Where there’s fire sprinklers, there should be drains


Like most newer construction, the building where I live has fire sprinklers placed strategically throughout the property. The idea, of course, is that if a fire breaks out, it will be contained by the sprinklers before spreading to neighboring apartments. There’s a downside, though: whenever the sprinklers go off, a huge amount of water has to find its way out of the unit, which means a lot of water damage to that unit and the ones next door or below.

Well, that’s what I’ve heard, anyway. I don’t think anyone’s sprinklers in the building have gone off during the past few years, but the topic comes up from time to time in building meetings. This makes me wonder: if you’re constructing a building with fire sprinklers, why not add overflow drains to each apartment? These would be placed in each room that has sprinklers, with extra drains near the walls that are shared with nearby units, and the doors leading to the common areas.

By adopting this approach, the water from the sprinklers would never reach neighboring units, and the damage from water overflow would be greatly reduced. Granted, this would be very costly to add to an existing property. But it seems like a no-brainer when planning and constructing a new building, and I’m surprised that you don’t see it more often.