Fire Suppression/Sprinkler Installation

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I have a question regarding fire suppression and fire sprinklers. I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this, but here goes.  My wife and I are in the process of creating a residential assisted living facility. As a matter of course, we have to bring the building up to code which includes ADA compliance (grab bars and roll in showers) and fire suppression/detection (fire sprinklers, alarms and lights, etc.). The ADA stuff is relatively straight forward and will be fairly cheap. The sprinklers are new to us. Anyone out there have any experience with this, even commercially? The company's I've talked to, state that the attic as well as the living space must be protected because it's a wood structure. Because I don't have plans for the house yet I only got a very rough price at $350/square foot. Is this typical, or higher than it needs to be? Keep in mind that $85,000 would be the price of the sprinklers alone. I would still need to get a new, separate underground line installed with two individual water lines, and fire alarms and emergency lights installed. I'm very realistic when it comes to renovation cost, I was a contractor before I got into real estate, but have no experience with any of this stuff.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Hey Frank,

I'm by no means an expert in the space, however I used to work as a sales rep for a large fire suppression company. Since I sold maintenance agreements, I touched on every aspect you mentioned above and worked with some asst living facilities. 

You're right, sprinkler installation is not cheap. It involves engineering the sprinkler system to a specific design which involves CAD time etc. To install, you're looking at $80-100/hr+. In one instance, I had a client who needed an  18" stub put in to meet the requirements of a local compliance officer and it ran him $800. I'd agree that the attic also needs to be protected as it's likely a combustible area large enough to become a problem should there be a problem. You'll probably need to have some back flows installed too.

A run of the mill FA panel is going to run $1500-7500 depending on how many contact points you need (read # of smoke detectors, pull stations etc), and then there is programming etc. E-Lights will be $60-120 or so a piece plus install. Think about what regular testing and maintenance will look like as well.

The challenge you'll face, is that assisted living facilities in some instances (depending on the jurisdiction) fall under medical facility coding and are required to have higher levels of protection to comply with state/federal programs. I'd work closely with the local fire inspector and coding dept to find out exactly what you'll need. And if you want, I can reach out to a contact in VA to get you some quotes (I don't currently work for them anymore so not selling anything here).

Hope that helps a bit.