Guide to Sprinklers for Houses.
Trade and Industry - Building Inspectors.

What do I need to be aware of before signing off home sprinklers?

The mains pressure will not always be sufficient for the sprinklers requirements.

  • In 90 percent of fires only one head (flowing at about 60 litres per minute) will be activated. However, to cover those other 10 percent of fires, plus any normal domestic usage occurring at the time (ie: a dishwasher or washing machine), it may be necessary to increase the diameter of the water meter or pipes.

  • If a wider connection or pipes are needed, this will not necessarily result in higher water use in the house from taps, lawn sprinklers and the like.

  • Where there are concerns about a house using more water, restrictors can be installed to return pressure to normal for other fittings.

The designer of the system must be qualified by having completed the BRANZ, Unitec or other equivalent course in home sprinkler design.

  • Most councils need to see this design before allowing a building consent for the sprinkler system.

  • Any registered plumber can perform the installation work.
The system must be pressure tested on installation at 1500kPa for 15 minutes.
  • This means the homeowner (and building inspector) can have confidence in the durability of the pipes - especially if they are placed in the ceiling.
The system can be designed so only one extra limiting valve is used, but no fittings other than the sprinklers use extra water.

How do I know if the person doing the design and installation work on home sprinklers is qualified?

That´s easy. See the Sprinkler Experts section for a list of registered system designers.

What about rural areas?

Houses without reticulated water can still get home sprinklers. In fact, because of the increased time it takes the Fire Service to respond to and attack fires in remote rural areas, these houses need them more than urban homes.

  • Pump and tank supply are adequate for home sprinklers as long as there is sufficient guaranteed water supply.

  • Remember, even though modern sprinklers are part of the plumbing, where extra capacity is needed it doesn´t mean it will be constantly used.
Visit www.fire.org.nz for further information on the New Zealand Fire Service