Large floorplate, short buildings can use a manual standpipe which doesn’t require a fire pump connection. These standpipes can only be used after a fire truck arrives. Manual standpipes offer a tremendous construction cost saving. Eliminating the need for the fire pump, electrical connections to it, and 2 water services with backflow preventers, this construction cost saves approximately $300,000.
First, if you don’t need a standpipe then you don’t need a fire pump. A fire pump services standpipes, not to be confused with a sprinkler booster pump which serves only sprinklers. Fire pumps are substantially larger than sprinkler booster pumps. Standpipes are required per BC 905 when:
- The building is 2 or more stories with a floor area of 10,000 ft2 or greater on any floor.
- The building is 3 or more stories with a floor area of 7,500 ft2 or greater on any floor.
- The building has 30 or more occupants on any floor 55 ft or more above the street.
- The building has any occupants on any floor 75 ft or more above the street.
The NYC building code refers to NFPA 14 for standpipe installation requirements, which is then modified by BC Q105. BC Q105 requires all high-rise buildings (over 75 ft) have automatic wet standpipes; they need a fire pump. Low-rise buildings (under 75 ft tall) have a choice of manual wet or automatic wet. Therefore, these large floor plate buildings of over 7,500 square feet per floor but under 75 feet tall can utilize manual wet standpipes that don’t require an expensive fire pump. As always, a detailed analysis must be performed by a licensed PE to ensure your specific site can utilize manual standpipes.
NYC 2014 BC 902 Definitions
STANDPIPE, TYPES OF. Standpipe types are as follows:
Automatic dry. A dry standpipe system, normally filled with pressurized air, that is arranged through the use of a device, such as dry pipe valve, to admit water into the system piping automatically upon the opening of a hose valve. The water supply for an automatic dry standpipe system shall be capable of supplying the system demand.
Automatic wetA wet standpipe system that has a water supply that is capable of supplying the system demand automatically.
Manual dry. A dry standpipe system that does not have a permanent water supply attached to the system. Manual dry standpipe systems require water from a Fire Department pumper to be pumped into the system through the Fire Department connection in order to meet the system demand.
Manual wet. A wet standpipe system connected to a water supply for the purpose of maintaining water within the system but that does not have a water supply capable of delivering the system demand attached to the system. Manual wet standpipe systems require water from a Fire Department pumper to be pumped into the system in order to meet the system demand.
Semiautomatic dry. A dry standpipe system that is arranged through the use of a device, such as a deluge valve, to admit water into the system piping upon activation of a remote control device located at a hose connection. A remote control activation device shall be provided at each hose connection. The water supply for a semiautomatic dry standpipe system shall be capable of supplying the system demand.
STANDPIPE SYSTEM, CLASSES OF. Standpipe classes are as follows:
Class I system. A system providing 2 ½ inch (64 mm) hose connections to supply water for use by the Fire Department and those trained in handling heavy fire streams.
Class II system. A system providing 1 ½ inch (38 mm) hose stations to supply water for use primarily by the building occupants or by the Fire Department during initial response.
Class III system. A system providing 1 ½ inch (38 mm) hose stations to supply water for use by building occupants and 2 ½ inch (64 mm) hose connections to supply a larger volume of water for use by the Fire Department and those trained in handling heavy fire streams.
NYC 2014 BC 905 Standpipe Systems
905.2 Installation standards. Standpipe systems shall be installed in accordance with this section and NFPA 14 as modified in Appendix Q.
905.3 Required installations. Standpipe systems shall be installed where required by Sections 905.3.1 through 905.3.6 and in the locations indicated in Sections 905.4, 905.5, and 905.6. Standpipe systems are allowed to be combined with automatic sprinkler systems.
Exception: Standpipe systems are not required in buildings occupied entirely by Group R-3.
905.3.1 Applicability. Class III standpipe systems shall be installed throughout the following buildings:
1. In buildings two stories or more in height with floor area of 10,000 square feet (929 m2) or greater on any story;
2. In buildings three stories or more in height with floor area of 7,500 square feet (697 m2) or greater on any story;
3. In buildings of any area with a floor level having an occupant load of 30 or more that is located 55 feet (16,764 mm) or more above the lowest level of Fire Department vehicle access;
4. In buildings of any area, constructed in accordance with Section 403, with occupied floors located 75 feet (22,860 mm) or more above the lowest level of Fire Department vehicle access.
Exceptions: The following exceptions are allowed as an alternative to the requirement of a Class III standpipe system:
1. Class I standpipes are allowed in buildings equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1 or 903.3.1.2 provided that the following additional requirements are met:
1.1. A locked storage cabinet shall be provided on the main entrance floor. One additional locked storage cabinet shall be provided on every tenth floor above the main entrance floor, such that no occupant on any floor would have to travel more than 5 floors to reach a cabinet in a location within 15 feet of standpipe riser. Where one standpipe riser is installed in the building, such cabinet shall contain at least one fog nozzle, one 1.5 inch (38mm) spanner wrench, one 2.5 inch (64 mm) spanner wrench, one 2.5 inch (64 mm) by 1.5 inch (38 mm) non-swivel reducing coupling, and 125 feet (38 m) of 1.5 inch (38 mm) hose. Where two or more standpipe risers are installed in the building, at least two of each of the above items of equipment shall be provided. However, the hose may be omitted when serving Group R-2 occupancies.
1.1.1. The cabinet shall be kept locked, openable by a Fire Department citywide standard key.
1.1.2. The cabinet shall be labeled, “FOR FIRE DEPARTMENT USE ONLY.”
1.1.3. A metal sign stating clearly where the storage cabinet is located shall be placed in each stair enclosure on the main entrance floor and on each floor where the cabinet is located.
1.2. Hose valves are capped with a hose valve cap fastened to the valve with a chain.
2. Class I manual standpipes are allowed in open parking garages where the highest floor is located not more than 150 feet (45,720 mm) above the lowest level of Fire Department vehicle access.
3. Class I manual dry standpipes are allowed in open parking garages that are subject to freezing temperatures, provided that the hose connections are located as required for Class II standpipes in accordance with Section 905.5.
4. Class I standpipes are allowed in below-grade stories equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system.
5. Standpipe outlets may be omitted in portions of first floors or basements that are completely separated from the entrance hall or enclosed stairways leading to the upper floors, provided that portable fire extinguishers are installed, subject to the approval of the fire commissioner.
NFPA 14 2007 Edition
5.4* Required Type of System.
5.4.1 Class I Standpipe Systems.
188.8.131.52 Class I standpipe systems shall be permitted to be any type described in Section 5.2 in Copyright NFPA buildings not classified as high-rise buildings.
184.108.40.206 Class I standpipe systems in buildings classified as high-rise buildings shall be automatic or semiautomatic.
NYC 2014 BC Q105
220.127.116.11 Delete the words “any type described in Section 5.2” and replace with the words: manual-wet or automatic-wet.
18.104.22.168 Delete the words “automatic or semiautomatic” and replace with the words: automatic-wet.