Engineering Services

The North Metro Fire Prevention Division can provide technical assistance during the planning and construction process. Its plan reviewers are degreed fire protection engineers that are available to answer technical and administrative questions as well as to assist in developing solutions to fire protection problems regardless of complexity. Assistance is available to all individuals – from people who are just getting started in the planning process to code consultants and fire protection engineers who are part of a specific project’s design team. The Fire Prevention Division’s technical staff can help identify when an alternative method or performance-based approach to achieving code compliance may be appropriate and can help outline the steps necessary to properly demonstrate that the intent of the code is being met.

The following common types of plans require review and approval by the Fire Prevention Division:

Site Development Plans (including utility and grading plans)
Fire Protection Systems: automatic fire sprinkler
Fire Protection Systems: standpipes
Fire Protection Systems: fire alarms
Fire Protection Systems: kitchen hood fire-extinguishing systems
Fire Protection Systems: smoke control systems
Fire Protection Systems: clean agent systems
Temporary Above Ground Fuel Tanks at Construction Sites
Use or Storage of Liquefied Petroleum (LP) gases
High-piled Combustible Storage
Hazardous Materials Storage

Steps in Plan Review Process

Plans are reviewed as a proactive step to identify any potential problems or code violations and ensure compliance with adopted fire code regulations. Plans are reviewed on a first-in, first-out basis, with plan review turnaround depending largely on the amount of construction taking place in the jurisdiction at the time the plan is submitted. In order for a project to have a higher potential for on-time completion, construction schedules should account for plan review time by all agencies involved, including the Fire Prevention Division.

All plans shall be drawn to a nationally accepted engineering or architectural scale on paper not smaller than 18-inches by 24-inches. In some cases, electronic plan submittals in PDF format can be accepted by the Fire Prevention Division for review. In order to avoid unnecessary delays that can be associated with the submittal of incomplete plans, plan submittals should be as complete as possible the first time they are submitted.

Site Development Plans (including utility and grading plans)

To avoid delays in your site development plan review, please include all of the following:

  • The design building and fire codes of record
  • Point of compass (e.g. North arrow) and indicated scale
  • Building construction type(s)
  • Total floor area of each building (measured in square feet, including all levels)
  • Building elevations
  • Building use description and occupancy classification(s)
  • Location(s) of fire department access points
  • Water main sizes and locations as well as where they connect to existing infrastructure
  • Fire hydrant locations (both existing in the area of the project and proposed)

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Fire protection systems: automatic fire sprinkler

To avoid delays in your automatic sprinkler system plan review, please include at least two (2) sets of sprinkler system plans (i.e., shop drawings) drawn to a standard, indicated engineering or architectural scale and submitted on sheets at least 18” by 24”. Plan submittals shall be in accordance with the requirements of NFPA 13 and shall include the following information:

  • The stamp/seal and original signature of a Colorado-licensed professional engineer
  • Floor plan, including use or occupancy classification of each room
  • Full-height cross section, including ceiling construction and method of protection for nonmetallic piping;
  • The location of any fire department connections (FDC)
  • Hydraulic reference points
  • Hydraulic calculations
  • Water-supply information
  • Building construction information, including sufficient information regarding locations of partitions, fire walls, and identification of construction features that may obstruct sprinkler discharge (e.g., ducts, lighting fixtures, etc.);
  • Manufacturers’ technical data sheets (i.e., “cut sheets”) for all equipment, devices, and material

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Fire protection systems: standpipes

To avoid delays in your standpipe system plan review, please include at least two (2) sets of standpipe system plans (i.e., shop drawings) drawn to a standard, indicated engineering or architectural scale and submitted on sheets at least 18” by 24”. Standpipe systems shall be hydraulically calculated in accordance with NFPA 14. Plan submittals shall be in accordance with the requirements of NFPA 14 and shall include the following information:

  • The stamp/seal and original signature of a Colorado-licensed professional engineer
  • Details and arrangement of the standpipe system
  • The location, arrangement, water supply, equipment, and all other details necessary to establish compliance to the specified standard
  • Specifications covering the character of materials used
  • Manufacturers’ technical data sheets (i.e., “cut sheets”) for all system components
  • An elevation diagram
  • Hydraulic calculations with reference points corresponding to labeled points on the plans

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Fire protection systems: fire alarms

To avoid delays in your fire alarm plan review, please include all of the following:

  • At least two (2) sets of fire alarm system plans (i.e., shop drawings) drawn to a standard, indicated engineering or architectural scale and submitted on sheets at least 18” by 24”
  • The stamp/seal and original signature of a Colorado-licensed professional engineer
  • Floor plan with room use descriptions
  • Interior elevations or cross-section plans (showing ceiling heights and any special architectural design features)
  • Manufacturers’ specification sheets (i.e., “cut sheets”) on all equipment that is to be installed as part of the system
  • Battery calculations
  • Clearly identified locations and types of all initiating appliances to be installed
  • Clearly identified locations and types of all notification appliances to be installed
  • Clearly identified locations of alarm panels, remote annunciators, NACs, and power extender panels
  • Explanation and/or illustration of how alarms will be annunciated on site, including details of any remote annunciators and of all graphic zone maps
  • Sequence of operations

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Fire protection systems: kitchen hood fire-extinguishing systems

Plans for kitchen hood fire-extinguishing systems submitted to the fire district for review shall minimally include at least two sets of shop drawings for the kitchen hood fire-extinguishing system. Plans shall clearly indicate the hazard(s) to be protected and shall include the following information:

  • The edition and name of the standard(s) to which the system was designed
  • Size, length, and arrangement of connected piping
  • Description and location of nozzles
  • Physical dimensions of the exhaust hood and appliances to be protected
  • Types of cooking appliance(s) to be protected
  • Energy sources for each appliance
  • Information about the air handling equipment serving the space
  • Manufacturers’ technical data sheets (i.e., “cut sheets”) for all equipment, devices, and material

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Fire protection systems: smoke control systems

Smoke control systems typically follow a performance-based design approach and generally require acceptance by the Building Department and the fire district. All submittals shall include the name, address, and telephone number of the designer of record. Design submittals shall be stamped and signed by a Colorado-licensed professional mechanical or fire protection engineer. The submittal accompanying the application for plan review and permit of a smoke control system should include the following elements:

  • At least one full set of building construction plans. All components of the smoke control system shall be shown on the plans. Smoke zones or compartments shall be identified on the plans.
  • Documentation of each step in the performance-based fire safety analysis and design process shall be submitted. Each key step in the process should be identified and documented in order to provide a clear record of the process.
  • Documentation shall be provided that includes the following information:
    • The key participants in the project, including the client, and their specific roles shall be identified. Any pertinent education and background of the members of the design team relative to performance-based design of smoke control systems should be included.
    • The restrictions on use or occupancy based on the proposed design shall be explicitly stated.
    • The periodic and/or routine inspection, testing and maintenance requirements, as well as any training requirements for the inspection, testing and maintenance of the system, shall be included.
    • A statement of goals, objectives, requirements and criteria shall be included. The documentation of criteria shall include any safety or reliability factors that have been applied along with justification for their use.
  • An engineering rationale shall be submitted with supporting details of system. References shall be cited in support of all aspects of the engineering rationale. The engineering rationale shall include the following information, calculations, and considerations:
    • Fire scenarios and design-basis fire(s) shall be characterized in detail.
    • A time-based egress analysis (sometimes called “timed exit analysis” or “dynamic exit analysis”) shall be performed.
    • Stack effect shall be considered and analyzed.
    • Temperature effects of the fire.
    • Wind effects shall be considered and analyzed.
    • The role of HVAC systems shall be considered and analyzed.
    • Climate shall be considered and factored into the design.
    • The implemented smoke control method shall be identified.
  • An equipment list shall be provided for all equipment that is to be part of or connected to the smoke control system. Technical literature establishing the suitability of each type of equipment for the predicted fire environment shall also be submitted.
  • Schematics shall be submitted depicting the primary and secondary power sources for the smoke control system. A sequence of operations shall be provided that explains the transfer of power between primary and secondary sources.
  • Where a separate fire alarm system is to be installed, fire alarm system plans shall be submitted concurrently with smoke control system plans. For design, review and testing purposes, the smoke control system and the fire alarm system shall be considered a single, integrated system.
  • Where a separate fire alarm system will not be provided, fire detection and smoke control system plans shall be submitted.
  • A smoke control system event matrix shall be provided. The matrix shall fully describe the design of the system based on operation of each component and shall be the basis for system testing.
  • The smoke control system submittal shall include a preliminary firefighter’s control panel layout and a preliminary user’s manual explaining the fundamental principles of operation of the smoke control system and detailing the operation of the firefighter’s control panel.

Smoke control systems are required to be inspected by a special inspector. The special inspector or special inspection agency shall be approved by North Metro Fire. Smoke control design documents shall acknowledge the need for a special inspector and shall prescribe, in detail, the testing and acceptance procedures, equipment necessary to perform such testing, and the specific pass/fail performance criteria that need to be met in order for the smoke control system to pass final inspection.

