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FIRE SPRINKLER CONTRACTORS DICTIONARY

This is a dictionary of words and terms used by sprinkler contractors and by the accu-rate estimating and engineering programs.

AUTHORITY HAVING JURISDICTION

This group in your city, county, or state regulators who approve plans, make changes to the NFPA specifications because of the lack of water or equipment to compliment fire protection. This group will issue permits and approve plans.

BACK FLOW PREVENTORS

A valve arrangement as double check valve or an assembly called a reduced pressure back flow preventor devises used in the fire protection, plumbing and mechanical systems at specific locations to protect the potable water system from mixing with non-potable water.

BELOW THE YELLOW LINE OF THE ESTIMATE PAGE

Miscellaneous items is represented by a percentage relative to the cost of the materials. There are always miscellaneous items such as nuts and bolts, tape, coffee, and other things you may consider miscellaneous expenses. Every job has them. Another item is material markup. Often you bid the job in January but you don’t get to purchase the materials until July. In the meantime, the price of the materials may escalate. This is a place where you can apply a percentage to protect the cost of materials. This is not where you apply a percentage for mark-up to cover your overhead and profit. Fitter Foreman: This is the cost of a fitter foreman with and/or social benefits. It does not include insurance or items listed as overhead. Fitter Journeyman: This is you hourly cost for the Journeyman. Apprentice cost is calculated at 85% of the Journeyman’s wages. This can be changed in the equation. In the columns next to the wages, you will find the percentage representing the time spent on the for the Foreman, Journeyman and Apprentice. Overhead: Overhead costs is related to your overhead expense divided by the man hours spent to perform the work during the time allotted to spend the overhead. The overhead may vary relative to the period of the work being performed. Profit: Profit is relative to the money you invest in the customers project. They are holding your retainer which money that you sometimes have to borrow to make ends meet. Drayage: Drayage was an expression that was used for horses and wagons. Although the method has changed, it’s a cost that you sometimes have to bear. Fabrication: Fabrication is the cost of your subcontractor to fabricate assemblies of pipes and fittings.

BID DUE DATE AND TIME

The bid due date and time is given by the purchaser.

BID RETAINER

This is used in lieu of a bond to hold your bid or proposal until the job is let.

BILL OF SALE

Whenever you sell something a truck, a tool or a piece of equipment be sure to identify these items in a bill of sale to protect you from liability of use of these items by others. Contact your attorney to identify the correct method.

BLUE PRINTS

This is an old expression when the background of a print was in blue color and the piping and other illustration where in white.

BONDING

A Bonded job is a device you purchase to protect the purchaser identified in your proposal that you will complete the job that you contracted. If you fail to complete the work, the bonding company will complete the work but you will be obligated to pay the bonding company for its expenses.

BUILDING PLANS

A building plan can be one sheet or multiple plans to illustrate the building arrangements, location of the building on a site plan, building trades as concrete forming, brick layers, plumbers, electricians and other trades necessary to complete a rational assembly of prints to illustrate the building and its components.

BUSINESS AGENTS

These are union agents that represent the union workers that you employ.

C-FACTORS

C-factors are numbers applied to formulas relative to the equation as shown in the Hazen Williams formula.

CHANGE ORDERS

These refer to changes made in your contract for additions or deductions to work performed or not performed.

CITY DATA

Refers to the elevation relative to sea level. This data is generally found in various monuments in the city. Contact the city engineer for their location. They are often used to refer to the building elevation first floor.

COLUMN, A

Column A used in the accu-rate fire sprinkler estimating systems is where you apply the quantity of materials chosen.

COLUMN, B

Column B is where you will find the product numerical or lettered description of the item in column c.

COLUMN, C

Column C find the product description.

COLUMN, D

Find the unit price for that described product.

COLUMN, E

Find the unit labor hours for the product in column C.

COLUMN, F

Column F is open without a function. A code will be applied to this column relative to the QuickEye Takeoff system.

