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Inspector Wants Fire Sprinkler System

 
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Old 05-25-2010, 11:48 PM   #61
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Re: Inspector Wants Fire Sprinkler System


Quick re-cap; Small kitchen/den permit work, discovered massive termite damage, 3-20' beams, 1-16' beam, lots of studs, repaired quickly under T&M, everyone happy.. wrong, called in for framing/elec/plumb inspection and was told off by my inspector for opening up more than 50% of the walls & I needed to install a FS system ... damn.

Found CT for support

Gathered up my photos/permit/plans/termite report & headed down to MarinWood fire-station to meet with the Fire Chief. Explained my situation, he asked; Do you have a hard-wired smoke det system installed- yes! Do you have 5/8" rock in the gar on living walls- yes! Do you have an auto-gas shut of device- yes! Will you be installing 1/2" rock on the interior- yes!


He then replied OK I'll sign & not require you to install FS....


We had a brief conversation regarding excessive regs and people going underground with unsupervised work or putting off entirely work that would have made their homes safer!!! Finally someone gets it!!!!



So I floated over to the building dept




I got slammed so hard, I stayed calm , I was polite

After my explanation of the facts I was told "it's your fault you shouldn't have opened up the walls"

My response was that I found an unsafe liability bla-bla-bla that would be negligence for me to ignore.

I was told that I brought this on the owners.... and should have only done the kitchen & not touched anything else without a permit even for pest removal
Marin Co states if you open up a wall for ANY reason it counts as sq' toward F.S. system PERIOD, no appeal just bend over.

There was much more discussed but you get the picture.

So I meet with my clients by 11AM to break the news & the Mrs. drops to the ground crying... total fail feel like dirt.

Next step is to find out what it really costs, got two onsite verbals which out of respect will stay private, lets just say under 4 a sq.
OK that actually sounds do-able for a crappy situation.

Oh but wait you need a 1" meter.... Marin water district installed $4500 grrrrrr.

New main line to the house... ok I can get that done- 20' no concrete bare dirt.

Oh but wait it's a Mid-century modern Eichler... post & beam framing, t&g low slope roof, no attic,,,, gotta strip the foam roof & re roof after.

F.S. system permit, new meter permit, new meter, new main line, fire sprinkler system, roof permit, strip roof, re-roof......

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Old 05-26-2010, 12:05 AM   #62
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Old 05-26-2010, 12:15 AM   #63
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Re: Inspector Wants Fire Sprinkler System


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Old 05-26-2010, 12:17 AM   #64
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Re: Inspector Wants Fire Sprinkler System


This situation is an absolute nightmare. My sugestion... before the home owner and yourself have a nervous breakdown over this. Things seem a little beyond the scope of due diligence and your really trying to help the home owner through a bad situation, but who ultimately should take responsibility.....It sounds to me like it would be a good time to study the home owners home insurance policy, and see if insurance can take the bill......Find a way for it to do so some how because this isent merely a reno for pleasure, but to actually repair damage that is out of anyones hands.
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Old 05-26-2010, 12:29 AM   #65
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Re: Inspector Wants Fire Sprinkler System


We tried the insurance route when we fist discovered the damage, they clam no coverage for pest problems and it's a new policy that doesn't cover existing problems anyhow. Thanks though.

The owner wants to switch the permit into her name & not final the job.
Not recommending that route....yet.
At least she doesn't hate me.....yet.
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Old 05-26-2010, 01:32 AM   #66
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Re: Inspector Wants Fire Sprinkler System


I've been following this thread closely, and I feel terrible for your HO.

I worked on a project that had similar difficulties a couple years ago. It also began as a minor renovation, but as the contractor began opening the walls they discovered an endless stream of problems. In the end the inspector ordered the entire house be taken down to the studs; all the load bearing walls needed to be restructured; the house needed to be lifted and a new foundation be poured under it; the attic had asbestos in it; it would have cost them much less to build new. The sympathetic contractor reached out to all the trades in the area, and explained the situation the HO was in. My company, and several others billed the contractor at cost. I didn't loose and money on that job, and I didn't make any money, but it did bring me a few leads from neighbors.

