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Posted by Stephanie on March 25, 2024

When a fire breaks out in a warehouse or distribution center, the building’s sprinkler system should turn on immediately to douse the flames. To ensure the sprinkler system emits enough water pressure to stop the fire from spreading, it must be equipped with fire pump equipment. The local water supply or a nearby tank doesn’t provide enough pressure to accommodate fires in large buildings, so booster pumps supplement sprinkler systems.

While fire pump systems are essential for most industrial facilities, finding the right place to store them can be challenging. Even though some businesses attempt to store their fire pump systems inside the primary building, this approach has a few issues. For example, the equipment is less accessible.

Suppose you’d like to avoid placing your fire pump equipment on valuable floor space or in a mechanical room. In that case, several alternative solutions are available to you, including everything from a modular enclosure to a pump house. This guide explores the advantages of using a fire pump house or enclosure to store your equipment.

Fire Suppression System

Understanding the Need for Fire Pump Enclosures

While you can effectively protect your fire pump system from the elements by storing it in a mechanical room, inspectors and fire marshals must do more work to reach the system when necessary. Accessibility is crucial when tending to a fire or ensuring your equipment is in good working condition.

Fire pump equipment must consistently perform optimally to ensure the building is supplied with water immediately. If your sprinkler system works as intended, it can mitigate the spread of a fire until emergency services arrive at the building.

You can store fire pumps inside your building or in an enclosure outside. The main problem with storing them inside is that they’ll use up some of the valuable space in your facility. On the other hand, storing the equipment outside means dealing with the elements.

The best storage option for fire pump equipment involves an enclosure placed outside. With the proper enclosure, you can prevent the system from being damaged while ensuring it’s accessible to inspectors and fire marshals alike.

Options for Storing Fire Pump Equipment Outside Primary Buildings

If you decide to store your fire pump equipment outside your primary building, you have two types of enclosures available. You can use either a fire pump house or a modular pump enclosure. Each option has its benefits.

Option One: Pump Houses

Pump houses are permanent structures that you can place on your property. This option allows you to store your fire pump system in a prefabricated building outside your primary facility. Pump houses have their pros and cons. The main advantage of using this type of facility is that you don’t need to customize anything or wait for the structure to be built. Once you order a pre-built enclosure, it will be shipped and installed on-site as soon as possible. Some other benefits of using a fire pump house include the following:

  • Units can be connected to electrical and mechanical systems immediately after they arrive on-site
  • This type of enclosure is engineered, built, and tested before it ever arrives at your facility
  • Units are often tailored to meet the needs of your site’s layout

While there are numerous reasons to opt for a fire pump house, there are also several drawbacks to this approach that might make it unappealing. Even though these enclosures are designed to be “permanent” fixtures on a property, they come with high design and engineering costs that can eat up a large amount of your budget.

You’ll also be tasked with obtaining permits to keep the enclosure on your land. Permitting is expensive and may not be worth it. The extra design and permit costs you’ll need to pay can add up to tens of thousands of dollars. Having a permanent enclosure on your site may also make it more difficult for you to sell the property if you choose to do so in the future. There’s a lack of flexibility with fire pump houses that you should avoid.

Warehouse Fire Suppression Systems
Warehouse Fire Suppression Systems sprinkler

Option Two: Modular Pump Enclosures

The other option is modular pump enclosures and panel-designed structures, which offer many clear advantages over fire pump houses. If you select aluminum-paneled enclosures, they are made from insulated panels that can be assembled at your site and quickly removed when needed. They are designed to be temporary structures you can’t move off your land, so you won’t need to spend thousands of dollars obtaining permits.

If you choose this type of enclosure, every panel can be swapped out for an access panel or door, allowing you complete control over the design. This approach to fire pump enclosures also makes repairing and maintaining the equipment easy. If one of the enclosure’s panels becomes damaged, you can remove it and replace it with a new one.

Keep in mind that modular enclosures are highly customizable. When searching for the proper enclosure, you can obtain one with a removable roof, making it easier to replace the equipment when needed. You can also decide if you want the enclosure secured to a portable skid or concrete slab. If you connect it to a portable skid, you can transport it off-site for specific projects.

These enclosures can be purchased in custom or prefabricated colors as well. Aluminum is a relatively affordable material that’s easy to work with, which is one reason why the costs associated with these enclosures are lower than the ones related to a fire pump house.

Since fire pumps come in many sizes and are available from numerous brands, selecting a modular design allows you to fit the enclosure around the needs of your equipment. The malleability of aluminum also makes it possible to add windows, fans, and louvers. Paneled enclosures are shipped in a box, which helps to keep delivery costs low. In comparison, pre-built fire pump houses have much higher shipping costs.

Since modular pump enclosures can be customized, outfit the structure with weather protection features that keep electronics and control panels away from the elements.

Advantages of Modular Pump Enclosures

The main advantages of modular pump enclosures include the following:

  • Flexibility in design and sizing to meet specific equipment needs
  • Easy maintenance and repair access due to removable roofs and panels
  • Customization options for enhanced functionality and aesthetics
  • Cost-saving benefits regarding freight expenses, installation, and transportation

Designing and Purchasing a Pump Enclosure

As touched upon previously, there are many factors you should consider when buying a pump enclosure. You’ll have complete control over the design, so think about the layout of your site and the equipment you need to store in the enclosure. Along with a removable roof, the building can come with a room heater, a jockey pump, and various electrical services.

When searching for the proper modular pump enclosure, remember that many companies offer them. Your main goal should be to find a manufacturer that provides insulated aluminum panels with a high fire rating. Some additional steps you should take when designing the enclosure include the following:

  • The enclosure needs to be large enough to ensure proper clearance for the maintenance and installation of the fire pump and all related equipment.
  • Provide 12 inches of clearance from the pump’s edges and another 12 inches behind the system.
  • Ensure the room only houses fire protection equipment and includes no separate mechanical systems.
  • Adhere to all NFPA 20 requirements for fire pump enclosures.

Remember that nearly every aspect of the enclosure can be customized to suit your preferences. To add more doors or windows, you only need to remove a panel or two. Ensure you also equip the structure with enough protection features to withstand snow, rain, ice, and other inclement weather.

Warehouse Fire Suppression Systems

Conclusion

Fire pump enclosures allow you to maximize efficiency and protection. By storing this equipment in an enclosure that’s situated outdoors, you can be confident that it’s protected while also being highly accessible to the people who need to reach it. While there are two solutions available to you, it’s highly recommended that you consider modular enclosures as a viable alternative for your fire pump equipment needs. If you’re interested in purchasing a pump enclosure, we can provide guidance and assistance to ensure you make the right choice. Call us today to get started.

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With over 32 years of experience in material handling, QMH is committed to providing end-to-end solutions for companies with distribution, logistic and warehousing needs. From permit approval management to full-service execution from the ground up, QMH delivers unique solutions providing distinct value in record time.