Concealing fire sprinkler system pipework – the perfect finish

By Martin Taylor – Managing Director with decorative casings specialist, Encasement Ltd.

Even though fire sprinkler systems are to form an important part of the Phase 2 Grenfell Tower Inquiry, which began in January this year, many pro-active HA and local authority landlords have already started implementing major programmes of fire protection upgrades, including the retro-fitting of fire sprinklers.

fire sprinkler

As sprinklers need to be located within individual flats and communal areas to suppress fires and aid escape, incorporating them in new builds is comparatively simple, as they can be integrated at the building design stage and pipework can be hidden within risers and ceiling voids. For retro-fitted solutions, however, it’s not that straightforward, as in most cases the pipework will need to be surface mounted.

Practical and aesthetic

Once the sprinkler system pipework is installed, it needs to be concealed, as it provides a more aesthetic finish to each project and helps avoid potential complaints from tenants about unsightly orange pipes. It also serves a practical purpose of containing the components and acting as a visible barrier to potential tampering or accidental damage.

One of the main advantages of surface mounted pipework, is the simplicity and speed with which it can be installed by skilled contractors, so it’s important that the chosen method of pipe boxing is also quick and easy, as installation time and the associated costs are essential considerations on any sprinkler project. Consequently, these are key reasons why pre-formed and pre-finished solutions, such as Encasement’s Versa pipe and fire sprinkler boxing, have become the preferred solution for many sprinkler contractors.

fire sprinkler

Fire sprinkler boxing made simple

Versa ‘L’ shaped pipe boxing is manufactured from 5mm or 8mm thick plywood in a range of sizes and profiles and the system also includes dedicated accessories, such as internal and external corners, which help create an integrated finish and speeds the sprinkler installation. All that’s needed to install the sprinkler pipe boxing on site is to drill the holes for sprinkler heads, cut to length and secure to the wall or ceiling with wood battens, screws and caps.

The range also includes Versa ‘FR’, which is manufactured from flame retardant Euroclass B standard compliant board and is designed specifically for use where flame retardant materials are specified.

From our experience of working with contractors on countless social housing projects where pipework needs to be concealed, Versa pipe and fire sprinkler boxing can be fitted in less than half the time of site made alternatives. Also, as it is pre-finished with durable white melamine, there’s no painting required on site, which saves further time and cost.

fire sprinkler

Saving time and money on site

For housing associations, local authorities and their contractors, this time saving provides a number of benefits. It helps ensure that fire safety upgrades can be completed within shorter timescales and simultaneously minimises the disruption for tenants while the work is being carried out.

Potentially the most important advantage is that the time taken to complete the projects can be reduced without compromising the quality or integrity of the installation, which can also reduce costs.

Fire safety in high-rise residential buildings is a key focus and fire sprinkler systems have an important role to play. Versa boxing solutions can make a contribution to that process, in terms of their effectiveness, ease of installation and economics.

fire sprinkler

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Tel: 01733 266 889