Three Decades of Design Training

Popular School Prepares Designers to Become Productive Upon Graduation

In 2018, the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) enters its 34th year of training new designers with its Beginning Fire Sprinkler System Planning School. The course was first launched in 1984 under the tutelage of Dan Mallow, PE.

“AFSA has a long history serving the fire protection industry with training and education programs, and the Beginning Fire Sprinkler System Planning School is one of our most popular offerings,” comments AFSA Senior Vice President of Engineering & Technical Services Roland J. Huggins, PE. “Designers gain the latest technical knowledge and receive hands-on experience designing systems to the latest NFPA standards. Contractors quickly realize the value of their investment when their newly trained designers return to the workplace.”

AFSA is ready to train the next generation of designers in 2018 with seven sessions scheduled: January 8-19, March 5-16, April 30-May 11, June 18-29, July 23-August 3, September 10-21, and November 5-16. Taught by Tom Noble, CET, AFSA technical programs specialist, the Beginning Fire Sprinkler System Planning School teaches the essential elements of system layout in accordance with NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems. Currently, the school focuses on the 2016 edition, but planning is underway for the 2019 edition’s anticipated adoption.

“With the 2019 edition of NFPA 13 proposed to present chapters in order of how a sprinkler system is designed, we have restructured the classroom format to mirror that,” says Noble. “The new NFPA standard and our school will now start with the water supply at the outside of the building and work towards the building and the fire sprinkler system in accordance with the applicable chapters. For example, spacing criteria currently is contained in Chapter 8 in the 2016 edition. It’s proposed to cover five chapters in the 2019 edition – five chapters versus just one,” he adds. “We’ve also revised the office plan that we design a sprinkler system for, which adds additional hydraulic calculations to the classwork – as time permits.”

The school will continue to use the 2016 edition until the 2019 edition is approved, which is anticipated to be mid-to-late 2018. Materials presented will also be continually updated and changed as the upcoming standard is finalized.

AFSA’s Beginning Fire Sprinkler System Planning School is geared toward those with limited experience or those who need assistance with design. Classes are held at AFSA’s training center in Dallas, and presents a comprehensive, practical approach to preparing fire sprinkler system drawings. Students receive two full weeks of instruction: 60 percent is study and review of NFPA 13 and 40 percent is preparation of fire sprinkler system layout, shop drawings and hydraulic calculations. Students learn by actually planning and drawing sprinkler systems while studying and applying NFPA 13.

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.

Registration prices are $1,400 for AFSA members and $2,600 for non-members. Classes are kept small (maximum 18 students per session) and enrollment is open exclusively to AFSA contractor members until six weeks prior to each school. Early registration is highly encouraged and the will be available soon online at firesprinkler. org/education-center/schools.

For additional details, contact AFSA Meeting Programs Manager Maricarmen Martinez via email at mmartinez@ or call (214) 349-5965 ext. 132.

Students are taken on a field trip during their studies. School instructor Tom Noble, CET (center, holding football) took the August 2018 class to visit AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, for a special tour.

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