Even with the generosity of the tradesmen who worked on the project, the HO was forced to invest tens of thousands more in the home than it would ever be worth. I'm proud of the fact that I helped a family in need, and I wouldn't have been given work on a neighbors home if I hadn't helped them.
If you reach out to the trades in your area, maybe you could find your HO help as well. Hell if it were me, I'd tell the HO she should call the media- maybe that would change the building departments mind.
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Old 05-26-2010, 01:43 AM   #67
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Re: Inspector Wants Fire Sprinkler System


I think the OP needs to remember that he is in no way in the wrong here.It sucks for the HO but there was no way at the start of the project that something like this was on the horizon.
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Old 05-26-2010, 10:15 AM   #68
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Re: Inspector Wants Fire Sprinkler System


take the issue to the next highest level before giving up. the building official ,your mayor,council members, local board of appeals, and the media. this is absurd for this to happen! make someone sweat and you may get the result you are after!
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Old 05-26-2010, 12:35 PM   #69
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Re: Inspector Wants Fire Sprinkler System


Well, I am in CA too and I am familiar with Marin County and various cities in the area. Frankly, it looks like everyone is screwed, and, I wish had a magic answer to the problem. But at this point all I can do have empathy for you and the owners.

Parts of Northern California are like this, you have PC, Holier than Thou, Elitist city and county officials than froth at the mouth for any opportunity to stick it to all of us lowly mortals not residing on Mt. Olympus. Remember that these folks have jobs for life, can retire at age 55 with full taxpayer paid benefits and up to 90% of their highest salary paid every year until their death.

I ran into similar situations in Los Gatos, Los Altos Hills, San Francisco, Berkeley and other locations where there was crystal clear indications that city and county department personnel were the result of incestuous relationships ---- which is why they all kinda look the same (played banjo and had rickets).

Please keep posting and let us know how this situation works itself out.
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Old 05-26-2010, 09:38 PM   #70
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Re: Inspector Wants Fire Sprinkler System


Well survived day two.
Had my shear nailing & insulation inspection today -(pass) and I gave her an earful, explained the total projected cost for the FS and how we (HO & I) feel this is a very unfair requirement as we have to re-roof a newer roof where as a traditionally framed home wouldn't carry such a burden, she asked if I had taken it up with the head deputy director of the building dept yet.... grrrrr, yes I did and your dept slammed me down, told me off and said I shouldn't have repaired any rotted beams out of the planed scope of work!

Her eyes got big & a slight worrisome look if you ask me ( i was calm & polite but I think my body language showed my inner rage) She then said "well you need to go to the Marin County board of directors and appeal to them" ....

So I got a licensed FS guy out who tells me we have very good water pressure (he tested it) and he believes he can design a system to work off the 3/4" meter and by also installing a domestic auto shut off thingy ( i forgot his technical name for it

Found a licensed foam roofer that suggested instead of a complete tear off just channel a 6" slot for the pipes & he would foam that in & re-coat the whole roof & warranty it, for much less. I'll get him out for a walk-though & guesstimate.

Clients want to try the board of supervisers as they have friends in that circle.

Stopped by the Fire Chief in MarinWood fire station & thanked him for his support even though the deputy director Bill Kelly laughed at him for thinking the Fire department has any jurisdiction over the building dept.

At least the Mrs had dinner ready when I got home, hot & spicy chili sprinkled with lots of cheese & crunched up Frito's & sour cream on top... YUM ...best part of my day.
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:03 AM   #71
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Re: Inspector Wants Fire Sprinkler System


It is truly a sad day when Civil Servant actually means Civil Master. Sorry to hear you are going through this TLE. Though it sounds like a good plan from the FS/Roofing guys. Yet another reason for me to *HATE* the greater San Fransisco metropolitan area.
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:14 AM   #72
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Re: Inspector Wants Fire Sprinkler System


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It is truly a sad day when Civil Servant actually means Civil Master. Sorry to hear you are going through this TLE. Though it sounds like a good plan from the FS/Roofing guys. Yet another reason for me to *HATE* the greater San Fransisco metropolitan area.

Gee I thought the LA Basin was bad. Guess I was wrong (maybe).

Marin is like the PC, Nimby capitol of NorCal. Remember this is ground zero for the American Taliban that was caught years ago.

