New Standpipe Rules For New York

New Standpipe Rules For New York

Recently Adopted by Board of Standards and Appeals—To be Published Serially in These Columns

AS OUTLINED in the last issue of FIRE ENGINEERING, the first installment of the new “Standpipc-Fire Line Rides” of New York City is published herewith. The original rules were adopted by the Board of Standards and Appeals of that city on June 22. 1922, were amended July 20, 1923, and again on May 18, 1928. The finally adopted form, as reproduced herewith, were adopted July 20. 1928. Through the courtesy of Chairman William E. Walsh, of the Board, FIRE ENGINEERING is enabled to publish the entire new rules serially.

These new rules are formulated largely through the efforts of Peter J. Maher. Fire Prevention Inspector attached to the Division of Fire Appliances of the New York Fire Department.

RULE 1. PLANS.-A preliminary set of paper plans and cross sections, drawn clearly and distinctly, to a scale of 1/4-inch or, by permission of the Fire Commissioner, ⅛-inch to the foot, for each proposed standpipe (fire line) installation or alteration, shall be submitted to and approved by the Fire Commissioner before the work in connection with the installation is started. Such preliminary plans shall show the size and location of the standpipe (fire line) risers, size and location of siamese and cross-connections, valves, tanks and connections, pumps, hose stations, lengths of hose, etc., and the location of stairways and enclosing partitions in relation to the standpipe risers and hose stations. From these approved preliminary plans, three sets of plans on cloth, in clean and clear detail, shall be filed for final approval by the Fire Commissioner. A certified copy of approved plans shall be forwarded to the Bureau of Buildings by the Bureau of Fire Prevention. Such application and specification forms as may be prescribed by the Fire Commissioner shall accompany preliminary plans. If an automatic sprinkler system is provided throughout the building or in any portion of the building, the plans shall include a note to that effect.

RULE 2. Approval.—Before acceptance all standpipe (fire lines) shall be tested, for at least one hour, under a hydrostatic pressure of not less than 300 pounds per square inch at the street Siamese, and at each pump supply level, or such additional pressures as may be required to give 100 pounds at the highest hose outlet supplied by such pump, except that when a change is made in a source of supply, or minor changes are made in an existing equipment previously approved, the system shall be tested to a pressure sufficient to give 50 lbs. per sq. in. at the highest story hose outlet. These tests to be made in the presence of a representative of the Fire Prevention Bureau.

No valves, risers, or other material portions of any standpipe (fire lines) equipment shall be covered or permanently concealed until tested and approved, in writing, by the Bureau of Fire Prevention.

When entirely completed in accordance with the approved plans, and as per test herein provided for, application shall be made to the Bureau of Fire Prevention for inspection of the completed installation. When the standpipe equipment is approved, the applicant will be so advised, in writing, by the Bureau of Fire Prevention.

When deemed necessary by the Fire Commissioner, sectional diagrams of the standpipe (fire line) equipment in buildings of large area or height, not more than three in number and printed on cloth in size not less than 8 1/2 x 11 in., shall be filed by the applicant for the use of fire companies in the district in which the premises are located.

RULE 3. STANDPIPE-FIRE LINE Certificate.—The engineer, superintendent or persons in charge of the standpipe-fire line system in all buildings exceeding eighty-five feet in height shall be registered, and submit to an examination in the Fire Department. Upon evidence of fitness to properly operate and maintain the standpipe system he shall be granted a Certificate to that effect. The certificate shall contain the full name and a small photograph of the holder.

Day and night service shall be maintained in all buildings exceeding 250 feet in height in which there is a fire pump. Theatre buildings provided with fire pumps shall have at least one certified operator on duty during every performance. Buildings of large areas, industrial plants, amusement parks, etc., shall have at least one certified operator on duty when deemed necessary by the fire commissioner.

