Sprinkler Valve Supervision


Protecting the water supply for fire sprinkler systems from intentional and accidental shutoff is paramount. This standard is intended to describe the expectations for sprinkler system water supply valve supervision in valve pits.
Image of a Sprinkler Valve
Authority
2014 Oregon Fire Code §102 & 903.4 and 2013 NFPA 13 §3.10.11, 8.16.1.1.2.1 & 8.16.1.4.2.

Requirements:

  • 2014 Oregon Fire Code Section 102.7.1 Conflicts. Where conflicts occur between the provisions of this code and the referenced standards, the provisions of this code shall apply.
  • 2014 Oregon Fire Code Section 903.4 Sprinkler system supervision and alarms. All valves controlling the water supply for automatic sprinkler systems, pumps, tanks, water levels and temperatures, critical air pressures and water-flow switches on all sprinkler systems shall be electrically supervised by a listed fire alarm control unit.

Exceptions:

  1. Automatic sprinkler systems protecting one- and two-family dwellings.
  2.  Limited area systems serving fewer than 20 sprinklers.
  3. Automatic sprinkler systems installed in accordance with NFPA 13R where a common supply main is used to supply both domestic water and the automatic sprinkler system, and a separate shutoff valve for the automatic sprinkler system is not provided.
  4. Jockey pump control valves that are sealed or locked in the open position.
  5. Control valves to commercial kitchen hoods, paint spray booths or dip tanks that are sealed or locked in the open position.
  6. Valves controlling the fuel supply to fire pump engines that are sealed or locked in the open position.
  7. Trim valves to pressure switches in dry, pre-action and deluge sprinkler systems that are sealed or locked in the open position.
  • 2013 NFPA 13 Section 8.16.1.1.2.1: Valves on connections to water supplies, sectional control and isolation valves, and other valves in supply pipes to sprinklers and other fixed water-based fire suppression systems shall be supervised by one of the following methods:

     (1) Central station, proprietary, or remote station signaling service
     (2) Local signaling service that will cause the sounding of an audible signal at a constantly attended point
     (3) Valves locked in the correct position
     (4) Valves located within fenced enclosures under the control of the owner, sealed in the open position, and inspected weekly as part of an approved procedure.

  • 2013 NFPA 13 Section 8.16.1.4.2.2: Valve pits shall be constructed and arranged to properly protect the installed equipment from movement of earth, freezing, and accumulation of water.

New Construction

All new construction installations will require electronic supervision of valves controlling water supply in accordance with 2014 Oregon Fire Code Section 903.4. Both a fire alarm application and electrical permit from the Hillsboro Building Department shall be obtained for the installation. Please contact the Hillsboro Building Department, 503-681-6144.

Inspection, Testing & Maintenance

  • When a sprinkler control valve has been approved by the City of Hillsboro Building Department with electronic supervision, the electronic supervision shall be maintained. If the tamper switch has failed or there is a deficiency with the electronic supervision it shall be repaired. Do not add a chain and lock to the valve and abandon the electronic supervision.
  • Where vault conditions prevent successful electronic supervision, the property owner may be granted an exception to electronic supervision and permitted to secure the valve with a lock and chain. These requests will be reviewed on a case by case basis and will be granted only after other solutions have been exhausted.
  • Where a sprinkler control valve was approved by the City of Hillsboro Building Department at the time of installation with a chain and lock, the chain and lock can be maintained. .
  • Where facilities are unsuccessful in maintaining a lock and chain around the control valve, they will be referred to the City of Hillsboro Building Department for a permit to install electronic supervision.

Solutions For Failed Monitoring Switches

  • Verify the electronic monitoring switch used is rated for outdoor use and water submersion. In addition, the device needs to be installed per the manufacturer’s instructions to maintain the rating for water submersion.
  • Verify the valve pit is properly constructed to prevent the accumulation of water and drainage systems have not become obstructed.
  • Verify sump pump is installed and working properly.

Securing Valves With A Chain And Padlock

A chain and lock shall not be used unless approved by the City of Hillsboro Building Department at the time of valve installation.

  • Control valves shall be chained and locked securely so the valve cannot be turned with the chain and lock in place. Multiple valves shall not be locked together; they shall be individually locked.
  • Where a chain and lock is used, valves shall be inspected monthly to verify the valve remains in the open position and it shall be noted on an appropriate record form. (NFPA 25 13.1.1.2).
  • The distribution of keys for locked valves shall be restricted to only those directly responsible for the fire protection system.
  • Property owners shall provide fire protection system and backflow assembly testing contractors with a key to the padlock for scheduled inspections to avoid circumstances where the chain is cut and not replaced upon completion of the inspection.
       

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