View Full Version : sprinkler systems...new construction

02-27-2011, 06:34 PM
Ballpark estimates, in new construction for say a metal pole building, what is the general consensus for number of sprinkler heads per sqft, maybe like 1 per every 200sq ft...? I know this will vary according to your state but in general...

02-27-2011, 07:22 PM
You really need to see your fire marshals on this. Sprinkler systems cannot be a guessing game when it comes to codes and such. Codes for this topic are strict. So many sprinkers per square foot and depending on how wall construction is. You might have a sprinkler there but because of a wall dividing an area, you will have to have an extra one. Every case is different so don't guess. Get the facts from your local fire/city departments.
Just my thoughts...

Jim Warfield
02-27-2011, 07:31 PM
That had to have a sprinkler in it's all ceramic tiled bathroom. ??

RJ Productions
02-28-2011, 03:20 AM
It doesn't really matter because you can't install them! A certified sprinkler contract has to install and they will tell exactly how many are needed.

It's not just 1 per x sq ft. Is there obsticles or obstructions? Do you need to double layer heads for total coverage? To many questions to give a ball park answer. And again it is really moot because you can't do your own install.


02-28-2011, 09:26 AM
Sprinklers can cost anywhere from 2 to 10 dollars a square foot based on the type of system and hardware used. However like most have been saying, my 5000 square foot building and your 5000 square foot building may be sprinklered totally different depending on the layout, buidling design, and type of building. Keep in mind also that once you put your spinklers in, you have to design your rooms around your sprinklers....make sure that there are no obstructions by ceilings, walls, props, etc. or when the fire marshal does his inspection he will make you take your hard work back down. A sprinkler system has to undergo a annual test and be installed by a certified contractor and every 5 years a back flow preventer service test has to be done. Contact the fire marshal and building official to get it done right the first time so that it saves you a lot of head ache in the future.

02-28-2011, 09:56 AM
We are looking to turn our temporary structures into permanent ones, and we're going through the proper channels to get this done. It will probably be a project for the 2012 or 2013 season, but we feel like we need to make our two haunts indoors in the near future to protect our investments. We think we're going to be in the $5/square foot range by the time everything is done. BTW don't forget the engineering bill from the certified engineer... they're about $125-150 per hour. We will keep you posted with our progress

02-28-2011, 10:46 AM
thanks all for the info, I was just trying to get a cost estimate for installing a new sprinkler system... I'll just have to ask around the local area to get a better idea, but, sounds very expensive... and just too many variables. Yeah, Patrick... please do keep us informed how things go, sounds like the weather is causing some issues up there for you guys. Wonder if you could invest in large tarps or tent covers attache to trees or long post somehow to cover your paths...etc. at night probably wouldn't be that visible. Finding used metal pole building is pretty easy I'm finding, but, concreting floors and sprinkler systems are big ones....

Q... if you have a hayride, do you outdoor buildings where your actors will be hiding..etc do these building need sprinklers also? and/or if you have a trail and guest walk into small 20x20 building--would these need sprinklers. I assumming it's flip of a coin with the firemarshall and your state's laws on this one...

Nightmare Forest
02-28-2011, 10:59 AM
The great thing about an outdoor is that there are no set codes for outdoor events (at least in the state of KY). The fire marshal does come by and inspect every year BUT the big difference is he uses the word "recommend" A LOT. We do still as he requests just to look good. All he asks is for fire extinguishers every three sites, two no smoking signs (we were in a drought this past Halloween season), and just to walk around. A fire marshal can be a major pain for an indoor haunt, but stays away from the outdoor. One haunt in our area got a surprise inspection the week of opening, and the fire marshal gave him about 2 weeks worth of work to finish in about 3 days. The funny thing about this is this haunt has been around for around 20 years and hasn't changed hardly a thing for the past 3. So sometimes fire marshal's may let you "slide" one year on a couple things, but then decide all of a sudden that it is a big deal.

