A new client came to Allied Pumps with an interesting problem they needed an innovative solution for.
We need a single Fire Pumpset that can provide low, medium and high-pressure water supply for our new multistorey building. Can you help?
The answer was – of course. We first began manufacturing Fire Pumpsets back in 1992 and have worked through 4 versions of Australian Standards (AS2941) (1987, 1995, 2008, 2013), so we are used to making sure our fire pumpsets meet all building codes and standards. We are also used to co-creating the perfect solution for each project we undertake. With over 1450 built (to date) few meet the exact same specification as the next one. So, we were ready to take on the challenge.
Once built, our custom-built solution was pressure tested to AS2417: 2001 - Rotodynamic pumps - Hydraulic performance acceptance tests - Grades 1 and 2. Once factory acceptance testing was complete and signed off, the fire pumpset was carefully wrapped and transported to its new home in Adelaide – where we hope it will never be needed.
WHAT IS A FIRE PUMP – AND WHY ARE THEY NEEDED?
With the need to build up rather than out, special consideration needs to be taken to meet adequate fire safety. The Jeddah Tower for instance, currently under construction in Saudi Arabia, will reach 3,280 feet when complete in 2020. However, with buildings that exceed 4 - 500 feet, the higher floors are often beyond the pumping capacity of fire departments. This can result in loss of life or property in the event of a fire.
Consequently, the purpose of a fire pump is to ensure the fire sprinklers work the way they’re supposed to, by increasing the firefighting capacity of a building by boosting the pressure in the hydrant service when mains is not enough, or when tank fed. The higher the building the more pressure is needed to keep the water pressure at an adequate level to extinguish flames.
WHERE ARE FIRE PUMPS USED
Fire water pumps are found in systems where the local municipal water system cannot provide sufficient pressure. As we have mentioned, Fire Pumps are used in tall buildings such as apartment blocks, hotels and hospitals. They are also used in systems that require high terminal pressure from the fire sprinkler to provide a large volume of water, such as in storage warehouses. They’re also found in facilities where water supply is provided from a ground level water storage tank. This category includes:
- Shopping centres
- Aged Care Facilities; and
- Lifestyle (retirement) villages
HOW DO FIRE PUMPS WORK?
Fire pumps have an electric and /or diesel-powered engine that start when the fire sprinkler water pressure drops below a certain level. This is most likely to happen if more than one fire sprinkler activates simultaneously.
Also, once fire fighting teams arrive and hook up their hoses, a drop-in water pressure could decrease fire sprinkler effectiveness.
A jockey pump, a small portion of a fire pump’s control system, maintains pressure within the sprinkler system piping to an artificially high level. That way, when an appreciable drop occurs, the fire pump’s automatic controller can easily detect it and start up the pump.
TYPES OF FIRE PUMP
The types of fire pumps include:
- Horizontal multistage split case – high volume
- Vertical multistage split case – high flow
- Vertical in-line – typically jacking and hose reel pumps
- Vertical turbine – below ground water source
- End suction – back pull out centrifugal – most commonly used
These fire pumps may be powered by an electric motor or diesel engine and on rare occasion powered by a steam turbine.
The Allied Pumps range of Package Fire Protection Pumpsets were developed to cater for growing demand for specialised turnkey systems compliant with relevant Australian standards. Systems are engineered and fabricated in strict adherence to the relevant fire codes.
For more information on this project or to talk to a team member about how our custom-built solutions can benefit your projects, please contact us today.