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Protecting Students and Staff with School Fire Sprinkler Systems

By: Lainey Liotta on June 14th, 2022

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Protecting Students and Staff with School Fire Sprinkler Systems

Installation  |  Commercial  |  BlazeMaster vs. Steel

Contrary to popular misconceptions, BlazeMaster® Fire Protection Systems is not just for residential applications – it’s the right choice for any light hazard project. For instance, BlazeMaster fire sprinkler systems are playing an important role in helping school districts save money while ensuring the highest protection for students and staff.

Fire safety in schools is important because every year, fires in K-12 schools in the U.S. cause $37 million in property damage, at least one death and 39 injuries, according to data from the National Fire Protection Association. Fire extinguishers are important to school fire safety – but only if someone discovers the fire in time. Fire sprinkler systems work to suppress a fire before it can spread, even if no one is present. Here are key considerations for choosing BlazeMaster pipe and fitting systems over steel pipe for your next school project.

Ideal for New Schools or Retrofits

BlazeMaster fire sprinkler systems are a popular choice for new construction as well as retrofitting existing schools. A contractor in Texas was able to beat the competition by 5 - 10% when bidding on a new school using BlazeMaster pipe and fitting systems. All the other contractors bid the project using steel pipe. There were design alterations during the multi-year project, and BlazeMaster CPVC proved more easily adaptable than steel, which would have required refabbing in the field.

BlazeMaster pipe and fitting systems are also less disruptive for retrofits. A large school system in Florida completed a district-wide retrofit comprised of 13 campuses, each with about 10 buildings. The contractor was able to complete the project, meeting tight deadlines without disrupting school activities – a challenge given they are essentially always open.

Save on Installation Costs

By using BlazeMaster fire sprinkler systems instead of steel, schools can save up to 30% on installation, depending on the type of structure and quantity of material required. Key advantages:

  • Lower material costs. Because BlazeMaster pipe and fitting systems offer smoother pipe surfaces and superior hydraulics compared to steel, designers can typically specify smaller diameter – and lower cost – pipe while ensuring the same level of flow.
  • Easier installation. Schools can save on labor costs, because unlike steel pipe, BlazeMaster pipe and fitting systems are lightweight and flexible to fit into tight spaces and easy to install using a one-step solvent cement joining process simplifies installation. One installer can easily complete an entire area of a jobsite by himself using basic hand tools. By comparison, steel requires a multi-person crew, expensive specialized equipment, and off-site fabrication.
  • Simpler tools. Steel pipe requires a power source, open-flame torches, pipe wrenches, and threading machines, among others. These expensive tools are often lost or stolen on the jobsite, which adds costs. By contrast, no special equipment is needed to install BlazeMaster fire sprinkler systems.
  • Fast onsite fabrication. When design changes come in, BlazeMaster pipe and fitting systems can be readily fabricated on-site. By comparison, with steel pipe, parts of the fabrication are often performed offsite, which adds cost and time.

No Corrosion Means Lower Maintenance Costs

With steel pipe, corrosion is inevitable. The combination of water, water treatment chemicals, and oxygen can create pinhole leaks in steel fire sprinkler pipe – in some cases, in less than two years – resulting in ever-increasing repair costs. Steel pipe is also prone to scaling – mineral buildups near fittings and corners. Scaling can limit the flow the water, or even prevent it entirely.

By contrast, BlazeMaster CPVC naturally resists corrosion and scaling. If CPVC needs to be replaced or a sprinkler head needs to be changed out, the repair is simple with minimal disruption. That’s a big advantage over time when you consider that, when properly installed according to specifications, BlazeMaster Fire Protection Systems can deliver 50+ years of dependable protection.

There are a variety of other reasons that BlazeMaster fire sprinkler systems are the right choice for schools, including superior sustainability, less disruptive installation during retrofits and much more. To learn more, download CPVC: The Right Choice for School Fire Sprinkler Systems, which offers more details on the advantages of choosing BlazeMaster Fire Protection Systems.

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