Providing Harris County with Water Storage for Fire Protection

 

Harris County requires permits and plan submittals for new fire alarm and fire sprinkler systems to include providing the required water supply, the fire flow, for the building.

 

FIRE-FLOW: The flow rate of a water supply, measured at 20 pounds per square inch (psi) (138 kPa) residual pressure, that is available for fire fighting.

 

FIRE-FLOW CALCULATION AREA: The floor area, in square feet (m2) used to determine the required fire flow.

 

> Link to Harris County Fire Flow Worksheet

 

The Harris County Fire Flow worksheet is based on the National Fire Academy (NFA) method of calculating fire flow.

 

Needed fire flow = [(length x width) ÷ 3] x percent of involvement

 

Example: For a 30′ x 50′ building that’s 25 percent involved, the flow would be 30 x 50 = 1,500 square feet, divided by 3 = 500 x 0.25 = 125 GPM.

 

Houston Fire Code as Relevant to Fire Flow

 

507.1 Required water supply. An approved water supply capable of supplying the required fire flow for fire protection shall be provided to premises upon which facilities, buildings or portions of buildings are hereafter constructed or moved into or within the jurisdiction.

 

508.1 Required water supply. An approved water supply capable of supplying the required fire flow for fire protection shall be provided to premises upon which facilities, buildings or portions of buildings are hereafter constructed or moved into or within the jurisdiction. A water supply as otherwise required by this section will not be required if the responsible emergency services district or fire department provides a letter stating they can provide sufficient fire flow for the specific project.

 

2808.18 Fire protection response plan: • Local fire department is a participant in the plan • Local fire department has a copy of the fire prevention response plan 32 • Employees are trained and can perform their role in an emergency • Heavy equipment with trained operators to separate and work piles is on site or immediately available • Adequate water supply: fixed hydrants, portable tanks, ponds, other sources • Adequate pressure and flow rate at all locations on site (minimum of 250 GPM at 60 PSI)

Link to the City of Houston Fire Code: Link

 

 

One fire sprinkler can use on average eight gallons-per-minute (GPM). Most home fire sprinkler systems accommodate two simultaneous flowing sprinklers, with a minimum need of 16 GPM to supply them with water. The size of a house, local building requirements, and the water source may require more sprinklers or be required at a higher pump rate. One or two sprinklers must flow for a minimum of 7-10 minutes, which can be provided by a well water tank or a rainwater tank when sprinklers are not supplied by a water distribution system. Fire sprinkler systems that aren’t supplied enough by a utility water source, need an on-hand water supply of at least 15% of the total required fire flow (but exact percentage is based on local authority requirements).

 

Additional water storage ensures that your property has water on hand for emergencies, typically with a pump system that won’t go down in case of electricity failure. This becomes even more important, if not required, based on how rural the property location is.

 

Rural water distribution systems that are found to be inadequate to supply 16 GPM for fire sprinklers, would probably fall short of the minimum code-required plumbing demand, and it would surely fall far short of the 1,000+ GPM needed from fire hydrants to support a fire department extinguishing a fire in a home without a sprinkler system.

 

To figure out the exact fire flow requirements, refer to the local Fire and Building Codes, as well as refer to the local pre-inspection requirements. If fire flow must be measured in regards to the local Fire Code, the ICC International Code Council provides a chart to show fire flow requirements based on of building construction and square footage. The ICC Construction Types that determine the fire flow, are listed in the drop-down below. The calculation uses the ICC minimum required fire-flow and flow duration for buildings.

 

TYPE I-A–Fire Resistive Non-combustible (Commonly found in high-rise buildings and Group I occupancies).

    • 3 Hr. Exterior Walls*
    • 3 Hr. Structural Frame
    • 2 Hr. Floor/Ceiling Assembly
    • 1 ½ Hr. Roof Protection

 

TYPE I-B–Fire Resistive Non-Combustible (Commonly found in mid-rise office & Group R buildings).

  • 2 Hr. Exterior Walls*
  • 2 Hr. Structural Frame
  • 2 Hr. Ceiling/Floor Separation
  • 1 Hr. Ceiling/Roof Assembly

 

TYPE II-A–Protected Non-Combustible (Commonly found in newer school buildings).

  • 1 Hr. Exterior Walls
  • 1 Hr. Structural Frame
  • 1 Hr. Floor/Ceiling/Roof Protection

 


 

TYPE II-B–Unprotected Non-Combustible (the Most common type of non-combustible construction used in
commercial buildings).

  • Building constructed of non-combustible materials but these materials have no fire resistance.

