Fire Safety Consultants, Inc. Fall 2020 Newsletter


An FSCI update from Keith Frangiamore, FSCI President

A Return to a “Near” Normal
As the impact of COVID 19 diminishes we have seen a return to more normal routines, although we still follow very strict safety guidelines including face coverings and daily
temperature checks. Having all our team members back in the office at the same time and meeting with our customers in person is great. Our offices have been fully opened
since June and thankfully our staff as a whole has remained healthy. The FSCI team is providing all of our key services to clients and customers nationwide. Also, our field services staff returned to most construction sites performing necessary
inspections in all areas.

Balancing Work and A Little Fun
As most of us have experienced the isolation that has been prevalent the last several months, it was really great to do some things that felt almost “normal”. In mid-September we celebrated with some fun and fresh air to balance work with collaborative activities. It finally felt conformable to get everyone together for some outside fun and food in the Illinois office. In the Michigan office we were able to enjoy a delicious meal together with some relaxed conversation. It is the first time since March, that staff members were able to enjoy some time together without the constant encumbrances related to the epidemic. We will continue to build and care for our team as we work to support our clients and customers through this final quarter of 2020. Please stay safe, protect others, and help us all work toward a healthy future!


Fire Safety Consultants Inc. (FSCI) performs fire protection plan review for many municipal and fire district municipalities throughout the country. Fire protection plan review services offered by FSCI include automatic sprinkler and fire alarm systems for commercial and residential occupancies but also include the review of fire pumps, fire protection storage tanks, underground water systems, standpipe systems, kitchen hood wet chemical systems and other alternative extinguishing systems such as clean agent systems. Reviews are based on the codes and standards adopted by the jurisdiction of the project location. Our reviews also include enforcing locally adopted code amendments. The purpose of this article is to provide most of the required plan information to help fire protection plan submitters get their plans approved the first time. This article will include some of the common information and requirements that we see missing on most submittals.

Strategies for Submitting to FSCI

When submitting plans to FSCI, include the correct number of copies of plans, equipment data sheets and calculations, and a properly filled out FSCI transmittal sheet. If you have questions about submitting plans, contact us at [email protected]. To avoid delays, be sure all necessary information is submitted with your plan review submittal. The following are some ways to ensure your plans are efficiently reviewed:

  • Check with your municipality to see if plans must be first submitted to them or if they may be directly submitted to FSCI.
  • Be sure to understand who is responsible to pay for a plan review before submitting the plans.
  • Complete all the information within the FSCI transmittal sheet when submitting a review.

Basic Plan Information needed

All submitted plans need to include basic information such as the contractor’s name, address, phone number and license information, the project name and address and the list of codes, standards and editions used in the design of the system. Please check with your local jurisdiction to understand any local codes and standards before submitting your plans. In addition, some states require that plans be stamped and, in other cases, signed by the designer responsible for the project. In Illinois, a state licensed professional engineer, or minimum NICET level III (Water-Based Systems Layout) technician is required to oversee the design of the system and provide his or her qualifications on the sprinkler system shop plans.

FSCI can effectively review plans when they include the following:

  • Plans that are drawn and printed to a reviewable scale and clearly show the areas of work including a detailed description of the scope of work which allow FSCI to measure distances between sprinklers.
  • Plans that include a description of usage of all areas and rooms under review, as an example, FSCI can determine the acceptable sprinkler spacing dependent on the hazard classification of the area.
  • Details such as sectional views must be included to verify construction type, and sprinkler and sprinkler deflector locations. For example, this information helps determine if sprinkler protection is required in concealed spaces that may not be shown on the plan views (building on horizontal plane). In addition, all ceiling information including, soffits, heights and slope must be provided on the plans.

Strategies for Submitting for Modifications to Existing Systems

When submitting modifications to an existing system, be sure to include items such as existing sprinkler locations, types, response, K-factor and temperature ratings. FSCI uses this information to verify the new sprinklers to be provided in the same area are appropriate and spaced properly for the system modifications.

