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Fraternity and Sorority House Fire Safety

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Presentation on theme: "Fraternity and Sorority House Fire Safety"— Presentation transcript:

1 Fraternity and Sorority House Fire Safety
Buddy Dewar Director of Regional Operations National Fire Sprinkler Association

2 How To Manage Greek Housing Fire Sprinkler Retrofit

3 Agenda Brief Overview. What to Expect From Fire Services.
Knowing What To Ask For In Bid RFP’s. Costs. Externalities. Economic Considerations. Resources For Assistance.

4 Brief Overview

5 Student Housing Fire Statistics
Between 1990 and 2000: Annual average 1,400 fires in on-campus dormitories and fraternity and sorority housing. Over 50 fire deaths occurred in on-campus dormitories and fraternity and sorority housing during this decade. Half of the fires and 75% of the fire deaths occurred in fraternity and sorority housing. Average fraternity and sorority housing property loss is $580,000 per fire. Source: NFPA

6 Student Housing Fire Statistics
Leading Cause of Fires: Arson Cooking Smoking Candles Source: NFPA

7 Key Factors in Fire Deaths
Building Materials Used in Construction Alcohol Smoking Physical Impairment Origin in Common Use Area

8 NIST Study Fire Sprinklers in Combination With Smoke Detectors Could Reduce the Fire Death Rate by 82%

9 What to Expect From Fire Services

10 Chapel Hill, North Carolina The Tragic Phi Gamma Delta House Fire
May 12, 1996 will be difficult for many to forget - Graduation Day - Mothers Day Five (5) young people died in the fire Fire started in a lounge/bar in the basement and spread rapidly upward trapping the occupants Fire Sprinklers would have saved lives

11 Chapel Hill Fire Will Change Fire Code Oversight in Greek Houses Nationwide Outraged Fire Service Wants Strict Enforcement of Fire Codes Wants End of Political Intervention Wants Mandatory Fire Sprinkler Law Wants Right of Immediate Closure of a House for Overcrowding Echoing NIST Study Statistics

12 From The Fire Service Expect A Fire Code Mandate, Specifically Fire Sprinkler Retrofit Short Compliance Timeframe After Hours Occupancy Load Checks

13 Dan Jones Fire Chief Chapel Hill, NC
One of the Leaders of Our Nation’s Fire Service Fraternity and Sorority Fire Safety Movement Dan Jones Fire Chief Chapel Hill, NC

14 Also Promoting Greek Housing Fire Safety
Bonnie Woodruff

15 Knowing What To Ask For in Bid RFP’s
NFPA 13 ? NFPA 13R ? NFPA 13D ?

16 National Design Standards
National Fire Protection Association NFPA-13, Commercial Fire Sprinkler Design Standards. NFPA-13R, Residential Fire Sprinkler Design Standards. NFPA-13D, Dwelling Fire Sprinkler Design Standards. (One- and Two-family)

17 NFPA 13 Sprinklers are not required in bathrooms that are within dwelling units if: Less than 55 sq. ft. in area. Walls and Ceilings of noncombustible or limited combustible material. 15 Minute thermal barrier behind fixtures. NFPA 13 allows sprinklers to be omitted in certain rooms and areas. For example sprinklers are not required in certain bathrooms of dwelling units meeting the criteria listed on the slide. 35

18 NFPA 13 Sprinklers are not required in clothes closets, linen closets, and pantries within dwelling units if: Area does not exceed 24 sq. ft. Least dimension does not exceed 3 ft. Walls and ceilings of non-combustible or limited combustible material. Sprinklers can be deleted in small closets of hotel and motel rooms subject to the limitations on the slide. 37

19 NFPA 13 Other than the qualified exceptions for bathrooms and closets, every other area must be protected including unoccupied concealed spaces such as attics. Attic sprinklers require unique pressure and flows and typically cause upgrade of water connection to street main. Avoid attic sprinklers – can increase cost of system by 20-50%.

20 NFPA 13R Sprinklers shall be installed in all areas except:
Bathrooms not exceeding 55 sq. ft. Clothes closets, linen closets and pantries not exceeding 24 sq. ft.& least dimension 3 ft. Open porches, balconies, corridors and stairs Attics, penthouses, equipment rooms, crawl spaces, floor/ceiling spaces, elevator shafts and concealed spaces. Again each NFPA Standard has its own set of sprinkler omissions. Garages and Carports are required to be protected with sprinklers. 63

