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fox7

join:2001-02-12
Culver City, CA

Water Splinkers in the Server Room???

Hi:
The building maintance engineer is having water splinklers installed in the server room at this time. I am in California and he says the fire department requires it. Any body in So Cal know anything about this??

fox7



CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County

Seems to me halon should be used...

You should be able to find the building codes online and read them.



CCat
We're all quite mad here
Premium,MVM
join:2005-12-06
Wonderland
kudos:18

1 edit
reply to fox7

California always has great ideas.
Stop by the local FD and ask them.



CCat
We're all quite mad here
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join:2005-12-06
Wonderland
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reply to CylonRed

said by CylonRed:

Seems to me halon should be used...

You should be able to find the building codes online and read them.
I do believe they are phasing out Halon due to environmental concerns. Should be a CO2 system.
--
Sometimes My Mind Wanders.....Other Times It Leaves Completely!

fox7

join:2001-02-12
Culver City, CA
reply to fox7

I have placed a phone call to the Fire Code Officer and am awaiting his call back. Thanks for suggestions.

fox7



LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada

1 edit
reply to CCat

said by CCat:

said by CylonRed:

Seems to me halon should be used...

You should be able to find the building codes online and read them.
I do believe they are phasing out Halon due to environmental concerns. Should be a CO2 system.
(I'm a firefighter, but in Canada - so my knowledge is on code up here) Halon systems are allowed to be maintained, if they pre-exist; but they cannot be recharged, or new ones installed, due to environmental concerns. Ingen, and FMT-200 are also "clean" gases, less harmful, but very expensive.

C02 systems tend to do damage, due to thermal shock; and some data-centres are installing water systems, with electrical interlocks (the power is turned off before water is flowed) - it's cheap, easier to clean then dry chem systems, and doesn't do any more damage then C02.

Laz


MacGyver
Don't Waste Your Energy
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join:2001-10-14
Canada
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Reviews:
·voip.ms
·TekSavvy DSL
reply to fox7

I had this argument from a client when I was designing mechanical systems, including fire protection, for a major data centre several years ago.

Ontario Building Code (OBC) mandated that sprinklers be installed throughout this building in accordance with NFPA 13, because the building exceeded certain height and area limits defined in the OBC. There are no exceptions allowed. The client did not want any water sprinklers in the data centre because they were concerned about potential damage to the equipment contained within, easily worth several millions of dollars. BTW, this data centre was NOT mission critical! They wanted me to argue with the local chief building official, which I knew was pointless.

The purpose of sprinkler systems is to suppress fires in buildings to maintain building integrity, so that occupants have sufficient time to safely exit. The client was more concerned about contents than people!

The client wanted alternative fire protection technology, so we went with Inergen (not cheap, ran about $70CAD per square foot back then). However, the fire protection system is set up with what is called preaction. The first stage is fire/smoke detection activation. An alarm triggers and the room occupants, if any are present, have 20 seconds to press an abort button in the event of a false alarm. If the abort button is not activated, then the Inergen is released, extinguishing the fire. If the Inergen fails to extinguish the fire, then the second stage is water based sprinklers, which activate when heat causes the liquid-filled bulb in the sprinklers to burst, releasing the plug and allowing water to flow. Presumably at that point, if the Inergen failed to work, then the room is a total loss anyway, and one is better trying to save the building instead.

In this way, both the client's desire of a non-water based fire protection system, and building code requirements, were met.



CCat
We're all quite mad here
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join:2005-12-06
Wonderland
kudos:18
reply to LazMan

I didnt know about thermal shock. Have to read up on that.



penguin356
Premium
join:2001-02-01
Somewhere
kudos:1
reply to fox7

We have them in our Data center.. Halon as well.

If you get to the point that the sprinklers trigger (heat, not smoke), your DC is probably toast anyway. Halon is your first measure of defense. Once the sprinklers go, you are looking to protect the building.



maartena
Elmo
Premium
join:2002-05-10
Orange, CA
kudos:3
reply to fox7

said by fox7:

Hi:
The building maintance engineer is having water splinklers installed in the server room at this time. I am in California and he says the fire department requires it. Any body in So Cal know anything about this??

fox7
There is a legal requirement to have a fire extinguishing system installed, there is no legal requirement for it being specifically sprinklers.

