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Fire Protection Systems: Failure Is Not an Option

By: Mark Knurek on March 19th, 2019

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Fire Protection Systems: Failure Is Not an Option

Residential  |  BlazeMaster vs. Generic  |  Chemical Compatibility

Fire protection system failures at a 19-story newly-renovated Dallas hotel and a 10-story multifamily complex in Louisiana resulted in the need to temporarily relocate residents and guests, lost revenue, property damage that led to hundreds of thousands of dollars in repair bills and, in the Dallas incident, deployment of key fire department personnel onsite for extended watch for more than three months.

The unfortunate part of it is, both incidents were preventable.

The failures occurred due to the use of incompatible materials. A chemically incompatible caulk was used to hold the pipe runs in place as they passed through walls. That incompatibility caused pipe failures that led to water damage throughout both structures. The Louisiana incident resulted in a lawsuit filed by the general contractor which alleged that both the caulk and pipe manufacturers were aware that the sealant product was incompatible and both failed to warn said contractor.

There’s a lesson for everyone here. Installers have a right to know during the specification process which materials are compatible with the CPVC piping they are about to install.

Thanks to a chemical compatibility system program second to none in the industry, contractors are moving their business to BlazeMaster® CPVC Fire Protection Systems.

The FBC™ System Compatible Program is a one-of-its-kind resource made available to manufacturers of ancillary products to assist in determining their product’s chemical compatibility with Lubrizol CPVC pipe and fitting products across the BlazeMaster®, FlowGuard®, Corzan® and TempRite® Technology brands.

Third party testing is the key to this program, in which suppliers submit their products for testing with no alterations allowed to the tested and approved products. The third party also audits the manufacturing facility where the product is made. The testing and auditing protocols, developed by Lubrizol, provides assurance that the approved products are fully compatible and have been tested fairly and properly. If a product’s formulation is changed, it must be re-submitted for evaluation before it is approved as an FBC compatible product.

Products in the program are given the right to display the FBC System Compatible mark on their labels. Once this mark has been applied, it demonstrates the ancillary product manufacturer's commitment not to make changes to the formulation of the product without advance written notice and retesting. The FBC System Compatible Program regularly publishes a change notification page for products that may have been removed from the compatibility list, as well as indicating products that have been added.  This helps to ensure that contractors are always aware of the latest updates regarding compatible products.

The FBC program is a scientific approach to take the guesswork out of compatibility. It serves the industry in the United States, Canada, Mexico, 25 European countries, the United Arab Emirates, India and China.

It’s also important to note that because competitive CPVC products may vary in molecular weight, chlorine content and compound additives, the FBC System Compatible Program can only assist in determining chemical compatibility with the Lubrizol brands mentioned earlier in this article.

An online product finder makes it easy to determine which products among 13 categories and 50 manufacturers are compatible with BlazeMaster Fire Protection Systems. Our new FBC System Compatible Program Product Finder app, available on iPhone and Android devices, connects directly to the FBC System Compatible Program website and searches for chemically compatible products.

One final word regarding failure. That word is “warranties.” Make sure that the warranty you receive for a given CPVC fire sprinkler installation is worth the paper on which its printed. Ask the manufacturer this simple question – give me some examples of when you’ve been approached for a warranty claim and how it was handled. That will tell you much about with whom you are dealing.

Learn more about Lubrizol’s FBC System Compatible Program.


Guide to CPVC Fire Sprinklers