For some building owners, a fire suppression system is a requirement by the law. For others, particularly homeowners, installing a fire sprinkler system is essentially a matter of preference.
Either way, you need to understand commercial fire sprinkler costs beforehand as part of the planning phase.
According to a cost assessment by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the average fire sprinkler installation cost is about $1.35 per square foot of coverage. This will translate to about $6,000 for a new, 4,500 square foot room.
As you may have noticed, the cost of these stems varies from one project to another. So, what affects this pricing and how much should you expect to pay for one?
The Average Commercial Fire Sprinkler Cost – Industry Standard
The average cost of having a fire sprinkler system depends on the total area that will be covered under the system. The overall cost is essentially a combination of the prices of each individual component.
This consists of sprinkler heads that cost between $1 and $33 per piece, valves, and gauges that range from $9 to $55 apiece as well as pumps and switches that cost about $15 to $60 per piece.
New commercial property owners should expect to pay $1 to $2 per square foot, which includes both installation and equipment costs. Owners of older buildings shell out more to retrofit the property, typically $2 to $7 per square foot.
For high rise buildings, you should expect to pay an average of $2 to $4 to retrofit the space. Historic buildings are pricier, costing $10 per square foot to install the sprinkler systems.
What Affects the Cost of Commercial Fire Sprinklers?
As you can see, the cost of installing a fire sprinkler system in a commercial or residential building varies from one project to another.
To arrive at the cost, you will need to consider several aspects to that area known to affect the price of commercial fire extinguishers.
Here are some of the main factors that will determine how much you will pay to have one installed:
Fire Sprinkler System Components
Just as is the case with any other fire suppression system, a fire sprinkler system features several components.
The various features you choose to have in your system will influence the total cost. Some of the features you should consider, in this case, include:
Booster Pump and Water Storage Tank Cost
Most properties and businesses that have fire sprinkler systems installed often have access to the municipal water supply.
However, if you use a well or another water source, your system will probably require a tank and booster pump. This drives up the fire sprinkler installation cost by an average of 22 percent.
The purpose of this device is to prevent contaminating the municipal water supply with pressurized fire sprinkler water.
It isn’t required in many jurisdictions, but your system might need one if your sprinklers run on an antifreeze solution.
For a conventional residential fire sprinkler installation, a backflow preventer may add $75 to $350 to the project. However, you should expect to pay more for larger commercial systems.
Nature of the Install
Are you having the system installed for the very first time or just retrofitting an existing system?
This, along with the type of construction you are working with, will also influence the installation cost. Here are some of the main fire sprinkler installation types you should consider:
The most ideal time to install sprinklers is during the initial construction phase of a building.
The estimate in such a case is likely to be between $1 and $2 per square foot of coverage. This cost is inclusive of all the required equipment and installation.
Fire Sprinkler Retrofit Installations
You can install sprinklers in an existing property or business at an estimated cost of $2 to $7 per square foot of the area that will be covered by the sprinkler.
A retrofitted high-rise will cost you between $2 and $4 per square foot.
Installation on Historic Buildings
Due to the strict design standards required to maintain a historic building’s aesthetics, installing a sprinkler system here could cost up to $10 per square foot.
Design and Material of the Piping System
Though not by a significant amount, the piping design you decide to use will also affect the total cost of installation.
Basically, you will have a choice of two main designs for your commercial fire sprinkler system piping, including:
This type of sprinkler system is designed with pipes dedicated to supplying the sprinkler heads with water.
Standalone systems are the most common. Owing to its demand for more materials and labor, a standalone piping system will be costlier.
Multipurpose Piping System
This is when a system uses one set of piping for domestic water and the sprinkler water supply.
Because less piping is required, this type of system usually costs less to install. Since some of the components are shared, this system requires fewer installation materials.
All these make the design more affordable, as compared to the standalone piping system.
Garages, attics, and unfinished basements may require more expensive metal piping. Copper, in particular, will drive up the estimate to install a fire sprinkler system.
If you are working with a limited budget, plastic pipes can save you a considerable amount of money in purchasing costs.
As a matter of fact, it is the most affordable type of piping used in sprinkler systems. Install plastic pipes whenever possible to keep installation costs down.
Ready to Install a Commercial Fire Sprinkler?
If you’re looking for ways to improve fire safety in your property or business, you are wise to consider installing fire sprinklers.
Different vendors may offer you different quote amounts, but the price will essentially comprise of components, and labor costs.
As you have learned above, commercial fire sprinkler costs will also depend on the area covered, nature of the installation and piping design.
Read our commercial fire alarm system cost guide as well to learn about the benefits of having an alarm system.