21 NFPA 13D Sprinklers shall be installed in all areas except:
Bathrooms less than 55 sq. ft. Clothes closets, linen closets and pantries less than 24 sq. ft. least dimension 3 ft. Garages, carports and attached porches Attics, crawl spaces and concealed spaces Entrance foyers (if a second exit is provided) Sprinklers are not required in bathrooms less than 55 square feet. Small clothes closets do not require sprinkler protection. Garages and carports are not required to be sprinklered. Sprinklers can be omitted from attics, crawl spaces and combustible concealed spaces as long as they are not used for storage. Entrance foyers do not require sprinklers if a second exit from the dwelling is provided. EMPHASIS MUST BE MADE OF THE PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH REQUIRING FIRE SPRINKLERS IN AREAS NOT REQUIRED BY THE NFPA 13D AND 13R DESIGN STANDARDS. Affordability is often lost when not required areas are required to be sprinklered - particularly attic sprinklers. 52

22 Water Supply Options Street Main Domestic Water Line
The most common water supply is the public or private water main. Domestic Water Line 44

23 Domestic Water Line Serves Both Domestic System and Fire Sprinkler System
Street Main Domestic Control Valve It is acceptable to use the domestic water supply as the supply for the sprinkler system if the flow and pressures are adequate. The valving arrangement is critical to ensure the system is always activated. With this type of valve arrangement anytime the sprinkler system is shut off the domestic plumbing system is also turned off. This arrangement helps to ensure the system will always be activated when the home is occupied. Additionally with this type of valve arrangement, the domestic water supply can be shut off without shutting down the fire sprinkler system. Check Valve Pressure Gage Sprinkler System Domestic Water Line Customer Control Valve Water Meter 45

24 Water Supply Options Pump and Tank Street Main To Fire Sprinkler
System Pressure Gage Another option is the pump and tank. NFPA 13 and 13R require the pump to be installed according to NFPA 20. NFPA 13D does not require the pump to meet the requirements of NFPA 20. The pump must be capable of delivering and adequate water supply and adequate pressure. Review the typical water supply requirement for a 1 family dwelling. Water Storage Tank Check Valve Fire Pump 46

25 Water Supply Options Pressure Tank Street Main Pump and Tank Fire
Sprinkler System Pressure Gage Street Main Pump and Tank Pressure Tank Check Valve Another optional water supply is a Pressure tank. 2/3 of the tanks capacity must contain the required water supply and 1/3 of the tanks capacity is pressurized with air. When the sprinkler(s) activates the air pressure acts as the propellant to push the water through the system. Pressure tanks must meet the unfired pressure vessel requirements of NFPA 22. 2/3 Pressure Tank 47

26 Water Supply Options Pressurized Tank Street Main Pump and Tank
Fire Sprinkler System Street Main Pump and Tank Pressure Tank Pressurized Tank Pressure Gage Check Valve Another water supply option is the pressurized storage reservoir. A cylinder of compressed air or nitrogen is used to act as the propellant. When a fire sprinkler activates, the pressurized cylinder pushes the water thorough the system. Pressure Tank Pressure Vessel 48

27 Water Supply Ask contractor to list water supply costs in bid documents. Water storage tank is a viable option if distance from water main is lengthy or roads must be breached. Ask contractor for water supply option. Underground piping, backflow prevention, and tap fees can be over 40% of total costs.

28 Cross Connection Protection
Intended to protect drinking water from contamination via backflow. Some water purveyors require Reduced Pressure Zone backflow preventers. Double Check Valve is the highest level of cross-connection protection needed for Greek housing.

29 Sprinkler Selection Standard Spray Sprinklers.
Quick Response Sprinklers. And Residential Quick Response Sprinklers. You Want Residential Quick Response Sprinklers!

30 Sprinkler 1 = 18 gpm 1’-6” 6’ 12’ Residential sprinklers must have high wall wetting characteristics. When one residential sprinkler activates, it must wet the adjacent walls within 18 inches of the ceiling. 21

31 2 Sprinklers 13 + 13 = 26 GPM 6’ 12’ 2’-6” 8’
When 2 residential sprinklers operate, each must wet the walls within 30 inches of the ceiling. 22

32 Costs

33 Retrofit Costs NFPA 13 – $3.25 - $5.00+ per sq. ft.
NFPA 13R - $1.75 – 3.50 per sq.ft. NFPA 13D - $ $2.50 per sq. ft. Varies by region.

34 Fire Official and Sprinkler Designs
Often Wants More Stringent Standard. Often Lacks Authority to Require More Stringent Standard. 95%+ Of Greek Housing, NFPA 13R is the Proper Low Cost Design Standard To Use. NFPA 13R limited to no more than 4-stories in height.

35 The Code Dilemma Code changes every three years.
A 30 year old house witnesses 10 code revisions and may need major renovation to meet today’s code. All model building and fire codes allow exceptions to code requirements in Fire Sprinkler protected buildings. Some fire officials refuse to allow exceptions even though code allowed.