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Fire protection systems: clean agent systems

Plans for clean agent fire extinguishing systems shall be drawn to a standard, indicated engineering or architectural scale and submitted on sheets at least 18-inches by 24-inches in size. Submittals shall minimally include the following information:

  • The stamp/seal and original signature of a Colorado-licensed professional engineer
  • Name of owner and occupant
  • Location including, street address and suite number
  • Point of compass and symbol legend
  • Location and construction of protected enclosure walls and partitions
  • Enclosure cross-section including location and construction of building floor/ceiling assemblies above and below amy raised access floors and/or suspended ceilings
  • Name of extinguishing agent to be used
  • Design fire extinguishing or inerting concentration
  • Description of occupancies and hazards being protected, designating whether or not the enclosure is normally occupied
  • Description of exposures surrounding the enclosure
  • Description of agent storage containers used including internal volume and storage pressure
  • Description of nozzle(s) used including size orifice port configuration, and equivalent orifice area
  • Description of pipe and fittings used including material specifications, grade, and pressure rating
  • Description of wire or cable used including the required method of making wire terminations
  • Description of the method of detector mounting
  • Manufacturer’s specification sheets for each piece of equipment or device that is part of or connected to the system
  • Plan view of protected area showing the following:
    • Enclosure partitions
    • Agent distribution system including agent storage containers, piping, and nozzles
    • Type of pipe hangars and rigid pipe supports
    • Detection, alarm, and control system including all devices and schematic of wiring interconnection between them
    • End-of-line device locations
    • Location of controlled devices such as dampers and shutters
    • Location of instructional signage
  • Isometric view of agent distribution system showing the following:
    • Length and diameter of each pipe segment
    • Node reference numbers relating to the flow calculations
    • Fittings and orientation of tees and nozzles including size, orifice port configuration, flow rate, and equivalent orifice area;
  • Scale drawing showing the layout of the annunciator panel graphics
  • Details of each unique rigid pipe support configuration showing method of securement to the pipe and to the building structure
  • Details of the method of container securement showing method of securement to the container and to the building structure
  • System sequence of operation and complete, detailed description of events, including functions of abort and maintenance switches, delay timers, and emergency power shutdown
  • Point-to-point wiring schematic diagrams showing all circuit connections to external or add-on relays
  • Complete calculations to determine enclosure volume, quantity of clean agent, and size of backup batteries and method used to determine number and location of audible and visual indicating devices, and number and location of detectors.

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Temporary Above-Ground Fuel Tanks at Construction Sites

Permits issued by the fire district are required for the installation of temporary stationary above-ground fuel storage tanks at construction sites. The following requirements apply to temporary stationary above-ground fuel storage tanks at construction sites:

  • A construction permit is required to install a fuel tank(s) at a construction site in excess of five gallons for Class I liquids and 60 gallons for Class II or III-A liquids. To obtain a construction permit, a site plan shall be submitted for review and approval. The site plan shall contain the method of storage, quantities to be stored, distances from buildings and property lines, access ways, fire protection facilities, and spill control and secondary containment provisions.
  • Above-ground storage areas shall be kept free of weeds and other combustible material.
  • Smoking, open flame or other sources of ignition shall be prohibited within 25 feet of the dispensing area. Legible signs with the words “NO SMOKING” printed on them shall be posted in highly visible locations around the dispensing area.
  • Electrical wiring and equipment in the dispensing area shall be installed in accordance with the electrical code.
  • When Class I or Class II liquids are dispensed, adequate grounding and bonding shall be provided to prevent the accumulation of static electricity.
  • Tanks shall be clearly marked with the name of the product that they contain and “FLAMMABLE-KEEP FIRE AND FLAME AWAY.” Tanks shall bear the additional marking “KEEP 50 FEET FROM BUILDINGS.”
  • A portable fire extinguisher with a minimum classification 2A-20-B:C shall be provided and located within 75 feet of the tank.
  • Tanks shall be of single-compartment design constructed in accordance with the fire code.
  • Tanks shall be provided with a method of normal and emergency venting. The diameter of normal and emergency vents shall be in accordance with the fire code. Emergency vents shall be arranged to discharge in a manner that prevents overheating or flame impingement on the tank in the event vapors from such vents ignite.
  • Fill openings shall be equipped with a closure designed so that it may be locked. The fill openings shall be separate from the vent opening.
  • Tanks shall be kept outside and at least 50 feet from any building or combustible storage. Also, any vehicle, equipment or container being filled directly from such tank shall be more than 50 feet from any structure or combustible storage.
  • Tanks with top openings shall be mounted on well-constructed metal legs connected to shoes or runners designed so that the tank is stable and can be moved as one unit or on a stable base of timbers or blocks approximately 6 inches high to prevent the tank from contacting the ground.
  • Tanks with top openings only shall be equipped with a tightly and permanently attached approved pumping device having an approved hose of sufficient length for filling vehicles, equipment or containers to be served from the tank. Either the pump or the hose shall be equipped with a padlock to its hanger to prevent tampering. An effective anti-siphoning device shall be included in the pump discharge unless a self-closing nozzle is provided. Siphons or internal pressure discharge devices shall not be used.
  • Supports for elevated tanks shall be of adequate strength and designed to provide stability.
  • Bottom or end openings for gravity discharge shall be equipped with a valve located adjacent to the tank shell that will close automatically in the event of fire through the operation of an effective heat-actuated releasing device. If this valve cannot be operated manually, it shall be supplemented by a second manually operated valve. The gravity discharge outlet shall be provided with an approved hose equipped with a self-closing valve at the discharge end of a type that can be padlocked to its hanger.
  • The area surrounding a tank or group of tanks shall be provided with drainage to an approved basin or shall be diked to prevent accidental discharge of liquid from endangering adjacent tanks, adjoining property or reaching waterways. Construction of dikes shall be in accordance with the fire code.