RULE 4. MONTHLY Inspection.—-All valves, hose, tools and other auxiliary fire appliances shall be kept in perfect working order, and at least once a month the person holding certificate of fitness shall make a thorough inspection of all the fire appliances to sec that they are in perfect working order and ready for immediate use by the Fire Department. Fire pumps shall be tested every 30 days by the person holding the certificate of fitness.

He shall also instruct all employees under his charge in the use and practice of all auxiliary fire anoliances. A detailed record of each inspection shall be kept on the premises for examination by a representative of the Fire Department.

All standpipe equipment in buildings exceeding 85 feet in height shall be subject to a flow test with a pressure of not less than 50 lbs. at the top floor outlet, at least once in every two years, test to be conducted in the presence of a representative of the Fire I)epartment.

RULE 5. APPROVAL Devices.—All devices approved for use in new standpipe fire line equipments shall bear the manufacturer’s name and the date of and the number of the approval. Certified copies of the approval, working drawings and photographs of the device approved, shall be submitted to the administrative authority having jurisdiction for preservation as records and reference data.

RULE 6. ELEVATOR IN Readiness.—In every building exceeding 150 feet in height at least one passenger elevator and in buildings in course of construction a hoist or elevator shall be kept in readiness for immediate use by the Fire Department during all hours of the night and day, including holidays -and Sundays, and a man competent to operate the elevator shall be present at all times.

RULE 7. AREA OF Buildings.—For the application of Section 581 of Chapter 5 of the Code of Ordinances the area of a building shall be taken as the area within the exterior walls, or the area between fire walls.

When the fire walls are constructed in accordance with Section 371, Chapter 5 of the Code of Ordinances, and all openings are protected on both sides of fire wall or walls with automatic fireproof self-closing doors, the area within such fire walls or exterior walls and a fire wall, shall be considered a separate building.

RULE 8. Height.—The term “height” as applied to a building or structure, as described in Chapter 5, Code of Ordinances, means the vertical distance measured in a straight line from the curb level, to the highest point of the roof beams in the case of flat roofs, and to the average height of gable in case of roofs, having a pitch of more than 20 degrees with a horizontal plane.

RULE 9. STANDPIPE EQUIPMENT shall consist of a system of piping connected to one or more approved sources of water supply and provided with sufficient number of hose outlets and hose located as hereinafter set forth, to make possible the covering of every portion of each floor area with a standpipe hose stream, except that where the first story or basement or both are occupied as stores without connection or communication with the entrance hall or stair enclosure to upper stories, the Fire Commissioner may permit the omission of standpipe protection in such stores and, if so omitted, may prescribe such portable protection as he may deem necessary. Cellars, sub-cellars, basements, etc., shall be protected in the same manner as the stories above.

Every standpipe (fire line) equipment shall be a Standard Wet System, except as hereinafter provided for:

(a) In any building not exceeding 40 feet in height, and 20,000 sq. ft. in area, a four-inch street supply system having one four (4) inch direct connection to a street main fed twoways or having one 4-in. direct connection to each of the two street mains on two street fronts, each main so fed that the shutting off of one main will not interfere with the supply of the other main, may be installed, provided there is a sufficient pressure in the street main or mains to maintain a minimum of twenty-five (25) pounds per square inch static pressure at the highest hose outlet.

(Continued on page 965)

New Standpipe Rules for New York

(Continued from page 946)

Evidence establishing the fact that water main conditions and pressures are as required shall be submitted to the Fire Department.

RULE 10. CLASSIFICATION OF STANDPIPE-FIRE LINE EQUIPments.—For the purpose of these rules standpipe equipments shall be classified as:

(a) Standard Wet System in which the pipes are of sizes as specified in Section 581 of the Building Code, and in which the system is at all times filled with water from at least one standard source of supply.

(b) Four-inch street connection system, in which the pipes are of sizes as specified in Section 581 of the Building Code and the system is at all times filled with water from one or more 4-in. diameter direct connections to public water mains in the street.

