When it comes to fire protection, easy access to water is key and a good standpipe system can give you just that. Here we’ll look at all the key information about standpipes you may need: from the basics of what a standpipe is, to the different classes and types of standpipe, and the use of standpipes in the UK.
What is a standpipe and is it worth it?
A standpipe is a rigid type of piping, which serves as a connection to the water supply. It is usually installed in a vertical position and it essentially works as a fire hydrant.
Standpipe systems are a preferred type of a fire safety installation for multi-storey buildings, as they offer some major benefits:
- Time-saving: In case of fire, the fire hose can be attached directly to the standpipe, which means that the hose won’t have to pass up and down staircases, saving precious time.
- Better water pressure: A standpipe system provides a shortcut to the water supply by using straight up and down connections. This reduces friction loss along the way, resulting in higher water pressure.
- Safer evacuation conditions: A fire hose lying in the staircases can be considered a trip hazard; the use of a standpipe eliminates that danger.
What kinds of standpipes are there?
Standpipe systems are usually divided into classes, based on the water pressure and size of water hose connection they use, as well as into types, based on how the water is delivered to outlets.
- Class 1 Standpipe System uses a 2 ½” hose connection and is designed strictly for the use of professional firefighters only, as the high water pressure makes controlling the fire hose difficult.
- Class 2 Standpipe System features permanently-installed hoses with 1 ½” connections and can be used by anyone, provided that they have the necessary fire safety training.
- Class 3 Standpipe System: different versions of the Class 3 standpipe system exist but in essence, it’s a combination between a Class 1 and a Class 2 system, as it can use both 1 ½” and 2 ½” connections.
There are two main types of standpipe systems – dry and wet. As a general rule, wet standpipe systems keep pressurised water in the pipes at all times, whereas dry ones are either empty, or filled with pressurised air instead. Standpipes are further classified into manual, automatic and semi-automatic subtypes.
Use of standpipes in the UK
Sourcing water from a standpipe is perfectly legal in the UK, if you’re using it to combat fire in emergency situations. However, if you would like to use it for any other purposes, such as carrying out temporary works, you will need to apply for a standpipe license with your water provider and pay a fee.
Got your own standpipe system and looking to replace an existing feature? Check out our range for standpipes here.