Sprinklers Approved! (FINALLY)

The big item holding everything up lately has been approval for our sprinklers. The plans were submitted June 28th and the DOB was supposed to get them reviewed within 2 weeks. SEVEN weeks later they were approved. Just to put things in perspective – 5 weeks of mortgage payments is about $7,500. So a dud of a plan examiner just cost us $7,500. (Thank you DOB).

In the end there was nothing of any real substance wrong with the plans we submitted back on July 28. The plan examiner was just incompetent (IMHO – $7,500 later I feel I’ve paid enough to put it that bluntly). He didn’t seem to have the faintest idea of what he was actually looking at and he couldn’t even count – he insisted we had 68 heads when we had 38 heads and then gave us an objection for having too many heads on a 3″ water main connection when our sprinkler calculations are based on pressure – the number of heads and the size of the connection are irrelevant if the pressure is sufficient to support the load.

The ONLY thing that changed between the original filing and what was approved was the sprinkler schedule. Here’s what what originally submitted…

Sprinkler schedule submitted to DOB

And here is what what was approved…

Approved sprinkler schedule

Yes, there’s a bit more detail on the approved plans but the original one had the MEA number which is the unique identifier for the sprinkler head. That’s all that’s really important since the specs are based on the particular sprinkler head. If you have the unique identifier for the head there’s no real question about the specs. But I didn’t get the sense that the plan examiner understood the concept of a “unique identifier”. He was saying the inspectors in the field wanted to see things like flow rates. I can’t imagine that’s true – they’d just want to match the part number up to what was spec’d. It’s not like an inspector is going to sit there and do flow rate calculations in the field.

This is the problem with the DOB… Plan examiners need to specialize. Plan examiners for sprinkler systems should have degrees in mechanical or civil engineering. It does no one any good to have a plan examiner review something they don’t understand. If I didn’t trust our mechanical engineer I’d be wondering whether our sprinkler system will work properly when there’s a fire – it’s not like the plan examiner checked the substance of the plans and verified that it will work.

Oh, and on top of everything the plan examiner pads his time sheet. We had 20 minute appointments both times and at the end of everything he was there entering 1 hour into his time sheet. This time he didn’t even bother to discuss anything with Dan and our expediter. He just glanced at the formatting of the sprinkler schedule and then handed our expediter his stamp. Then he signed the sheets once they were stamped. For that he said he worked an hour. “Working” like that, he can get an 8 hour day done before lunchtime.

Now that the sprinklers are approved we can move ahead. The first thing that will get done is a new water main connection (we’ll be digging up the street). At that point we’ll have water, which will be a huge help. Once that’s done ConEd will put in gas and electric. The lack of electricity has been a big problem for our contractor – he’s been doing everything with generators – which gets expensive. Then there will be plumbing inspections and once those are done we can put in insulation. Once the windows are here (in 4-6 weeks) we can start on sheetrocking.

2 thoughts on “Sprinklers Approved! (FINALLY)

  1. Congratulations! And good luck with the water mains – replacing the water mains is an adventure one could do well without. I am speaking from experience now, since we had to re-install our leaky water mains, too, and ended up with a three cubic meters hole. Hopefully no unmarked wires or pipes in the way!

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