.S. Tool
36 IFC 9 7 24 13, BC 8
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58 Sprinkler Age | January/February 2016
Knowledge You Can Count On. Pure Performance.
Tyco’s knowledge runs deep. For more than 20 years, TYCO Attic Sprinklers have been leading the way with extensive fire testing for sloped combustible concealed spaces. Tyco’s Specific Application Attic Sprinklers provide superior fire protection and significant cost savings by minimizing costs associated with material and installation labor for standard spray sprinklers and allowing for the use of CPVC in attics. Tyco’s Specific Application Attic Sprinklers are the first sprinklers to be: • Listed for extended coverage in combustible construction • Full-scale fire tested in both wet and dry system scenarios • Full-scale tested for use in wood truss construction • Listed for specific roof slopes For more information, contact your Tyco representative or visit www.Tyco-Fire.com/Attic.
Safer. Smarter. Tyco. Copyright © 2015 Tyco Fire Products LP. All rights reserved
A full range of options with extensive fire testing for sloped combustible concealed spaces.
The January/February 2016 issue of Sprinkler Age