(c) Automatic dry systems, in which the pipes are of sizes as specified in Section 581 of the Building Code, and are normally dry, the system being connected to a source of water supply controlled by an automatic dry pipe valve as defined elsewhere in these rules.

RULE 11. TANKS ABOVE Ro f.—Construction shall be as per Section 428 of the Building Code and tank structure and supports shall be approved by the Superintendent of Buildings. The covers of all unenclosed standpipe tanks shall be conical in shape and protected with a type of roofing approved by the Superintendent of Buildings.

RULE 12. RESERVE FOR Standpipe.—Gravity roof tanks, except as otherwise required by Rule 83, shall contain not less than 3,500 gallons of water at all times, reserved solely for standpipe fire line purposes.

When a gravity tank is to be used for both standpipe and house supply, the connection for the latter shall be made through the side of the tank above the level of the required standpipe reserve. This type of house and standpipe supply tank is preferred and recommended.

When two gravity tanks are used, one for standpipe fire line

service and the other for the house supply, the house supply tank may be so arranged that it can only be filled by an overflow from the tank used for standpipe fire line purposes.

RULE 13. STANDPIPE AND SPRINKLER SUPPLIES.-Standpipe and sprinkler supply shall not be taken from one tank unless there is available 5,000 gallons of water for the standpipe system which shall be in excess of the amount of water required for the sprinkler system. Standpipe supply shall be taken from the uppermost portion, and through the side of the tank, or through the bottom, provided that portion of the pipe within the tank is of brass or other non-corroding material.

RULE 14. BUILDING IN GROUP UNDER THE. SAME OWNERSHIP AND Operation.—One gravity tank of at least 5,000 gallons water capacity to supply the largest unit of a group of separate and distinct buildings operating under one ownership, and located

(To be continued)

New Standpipe Rules for New York

New Standpipe Rules for New York

Board of Standards and Appeals of that City Amends Rules—To be Published Serially in These Columns

THE standpipe-fire line rules of the City of New York, as amended on July 20, 1928, have been issued by the Board of Standards and Appeals and through the courtesy of its chairman, William E. Walsh, FIRE ENGINEERING will publish these new rules serially in succeeding issues.

Considered the most advanced thought on standpipe installation, the new rules have been printed in a pocket size booklet containing 48 pages and an index. No progressive fire fighter, especially those in cities and substantial sized towns, should lie without this important information, which FTRE ENGINEERING will publish from start to finish, beginning with the next issue.

Although promulgated by the Board of Standards and Appeals, the appellate tribunal to which appeals are taken from the administrative orders of the Fire Commissioner, the Superintendent of Buildings and the Tenement House Commissioner, the new rules, in the main, are the result of the efforts of the indefatigable Peter J. Maher, Fire Prevention Inspector, attached to the Division of Fire . Appliances and with twelve years of practical experience as a builder, four years in Cooper Union at night and twelve years in the Fire Department, to back him up in one of the most herculean tasks ever undertaken in that branch of the fire fighting profession.

Peter J. Maher, Fire Prevention Inspector, N. Y. F. D.

Personnel of the Board

Inspector Maher has represented the Bureau of Eire Prevention before the Board of Standards and Appeals for the past six years. Chief John Kenlon is the senior member of this Board in point of service. Besides the Fire Chief and Chairman Walsh, who is an architect and builder, there are three other members, each of them qualified from a building construction standpoint to sit in judgment on the numerous appeals brought before that body.

Inspector Maher takes the Fire Department’s side in about 1,000 cases a year before the Board. It was he who secured the information and the data and conducted the research on which the Eire Prevention Bureau issued its books: “Factory Exit Rules,” “E’ire Drill Rules” and “Automatic Sprinkler Rules.”

