Monday, January 14, 2019

Facility Managers Guide to Fire Sprinkler Inspections

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) defines the role of Facility Manager as, the "organizational function which integrates people, place and process within the built environment with the purpose of improving the quality of life of people and the productivity of the core business.” 

Today's facility manager is a key contributor to a companies bottom line. This contribution is realized in the maintenance of a companies most valuable assets - property, buildings, and equipment. Facility managers are expected to be an expert on all building related subjects, and the often serve as a "catch all" for jobs and responsibilities that do not fit anyone else's job description. 

The regular inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire protection systems is an important part of the job, and a critical component of ensuring life safety of the building's occupants. The Quick Response Fire Supply team has written an excellent series of articles to educate the facility manager on what to inspect in fire sprinkler systems.

Part #1: What Facility Managers Need to Inspect on a Fire Sprinkler System
What to look for on the required annual visual inspection - "from the floor level".

Part #2: What Facility Managers Need to Inspect on a Fire Sprinkler System
Understanding deficiencies, impairments, and tagging systems.

Part #3: What Facility Managers Need to Inspect on a Fire Sprinkler System
Inspection requirements for fire pumps.

Part #4: What Facility Managers Need to Inspect on a Fire Sprinkler System
Fire sprinkler system signs, gauges, and alarms.

Part #5: What Facility Managers Need to Inspect on a Fire Sprinkler System
System components and valves.

Part #6: What Facility Managers Need to Inspect on a Fire Sprinkler System
Inspection requirements for water storage tanks.

Part #7: What Facility Managers Need to Inspect on a Fire Sprinkler System
Automatic detection systems and air-compressors.

Monday, January 7, 2019

In Caves of Steel: Fire Protection and Life Safety for Underground Structures

From "Robbies World Blog"
In his serial, The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov writes of a future crowded nation where underground living is commonplace. However, in Beijing this is a current reality.  Nearly one million people live beneath the city. These people are referred to as the shuzu, or “rat tribe”, and they take advantage of the bunkers and fallout shelter systems that were dug in the late 1960’s to 1980’s. These subterranean dwellings present multiple issue to the fire protection and life safety of occupants. NFPA 101, Life Safety Code,  Chapter 11, Section 7, provides the basic requirements for life safety within underground and limited access structures.
Underground structures are defined as, “a structure or portions of a structure in which the floor level is below the level of exit discharge”.  A limited access structure is, “a structure or portion of a structure lacking emergency access openings”. To qualify as an emergency access opening the window, panel, or similar opening must meet the following criteria:
  • minimum dimensions of 22" width x 24" high
  • bottom of opening  less than 44" AFF
  • unobstructed, identifiable, and accessible from both the interior and the exterior

It is important to clearly define whether the space is considered an underground or limited access structure. Each of these have their own, and overlapping, fire protection and life safety requirements. Both structure types must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Fire sprinkler system is required (with some exceptions, noted in 101:
    • Sprinklers may be omitted if the following applies:
      • Occupant load is 50 or fewer for new structures, 100 or less for existing
      • If the structure is permitted to have a single exit (per occupancy use), and the common path of travel does not exceed 50 feet.
  • Emergency lighting is required, throughout

In addition to these requirements, structures that expressly meet the definition of underground structure must comply with these additional requirements.

  • Automatic smoke venting systems (required, if following applies):
    • Occupant load is greater than 100 persons
    • Occupiable floors are greater than 30 feet below exit discharge
    • Space contains combustible contents, interior finishes, or construction
  • Exit stair enclosures are required to have code compliant signage that points to the direction of exit discharge

This is only an encapsulation of the fire protection requirements as outlined in the Life Safety Code. There are many other factors to be considered for safe underground dwelling. Aside from the building code, loads, and material requirements, there are very real emergency response issues. These challenges include ventilation, communication, orientation, access and egress, and patient removal.  In areas of occupied subterranean environments departments should be aware of their existence and have robust plans for the maintenance and enforcement of codes and standards, and emergency response.

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Book List 2018

Here are the books I was reading in 2018:


The Supermodel and the Brillo Box - Don Thompson
The Inevitable City - Scott Cowen
The Black Swan - Nassim Taleb
How to Write Copy That Sells - Ray Edwards
Growing Your Business - Mark LeBlanc
How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere - Larry King
Good Guys, Wise Guys, and Putting Up Buildings: A Life in Construction - Samuel Florman
Crisis Leadership - Gene Klann
American Ground - William Langewiesche
Warrior Politics - Robert Kaplan
The Million-Dollar One-Person Business - Elaine Pofeldt
Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book - Diane Muldrow
Everyone’s a Coach - Don Shula and  Ken Blanchard
Consulting Success - Michael Zipursky
Strategic Pastor - Matt Pilot


The Mugger - Ed McBain
Lemons Never Lie - Richard Stark
The Mammoth Book of Private Eye Stories - Pronzini/Greenberg
Even the Wicked - Lawrence Block
Aftershock & Others - F. Paul Wilson
The Extradionist - Todd Merer
The Winter of Frankie Machine - Don Winslow
The Patriot Game - George V. Higgins
Candyland - Evan Hunter/Ed McBain
The McBain Brief - Ed McBain
Everybody Dies - Lawrence Block
Top of the Heap - Erle Stanley Gardner
Cinnamon Skin - John D. MacDonald
A Flash of Green - John D. MacDonald
Binary - Michael Crichton as John Lange
A Long Time Dead - Mickey Spillane/Max Allan Collins