Anyway, in just about every other place, the AHJ is god and everyone else has to fall in line behind them. But ( as can be expected in Marin ), there seems to be a lot of departmental fiefdoms at war with each other, which is why the contractor is caught in the middle and ultimately, the HO and the contractor get the short end of the stick --- trying to satisfy everyone in local government.

Remember, you can have whatever you want ---- it only costs money.
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:41 AM   #73
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Re: Inspector Wants Fire Sprinkler System


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Gee I thought the LA Basin was bad. Guess I was wrong (maybe).
The LA Basin isn't that bad. *BAD* is LA City! Followed closely by a place called San Marino in the valley and The People's Democratic Socialist Republic of Santa Monica. Everywhere else is pretty easy to work with.

LA City's is just all around bad. Even when *THEY* are the one's asking *YOU* to do the work. As in 6 months and multiple resubmits for approvals just to trench 2,500 feet and lay cable. *FOR THEM*! *ON THEIR PROPERTY*! *AT THEIR REQUEST*! *FOLLOWING THEIR SPEC'S & PLANS*! Sorry. As you can see I get a bit hot on the subject.

Santa Monica is bad because its our version of Berkeley. Surely you have heard of them. They are the one's who told HO's they couldn't have a hedge over 3' on their property because it denied other people their right to look and see into the HO's private spaces! $25,000 fine per violation! WTF,O? This is also the city that is the Homeless Shelter City. Food, shelter, and camp on the city hall lawn all for free. Advertised this fact.

San Marino is bad because its a bunch of rich people who are big into keeping things just-the-way-they-are. Hell there was an article in the local paper about the city fining some 80 year old lady for not keeping her yard up to snuff.

Quote:
Marin is like the PC, Nimby capitol of NorCal. Remember this is ground zero for the American Taliban that was caught years ago.
Ah yes. Like San Marino or Beverly Hills down here. Now I remember. All the Hippie's of the 60's are now rich and establishment but still have that guilt from their youth. Sigh. Idiots.

Quote:
Anyway, in just about every other place, the AHJ is god and everyone else has to fall in line behind them. But ( as can be expected in Marin ), there seems to be a lot of departmental fiefdoms at war with each other, which is why the contractor is caught in the middle and ultimately, the HO and the contractor get the short end of the stick --- trying to satisfy everyone in local government.

Remember, you can have whatever you want ---- it only costs money.
Right that last line mate.
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Old 05-27-2010, 05:04 PM   #74
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Re: Inspector Wants Fire Sprinkler System


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Well, I am in CA too and I am familiar with Marin County and various cities in the area. Frankly, it looks like everyone is screwed, and, I wish had a magic answer to the problem. But at this point all I can do have empathy for you and the owners.

Parts of Northern California are like this, you have PC, Holier than Thou, Elitist city and county officials than froth at the mouth for any opportunity to stick it to all of us lowly mortals not residing on Mt. Olympus. Remember that these folks have jobs for life, can retire at age 55 with full taxpayer paid benefits and up to 90% of their highest salary paid every year until their death.

I ran into similar situations in Los Gatos, Los Altos Hills, San Francisco, Berkeley and other locations where there was crystal clear indications that city and county department personnel were the result of incestuous relationships ---- which is why they all kinda look the same (played banjo and had rickets).
Man I couldn't of said that any better, thanks cwatbay!!!

So my clients are just fantastic, they are not blaming me at all & are thankful I repaired the failing beams & framing, they are thanking me for really trying to straighten this mess out, they pay on time with no haggles, their up front with the finances & have enough $ to finish (minus roof & FS system!!!) they know I'm not making money spending hours & hours at the County & fire station & meeting all these extra subs etc and have offered to pay me for my time!!!. Why do the good clients get reamed & the a-hole one's get off scott free!?!

After my rock nailing inspection the inspector would normally only be back for the final, my clients are asking me what happens if they don't final? I don't know as I've always finished what I've started, I know it would affect if they ever wanted to pull a permit again but after this drama I don't think they ever will . So if the permit is in their name & it's not final-ed what would happen???
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Old 05-27-2010, 05:23 PM   #75
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Man I couldn't of said that any better, thanks cwatbay!!!

So my clients are just fantastic, they are not blaming me at all & are thankful I repaired the failing beams & framing, they are thanking me for really trying to straighten this mess out, they pay on time with no haggles, their up front with the finances & have enough $ to finish (minus roof & FS system!!!) they know I'm not making money spending hours & hours at the County & fire station & meeting all these extra subs etc and have offered to pay me for my time!!!. Why do the good clients get reamed & the a-hole one's get off scott free!?!

