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When installing sprinkler systems, pipework is required that will withstand higher temperatures in the event of a fire. Scott James, Director at Viega, explains how cold applied press connections can provide a modern solution for the installation of sprinkler systems.


hen a sprinkler system is well maintained and functioning correctly it is highly effective in containing and extinguishing fires – often significantly reducing the losses suffered by a business. Research by the Business Sprinkler Alliance suggests that 96% of fires in buildings equipped with sprinklers are controlled or extinguished by the system alone.

Choosing pipework for sprinkler systems W

Given the vital role that these systems play, it is crucial to maintain the integrity of all the components, including the pipework. Selecting the pipe materials that are fit for purpose and ensuring robust connections between pipe runs will help prevent any leaks in the system or failure of the pipework that would compromise the protection it provides.

Press connection technology has several advantages for fire suppression systems. For example, while brazing or welding is the traditional method for connecting pipe runs, press fittings can create a stronger joint. Press connections that feature a double pressing – before and after the compression will create a permanent seal that resists torsional and longitudinal forces.

When retrofitting sprinkler systems in areas where highly combustible materials are stored or processed,

utilising a cold applied system can improve safety during installation. By removing the need for hot works, press connections eliminate the risk of fire and reduce the disruption caused by having to halt production or relocate materials while the work is completed. An advantage of press connection technology is the ability to reliably identify during installation any joints that have not been secured. For example, the SC-Contur technology included in fittings across the Viega range is proven to deliver a 100% positive leak if the fitting is inadvertently unpressed. Any unpressed connections are clearly visible during dry or wet leakage testing to help avoid costly remedial work. In addition to creating a robust connection, heavy weight steel pipe is commonly used to provide a more durable solution for fire suppression systems – particularly in high-risk environments. This is because thick walled pipe is resistant to the intense heat that is possible if a fire occurs in High Hazard Process (HHP) or High Hazard Storage (HHS) environments. Steel tube is classified as Class A1 under EU construction products legislation, which means it will not contribute to the spread of fire and does not need to be tested for reaction to fire (BS EN 10255: 2004 Amd.1: 2007 – Section 8.7). The added durability also provides a greater opportunity to address any

corrosion issues before it begins to affect the strength of the pipe. Due to the thickness of the pipe wall these systems have a longer service period than thinner-walled equivalents, and so reduce the long-term cost of maintaining the building.

Until recently, options for connecting thick walled steel pipe have been limited, with threading being the most commonly used method. However, the specialist skill and equipment needed, as well as the messy and time consuming nature of threading pipe often makes this approach impractical. In comparison, press connecting thick walled pipe is cleaner, safer and quicker. Minimal preparation is required; installers simply need to cut the pipe to size, deburr the cut surface, slide the connection onto the pipe and press the fitting. For example, when using the new Viega Megapress system, connections can be completed in a matter of seconds – helping to achieve up to 60% reduction in installation time when compared to welding or threading.

The vital role that sprinkler systems play in protecting buildings from the potentially devastating effects of fire means the importance of ensuring the highest quality components cannot be over-stated.

uWith the Viega Megapress system, connections can be completed in a matter of seconds.

An advantage

of press connection technology is the ability to reliably identify during installation any joints that have not been secured.



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