Phil Miller
02-28-2011, 10:05 PM
We had a sprinkler system put in our 100 year 2 story barn and pole barn about 11 years ago. an engineer design the system and put his seal on the drawings, then the sprinkler company installed everything. Our barn has a heads in every room and every hallway. our pole barn was a different story, originally we had the sprinkler heads 12' high and spaced every 10' apart. Our haunt maze had open ceilings back then and about 7 years ago we wanted it to feel and look more like a real house with 8' ceiling, so we had new head dropped from the original grid. by doing this we ended up with double the amount of head. 10' sprinkler head spacing doesn't apply if you are below the 8' wall panels, every area of the floor has to be able to be sprayed by a head with no obstructions. you have to consider what look you want and how much you want to spend.

03-01-2011, 05:32 AM
The code most jurisdictions use are the IFC (International fire code) and the IBC (International Building Code) books. They have a chapter dedicated to special amusement structures including haunted houses that give you all of the "rules" to go by. As far as your question about an outdoor attraction....if you have an outdoor trail that you walk on and then into a building that is 20x20 like you mentioned then you are not required to have a sprinkler system. Any structure under 1000 SQ ft. is not required to follow all of the codes that a big building does because the occupancy is so low, however you still have to have your fire exits and fire extinguishers. Also, if your walls do not have a roof on it then most fire marshals would not consider it a "structure". Keep in mind that the special amusement type category is ONLY for temporary haunted houses. If it is a year round or permanent then it will be considered an Assembly occupany just like a movie theater etc. Hope this helps.

03-01-2011, 06:35 AM
We are in a 100 year old downtown building on the second floor. We lease the space. The rules sent out last week were dated Nov 12; 90 days ago. Anyway, I talked to a sprinkler expert at a fire protection company. The estimate he is preparing is based on sqaure footage, and does not take into account for a 6 inch water line. He basically said we would probably have to sprinkle not only the second floor, but the basement and first floor. He is talking about $ 55,000 right now without the architech , engineer, or water main. He said that would probably be about nother $ 20K. He said that a basic pole building would be around $ 20K.

The building isn't worth much more than that. I doubt if the owner of the building would do that. Even if I bought the building, it wouldn't be cost effective to put in the sprinklers.

After he gives me an estimate, I will be applying for a variance from the state commission of 30 people. That hearing will be in April. Without a variance, we will not be able to open at that location. Not sure if we could find a sprinkled building to lease if needed. :>(

kings mma
03-01-2011, 10:21 AM
new to the hauntworld guys so hope this isnt a silly question. after looking around for info my understanding is if its outside haunt their is obviously no sprinkler system required but if its inside a building the city always require it. its just a matter of how many the engineer says. reason asking is i found a perfect building thats huge but does not have a sprinkler system. its in toledo ohio. will i be required to do so?
thanx for any help provided.

03-01-2011, 01:41 PM
There are a few people who have been around this industry a long time and have been able to get around the sprinkler issue... but I would imagine that damn near every new startup haunt that wants to be under roof is going to need to have a sprinkler system. The first place to go is your local fire marshal and building inspectors and talk to them about your plans to open a haunt. Have a general site plan for the building and your intentions. They will then give you a jurisdictional answer based on other houses in the area... or they will refer to the national code which says you need a sprinkler system.
The overall expense of a sprinkler system is such a lose lose situation for new haunts. If you go outside - you have to deal with rain, eroding props/sets/paint/etc. If your stuff is protected inside, then you have to deal with the crazy costs of sprinklers. Some places have big tents that don't need sprinklers... maybe see if your fire marshal will go for a tent haunt in a parking lot somewhere? I know that our tent has a "temporary" sprinkler system in it... and it cost a good chunk of change to set up.

