HGI Fire Protection Engineers Dish: What Kind of Fire Protection and Life Safety Projects Do You Enjoy Most?
I thought it would be fun and instructive to share stories from our fire protection engineers and consultants about what kind of projects they enjoy working on most. Let’s find out what they had to say!
Jim Tuten, Senior Fire Protection Technician, with Harrington Group for over 10 years: My favorite type of fire protection engineering projects involve helping our clients (in some cases the building owner, in others the developer) and the sprinkler contractor to develop alternate solutions that not only maintain the level of safety intended by the building and fire code, but are also more cost-effective for our clients. A lot of times, we are brought into a project after the design phase and during the construction phase and are needed to help resolve an unforeseen problem within the fire protection system(s) design. Normally, we are able to analyze the proposed protection strategy from alternate viewpoints to determine a more cost-effective solution that meets our client’s needs. My all-time favorite example of this was when we simply recommended that the sprinkler contractor perform a two outlet water flow test, which showed that the contractor’s hydraulic calculations were effective without having to add the $200,000 water tank and new fire pump house that was originally proposed by the contractor to the client. This ended up resulting in a $300,000 overall cost saving for our client.
Nolan McCarthy, Fire Protection Engineer, with Harrington Group for over six months: I always welcome diversity in my workload for a couple of reasons: 1) it allows me to learn new things and keep my knowledge base broad; & 2) it keeps things interesting. However, my favorite type of fire protection engineering projects so far in my young career has been developing foam-based system solutions that protect aircraft hangars. I’ve enjoyed the design process because it involves multiple types of systems and the proper integration of those systems, such as fire alarm, sprinkler, and foam. Then being able to see those systems installed, tested, and function properly has been really gratifying. High-expansion foam systems are fun to deal with and the governing standards (e.g., NFPA 11, NFPA 401 for hangars, DoD UFCs, etc.) have been interesting to learn and implement.
Les Ingles, Project Manager and Senior Fire Protection Engineer, with Harrington Group over seven years: I have always enjoyed fire protection projects that are associated with existing buildings, particularly those for which a high level of creativity and code equivalencies are required. This gives fire protection engineers the opportunity to use our expertise in selecting the appropriate level of protection features that are necessary to resolve real deficiencies in the facility. It also helps us to render a facility that is safe to occupy, while providing an elevated level of assurance to the owner that their assets are appropriately protected. In addition, these types of projects allow us the opportunity to negotiate certain positions with the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) and to “win” them over. This is not a brow beating issue, but simply the opportunity to gain their confidence that we know what we are doing by developing cost effective fire protection solutions that sufficiently address the various deficiencies.
I hope you have enjoyed learning about what kind of projects our our engineers enjoy working on most. What kinds of projects do you enjoy most? Tell us about it in the comment section below!