Automatic fire sprinkler systems are installed for two main reasons; property protection or life safety. In both cases their efficiency in controlling and extinguishing fires has protected lives and the environment for over one hundred and twenty years.

In both cases their efficiency in controlling and extinguishing fires has for over one hundred and twenty years protected lives and the environment and it should be accepted that all sprinkler systems will protect lives by restricting fire spread and protection escape routes.

Property protection systems are often installed at the request of the building occupier’s insurer to protect the business by ensuring the building and contents are protected against fire.

Some systems are installed to comply with building or fire regulations primarily to protect employees, the public and fire fighters from the risks of fire. This type of system should be more accurately referred to as ‘enhanced availability’ sprinkler systems but are more commonly called ‘life safety’ sprinkler systems and include a range of added features which reduce the possibility that the system will ever be non-operational due to scheduled service and maintenance being carried out.

In both of these cases an essential part of the system is the water supply. This can take the form of a direct supply from the local water service main with or without a booster pump or, more reliably, having water stored in a tank with a pump or pumps to deliver the water to the sprinkler system.

The most common arrangement is a single water storage tank with two fire pumps, each capable of meeting the needs of the sprinkler system.

For enhanced reliability, the water storage tank can be split into two half-capacity tanks. This ensures that there is always a water supply available to the sprinkler system, even when one tank (or any of its equipment) is being serviced or maintained.

Balmoral Tanks gratefully acknowledges BAFSA for its kind assistance with the text used on this page

Water storage sector


Standard of construction for fire fighting tanks

Globally, there are two main standards covering the design, manufacture and installation of fire sprinkler tanks: Loss Prevention Council Board (LPCB) and Factory Mutual (FM).

It is essential that the water storage tank is of robust construction and designed and constructed with minimal requirement for maintenance or servicing. Balmoral firefighting water storage tanks carry FM approval and the company is going through the process of adding LPCB approval to its portfolio.

Sprinkler tanks are also listed by the US insurers’ certification body, UL, for use on specified sites. For contracts designed to NFPA 13 (US National Fire Protection Association Codes) either an FM or LPCB listed tank can be used subject to insurers’ approval.

The above standards extend to cover all aspects of fire safety including sprinkler heads, pumps, booster sets, ladders, immersion heaters, vortex inhibitors and maintenance of the system.

Full technical details covering both LPCB and FM standards can be found on their respective websites.

BS EN 12845:2015+A1:2019 is a CEN standard covering all aspects of a fire sprinkler system and is available on the BSI website. This is a technical document that references specific aspects of firefighting storage tanks used in the LPCB and or FM standards.

Planning approval

During the planning stage drawings and details of the location of external sprinkler tanks should be submitted to the insurer for their approval and comment before installation take place.