September 4, 2012

ESFR (Early Suppression Fast Response) System – Lowes Opens First Retail Store in Canada

In 2011, when Lowes established its first retail store in BC, they called upon our expertise as a leading fire protection and safety systems contractor to custom design and install their entire ESFR (Early Suppression Fast Response) System.

Quick Facts About the Lowes ESFR Project

  • First Lowes retail store in BC
  • We were on site June 1st 2011, the store opened November 1st 2011.
  • All pipe installed on site was required to be threaded or pre-fabricated in a welding shop off site, no rubber gasket mechanical tees allowed.
  • 150000 sq ft retail with 4 ESFR systems
  • ESFR sprinkler heads require a minimum 12” clearance from any obstruction (structure, lighting, piping,etc)
  • Typically, fire protection systems in BC are designed after the building (structurally and architecturally). All other interior building systems (mechanical and electrical) are designed. The Lowes fire protection system was pre-designed by AON Risk Solutions Fire Protection Engineering. We had to pre-fabricate the system from plans and specifications provided by AON. Our first day on site was June 1st 2011 with a grand opening scheduled on November 1st of the same year.
  • Some building elements were changed and the sprinkler piping needed to be re-fabricated on site to accommodate these changes. The Lowes strict standard of no rubber gasket mechanical tees allowed on sprinkler pipe made this challenging. We still met the construction schedule.

Fire Safety System Design – Lowe’s Project Challenge 1

Fire safety systems are designed and installed after all other building systems are in place and functional. In order to meet the requirements that Lowes had, in addition to meet their tight deadline, the fire safety system had to be pre-designed and pre-fabricated from plans and specifications. This was our first challenge on the job as pre-fabricated designs don’t always work out as well as on paper – though we are happy it worked out great in this case. Our first day on site was June 1st 2011 with a grand opening scheduled on November 1st of the same year.

4 ESFR Systems Installed With a 12” Minimum Clearance – Lowes Project Challenge 2

The 15,000 square feet new construction involved no less than four different ESFR (Early Suppression Fast Response) systems with sprinklers to cover the wide array of hazardous products and chemicals that would later on occupy the shelving. Each sprinkler head needed a 12 inches minimum clearance from any structural or electrical obstruction. This was our second challenge, which we overcame and delivered our client exactly what they needed.

No Rubber Gaskets or Mechanical Tees – Lowes Project Challenge 3

Lowes also had restricted the use of rubber gaskets and mechanical tees which raised the bar even higher. Every single pipe had to be precisely fabricated and threaded in a welding shop off-site prior to be delivered on the construction site for installation. We are happy to go the extra step in order to meet and exceed client expectations and needs.

Common ESFR Installation Issues With Newly Constructed Buildings

Like many construction projects, original building elements were modified with the unfortunate trickle down effect:

  • Our pre-designed sprinkler systems needed to be adjusted
  • Some components had to be re-manufactured off site at a welding shop

Contact Us Today for More Info About ESFR (Early Suppression Fast Response) Systems

We are proud to say we addressed the complexity and the challenges this ESFR systems (Early Suppression Fast Response) project. We completed this project in a professional and timely manner. Both the deadline and the budget were respected. Lowes opened as expected, on November 1st 2011.

Contact us today for more information about ESFR Systems and see how we can help you with your next fire safety project. You can use the form to the left, or call us at 604-590 0149.