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Last edited 14 Jun 2017

Sprinkler systems explained: A guide to sprinkler installation standards and rules

BRE is an independent, research-based consultancy, testing and training organisation, operating in the built environment and associated industries. Its activities include; consultancy, research and innovation, testing, certification, approvals, training, events and accreditation.

On 17 June 2009, BRE published Sprinkler systems explained: A guide to sprinkler installation standards and rules.

Sprinkler systems explained.jpg

Sprinkler systems distribute water to sprinklers which spray water into spaces, providing active fire protection. They are a well-established technology and have demonstrated their reliability and effectiveness in protecting life and property. Traditionally they have mainly been used in commercial and industrial properties, but they are now available for a wide range of applications, including domestic buildings.

They are designed and installed:

  • To meet building control or other statutory requirements.
  • To meet insurers’ requirements.
  • To meet the risk management requirements of a business or property.

Sprinkler systems can be:

  • Wet installations.
  • Alternate wet and dry installations.
  • Dry installations.
  • Tail-end alternate systems.
  • Pre-action installations.
  • Deluge installations.
  • System zones.

Sprinklers themselves can be:

The standards for designing and installing sprinkler systems are sometimes seen as excessive and inflexible, but the history of real fire events on which the standards have been based should not be ignored.

BRE's 48 page report provides an aid to understanding fire sprinkler installations and the Loss Prevention Council's (LPCs) Rules to which they are designed. It explains the engineering behind the rules and regulations and some common misunderstandings about sprinkler systems.

The contents of the report include:

  • Foreword.
  • Introduction.
  • How a sprinkler system works and what it is expected to do.
  • Why sprinklers are installed.
  • Extent of sprinkler protection.
  • Hazard classification.
  • Special classes of sprinkler system.
  • Types of sprinkler system and controls installations.
  • Water supplies.
  • Sprinkler types.
  • Pipework arrangements.
  • Interaction with detection and alarm systems.
  • Other design standards.
  • Installers and installation.
  • Service and maintenance.
  • Changes of use.
  • Approvals.
  • References.

See also: Automatic fire sprinkler systems: A good practice guide.

--BRE Group

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