Sprinkler Connection First to be Seismically Qualified

By Staff February 1, 2006

Flexible fire protection connection manufacturer FlexHead Industries, Holliston, Mass., recently completed full-scale seismic qualification testing at the Structural Engineering Earthquake Simulation Laboratory at the University at Buffalo, N.Y. using the International Code Council Evaluation Services (ICC-ES) testing standard ICC AC-156 Seismic Qualification Testing of Nonstructural Components .

According to FlexHead, this was the first time a sprinkler component has been successfully tested in accordance with the acceptance test criteria of ICC-ES and is the only flexible sprinkler connection to satisfy these testing requirements.

For the test, a fire sprinkler system was installed pursuant to NFPA13 requirements, and the company’s flexible sprinklers were connected to the branch lines and installed in suspended ceilings to meet code requirements for Seismic Design Categories C, D, E and F. The suspended ceilings were then subjected to the seismic accelerations determined for each category. The flexibility of the hose allowed independent movement between the ceiling and sprinkler system without causing damage to the sprinkler system.

“An observed mode of failure in a seismic event is the breaking of threads at the tops of sprinklers penetrating a ceiling,” said Robert E. Bachman, immediate past Chair of ASCE 7 Seismic Task Committee. “These products can eliminate this type of failure and fully satisfy the seismic provisions of the International Building Code (IBC) that reference ASCE 7.”