COLUMN, G

Column G is the product of the number in column A times the unit labor hours in column E.

COLUMN, H

Column H is the product of the number in column A times the unit price in column D.

CONTRACTS

A Contract is an instrument of an agreement between your company and the other groups that you are supplying your service and materials. Read and understand every word of the contract. In most contracts, they limit your profit and overhead for extra work to ten percent. This is not enough to pay for your overhead. When this happens “X” out this portion of your contract and return it to the company with the request to honor the changes that you made.

CREDIT

Credit is golden. Today most sales to contractors are made with the credit card. Before the credit card we had a credit line with the suppliers. Suppliers did not have the instant collection ability and your workers did not have a pocket with cash to pay them. Credit is still available but the rules have changed.

Many contractors come from the installing part of the industry with little or no training of business principles. Some learn quickly others lag behind and forever dragging through the business till they and their money is gone. Your money and credit are to be guarded.

When agents come into your business to sell your services do not let them sign contracts without your review. Every contract is to be studied to balance your obligations expressed in your proposal.

DRY SPRINKLERS

Dry Sprinklers are sprinklers used as pendants. They are sold and built in ¼” increments. These are used as pendants with a dry pipe system. This is used in areas where the temperature cannot be maintained above forty degrees Fahrenheit as in coolers and freezers.

ELEVATION

Elevation is the numerical expression of the vertical height of floor elevations.

ENGINEERS, ESTIMATORS, AGENTS, CLERKS AND EXCAVATORS:

Engineers design the sprinkler system and sometimes become the company agent to contract and negotiate prices. The estimator is an experienced tradesman qualified to estimate the cost of materials, subcontractors, fabricators, excavators and laborers. Excavators are often subcontractors who perform the surface removal, dirt excavation, back fill, hauling and surface repair. Agents of a company are persons defined by the company qualified to negotiate contracts. Clerks are in house employees who may collect and file records to record the performance of the job. They may be also other clerks of management.

ESCUTCHEON

Escutcheons are covers that are applied to pipes passing through walls or sprinkler through walls and ceilings. They come in multiple configurations and are often matched with release temperatures.

EXTERIOR WATER

The exterior water is the piping between the city water supply and the building riser. Materials used for the sprinkler system is either ductile iron or C900 plastic.

EXTRA WORK

A phrase to express work performed above the contract requirements. When extra work is performed, be sure to have the contractor’s foreman or agent its performance with a signature.

FABRICATION

Is a process performed by the contractor or sub-contractor. In the piping trade It is the assembly prepping pipe ends and sometimes the assembly of fittings on the end of the pipe.

FIRE DEPARTMENT VALVES

Fire Department valves are used in stairwells and in fire hose cabinets. The threads on the ends of these valves are prepared to match the hose threads used by the fire department. These threads may differ from city to city.

FIRE HYDRANT GPM FORMULA

It is always necessary to use the fire hydrant formula. This formula is Q=29.83 times the pressure squared times the square root of the orifice. qgpm=29.83*P2 * √ O * C

The C factor is a correction that may be issued by the hydrant manufacturer or the authorities having jurisdiction AHJ.

FIRE PUMPS

Much needs to be said about the fire pump. The fire pump has components as a controller, transfer switch, and a jockey pump.

I suggest that you receive personal instructions on the function and operation of this devise from the manufacturer.

The fire pump is an emergency device that should run only to extinguish a fire or when testing. The jockey pump is designed to operate to care for small leaks or pressure drops in the system. They are a lower horse power pump, from one to five horse power. When testing a fire pump do not let the pump run for more than fifteen minutes because the meter may recognize a demand charge for electric and charge the customer with excessive demand charges for several months. The discharge from a fire pump must be made thru a set of hose monsters having pitots and a fixed orifice and gauges attached to read the water velocity. The hose monsters are used to destroy the energy that may damage the surface. Do not wear a tie or any lose clothing when testing a fire pump because it can get caught in the shaft and you may not like what the high-speed shaft will do to your nose.

