Students with AFSA’s BFSSPS tour The Star in Frisco, Texas, the 91-acre campus of the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters.

Five Reasons Design Should be on Your Mind

Attend AFSA’S Beginning Fire Sprinkler System Planning School

The Beginning Fire Sprinkler System Planning School (BFSSPS) is one of the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA)’s most popular member benefits. The school, held at AFSA’s training center in Dallas, presents a comprehensive, practical approach to preparing fire sprinkler system drawings. You’ve probably heard of the course before, but have you thought about why you should send your employees to the class in 2020? If you’re looking for reasons, look no further. Check out the five top reasons to send a student to one of AFSA’s schools in 2020 below! 

1. Help Beginners be Productive Immediately Upon Return to Work

AFSA’s BFSSPS was designed by contractors, for contractors, with novice employees in mind. The class helps those with little to no experience and those who need assistance with design return to work with confidence and a new skill set. In a post-school evaluation, a past attendee mentioned they were “…totally new to design and I had hoped to learn a plan of attack for the design of jobs awarded. I have learned this and so much more.” In AFSA’s approach, students learn through a hands-on method of planning and drawing sprinkler systems themselves while also studying and applying NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, (2016 edition) which allows them to return to work with the fortitude and knowledge to get the job done!

2. Develop an In-Depth Understanding of NFPA 13 

Sixty percent of student time is spent on study and review of NFPA 13 (2016 edition), while the other 40 percent of their time is spent preparing fire sprinkler system layouts, shop drawings, and hydraulic calculations. Attendees of the course learn by actually planning and drawing sprinkler systems while studying and applying NFPA 13. “I learned how to effectively read and interpret NFPA 13, perform hand calculations, and how to properly establish remote areas,” mentions one graduate of the course. 

3. Excellent Instructional Leadership

Taught by AFSA’s expert technical staff, AFSA’s BFSSPS teaches the essential elements of system layout in accordance with NFPA 13. The course instruction is led by Tom Noble CET, CFPS, with support from AFSA’s Vice President of Engineering & Technical Services John Denhardt, P.E., F.S.F.P.E. With 25 years of experience in the fire sprinkler industry, Noble is an excellent resource for beginners to utilize and learn from. In addition to his impressive amount of industry experience, Noble’s qualifications include serving on the NFPA 13 Installation; NFPA 13D, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes; and NFPA 13R, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in Low-Rise Residential Occupancies, committees. He is a member of NFPA’s Certified Water-Based Systems Professional (CWBSP) certification advisory group, making him an expert in his field. Past attendees praised Noble’s instruction saying, “Tom was accommodating, patient, and thorough with his explanations; willing to repeat or reframe content as necessary.” Another former student mentioned that Noble’s teaching makes “…this class is suited for everyone from the beginner to someone with experience.”

Students took advantage of having both instructors in class and noted it was a bonus: “This course was eye-opening to what is really required for design. The information was great. Tom is an excellent instructor. John comes to instructing with extensive field, design, and engineering knowledge which helps the students get insight from more and different views.”

4. Our Schools Help Save Time

The BFSSPS is only 10 days—a short amount of time in which your new designers gain a wealth of knowledge and skills, while also providing an excellent refresh for slightly more experienced employees. Attendees are given the tools to accelerate the comprehension of plans and various types of building construction for proper sprinkler spacing applications; determine the proper and economical planning of fire sprinkler system layout and installation methods; know the importance of sprinkler specifications, types of pipe, hangers, fittings, flow tests, etc.; learn to develop shop drawings from start to finish; learn to coordinate with other trades such as plumbing, mechanical, structural and electrical; perform manual hydraulic calculations, preparing the student for an easier decision-making process when using a computer to perform hydraulics; and prepare shop drawings in class for projects with different applications.

5. Save Money

This course helps speed up the productivity of your beginners and trains them to be productive quickly, saving you time and money in training in the long run. Additionally, a benefit of AFSA membership is discounted registration pricing for this popular course. Members save $1,200 on registration! 

“The two-week design school is the most efficient and cost-effective method to prepare an entry-level designer for NICET I & II Water-Based Fire Protection Systems Layout certification,” says Stacey J. Fantauzzi with North East Fire Protection Systems, Inc. (NEFPSI), Ballston Spa, New York. “We believe that education should be a multi-layered approach. Our designers spend time in the field installing systems in their first weeks on the job. They also work with Jimmy Fantauzzi, who heads up our estimating department, in the field and office learning how to implement NFPA 13. When they are ready for NICET, we make the investment of design school. The two designers sent in the past 18 months came home and passed both NICET I and II. This class effectively prepared them to take the test with confidence.”

Enroll Today!

There are four remaining classes for 2020: June 1-12, July 20-31, September 21-October 2, and November 9-20. Classes are kept small for individualized instruction and fill quickly, so early registration is highly encouraged. Register your students online at Looking for additional information on upcoming classes? Contact AFSA Meetings & Events Coordinator Liz Nemerofsky at or (214) 349-5965 ext. 117.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rebecca Herring is the communications assistant and advertising manager for the American Fire Sprinkler Association.

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