For server rooms you should use a gas system, such as the halon or co2 mentioned above, to extinguish fires. Obviously a system like that isn't cheap. If you can not afford one, or have not budgetted for one this year, you are legally required to leave the sprinklers on.

Once you have a halon/co2/ingen/fmt-2000 whatever system installed, you can have the spinklers capped in the server room. Obviously the system does need to be on emergency power in case power to the server room is cut.

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to fox7

My first thought was "no!! no water in the server room" but there were some good points brought up here. Water does not have to be the only line of defense and should not be in this case. Like they said, by the time the fire sets off the water system the other options have failed, the contents of the building are likely ruined and it's a last resort measure for saving the building itself so you can rebuild without needing to find a new building.

Also check out this forum, lots of like minded people there: »No, I Will Not Fix Your #@$!! Computer


NullMaster

join:2000-08-24
Minneapolis, MN
reply to fox7

In Minnetonka (Minnesota) it is also required. A company a friend of mine manages IT for just built a new building in Minnetonka and they were required by the fire marshall to install sprinklers in their server room even though they also have a CO2 system.

Fire marshall didn't care. The only thing he could do was put shock resistant heads on the sprinklers. He also could of put a dry pipe system in but bldg mgmt nixed that one.

I'm in Minneapolis and I have also been told that I need to keep the sprinklers in my server room, I've been trying to get rid of them.

It seems to me there must be a way for data centers here to get around this, but office building with substantial amounts of people cannot.



Daarken
Rara Avises
Premium
join:2005-01-12
Southwest LA
kudos:3

I designed sprinkler systems from wet to dry to preaction to double interlock preaction systems.
I also used to designed Halon/FM200 systems.

Yes your required to have a sprinkler system, but to the degree of the system would be up to the AHJ. The double interlocked preaction system is the way to go. It provides the warning time and protection required but at a smaller cost to the end user.
Basically a heat/smoke/flame detector will go off in the room, and precharge the system with water.
There are a few other options to help reduce the cost of fire protection for server rooms, and there are a few alternatives availble to replace FM/200 systems.



whizkid3
Premium,MVM
join:2002-02-21
Queens, NY
kudos:9

2 edits
reply to fox7

Very typical. I design data centers for a living. Almost everyone I have seen has sprinklers within the server spaces; even if they have gaseous fire suppression. (Most codes that require sprinklers don't make exceptions for gaseous systems). Likewise, full-coverage gaseous firs suppression systems are always more costly than any type of sprinkler system. (Besides the gas, piping and tanks, you also need expensive controls. Often you need a purge system, as well.)

Wet sprinklers are a severe risk for data centers for obvious reasons. That is why the great majority use dry-pipe sprinklers, otherwise known as 'pre-action' systems.

Why are you not hiring a consultant or engineer skilled at this, rather than simply trusting your un knowledgeable 'maintenance man'?

Will there be design drawings involved? (Sprinkler systems require engineering calculations.) Is a permit being pulled and inspection done? (Sprinkler systems require testing to pass inspection.) Sounds like a schlock job is being done.



ReVeLaTeD
Premium
join:2001-11-10
San Diego, CA
reply to fox7

I believe sprinklers are required...

but as has been said, if your data center is at the point where sprinklers trigger, it's gone already anyway. That of course doesn't account for accidental or inadvertent triggering though...which would piss me off...



ramsfansam

join:2002-08-27
Springfield, MO
reply to whizkid3

I take insult at being called "un knowledgeable" - which you misspelled, BTW. I am a "maintenance man" with an associates degree in computer programming, as well as many further hours of training in various areas.

Dry-type sprinklers are often not allowed by local codes. This is why NFPA 13 has a clause stating that the final decision is up to the AHJ. However, I believe in this case, NFPA 101, the Life Safety Code, takes precedence over a data center - as does the AHJ.