36 Alternative Solutions
Understanding the Fire Code Game Plan

37 Alternative Solutions
Acceptable Alternatives May Be Used To Offset Non-Compliance With A Prescriptive Code Requirement Provided The Alternative Solution Provides The Same or Greater Level Of Fire Safety As The Prescriptive Code Requirement. The Alternative May Not Be A Basic Code Requirement

38 Alternative Solutions – Example 1
Exit Access Corridor Width Too Narrow Not Feasible To Correct Code Requirement Intended To Ensure Timely Egress Of The Occupants Before Fire Makes Exiting Untenable Alternative Must Deal With Exiting or Fire Suppression

39 Exit Access Corridor Width
Not Acceptable Alternatives: Smoke Detection Basic Code Requirement Does Not Suppress Fire Space Non-Use Agreements Not Enforceable

40 Exit Access Corridor Width
Acceptable Alternatives Additional Exits Limit Travel Distance Fire Suppression System Automatic Fire Sprinkler Automatic Chemical System

41 Alternative Solutions – Example 2
Exit Remoteness w/o sprinklers 1/2 the diagonal distance Exit Remoteness with sprinklers 1/4 the diagonal distance

42 NFPA 101A NIST Developed Performance Codes
Quantifies The Level Of Life Safety Required By Prescriptive Codes Provides Tables And Charts To Establish A Fire Safety Evaluation For A Property Can Be Used To Select Best Alternative Solution

43 NFPA 101A Can Be Used To Validate Literal Non-Compliance With Prescriptive Code Requirements Has been Court Tested Chapter 6, Section 3, May Apply To A Property That Was Originally Built As An Apartment or Boarding House

44 Investigate alternative code allowances before spending money on a fire sprinkler system and other construction features. Fire code official may not know the alternative code allowances for fire sprinklers.

45 Contractor Overhead Most contractor’s business environment is established to do commercial installations. Accordingly, higher prices reflective of commercially driven overhead. Seek contractors who have established a Residential Division.

46 Contractor Workforce Some Greek Housing fire sprinkler retrofit being done under a “when workforce available” agreement. Much lower cost. Longer period of construction debris.

47 Aesthetics Fire sprinkler contractors typically install pipe, not drywall. Understand scope of work bid by contractor and visualize the end product. Sprinklers can be concealed behind crown molding. Drop ceiling may be required.

48 Those issue external from the fire sprinkler system that impact cost.
Externalities Those issue external from the fire sprinkler system that impact cost.

49 Externalities Impacting Costs
Tap Fees Impact Fees Permit Fees Assessment Fees Plans Review Fees

50 Economic Considerations

51 Economic Considerations
Don’t expect government to pay. Some states establishing a low interest loan but money pool insufficient to meet needs. Many Greek organizations using typical fundraising strategies. Some fraternities using insurance rate reduction.

52 Economic Considerations
Insurance Income Tax Liability Avoidance Business Interruption Life Safety Code

53 Insurance Rates Set By ISO or By State Insurance Department
Rates Are Used As The Benchmark For That Building By All Member Insurance Companies

54 ISO Sample Rates/$100 Insured
Building Rates No Sprkler Sprklered %Change Condominium Hotel Office Building Warehouse Source: ISO

55 ISO Sample Rates/$100 Insured
Content Rates No Sprkler Sprklered %Change Condominium Hotel Office Building Warehouse Source: ISO

56 Insurance Rates Fraternity House Rates Expected to Be: Non Sprinklered
.694 Per $100 Insured Value Sprinklered .450 Per $100 Insured Value Source: James R. Favor & Co.

57 Actual Insurance Data Chi Psi Fraternity, Berkeley, CA
Source: James R. Favor & Co. Insured Valve - $1,500,000 Non-Sprinklered Rate $10,404 Sprinklered Rate $ 6,750 Savings $ 3,654

58 Actual Insurance Data Chi Psi Fraternity, Berkeley, CA
Annual Insurance Savings - $3,654 Sprinkler Cost Actual $1.75/sq.ft $19,500 Insurance Payback Years Expect sorority insurance payback to be at least double the time frame because sorority fire risk is much less than fraternity risk!

59 Income Tax Depreciation Allowance for Value of System - 27.5 Years
Interest On A Loan Qualified Rehabilitation Tax Credit Pre 1936 Historic Registry 20% Tax Credit

60 Liability Avoidance Reasonable Level of Care. Shotgun Litigation.
Typical $1 Million liability per life lost in a fire.

61 Business Interruption
Fraternity and Sorority Housing should be viewed as a business. Vast majority of companies that suffer major fires never open its doors again Fire sprinklers limit fire damage to small area

62 Life Safety Code Exceptions For Fire Sprinklers Greater Than Any Other Construction Feature Sprinklers Make Compliance With Future Editions More Likely

63 Resources For Assistance

64 Resources For Assistance
NFSA Technical assistance. Regional response. Mitigating conflicts. Contractor directory.

65 Retrofit Fire Sprinklers
The Right Thing To Do

66 Thank You

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