Firepod, designed and manufactured by Project Fire, is the first fully-modular
sprinkler zone valve/alarm valve and test assembly in the industry. The product has
been specifically created for architects, designers, contractors, building developers
and owners to offer a solution for the procurement, installation, operation and whole
life cost of sprinkler systems in the built environment.
Project Fire commissioned an in-depth and independent cost study by the Building
Services Engineering Cost experts, MEPQS. The report details both the cost,
staffing and convenience benefits for Firepod, a pre-fabricated, plug-and-play,
compact fire sprinkler solution with integrated smart testing and monitoring
facilities. The report is based on a new high-rise construction in Canary Wharf,
This a summary of the independent report offering a comprehensive study of
modular components assembled in factory conditions as well as a comparative
analysis with traditional sprinkler zone valve assemblies. Further analysis of the
wider construction benefits is also presented as key points of argument for Firepod’s
tangible added-value in the design and procurement phase of sprinkler installations.
Off-site prefabrication is an established, and proven option for cellular builds for
bathrooms, bedrooms or larger scale buildings, e.g. hotels, apartment blocks and
the modular implementation of larger single builds, such as Terminal 5 at Heathrow
airport. Factory assembly provides consistency, accuracy and the ability to factory
test units, which increase assurance and dependability once installed on site.
However, our study has found that Firepod’s standardisation and factory-detailed
assembly means the Firepod is able to offer a range of benefits from design,
procurement to assembly and final commissioning. Furthermore, the composite
package is offered at a discount to the traditional site installation of materials, which
is calculated using defined cost modelling methods, and so the collective intangible
benefits provide a compelling case for its specification.
The original standard installation was created from its original design to ensure the
quality and integrity normally expected within the context of a competitive tender
process, extracted and illustrated in figure (i). This assures the expected integrity
for normalised feedback from more than one site installation, given that the project
sample used in this cost model originates from a Firepod installation, which was
carried out by a sprinkler contractor for the first time.
The actual site feedback of Firepod installation costs were also aggregated against
the delivery, installation and commissioning costs, estimated by contractors and
based on the design details included with a Firepod.
Nicky Levine, Senior Project Manager, Eton Fire
Product selection, particularly when using multiple sources, provided another area
of risk to the assimilation of costs on a fair and equal basis. To mitigate this, the
original design engineers were provided with details of components in order to
validate the comparison. The cost model contrasts a working example installing 3no.
zones to each floor of either (figure i) a standard component site installation or; the
prefabricated modular Firepod installation.
The parameters in table (i) show the additional yield from space that the Firepod
saves. The amount of space the Firepod saves is equal to the gross additional rent of
The requirements for builder work and/or recommendations for specific projects by
Building Control and regulatory bodies, who provide fire protection advice, cannot
be factored in as predictable elements for cost. The data above does not empirically
define the wider benefits of specifying Firepods.
Cost feedback from previous and similar installations was obtained from a range of
sources including contractors, consultants, component suppliers as well as historical
project cost data. This was obtained without an identical parallel block, which was
constructed using the standard zone valve installation.
The report has found that the cost savings a specified Firepod provides means that
the entire installation fee will be paid back in full within its lifecycle, without taking
into account any Zonecheck testing and cost benefits.
During the design phase, a pre-modelled Firepod can be dropped into a Level 2 BIM
model as a preconfigured item and will help reduce time spent on CAD preparing
detailed construction designs. In addition, Firepod will lower the risk of design
failure, due to the fact that sprinklers are commonly a design and build package.
Reduction in site wastage, as well as the reduction in man-hours and management
hours required on site, contribute to reductions in carbon footprint and BREEAM
points when contrasted with multiple site deliveries for individual components.
This report finds that Firepod is a well-suited solution to control project schedules
and budgets while increasing quality and reducing environmental impact. The
Firepod’s off-site construction is especially effective when employed to shorten
building cycles, on repetitious or unique projects, and with teams that are prepared
to embrace the challenges and opportunities associated with its delivery.
Lionel Hives, Senior Quantity Surveyour, MEPQS Ltd