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Dec 20, 2021

On episode 24 of Fire Code Tech we are talking about specifications. What is specification and how do they relate to construction documents? What are common elements and important details to include in fire suppression and fire alarm specs? We answer all this and more in the solocast this week.  



Hello. Welcome to the solo cast of fire code tech in these episodes. It's just gonna be me, your host, Gus Gagliardi. There's gonna be a range of topics, but I'm gonna talk about specific technologies, installation, standards, codes, and how they work as well as some other interesting topics that don't neatly fit inside of the context of a normal interview.

Hello, all welcome to episode 25 of fire code. In this episode, we're talking about specifications. I wanted to talk about fire protection specifications because there's such a crucial part of being a fire protection engineer and having a concrete understanding of FPE fundamentals for baseline knowledge.

It's crucial to understand the full scope and process of producing contract documents and specifications are a key part of. In this episode, we're gonna talk about what are specifications and what are the components that are common when generating or utilizing a pre-written spec. Also, we are gonna discuss what items are more commonly on the documents in contrast to items that are typically located in the specifications.

Hope you enjoyed this episode and don't forget to subscribe. So you never miss an episode and follow us on social. Let's get into the show. Also, if you do me a huge favor and give us a five star review on apple podcasts, that really helps us out on the algorithm. So let's talk about what are specifications or as they are more commonly referred to as specs.

Although like we talked about the fire protection plans are a crucial part of conveying the scope of work for a project. Sometimes you need a written explanation of the construction process and the materials and qualities that are required to be bid for a job. Good quality specifications are just as important.

And some engineers would argue more important than having quality five protection plans. Specs are generally a written set of instructions and qualifications used to tell the contractor or general contractor. What needs to be provided in the extents of the construction scope? There are specification divisions, one through division 48.

From my experience fire suppression specifications are generally found in division 21. And fire alarm and security specs are generally found in division 28. Specifications are a component of the contract document. Which means that this is a contract between the buyer of the construction project and the general contractor and contractors of the construction project, an agreement for what will be built and constructed and what services and materials the building owner is paying for the specs are used in combination with the fire protection plans in order to paint a picture of the exact construction elements that are require.

There are prescriptive and performance details illustrated in the contract documents. The specs are a sequential list of these items. Specifications. Start out with contract details that are more general and then move into more specific system engineering related items. The first couple spec sections are detailed requirements for bidding and the construction process and are often referred to as the front end specs.

Oftentimes owners with large numbers of buildings will have their own specifications for construction projects. If you're working for a fortune 500 company, there's a good chance that there are gonna have some template specifications for the project. Let's talk about common items in the two most common fire protection specifications, starting with fire suppression and division 21.

Fire suppression specifications are usually in division 21 and more specifically wet pipe fire suppression systems are usually section 21 13 13. Sometimes at the beginning of the specs, there will be a summary of the system and the scope of work that is going on with the system. For instance, if you have an existing system or building, and the project is contracted to replace the system and repair the extents of the system, it would state a small brief couple of sentences to indicate this scope of.

Frequently, there will be a list in a summary portion of the specs, which will describe the different systems or components of systems that will be talked about in the spec section. For instance, for fire suppression, you might talk about piping material. You might talk about sprinkler types, discussions, demolition, new equipment codes and standards and much.

If there are any terminology in special terms as a part of the specifications, oftentimes there'll be a definition section in the beginning of the specs that will detail specific definitions that are pertinent to the spec section. A really important part of the specs is the submittal section, which will describe what are considered to be required as submittals.

So if you need qualifications, shop drawings, calculations. Or anything like this, they need to be detailed in the submittals portion of the spec. There are different parts to specifications. Oftentimes the specs will start off general and then lead to execution and product specifications. Specific insurance requirements.

Like if your building owner has FM global as an insurance provider, you will locate details about the specific insurance requirements in your specifications. Local codes and standards are sometimes referenced in the specifications and also mirrored those references on the fire protection plants. How fire stopping will be performed for a project will usually be referenced in the specification.