FLEXIBLE DROPS

Flexible Drops are often used from the branches to the sprinklers. They are usually made of flexible stainless-steel pipe.

FULL FLOW or PARTIAL FLOW

Full Flow or Partial Flow are expressions used when testing a dry valve. Full flow represents water flowing into a dry system with the control valve and alarm valve open. It is meant to test the time water reaches the inspector test assembly at the most remote part of the system. Flow full also measures the time the alarm sounds. Partial flow into a dry system is meant only to measure the time the alarm will sound.

GENERAL CONTRACTOR

The general contractor is identified as a corporation hiring and supervising sub-contractors. The general contractor often will hold a percentage of the monthly payments to sub-contractors until the project is completed. See the expression retainer in this glossary.

GPM FLOW

The pitot measures only the velocity of the water flow. GPM flow gallons per minute is measured by empirical knowledge of the pitot and orifice.

HAZEN WILLIAM FORMULA

This formula is used by fire protection and civil engineers. The formula used by the fire protection industry is 4.52 * qgpm to the power of 1.85 divided by C Factor to the power of 1.85 * ID of the pipe fittings and valves to the power of 4.87. The C Factor will vary from wet, dry and material used. This formula will provide the pressure loss of water flow through the sprinkler lines. Visit the accu-rate hydraulic calculation system 101.

HYDRAULIC CALCULATIONS

See the process used in accu-rate system 101 hydraulic calculations. The system follows the instructions found in NFPA13 in chapter 22.

INSURANCE

Workmen’s Compensation Insurance and Builders risk will vary from state to state and sometimes from community to community. Contact your local insurance agent for your rates to work in these communities. Insurance is a cost of your overhead. The estimating system permits an adjustment on the summary page relative to the hours worked in different communities.

INVOICE

Invoices are presented to the customer on a job completion or monthly basis. They should include reference to the base contract and an expression of the retainer withheld.

K FACTOR

The K Factor is given to the sprinkler to represent the manufacturers proven water flow. The K Factor can also be used in the calculation accu-rate system number 101 for branches of sprinklers.

KICK BLOCK

Kick blocks are used to restrain the separation of fittings used in water mains that are held by friction assemblies. Kick blocks can be eliminated by the proper use of retainers however improper use of the retainers may cause piping to separate downstream from the fitting being retained.

LABOR LOG

Labor log is an expression used in the accu-rate fire sprinkler estimating systems. The labor log is where the hourly labor rate is applied to each sprinkler, material, fittings, and devices. The labor number is applied to the product name and is carried throughout the estimating system where the product name is used. The labor log is where you change the hourly values.

LIGHT HAZARD ASSEMBLIES CPVC

This is where we use CPVC piping from 3” to 1”. Many communities will not permit the use of ¾” CPVC piping.

LIGHT HAZARD ASSEMBLIES STEEL PIPE

Light hazard assemblies steel pipe schedule 10 is used in piping from 2 ½” to 8” where permitted by the AHJ. In some assemblies’ lighter weight pipe is used when pressfit fittings are used.

MAIN DRAIN

Will vary from 2” and under above the system control valve to permit draining the system and testing the system pressure. The system pressure drop is recorded. When the system pressure drop is below the recorded drops is an indication that the control valve or other supply valves are closed or partly closed.

MAINS AND RISERS, CROSS MAINS AND BRANCHES

The internal sprinkler system is identified by the vertical riser that includes a control valve, a backflow preventer, a system alarm valve or a flow switch and a pressure gauge or gauges. The main may be just a short piece of pipe that supports the cross main, which supply the branches. The branches will then supply the sprinklers or when pendants are used it will supply the branch drops to the pendant or sidewall sprinkler.