Jim Warfield
03-01-2011, 10:16 PM
Said my one-time boss and owner of the brand new grocery store in Sigourney, Iowa.
It looked good, looked good on paper, 6 inch steel mains, big valves, miles of steel pipe all threaded together.
Then that insurance man came in and screwed a pressure valve in the line .....
Not enough pressure or volume to make the system work= no savings on his insurance, all that $$$ spent for nothing!
Before the small city waterline got to the grocery store it fed the Pizza Hut, the laundramat, a Motel, the Motel swimming pool and some other small businesses...
I would have thought some engineer or architect was possibly in trouble for green-lighting this project that became a mess of rusting steel hanging overhead in a brand new store.

03-15-2011, 08:31 PM
How about if your building is 100% Low Voltage and no 110, do you think you would need sprinkler system even so?

Allen H
03-15-2011, 10:13 PM
Yes, you will still need one. That isint at this time a determining factor. the determining factors are occupancy, use, and square footage.

03-16-2011, 10:50 AM
Shoot... ok, what about having say 3-4 30x30 buildings (900sqft for each) so under 1000ft (bypass the need for sprinklers), and then connecting them with hallway paths/tunnels... they would consider these separate buildings? and/or do they need to be so many feet apart? would you have to an exit at each end of the connecting hallway/tunnel paths.

You could even use the outside perimeter walls of the buildings as hallways with no ceiling so aka outside hallway paths to you inside room scenes, only bad is your building would have 3-4 doorway entrances for each 30x30 building.... you could even build few outside scenes in external hallways, so a single 30x30 building you could easily do 5 scenes inside and maybe 3 outside the perimiter of the building walls. Just try to figure out how to maximize such a configuration.

03-16-2011, 12:21 PM
If you make a hallway connecting the buildings then it becomes one building. The code just reads that the exception to having a fire suppression system is when a special amusement building has a total area less that 1000 sq. ft. and the travel distance to any exit is no more than 50 ft. You still have to have a fire detection system and fire extinguishers though. You will have to talk to your fire marshal to determine how far the buildings can be apart, and he/she may let you use some kind of connecting path that doesn't have a roof etc. but it all depends on what he/she says.

KaoTic Entertainment
03-16-2011, 01:00 PM
Be sure and research all the way we found a loop hole where no haunted houses have to be sprinklered as long as no more then 55 people are inside at s time and this saved us tons money. Although allows us to really tighten up and expand on our egress and fire safety and precautions

03-16-2011, 03:12 PM
What type of loop hole did you find? Or did your fire marshal just forgive the codes if you did other certain things? Not sure what state your attraction is in, but it is hard to find a loop hole in the IBC (building code) and IFC (fire code) which is what most states have adopted. If you dont mind sharing what you did to get around it. I'm sure there are other people interested, but I know that I am a fire marshal in SC and have done haunted house inspections and I haven't ever seen or heard of a loop hole here.

Allen H
03-16-2011, 03:42 PM
Be careful spookjj,
I know the laws make it expensive, but they are also in place to save lives. Never look so hard for a loop hole to save money that you comprimise public safety. Ask these same questions to your fire marshal, no one knows what they like better than they do. I can say you will be fine with three buildinga nd unroofed hallways, but its their call. Contact your fire marshal and ask these questions they are there to help you know the code and kepp you safe.
Allen H

03-17-2011, 11:09 AM
Thanks all, yeah, I wouldn't want to even consider jeopardizing code in anyway and before doing so would alway ask the FM, but, paying for a sprinkler system the 1st season just isn't in the budget so whatever makes sense for us we'll do. I'm paranoid enough about safety so I'd go the extra step in any of the attractions, although, if I can have a hallway without a roof and/or exits at the each end that in no way compromises code, we'll go for it the opening season. These discussions are fantastic bc I will be prepared for when meeting with FM, I'll even bring up the number of people per building and see rings a bell with him... before building anything though, I'll show the FM all the constrution blue prints as we have no time for error and I want 100% pre-approval...