UK Building Regulations often require fire sprinkler systems to be installed in certain types of properties to ensure safety of occupants and they are often a requirement of insurance companies.
Sprinklers are now commonly installed in many buildings including schools, hospitals, office developments, high rise blocks, care homes, sheltered housing and retail outlets. This is largely as a result of lobbying by the National Fire Sprinkler Network, the European Fire Sprinkler Network and the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association.
There are various types of Sprinkler System available, the choice of which to use is dictated by the use of the building where the installation is to take place. Here is a review of the main options:
Wet Pipe Sprinkler System
A wet pipe sprinkler system employs automatic sprinkler heads attached to a piping system containing water and connected to a water supply so that water discharges immediately from sprinklers opened by heat from a fire.
Dry Pipe Sprinkler System
A dry pipe sprinkler system employs automatic sprinklers that are attached to a piping system containing air or nitrogen under pressure, the release of which (as from the opening of a sprinkler) permits the water pressure to open a valve known as a dry pipe valve, and the water then flows into the piping system and out the opened sprinklers.
Dry pipe sprinkler systems are installed in areas where wet pipe systems may be inappropriate such as areas where freezing temperatures might be expected.
Pre-Action Sprinkler System
A pre-action sprinkler system is similar to a deluge sprinkler system except the sprinklers are closed. This type system is typically used in areas containing high value equipment or contents and spaces which are highly sensitive to the effects of accidental sprinkler water discharge.
Deluge Sprinkler System
A deluge system is sprinkler system employing open sprinklers that are attached to a piping system that is connected to a water supply through a valve that is opened by the operation of a detection system installed in the same areas as the sprinklers. When this valve opens, water flows into the piping system and discharges from all sprinklers attached.