 

TYPE III-A–Protected Combustible (Also known as “ordinary” construction with brick or block walls and a
wooden roof or floor assembly which is 1-hour fire-protected).

  • 2 Hr. Exterior Walls*
  • 1 Hr. Structural Frame
  • 1 Hr. Floor/Ceiling/Roof Protection

 

TYPE III-B–Unprotected Combustible (Also known as “ordinary” construction; has a brick or block walls with a
wooden roof or floor assembly which is not protected against fire. These buildings are frequently found in
“warehouse” districts in older cities.)

  • 2 Hr. Exterior Walls*
  • No fire resistance for structural frame, floors, ceilings, or roofs.

 


 

TYPE IV–Heavy Timber (also known as “mill” construction; to qualify all wooden members must have a
minimum nominal dimension of 8 inches.)

  • 2 Hr. Exterior Walls*
  • 1 Hr. Structural Frame or Heavy Timber
  • Heavy Timber Floor/Ceiling/Roof Assemblies

 

TYPE V-A–Protected Wood Frame (Commonly used in the construction of newer apartment buildings; there is
no exposed wood visible.)

  • 1 Hr. Exterior Walls
  • 1 Hr. Structural Frame
  • 1 Hr. Floor/Ceiling/Roof

 

TYPE V-B–Unprotected Wood Frame (Examples of Type V-N construction are single-family homes and
garages. They often have exposed wood so there is no fire resistance.)


The following calculation uses the ICC Fire Flow based on the above construction types of the square footage of the building. The chart below reflects the calculation as well.


We provide water storage for fire protection, with a full line of NFPA compliant firefighting adapter and nozzle options. Get your best price on water storage with Pioneer Water Tanks America localized dealer and installation network.


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    Water Storage for Fire Protection Solutions

     

    This year’s NFPA Conference and Expo focused on persistent fire and life safety challenges that are faced for residential and commercial applications. We were able to network across the industry about Pioneer Water Tanks fire protection solutions.

    Sales Manager, Richard Dunfield, met with many of our dealers there including Tanks Alot, GEI Works, and APROMSA from Durango, Mexico. Learn more about our established dealers:

    Tanks Alot logo

    Pioneer Water Tanks America with Tanks Alot at NFPA 2018
    Pioneer Water Tanks America with Tanks Alot at NFPA 2018
    Pioneer Water Tanks America with APROMSA at NFPA 2018
    Pioneer Water Tanks America with APROMSA at NFPA 2018

     

     

     

    We offer fire protection water storage solutions that comply with NFPA standards.

     

    The Pioneer Water Tank network provides water storage backed with 30-years of experience.

     

    • Outfit your tank with anti-vortex fittings and firefighting adapters for quick access during a fire emergency.

    • Pioneer Water Tanks can be configured for cyclonic and seismic conditions, as well as heavy industrial zones.

    • Fire Protection Tanks capacity range from 3,170 gallons to 97,744 gallons to accomplish your compliance needs.

    Learn more about Pioneer Water Tanks Fire Protection

    Pioneer Water Tanks America at NFPA 2018
    Pioneer Water Tanks America at NFPA 2018



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      Pioneer Water Tanks Comply with NFPA 22 Fire Protection Standard

       

      The NFPA 22 Standard for Water Tanks for Private Fire Protection sets the minimum requirements for the design, construction, installation, and maintenance of water tanks and their accessories.

       

      Chapter four of the NFPA 22 Standards for Private Fire Protection covers the general requirements while the other chapters go into depth by the type of water tank.

       

      General Requirements

       

      1. Capacity and Elevation (4.1):

      The size and elevation of the water tank are determined by the individual property conditions, after due consideration of all of the factors involved.

      2. Water Sources (4.2):

      The water source for filling the tank needs to be adequate and dependable, with allowance for its reliability in the future. If the water supply from a public service main isn’t adequate in quality, quantity or pressure (measured in fire flow for fire protection)- an alternative water source needs to be provided (like an extra water storage tank on the property).

      One example of San Diego County Fire Authority Minimum Fire Flow Requirements for Fire Protection
      One example of the San Diego County Fire Authority Minimum Fire Flow Requirements for Fire Protection

       

      3. Location of Tanks (4.3):

      The tanks need to be located so that the tank, as well as the structure, are protected from fire exposure in accordance with NFPA 22 standard chapter 4.3.1.1 through 4.3.1.5.

       

      4. Tank Materials (4.4):

      Water tank materials are limited to steel, wood, concrete, coated fabrics, and fiberglass-reinforced plastic tanks.