Upon successful completion of a final inspection by North Metro Fire to verify compliance with the construction requirements of the fire code, an operational permit will be issued to the end user of the above-ground storage tank(s).

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Use or storage of liquefied petroleum (LP) gases

Permits issued by the fire district are required for the storage or use of LP gas. Plans for the use or storage of LP gas shall be drawn to a standard engineering or architectural scale and shall include the following information:

  • Name and contact information for installing contractor
  • Location of installation
  • LP gas container volume (in gallons of water capacity) and dimensions
  • Manufacturer’s specification sheets and description of devices to be attached to the LP gas storage tank
  • Site plan indicating container location and distances to buildings, property lines, public ways, and other LP gas, flammable liquids, or hazardous materials storage vessels
  • Manufacturer’s specification sheets on the container and appurtenances attached to it

Upon successful completion of a final inspection by the fire district to verify compliance with the fire code requirements, an operational permit will be issued to the end user of the LP gas system.

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High-piled combustible storage

High-piled combustible storage is defined as any indoor storage of combustible materials in closely packed piles, on pallets, in racks, or on shelves where the top of storage is greater than 12 feet in height. Certain high-hazard commodities, such as Group A plastics, flammable liquids, rubber tires, idle pallets, and similar commodities, when stored over six feet in height, also qualify as high-piled combustible storage.

The incorporation of high-piled combustible storage requires special fire protection and life safety requirements as well as the issuance of an operational permit by the fire district. Plans detailing the following information regarding all high-piled combustible storage areas shall be submitted to the fire district for review and approval before an operational permit can be issued:

  • Floor plan of the building showing locations and dimensions of all high-piled storage areas
  • Usable storage height of each storage area
  • Number of tiers within each rack, if applicable
  • Commodity clearance between top of storage and the sprinkler deflector for each storage arrangement
  • Commodity clearance between top of storage and the ceiling or roof deck for each storage arrangement
  • Aisle dimensions between each storage array
  • Location and classification of commodities in accordance with the fire code
  • Location of commodities that are banded or encapsulated
  • Location of aerosols, flammable and combustible liquids, and hazardous materials (the storage and retail display of aerosol products, flammable and combustible liquids and hazardous materials shall also be in accordance with the fire code);
  • Locations of required fire department access doors;
  • Type of fire-suppression and fire-detection systems, including small hose station locations
  • Location of valves controlling the water supply for ceiling and in-rack sprinklers
  • Type, location, and specifications (including the temperature rating of fusible elements) of smoke removal systems
  • Dimension and location of transverse and longitudinal flue spaces
  • Any additional information regarding required design features, commodities, storage arrangement, and fire protection features within the high-piled storage areas

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Hazardous materials storage

Permits issued by the fire district are required for the storage, on-site transportation, dispensing, use or handling of hazardous materials in excess of the permissible amounts as set forth in the fire code. Each application for permit shall include a Hazardous Materials Management Plan (HMMP) and Hazardous Materials Inventory Statement (HMIS).

The HMMP shall include a facility site plan drawn legibly to a standard architectural or engineering scale and shall clearly designate the following:

  • Storage and use areas
  • Maximum amount of each material stored or used in each area
  • Range of container sizes
  • Locations of emergency isolation and mitigation valves
  • Product conveying piping containing liquids or gases, other than utility-owned fuel gas lines and low-pressure fuel gas lines
  • On and off positions of valves for valves that are of the self-indicating type
  • Storage plan showing the intended storage arrangement, including the locations and dimensions of aisles
  • The location and type of emergency equipment

The HMIS shall include the following information:

  • Chemical names, trade names and hazardous ingredients
  • Chemical manufacturers’ names
  • Hazard classifications for each chemical
  • MSDS or equivalent for each chemical
  • United Nations (UN), North America (NA), or the Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) identification number for each chemical
  • Maximum quantities to be stored or used on-site at one time for each chemical
  • Storage conditions related to the storage type, temperature, and pressure for each chemical

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