After my rock nailing inspection the inspector would normally only be back for the final, my clients are asking me what happens if they don't final? I don't know as I've always finished what I've started, I know it would affect if they ever wanted to pull a permit again but after this drama I don't think they ever will . So if the permit is in their name & it's not final-ed what would happen???
It might take a while,maybe a long while but after the permit expires there would eventually be a knock on the door.
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Old 05-27-2010, 09:09 PM   #76
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Re: Inspector Wants Fire Sprinkler System


I like what the one guy said about reaching out to your trades to throw in a hand. I personally love a chance for some pro bono work, especially if there is some possible good publicity like a thank you in the news paper. If you have been good to your trades over the years, they should be more then willing to pitch in.
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Old 05-27-2010, 11:25 PM   #77
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Re: Inspector Wants Fire Sprinkler System


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It might take a while,maybe a long while but after the permit expires there would eventually be a knock on the door.
And then what?

I imagine a trip to the attorney's office is in the owners future to help determine the cost of not complying versus the cost of somehow complying.

This might not go over well on this board, but what is the lesson here for the non-contractor homeowners that read this forum? Is it to hire contractors who will bend/break the rules and hide some parts of the job from the AHJ, or skip permits altogether? Keep an extra 50 or 60K set aside for your kitchen remodel? Or ignore any termite damage and sell off the house to some sucker?

I hope some authority can think for a second and see the ridiculousness of this situation and make it right for the HO.
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Old 05-28-2010, 01:20 AM   #78
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Since I'm new here I needed 15 posts to be able to share a picture, otherwise I would have sooner....

This is a 3 beam intersection that I found in the wall above my kitchen .... slight pest problem. The upper beam was dirt & it counter levered out 5', the lower beam spanned left 16'. That section of the house had been remodeled by the previous home owner in 1980 & he did some funky stuff stacking the beams like that, well at least the bugs are gone, the framing is right now, the roof wont collapse.

Seams to me the termites should be held acountable...

Just though I'd share what started it all....



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Old 06-03-2010, 02:56 AM   #79
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I believe the trend in residential will be towards allowing plumbers to install fire sprinkler systems to help keep costs down. Imagine trying to get a commercial sprinkler/pipe fitter in a residential setting. $$$$
Be careful with your liability insurance.

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So I got a licensed FS guy out who tells me we have very good water pressure (he tested it) and he believes he can design a system to work off the 3/4" meter and by also installing a domestic auto shut off thingy ( i forgot his technical name for it
I've been in the fire sprinkler business 35 years as a certified design technician and estimator.

I am going to get just a little technical here but you know sprinklers are coming to a residence near you and some might find this beneficial.

Fire sprinklers in one and two family dwellings are governed by NFPA 13D "Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes" published by the National Fire Protection Association.

Most of the time we can get a 3/4" water supply to work as long as the pressure is halfway decent and the length from the street to the house isn't excessive.

The most economical sprinkler (speaking in terms of water use not cost) would be something similar to the freedomŽ residential pendent sprinkler vk435 (K3.1) shown her tried to post urls but not allowed... sorry.

As you can see on page 3 of the pdf these sprinklers are listed for smooth, flat ceilings with a 12'x12' or 14'x14' spacing. The difference is with a 12' spacing each sprinkler must discharge 9.0 gpm @ 8.4 psi while the 14' spacing requires 10.0 gpm @ 10.4 psi. This doesn't sound like much of a difference but it can mean a lot in some instances.

Beams can cause problems as can roofs pitched more than 2/12.

We need be aware of compartments and dwelling units... they are not the same thing.

A dwelling unit would be the entire house.

A compartment is defined in Section 4.1 to be:

4.1 Compartments.
4.1.1 A compartment, for the purposes of this standard, shall be a space that is completely enclosed by walls and a ceiling.
4.1.2 A compartment enclosure shall be permitted to have openings in walls, provided the openings have a minimum lintel depth of 8 in. (203 mm) from the ceiling.