       

      5. Workmanship (4.5):

      Tank manufacturers are expected to comply with these requirements set forth as well as providing structures that are proven reliable under all specified conditions. Manufacturers will replace all defective parts due to faulty materials or workmanship as well as provide careful inspection during fabrication and install.

      6. Plans (4.6):

      Contractors will provide stress sheets, plans required, the authority having jurisdiction for approval or for obtaining building permits and licenses. The jurisdiction for approval of layouts will be given complete information covered in NFPA 22 standard chapter 4.6.2.2.

      See the Technical Specifications of the Tank Models

       

      7. Tank Contractor Responsibility (4.7):

      Experienced contractors will handle all of the necessary work with careful workmanship and expert supervision. The manufacturer shall warranty the tank for at least 1 year from the date of completion. Once the tank is complete, the contractor will test the tank for being watertight and notify the authority for official inspection. Contractors will remove and dispose of any trash on-site, in accordance with NFPA 241.
      Our accredited dealer and installation network are held by contract to the Pioneer Water Tank workmanship standards and expert project supervision. We offer a 20-year warranty from the date of completion.

       

      8. Attachments to Tank Structures (4.8):

      If the water tank will be used to support signs, flagpoles, steel stacks, etc, they need to be specifically designed for that purpose. Each tank shell manway will have a confined entry requirement signposted.

      We offer a full line of optional engineered accessories for multiple water storage applications, including firefighting adapters and nozzles manufactured to NFPA standards.

       

      9. Lightning Protection (4.9):

      Water tanks will be installed according to NFPA 780 to prevent lightning damage.

       

      10. Strength (4.10):

      The tank material is required to be without defects that affect its strength or service. The workmanship quality of the tank will be so that defects or injuries aren’t produced during the tank manufacturing or installation.

      The tank structure needs to have the required strength and rigidity set forth.
      Pioneer Water Tanks are third-party tested, certified and warranty-backed for everything stated in our engineering packages.

       

      11. National Standards (4.11):

      Only tank materials produced and tested in accordance with the requirements of a recognized national standard and within the mechanical (strength), metallurgical, and chemical limitations of one of the material grades specified by NFPA 22 will be permitted.

       

      Pioneer Water Tanks Assessment to NFPA 22
      Pioneer Water Tanks Assessment to NFPA 22

       

      12. Loads (4.12):

      Water tank load requirements

       

      a. Dead Load: The dead load will be the estimated weight of all permanent construction and fittings.

      b. Live Load: Under normal conditions, the live load will be the weight of all the liquid when it overflows the top of the tank. Provisions will be made for temporary stresses during installation.

      c. Wind Load: Under normal conditions, the wind load or pressure will be assumed to be 30 lb/ft2 (147 kg/m2) on vertical plane surfaces, 18 lb/ft2 (88 kg/m2) on projected areas of cylindrical surfaces, and 15 lb/ft2 (73 kg/m2) on projected areas of conical and double-curved plate surfaces.

      d. Earthquake Load: Water tank structures will comply with the local building code for seismic requirements.

      e. Balcony, Platform, and Ladder Loads: All of the tank structural parts and connections will be designed to withstand loads they will be used for. These specified loads are not be required to be combined with snow loading.

      f. Columns and Struts: All steel columns and struts will be designed in conformance with AWWA D100.

      g. Stress Increases: When wind or earthquake loads are considered in calculating stresses, the maximum permissible increase in the working unit stresses will be one-third, provided the resulting section isn’t less than what’s required for the dead and live loads.

      h. Roof Construction: The tank roof will be designed to withstand the forces anticipated during the installation, inspection, testing, and maintenance.

       

      13. Welding (4.13):

      Welding will be completed in accordance with AWWA D100, NFPA 241, and ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section IX.

       

      14. Roof Standards (4.14):

      All tanks need a roof. The OSHA-compliant standard railing will be placed on the roof manholes and other accessories that require access.

       

      We offer complete engineering packages and water tank roof plans for Pioneer Water Tanks.
      We offer complete engineering packages and water tank roof plans for Pioneer Water Tanks.

       

      15. Roof Vent Standards (4.15):

      Steel rooftops that are essentially airtight need a vent above the maximum water level with a corrosion-resistant screen to prevent contamination.

       

      We offer multiple ventilation accessories for Pioneer Water Tanks.
      We offer multiple ventilation accessories for Pioneer Water Tanks.

       

      16. Test Reports (4.16):

      Test reports and certificates of compliance will be maintained by the vendor and made available for review by the purchaser.
      Pioneer Water Tanks’ test reports and certificates of compliance are ready for permitting packages by the project.

      Be Prepared with Pioneer Water Tanks


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