Will each trade take care of their fire stopping or will one specified contractor for fire stopping take care of every trade's fire stopping. What type of pipe and sprinkler will be used in the project will be specified in the spec section in division 21. So if you have schedule 40 pipe only, or schedule 10 and schedule 40 pipe will be detailed in the specs.

If you'll notice these are all very pertinent cost items for how to buy and construct a fire suppression system. So that's why it's important that they're located in the specs. There are requirements for what needs to be on the shop drawings in codes and standards like N FPA 13 and N F P 72. But in addition, you can put what's required to be on the shop drawings in the specifications.

This way, not only will you have the common qualifications and details required in documents like N F P 13, but you'll have the specs to lean on to make sure that the shop drawings have all the components that you desire for documentation. If as a part of the project, you're expecting the contractor to perform a flow test for their hydraulic calculations.

Or if there are seismic qualifications to consider for the seismic soil category classification, you need to locate these details in the specifications. Sprinkler finishes for tenant improvement spaces or high finish high Des high interior design coordination spaces need to be located in the specs. If you need custom cover plates for your sprinklers, it's a good, I, it's a good idea to indicate this detail in the specifications generally, towards the end of the spec section execution details like commissioning, functional testing and documentation required to close out.

The projects are very. also, there will sometimes be there's a whole spec section that indicates what's required in the on and M manuals. But generally each spec section will link the on and M manual specification section. Here's a templated system description that I found online while doing research for this solo cast system description.

What pipe sprinkler system, automatic sprinklers are attached to piping containing water that is connected to a water supply through an alarm. Water discharges immediately from sprinklers when they're opened sprinklers open, when heat mails feasible link or destroys ible device, host connections are included if indicated.

So this is an example of a broad system overview. Like we talked about at the beginning of the episode, I just wanted to give this little bit of narrative, cuz I thought it was a good descriptor of what you might find in the summary of a system Des. if there are special cleaning detail requirements as a part of a project, you'll find them in the specs.

Once was a part of a project that had, uh, detailed remediation and cleanup after a fire. And we had a lot of details in the specifications about the requirements for cleaning and from the industrial hygienist, as far as what would pass for clean in the scope of the project. If you have rigorous testing for a system like a high expansion foam system, you'll have a lot of detail in the specs about the pre functional and functional testing required for commissioning a foam fire suppression system.

We could do a whole episode about this topic. It's quite in depth. If you want to require only OS and Y gate valves for control valves in your fire suppression system, or if you're partial to butterfly valves, wherever they're required by code, you can indicate that as well in the specs. If your facility only uses Viking or LIC valves, and you wanna keep them all consistent for ease of maintenance, this is a great detail to have in the specifications.

Division of work between civil plumbing and fire protection trades can also be illustrated in the specifications. Sometimes it is beneficial to clearly delineate where scope for one track, one contractor ends and one contractor begins in order to make sure that the work gets picked up. It's very common for fire departments to have regional requirements for their host threads and what fire department connection is required for the project.

You definitely want to indicate the fire department connection requirements. If the project needs a stores five inch instead of a SI maze two and a half inch connection, then you want to indicate that specifications are usually edited in specific programs that are hand tailor made for this process. I think that's gonna do it for fire protection specifications for this episode.

Next time we'll dive deep into fire alarm specs. And what are the common qualities of those specifications? And look at some other specs. If we have time. Namely fire pumps, jock pumps, controllers, and maybe even we'll get to fire protection, water storage tanks. We'll see you next time on fire code tech.

Thanks for listening everybody. Be sure to share the episode with a friend, if you enjoyed it, don't forget that fire protection and life safety is serious business. The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are by no means a professional consultation or a codes and standards interpretation. Be sure to contact a licensed professional, if you are getting involved with fire protection and or life safety.

Thanks again. And we'll see you next time.