The design is section 8.1.2 which reads

8.1.2 Number of Design Sprinklers. The number of design sprinklers under flat, smooth, horizontal ceilings shall include all sprinklers within a compartment, up to a maximum of two sprinklers, that requires the greatest hydraulic demand.

The most water you need is to feed two sprinklers. The house may have 25 sprinklers (maybe more if big) but the water supply only need be sufficient to supply two sprinklers.

In any event the most sprinklers that need be supplied is two.

If you have them spaced 12'x12' you will need 18.0 gpm (possibly a little more due to hydraulic calculations but we're only talking 2 or 3 10ths of a gallon more).

You need 8.4 psi at the sprinkler head.

If the head is 10' above the level where the water pressure was obtained you will need to add 0.433 psi per vertical foot or 4.3 psi in this case. So far we need 8.4+4.3=12.7 psi.

Let's say we have 100' of 3/4" Type L copper pipe from the farthest operating sprinkler to in the house to the city tap. To roughly compensate for equivalent fitting loss go ahead and add 20 feet just to be on the safe side. We're going to calculate for 120 linear feet.

Friction loss thorugh 3/4" Type L Copper is"
GPM PSI/FT
10.0 0.10
12.0 0.14
14.0 0.18
16.0 0.23
18.0 0.29
20.0 0.35
25.0 0.53
30.0 0.75
35.0 1.00

At 18 gpm through 120' of 3/4" the friction loss will be 120*0.29=34.8 psi.

Add the 34.8 psi to the 12.7 psi (end head pressure requirement elevation we worked on earlier) and you can see we will need 34.8+12.7=47.5 psi so far to adequately feed the system.

We need to calculate head loss through the meter. Most likely it is a 5/8" meter and the head loss there will be 9.0 psi flowing 18 gpm. Add the 9.0 psi to the 47.5 and you can see we need 56.5 psi at the street connection.

Be conservative. If you have 75 psi at the street this will work fine but if all you got is 50 psi it won't work.

Also let me say again these are not final calculations but they will get you awfully close... within a couple psi.

This would be with 12'x12' spacing meaning no sprinkler can be more than 6'-0" off any one wall.

If the room is 12'x13' it will require 2 sprinklers if you want to stay in the 9.0 gpm useage. If the room measures 12'-1"x12'-1" it will require FOUR sprinklers but calculations need only have two operating.

Let's space the heads 14'x14' and see what happens with two sprinklers flowing.

The end head pressure is 10.4 psi with 10 gpm flowing. 10.4 psi plus the 10 feet elevation is 10.4+(0.433*10)=14.7 gpm.

20 gpm flowing through 120' of 3/4" copper will produce a friction loss of 120*0.35=42.0 psi.

Follow me so far?

Friction loss through the 5/8" meter will be 11.0 psi. The more water flowing the more friction or head loss you will have.

We will need 14.7+42.0+11.0=67.7 psi to adequately supply the same exact system the only difference is sprinkler head spacing. In other words if you have 62 psi available the 12' spacing would work but the 14' spacing would not.

Then ther are other tricks we got.. instead of ceiling sprinklers we could go with sidewall sprinklers like this not allowed to post urls... thought I had it covered. but look at what happens to the water demand... as you can see 12' spacing will require 11.0 gpm from each sprinkler.

Rough speaking, very roughly speaking, generally we can make sprinklers work with water from a 3/4" tube with 5/8" meter if the maximum distance is under 100'... if it's 300' I doubt it unless you got lots and lots of water pressure.

In new construction you can generally figure between $0.75 and $1.25/per sq ft.. For retrofit is is more because you got to patch and repaint.

The cost also depends a lot on how local code authorities treat us in terms of permit fees and inspections. In a new house we can generally get rough in done in a day or less with two or three hours with finish. If we got to stand around waiting on an inspector all day someone has to pay.

As a trade we're pretty lucky.. our standards are pretty much national with few changes from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The system you see in Florida is going to look a lot like the one in California but then I do know some areas of California have weird things going on with attics. Generally attics are not required to have sprinklers.

Anyway I hoped this helped a bit. Any questions please feel free to ask and I'll do my best.
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:46 AM   #80
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Re: Inspector Wants Fire Sprinkler System


Very informative Sprinklertech.

Good luck TLE, one point of criticism. You need to learn to resize your photos on the web. You are almost guilty of photobombing yourself

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