• RAN FPE

Living With Fire Protection: Importance of Fire Protection in Residential Buildings


As residential markets change and evolve, so do the needs for Fire Protection Engineering. Not only do sprinklers increase safety, they also cut damage costs. A study shows the average fire loss per single family home without sprinklers is $45,019, while the average loss for a single-family home with sprinklers is only $2,166. Not only does the damage due to the fire decrease, so does the water damage. Only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, spraying water directly on the fire. Sprinklers are activated by the extreme temperature from the fire so it will only target the areas where there is an active flame. An article produced by the NFPA, shows that sprinklers use an average of 341 gallons of water to control the fire, which is significantly less than the 2,935 gallons of water used by firefighter hoses, thereby reducing water damage. Finally, the odds of accidental activation are exceptionally rare. For comparison according to some statistics, the odds of getting struck by lightning are substantially greater than accidental activation.


Fire Protection Engineering in residential buildings goes beyond just fire sprinklers. Fire alarms are just as important and notify people in the building to get to safety. Fire alarm systems use a variety of detection methods. Single family homes generally use smoke alarms, which will sound when there is an accumulation of smoke, whereas smoke detectors in buildings like hotels and apartment buildings have connecting fire alarm panels. The smoke detectors are triggered by smoke accumulation or excessive heat, which then notifies the fire alarm panel that activates the notification appliances (i.e. horn/strobes) throughout the building. Centralized building wide fire alarms are mainly used in larger residential spaces like hotels or apartments. This is crucial when notifying people throughout the building because evacuation time increases. For buildings like hotels, the occupants can be unfamiliar with the building and during a fire, it can turn into a maze. Evacuation time also increases for apartment buildings because other occupants are not notified as quickly as the apartment owner of the fire’s origin.


RAN Fire Protection Engineering has worked on many residential buildings and designed these systems. The most popular service is a fire sprinkler system. RAN’s steps for designing sprinkler systems include drawings, and layouts, that meets the clients’ requests. RAN also verifies that their systems are compliant with the codes and regulations in each building and state. Before finalizing the system, RAN consults with their clients to verify that the system meets their expectations and that nothing needs to be altered. RAN’s goal when designing these systems is to economically maximize safety and minimize damage.


RAN Residential Project Example


Canyon Ranch Condominiums

Lenox, MA

Client: Harrison Design Associates, Inc


RAN Fire Protection Engineering, was retained to provide a fire protection design that includes a sprinkler system layout, a layout for the manual wet standpipe system, and a fire alarm system design. This was a complicated and detailed design process that needed the systems to blend into the building’s aesthetics. The fire protection and fire

alarm designs complied with NFPA regulations and Massachusetts State Building code 780 CMR.

Construction Cost: $15.5 million Size: 108,000 sq. ft.




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