Modifications for existing fire alarm systems will require information on the existing fire alarm control panel to determine compatibility with new equipment. This allows FSCI to verify the load on the panel with the addition of fire alarm devices and/or appliances does not exceed the maximum output of the panel. In addition, it may be necessary to submit details on existing notification appliance type and locations on the plans to verify voltage drop and battery calculations.

Equipment data sheets

When submitting a review, include data sheets for all new equipment to be used and sometimes existing equipment. This information is not only necessary to verify the equipment is listed for its intended use, but the data sheets also provide detailed information on any requirements or restrictions that apply to the equipment that may not otherwise be identified in the applicable Code and Standards. For example, flexible sprinkler piping is increasingly common for sprinkler system installations and there are many different manufacturers. Equipment data sheets specific to the flexible sprinkler piping being proposed provide details on the listing and/or approval, the maximum number of bends allowed to be used, the minimum radius of the bends and friction loss equivalent lengths that need to be accounted for in the hydraulic calculations when using this equipment.

Many of the manufacturer data sheets include multiple models on the same sheets which makes it difficult during plan review to determine what equipment is being proposed. In those cases, the submitter needs to highlight or identify in some other method, the type and models used when more than one type or model is shown. Equipment installation manuals may also be necessary for existing equipment to make sure new fire alarm equipment is compatible with an existing fire alarm control unit.

Fire Alarm Systems

Secondary power calculations for fire alarm systems are required to be submitted to show that the fire alarm system can operate for a minimum of 24 hours on nonalarm condition and 5 minutes on alarm condition when primary power failure occurs.  Some of our municipalities have amendments to these requirements that extend the nonalarm condition time from 24 hours to 60 hours. Emergency voice alarm communications systems require the alarm condition time be calculated for 15 minutes instead of the standard 5 minutes. NFPA 72 requires that these secondary power calculations include a 20% safety margin. The completed calculations need to show the required battery sizes and the battery sizes to be provided. Make sure you are aware of all the requirements when submitting these calculations to FSCI.

Fire alarm submittals to FSCI must include specific details on the offsite monitoring of the system, name and location of the supervising station, UL certificate if applicable, and the type and method of transmission equipment being used. Remember if the transmission equipment is listed for both single and dual communication paths or if multiple models are provided on the same data sheets, identification of the equipment used (highlighting models or options) is needed so FSCI can verify proper fire alarm system monitoring. Some municipalities that FSCI work for have very specific requirements for the monitoring of fire alarm systems in their jurisdiction. For those municipalities, feel free to contact FSCI before the submittal to discuss the specific requirements and to make sure you have all the required information with your submittal before sending to us for review.

Strategies for Submitting Hydraulically Calculated Systems

Sometimes calculations may be required for some fire protection submittals. For example, new sprinkler systems are usually hydraulically calculated to allow the designer flexibility in the piping sizes used and the number of sprinklers coming off of each line of piping. These calculated systems require separate submittal sheets and corresponding reference points on the plans. When submitting a sprinkler plan with hydraulic calculations, these calculations sheets shall include a summary sheet, detailed worksheets and a graph sheet.

The summary sheet includes information on the building owner and contractor, the location of the calculated area, description and identification of the hazard and design density. Make sure the information on the summary sheet is accurate and specific for the project and design area that is applicable.

The detailed worksheets include the reference points, sprinkler K-factor, pressure and flow, pipe sizes and lengths and equivalent pipe lengths for fittings, valves and other devices. Make sure these sheets accurately show the pipe diameter, lengths, any fittings and valves used with their associated friction loss and reference points that correspond to the same reference points on the plans. For example, a common challenge is a mismatch where the calculation worksheets shows 2″ piping; however, 1-1/2″ piping is shown on the plans.

The graph sheet needs to be plotted on semi-exponential graph paper and include the water supply curve, sprinkler system demand pressure and flow, and hose stream allowance.