MAJOR ASSEMBLIES

Major assemblies include an assembly of 150 sprinklers using steel pipe and flex drops, light hazard CPVC piping with flex drops, ordinary hazard group piping group 1 and assemblies for 150 ordinary hazard group 2 assemblies. These assemblies include the piping and sprinklers listed in the assemblies for a 150 sprinklers and piping fabrication. The assemblies are developed to the unit price for labor and materials to perform the work defined. All can be seen in any of the accu-rate estimating systems.

METERS AND CONNECTIONS

Every community may require a meter or will charge the owner an annual fee for water consumed by a fire sprinkler system. Every service to a building may also require a backflow preventer installed in the service or riser inside the building. Connection fees to the main are also required. Connection to the mains are made by the contractor or the water main owner (city). Water services are sometimes installed by the Fire Sprinkler Contractor and/or a specialty contractor.

MICRO MANAGEMENT

Micro management is a daily supervision by the fire sprinkler contractor of foreman’s or installers of the fire sprinkler system. The manager will negotiate prices for services from subcontractors such as excavators and fabricators. They will provide detail piping use and sizes. They will provide to the installers sleeve drawings and old cuttings for the piping. It is suggested that they develop production schedules and monitor progress of the production. They should be responsible for the entire installation of the system including fabrication drawings, pipe, fittings, hangers, seismic bracing and fire caulking. The manager will perform all tasks to permit the smooth installation by the system installers.

MISCELLANEOUS ASSEMBLIES

Represents piping assemblies for a arm overs (sprinkler drops), main drain assemblies, testing assemblies, 2” sprinkler branch assemblies, 2 ½” sprinkler branch assemblies, 3” and 4” sprinkler branch assemblies.

OPEN SPRINKLER

Open sprinklers are used in deluged systems.

OVERTIME

An expression used by the national labor agency as time worked over 40 hours a week. Union labor agreements have changed the 40-hour overtime to anytime over 8 hours per day. Many regional prevailing wage contracts will express it both ways.

PARKING

Many jobs will require your employees to pay a fee for parking. If this is an expense that you must carry there is a space on the summary page where you can calculate and attach this expense to the bid.

PENDENT SPRINKLER

Pendant sprinklers are dropped from the sprinkler branch through a seal. They are used in both wet and dry sprinkler systems. In dry systems the pendant is required to be dry. Each of these sprinklers will require an escutcheon listed with the sprinkler.

PERMITS

Most every community, city or state will require a permit and plans to illustrate and install your sprinkler system. The fees are often tied to the number of sprinklers. In some communities the fees are attached as a percentage to the value of the job.

PICKETING

The unions will often picket a job objecting to you performing work under their contract. In the sprinkler business this may include equipment operators, laborers, electricians, and sprinkler fitters.

PIPE GRADES

Steel pipe is graded by the wall thickness. Common grades in the sprinkler industry are C900 plastic water main, ductile iron water main, schedule 40 steel pipe, schedule 10 steel pipe, other thin wall steel pipe listed by the code and CPVC plastic pipe.

PREACTION SYSTEMS

Preaction systems are used to protect equipment by accidental discharge upon it. The accident may be caused by striking a sprinkler.

PROJECT RETAINER

Most contracts have a clause to retain five to ten percent of your monthly contract draw. This is money that you invest in the confidence that you will be paid in full upon acceptance by the property owner. Careful general contractors and building owners will covet this money. They will then find a way to fire you at the 11th hour. They then quickly take over your job and back charge your account with high fees to complete the work and confiscate your retainer and last payment due thru this method. Do not waist a moment. Hire an attorney to protect your money. This happened to our company. The general contractor fired us on the last month while we were completing our job. They held our two hundred and fifty thousand dollars retainer and the late payment due. It cost us thirteen thousand dollars to collect one hundred percent after a two-year fight.

RESIDUAL PRESSURE

The residual pressure stated represents the performance of the pump at the design flow.

RISERS

A riser is installed to supply the sprinkler system and to activate an alarm. They also include backflow preventer or alarm check valve, flow switches and pressure gauges.

SIDE WALL SPRINKLER

The side wall sprinkler is also known as a horizontal sidewall sprinkler is installed at a specific height from the ceiling as listed.