Bink63
Namedrop THIS
Premium
join:2002-10-06
Everywhere
reply to fox7

Re: Water *Splinkers* in the Server Room???

said by fox7:

Hi:
The building maintance engineer is having water splinklers installed in the server room at this time. I am in California and he says the fire department requires it. Any body in So Cal know anything about this??

fox7
What exactly is a "splinklers"?????


--
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GO Cubs GO!!!


odnc
Premium
join:2002-02-04
Richmond, VA

3 recommendations

What exactly is a "splinklers"?????


Fire supression system for gay buildings.
--
This country needs an enema.


james1

join:2001-02-26
reply to ramsfansam

Re: Water Splinkers in the Server Room???

said by ramsfansam:

I take insult at being called "un knowledgeable" - which you misspelled, BTW. I am a "maintenance man" with an associates degree in computer programming, as well as many further hours of training in various areas.
So, did they teach you how to install sprinkler systems while getting your degree or was that part of your "many further hours of training in various areas".

I'm willing to bet you've got no professional experience in installing sprinkler systems, and thus you are "unknowledgeable" with regards to said subject.


james1

join:2001-02-26

1 edit

1 recommendation

reply to odnc

Re: Water *Splinkers* in the Server Room???

said by odnc:

What exactly is a "splinklers"?????


Fire supression system for gay buildings.
I'd have guessed buildings with asian accents... raff out roud.


Mchart
First There.

join:2004-01-21
Kaneohe, HI

2 edits
reply to fox7

Re: Water Splinkers in the Server Room???

I've worked in many large data centers, and each one had sprinklers. If a fire were to ever occur (Which is unlikely, as the places i've worked in have aluminum floor tiles, and almost nothing that would carry much flame) the point is to save the building. If the power is shut off (Automated, or via manual means) before the sprinklers go off - That water going over anything mounted in the racks won't do nearly as much damage as a fire will. If the facility has raised tiles any flooding that occurs because of the sprinkler system won't be much worry, as that water will accumulate under the floor tiles.
--
THIS IS SPENCER. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED - I HAVE JOE. RETURNING TO BASE.



ramsfansam

join:2002-08-27
Springfield, MO
reply to james1

said by james1 See Profile

I'm willing to bet you've got no professional experience in installing sprinkler systems, and thus you are "unknowledgeable" with regards to said subject.
[/BQUOTE :


Sure - I spend about 48-50 hours each year keeping updated on changes to the NFPA, and five years ago attended a 750 hour course on sprinkler installaton.


whizkid3
Premium,MVM
join:2002-02-21
Queens, NY
kudos:9
reply to ramsfansam

said by ramsfansam:

I take insult at being called "un knowledgeable" - which you misspelled, BTW. I am a "maintenance man" with an associates degree in computer programming, as well as many further hours of training in various areas.
No one said you, or all maintenance men are unkowledgeable, so cool your pits. I said this maintenance man was unknowledgeable, (with regard to data center design). Local codes have precedence. The requirements and design of sprinkler systems is a very complex subject. It takes an engineer that specializes in fire protection, period. We have designed thousands of data centers and computer rooms - every last one with either pre-action sprinklers or gaseous or both. In no instance, has there ever been a situation where pre-action (dry) was not acceptable, so I disagree with your statement that 'dry-type sprinklers are often not allowed by local codes. It has to be done right, of course.

For a fire to get hot enough to actually set off a sprinkler head in a data center, no one will be concerned with water in the data center. The equipment in that area will already have been destroyed, with the fire threatening to destroy the entire data center and building. Even without sprinklers, the fire department is going to come in and dump tens of thousands of gallons of water into the room. Its too late.

The point of having pre-action, is to prevent leaks and accidental discharge of sprinkler heads (when there is no fire) from damaging the equipment and/or causing an outage.


Noah Vail
Son made my Avatar
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Lorton, VA
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Reviews:
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reply to fox7

If it's helpful; I had a client who had a 2" pressurized sprinkler line break (along with the roof caving in). It dumped water for over an hour before the fire marshal came along and shut if off.

That left 12 systems sitting in 4"-8" of water for over an hour. I dumped them and moved them into a warehouse to dry, while I totaled up the loss.

