Friday, May 18, 2018


     Going into the Old School project we knew that adding a sprinkler system was a must.  When the building was first erected in 1939 there was no requirement for such a fire suppression system.  Building Codes have gotten a lot more sophisticated (and complicated) since then.  If we had kept the building in use as a school we would have been "grandfathered,"  and there would have been no mandate to add sprinklers.  But, the magic phrase "change of use" came into play as soon as we decided to convert the 30,000 square foot building into apartments.   "Change of use" opens the door for the application of all sorts of building code requirements.   A sprinkler system became a necessary part of the plan.

Counter-intuitively, at least to one who has never installed a sprinkler system,
the work began in the middle.   First, the black pipe  (visible among the tangle
of the white plumbing drain lines) was hung on the classroom side of the main
 corridor walls.  Then holes were drilled through the corridor wall, allowing a stub
line to penetrate the wall.  Eventually, a sprinkler head will be attached to the stub
line.  One of these days, the installed pipe will be connected back to the riser, the
4" water line that will allow the sprinkler system to sprinkle

Much of the sprinkler system was hidden by chases as the piping spread
its way throughout the building

Pipe fitting actually looks like hard work to me

Threading the pipe

Making pipe connections

Penetrating the walls actually took significant effort

Awaiting the addition of the actual sprinkler head, this unobtrusive sprinkler stub
 will help protect the main corridor.   For the most part, we were able to limit the
visibility of the sprinkler lines in the corridors.  Wasn't an easy task, but it became
a point of emphasis as the sprinkler design evolved to reflect the realities of
the building.

The gash in the ceiling is for wiring the corridor lighting.  It will be plastered
over and go away.  One hardly notices the connections for the sprinkler heads
on the left hand wall.   The heads themselves, when finally added, will be
white, blending into the wall. 

Some of the sprinkler lines had to be exposed.  No other affordable way.

But, when you paint the exposed lines they do tend to disappear into the wall

There is more, much more, to the sprinkler system, but you'll have to wait for future installments.

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