SMALL PIPING

Defined as piping from 1” to 2 inch steel or CPVC material.

SPRINKLER HEAD

Sprinkler head defines any type of fire sprinkler that is used.

SPRINKLER RISER

The sprinkler riser contains the control valve, a backflow assembly, the alarm valve, the pressure regulator if necessary, a flow switch, and a pressure gauge.

STATIC PRESSURE

Static pressure is the residual pressure applied to all systems. It may also define the altitude of pressure in a riser.

STEEL PIPE DROPS

These drops are made with one inch and larger steal pipe and cast-iron fittings. The size is specified by the system designer or the sprinkler listing to meet the water demand.

SUB CONTRACTOR

They may be as plumbers, mechanical, electrical, fire sprinkler, roofers, or any other contractor doing work for the primary contractor.

SUMMARY

The summary page collects the cost, the labor and any other information that may be necessary to assemble a price value for the work defined.

TAB

A tab is found at the bottom of the work page to define the work included in the subject page.

TAXES

The taxes referred to on the accu-rate page refers to the Missouri sales tax applied to all materials purchased in the State.

TESTING

Now you installed a thousand feet of sprinkler piping and you are ready to test it. Caution we have all paid for water damages. This has to stop.

With all the branch valves open and the control valve closed find a one-inch branch and blow into it. If your air comes back this is a good sign that all has been installed or plugged. Now bring in the air compressor and pump it up to five pounds or higher. The air compressor does not have the capacity to bring the pressure up to the two hundred psi and it is slow to get it above twenty psi. Stop the compressor and close the compressor valve. Now look for any pressure drop. If you are satisfied now install the high-pressure gas like nitrogen to bring the pressure up to two hundred psi. Close the gas valve, record the time, have someone witness the two-hour pressure test. The temperature of the environment may raise or lower this test pressure slightly.

TESTING DRY SYSTEMS

To test a dry system, you may use partial flows or full flow valve openings. Both systems are to prove the alarm has sounded. Full flow systems will determine the time water gets to the most remote sprinkler.

TIME AND MATERIAL EXTRAS

Is an expression used to identify extra work. You will also see in your contracts the limitation of 10% for overhead and profit. I suggest that when you see this 10% in a contract offered to you, that you “X” it out and state that extra work will be done on a time and material basis and that the overhead and profit terms will be negotiated.

UNION AGENT

This is a person called a union business agent that represents the workers under their agreement.

UNION AGREEMENTS

These agreements are applied to all union contractors and purchasers of the union employee services.

UNION GATE ENTRANCE

The union gate entrance is defined as a primary gate that the union workers will enter to a job.

UPRIGHT SPRINKLER

An upright sprinkler is installed on the line in a vertical position. They are used in both wet and dry systems. They may be plain brass, chrome, or any color purchased from the supplier.

VALVES

Every gate valve used in the sprinkler system must indicate when they are opened or closed. Larger gate valves have OS & Y stems to indicate if the valve is opened or closed. This gate valve requires a tamper switch to electronically notify its position. Other valves, as the butterfly valve, can be used when they have a lever and a tamper switch to indicate when the valve is open or closed. Smaller gate valves should also have some means to indicate their positions, open or closed. All of these valves must be UL or FM approved.

WET SPRINKLERS

Wet sprinklers is a name used on the accu-rate fire sprinkler estimating system. On this page find the unit cost and unit hours for their installation, the selection of main, cross main and branches, seismic bracing, sprinklers, escutcheons, and a selection of branch piping to complete the estimate from the riser to the last sprinkler in the system.

WORKMAN’S COMPENSATION

Workman’s compensation is an insurance paid by the contractor of every employee in his firm. The rates are set by the State and will vary from State to State.

This is an overhead expense l the summary has a line to add or deduct or this difference. Contact your insurance salesmen for the differences.

YOUR investment

Your investment is the currency to start and maintain the money demands of the enterprise.