June 14 2024 0Comment

Why We Can’t Use Square Foot Pricing for Fire Sprinkler Systems: a Deeper Look

Article by – Rick Coppola – Contract sales

A very common question we receive all the time as a Fire Sprinkler Salesperson is; “Can you just give me a square foot price to sprinkler my facility?” And as much as we would love to say yes, to provide you with an accurate estimate, we need to consider all the details. Take the example below:

In the image above, if we take a building that is wide open with no partitions at 100’ x 40’ the total square footage is 4000 Sq. Ft. We can protect the space according to NFPA-13 at 225 Sq. Ft. per standard coverage sprinkler head. If we are figuring on this space being a light hazard occupancy with standard coverage sprinkler heads, 4000 / 225 Sq. Ft. = 18 sprinkler heads. And with a maximum distance of 7′ 6″ off of the perimeter walls, this will increase to 21 fire sprinklers required to protect the entire space.

Now if we take that same square footage and break it up into rooms as in the example above; five rooms across top and bottom at 20’ x 18’ = 360 Sq. Ft. per office. And one corridor 4’ x 100’ long. this would resemble your typical office space.

Each office will need 4 sprinklers due to the size and lay-out. As a reminder, we cannot exceed 7’6” from any wall, so due to the layout we would need four sprinkler heads in each office. Even if we applied NFPA’s Small Room Rule, 9’ off one wall but no more than 7’6” off any other wall: 9’ 0″ + 7’ 6” = 16’ 6”. The room being 20’ x 18’, we would exceed the maximum spray distance. The result is 4 heads in each of the 10 offices. This is 40 Sprinkler heads plus an additional 7 sprinkler heads required down the length of the hallway. Total fire sprinklers required for the same total square foot space in this scenario, is 47 sprinkler heads.

Please note that this example does not take into account if some of the offices have closets or bathrooms, as this would also increase the total number of sprinkler heads required.   

As you can see from the examples provided above, your fire sprinkler contractor would not be able to provide a square foot proposal. Each additional fire sprinkler head increases cost, requires additional material as well as labor to install. So, if you want an accurate estimate for your project, you will need to provide your contractor with all the facts of the fitted out space to get the most accurate pricing available.

Our Sales Team at Oliver Fire Protection and Security will be happy to apply the appropriate codes and standards to provide you an accurate proposal to perform the Fire Protection for your facility. If you have questions about this, your facility’s spacing, occupancy, sprinkler coverages or need a proposal for your next project, please reach out to our Sales Representatives at (610) 277-1331.