A week later, the owner wanted me to put them back into service. I didn't think any of them would work. They were all powered on when they went into the water.

It's 3 years later, and they're all still running, even the laser printer that was directly in the flow of water.

NV
--
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I call it the Crapture.



MacGyver
Don't Waste Your Energy
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join:2001-10-14
Canada
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reply to ReVeLaTeD

said by ReVeLaTeD:

That of course doesn't account for accidental or inadvertent triggering though...which would piss me off...
That's what a preaction system is for. If one of the sprinklers opens, an alarm sounds, and only compressed air is released at first, offering a delay for a human being to abort the release of water if the open sprinkler is accidental.


MrFixitCT
pay it forward
Premium,VIP,ExMod 2001-06
join:2000-12-01
Charleston, SC
reply to fox7

We use FM200, »www.pyrochem.com/html/prodfm200.html



wilbilt
Pronto Resurrected
Premium
join:2004-01-11
Oroville, CA
reply to fox7

Our newest building (an elementary school) has wet sprinklers in the server room. The state inspector wouldn't have it any other way.

We have enhanced fire suppression requirements here for any buildings that are located within the Cal-Fire State Responsibility Area (SRA). Even though this school is not within the SRA boundary (1/2 mile away), the enhanced requirements were mandated.

Wet sprinklers in all spaces, additional hydrants, non-combustible roofing, etc. One building has a 5-foot roof overhang along one side, so required sprinklers outside the building along that wall.

There was no arguing about it, even though it added considerable expense to the project. I just hope I'm not in the server room if the sprinklers activate.
--
We were taking a vote when the ground came up and hit us.



PSWired

join:2006-03-26
Annapolis, MD

1 recommendation

reply to fox7

There's an important distinction that hasn't been made here between dry-pipe and preaction protection systems. A dry pipe system is a water-based system where the pipes in the protected area are not flooded under normal circumstances, they are filled with compressed air. When a sprinkler head bursts, the air pressure is released, and a valve allows water to enter the piping and exit the sprinkler head.

A dry pipe system is not necessarily a preaction system. A preaction system requires a separate fire detection system to indicate the presence of a fire in order to release water into the dry portion of a dry pipe system.

A preaction system in a datacenter will prevent flooding and equipment damage if a sprinkler head is damaged accidentally. A dry-pipe system alone will only provide a short delay until the compressed air is purged from the system piping.



Daarken
Rara Avises
Premium
join:2005-01-12
Southwest LA
kudos:3

PSWired is correct and has stated the correct definition and use of a preaction system. Also as a side note, if you do install a preaction system in the room, your not required to install a standard wet sprinkler system in that room also. The doors have to be self closing and walls ofcrouse do have to have a minnimum fire rating.

However Ramsfansam, your absolutely wrong on one of your statements, "Dry-type sprinklers are often not allowed by local codes. This is why NFPA 13 has a clause stating that the final decision is up to the AHJ. "
The AHJ can't demand less then what is min. required by the NFPA, and due to several types of construction you HAVE to install a dry pipe system, Anything that cannot maintain a temperature above 40 degrees F, all year. (Most warehouses, and attics have dry pipe systems, Anti-Freeze systems can be installed, but CANNOT exceed a 40 gallon capacity.

My advice, contact a local fire suppression company (usually a sprinkler contractor) to handle your system design and installation. They will do it correctly and to what the current code is requied by the current code of the NFPA that has been adopted by your state or AHJ.

Also considering the company I used to designed for was at one point one of the largeset PyroChem distributors/installers in the state, I would recommend thier product.

Who taught this 750 hour course in sprinkler installation?



AVD
Respice, Adspice, Prospice
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Onion, NJ
kudos:1

said by Daarken:

However Ramsfansam, your absolutely wrong on one of your statements, "Dry-type sprinklers are often not allowed by local codes. This is why NFPA 13 has a clause stating that the final decision is up to the AHJ. "
The AHJ can't demand less then what is min. required by the NFPA, and due to several types of construction you HAVE to install a dry pipe system,
NFPA is a model code, the AHJ adopts the NFPA along with whatever modifications it requires.