Calculations need to include details on the backflow preventer being provided to protect the public water supply. Friction loss from the backflow preventer is commonly left out of the calculation worksheets. Make sure to include details on the existing backflow preventer for system modifications so that FSCI can verify that the friction loss is included correctly in the calculations. If a new backflow preventer is being installed on an existing hydraulically calculated sprinkler system, revised hydraulic calculations shall be provided for the most demanding design area(s) throughout the building. Any system modifications needed as a result of the friction loss associated with the new backflow preventer shall be shown on the plans.

If existing systems are being calculated to account for modifications, enough of the existing system needs to be shown so that FSCI can verify the hydraulic calculations provided. This might mean that additional sheets are needed as reference to show the existing piping, fittings, valves, etc. from the new work area to the existing system riser. If calculations are not required for sprinkler system modifications, details shall be provided showing that the new work is equal to or less demanding than the existing system design.

For a complete list of the requirements for hydraulic calculation forms see Chapter 27 of the 2019 edition of NFPA 13.

Strategies for Storage Occupancies

If your sprinkler system design includes the protection of high piled or unusually commodities and/ or storage arrangements, additional details are necessary to verify the design of the system. Information such as commodity type (includes products, packing material and containers used), storage arrangement and location within the building, the use of wood or plastic pallets as storage aides, ceiling and storage heights, NFPA 13 design Section, Table and/or Figure used and in-rack sprinkler details as applicable, need to be provided to FSCI. A copy of the owner’s certificate used in the design of the system is also helpful when reviewing these types of plans to verify that the contractor’s design includes all the storage details the owner intends to use. For a complete list of the requirements for sprinkler protection of storage occupancies refer to NFPA 13.

Clean Agent Plans

Clean agent submittals to FSCI, while not as common as sprinkler and fire alarm submittals, need to include details showing the location of the protected room within the building, description of the hazards being protected, indication if the room is protected with a sprinkler system, ventilation details for the room, the type of agent used and all alarm equipment connected to the system including the tie in to a building fire alarm system, if one is present.

Engineered clean agent systems will need to include flow calculations to determine the enclosure volume and agent quantity needed. Pre-engineered systems require that the complete manufacturer’s installation manual be provided with the submittal to ensure the pipe size, lengths, fittings, nozzle types, quantity of agent and enclosure shown are within the limitations of the manufacturer. NFPA 2001, Standard on Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing Systems, should be consulted for additional requirements when preparing a clean agent submittal.


FSCI is committed to working with contractors and designers to make sure submittals are detailed and include all necessary requirements within the applicable Codes and / or Standards. Many times, an FSCI plan reviewer will contact the submitter to ask questions or request revisions for minor changes needed so that we can complete the review and recommend approval without having to require additional paper submittals. If questions come up about the FSCI plan review process or specific submittal requirements, please contact us and we would be happy to assist you.

-Brent Gooden, Senior Fire Protection Consultant

Employee Spotlight

Raoul Johnston

Raoul Johnston, Senior Building & Life Safety Consultant, joined Fire Safety Consultants,
Inc. back in June of 2019. Currently, Raoul contributes to the BLS plan review process
by handling reviews for Building, Accessibility, Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing, Fire, Energy, Fuel Gas, and Life Safety. He also handles all inspections for all of the prior mentioned codes, with the exception of plumbing. Before joining Warren’s group of consultants, Raoul worked for the City of Elgin for 27 years, as a code enforcement inspector, building and mechanical inspector, plans examiner, and building official. Raoul currently has 18 current certifications from the International Code Council, so his education as well as his vast work experience is what allows him to be such
a skilled and knowledgeable Senior Building & Life Safety Consultant. While being employed full-time, Raoul was also a part-time mechanical code plan reviewer for FSCI for 5 years, prior to being hired on with us in his current full-time role. Raoul has been married to his wife Christine, for the past 13 years and has 3 daughters and 1 stepdaughter. When time allows, Raoul enjoys to fish, golf and take road trips in his 50th Anniversary model Corvette.