Public Hearings Perfect the Rules

While Inspector Maher did the brunt of the work and formulated the skeleton construction of the new standpipe rules, the important finishing touches were applied as a result of a series of public hearings liefore the members of the Board. Chairman Walsh conducted 20 such public hearings, at which there were present from time to time representatives of the New York Board of Fire Underwriters, the Associated Factory Mutual Companies, a committee of architects and engineers for the New York Real Estate Board, the Building Managers and Owners Association, engineers of fire pumps, valve and pipe manufacturers, hose manufacturers. and at some time or other every Deputy Chief of the New York Department, including Chief Peter C Spence of the Bureau of Eire Rendition, Assistant Fire Chief Patrick Walsh detailed to hire Prevention, Assistant Chief Thomas F. Dougherty, dean of the New York Fire College and many more.

THESE rules are considered the most advance thought on Standpipe installation. No progressive fire fighter, especially those in cities and substantial sized towns, should be without this important information, which FIRE ENGINEERING will publish from start to finish, beginning with next issue.”

Change in Rules Became Imperative

A change in the rules, differing from the old methods of standpipe installation became imperative within the past few years in Yew York due to the constantly increasing height, area and number of skyscraper buildings, together with three outstanding fires in the upper floors of high buildings in the years 1926-27.

One of these was the blaze in the Equitable Building at No. 120 Broadway in January, 1926, in which the fire extended out of a pipe shaft through a defective self-closing door to the wing of the building on the 32nd floor. The total pressure on the standpipe system that night amounted to several tons.

The second instance was the fire in the office building adjoining the R. G. Dun Building at Broadway and Reade. In the building afire the pipe hangers broke and the first elbow from the tank dropped out, rendering the standpipe system useless.

The latest occurrence was the now famous SherryNetherlands hotel fire in April, 1927, at Fifth avenue and 59th street, where the standpipe installation was so incomplete that it was useless and in no condition to be depended upon.

How the New Rules Were Formulated

These three fires caused Chief Kenlon to send for Inspector Maher and the veteran fire fighter started the Fire Prevention man on his way with a memorandum of ten fundamental principals of good standpipe installation and maintenance to be adhered to. Maher started on his task that day and for a year, in addition to his regular duties, he devoted every available minute of his spare time to it. He made dozens of tests and held conferences with the best engineering talent in that field in New York City. Maher designed a complete standpipe system for a building over 1,200 feet high, with four stories below the level of the sidewalk. The drawing he made was 40 inches wide and 14 feet long and it depicted a proposed electrically operated eight-inch relay standpipe and riser segregation system, with location of all checks, tanks, pumps, Siamese and regulation of gravity flow and pump pressures.

Chief Kenlon Observing European Fire Methods Chief John Kenlon in company with Dr. Harry Archer of New York City have returned from Europe where they inspected various fire departments prior to visiting the fire department display at the fair in Turin, Italy. Chief Kenlon is shown here inspecting a fire alarm box in use in Paris, France.

Using this sketch as a model, “fires” were fought at different times from the cellar to the roof of the 110 story building. Fire lines were “broken” both vertically and horizontally, control valves were “closed” and water was “by-passed” while “repairs” were being made. Pumps were put “out of order,” exposure fires were considered at all elevations, which brought to light some of the most interesting discussions on wind pressures, air eddies and temperature whirls.

The electrical requirements in the new rules are the result of the most careful research hv Inspector William Mulligan in charge of the Electrical Division of the Bureau of Fire Prevention.

What Has Been Provided For

Speaking for all who in any way had a hand in the formation of the new rules, Inspector Maher said to the writer:

“We have given the best that we know of—best in design, with ample water supply. We cut friction loss by better designed valves and fittings. We have given prompt control of each riser at the first floor and every 75 feet above that point. They can shoot or blow the top of the building off, but you can cap any line by a control valve a few stories below. We have provided for elevator service all night long; for red fire line color on all standpipe lines outside the stairway or fire tower to trace the line in case of break; for telephones throughout the building, exclusively for fire line information; simple pump operation and ample means to fight exposure fires and thereby uphold that old tradition—‘It shall not pass.’ ”