Canadian Underwriter

National Research Council studying pipe sizing for fire mains, spacing between hydrants

December 15, 2015   by Canadian Underwriter

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The National Research Council is looking for input from insurance organizations and other stakeholders on calculating fire flow requirements and pipe sizing for fire mains.

National Research Council is undertaking a study on sizing water mains for fire flow

The City of Ottawa contracted NRC to examine current practices of sizing water mains for fire flow, an NRC spokesperson recently told Canadian Underwriter.

For the first phase of the study, which started this past June and runs until June, 2016, NRC is looking for input from stakeholders, especially municipalities, insurance organizations, fire departments, engineering consultants and building associations.

“Of special concern are relatively small-diameter distribution mains, where peak flow is typically determined by fire demand, compared to larger mains whose peak flow is determined by peak demand,” NRC stated in an information sheet.

Recent trends, such as increased structure size and reduced separation distances, “may require even higher fire flows,” NRC noted.

The study will also examine spacing of fire hydrants.

The outcome of the first phase “will include an assessment of current practices, recommendations for their optimal application and findings as to whether there is a need to adopt or develop and alternate approach,” NRC stated. “The second phase (contingent upon Phase 1 finding and sufficient partners)” will focus on “the adoption or development of an alternate approach to calculate fire demand and appropriate pipe sizes.”

The second phase “will be undertaken in partnership with other Canadian municipalities and interested parties that share similar concerns and interests as Ottawa.”

NRC includes the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes, which develops and maintains Canada’s national model building, fire, plumbing and energy codes.