Employee Spotlight News

We would like to congratulate the following employees on their amazing accomplishments

  • Michael Carnduff passed his NICET Level 1 exam for Fire Alarm Systems on July 13th
  • Ryan Case passed his NICET Level 2 exam for Fire Alarm Systems on July 24th
  • Kyle Harding passed his NICET Level 2 exam for Water Based Systems on August 5th

Little Known Facts

NFPA 13D – 2019

Exposed beams in ceilings can present automatic sprinkler system designers a tricky obstacle for adequate protection. The latest edition of NFPA 13D provides a possible solution for tackling the problem. In the 2019 edition of NFPA 13D, figures (a) and (b), allow for pendents, recessed or flush, to be installed up to 16 inches below the ceiling and either inside the beam or up to 2 inches from the side of the beam. Section allows protection for up to 4-inch beams with concealed sprinklers when installed in the beam. Previous editions recommended that guidelines be followed per the manufacturer’s listing or to abide by the continuous obstruction rule shown in figures and and (b) in NFPA 13D 2016. These new permitted design methods may allow designers flexibility to design around beam obstructions.

-Hetul Chokshi, Fire Protection Consultant

Minimum Requirements for Submitted Working Plans

The 2019 edition of NFPA 13 has expanded the minimum submittal requirements for  working plans submitted for AHJ approval. In previous editions, minimum submittal requirements existed through a list of items that needed to be shown on the drawings.  What was not included were other items that are routinely submitted, and which are necessary to conduct a thorough plan review. Section now states that all working plan submittals must contain the following items: 1) Working plans (drawings) of the system(s) which include the required items to be shown on the drawings in accordance with 27.1.3; 2) Hydraulic calculations when the projected work requires calculations to be completed; 3) Manufacturer data sheets (cut sheets) for all system components when it’s required by the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ); and, 4) A signed owner’s certificate when it’s a new system, there is a new owner, or when the use of the building is changing. Other changes include the permission to submit working plans electronically with the approval of the AHJ and providing the owner or owner’s representative with a copy of the approved plans. As for the list of items that shall be shown on the working plans, it has been revised and clarified from previous editions. Noted changes include having to add the contractor’s phone number and to provide all backflow preventer information, including the make, model, type, and size. The means to forward flow test at the system demand must also be followed. Finally, if seismic bracing is included, the zones of influence that are used in the calculations must be illustrated on the plans.

Kyle Harding, Fire Protection Consultant

New Illinois Accessibility Code

The most-recent edition of the Illinois Accessibility Code took effect on October 23, 2018.  Here are some of the changes and clarifications.

In Section 213.3.3, the new IAC requires that if more than one urinal is provided, at least one shall be accessible. Whereas in the old IAC, if a urinal was provided it was to be accessible.

In Section 505.10.3, handrails at the bottom of a stairway run need only extend for the diagonal distance of a single tread depth beyond the last nosing.  The requirement that formerly existed stating that the handrail must extend an additional 12-inches horizontally at the bottom of the stairway has been eliminated.  The horizontal dimension remains for the top of the stairway run.

In Section 705, detectable warnings at top of stair runs is no longer required.

In Section 206.2.3 (1.1), an accessible route, with some exceptions, is not required to a basement, second story or mezzanine space if the areas are each 1,000-square feet or less in area.

-Totie L. Leonardo, Senior Building & Life Safety Consultant


Stay up to date on the latest Fire, Building and Life Safety code changes and equipment by attending one of our seminars. Fire Safety Consultants, Inc. is teaching seminars throughout the United States, led by our experienced staff of Matt Davis, Keith Frangiamore, Brent Gooden & Warren Olsen. Whether you are a Contractor, Architect, Technician, Engineer or an Authority Having Jurisdiction, each seminar is full of practical insight and first-hand experiences to help you comply with applicable codes and standards. FSCI can also provide custom seminars at your location. Be sure to check out our website to view our listing of available seminars or to check the schedule to see what we are teaching next! Contact us to learn more by emailing [email protected] or by calling our corporate office at (847) 697-1300 x206.