We have potential new tenant going into a sprinklered building. It's use is an Indoor Paintball Gaming Field. How can I protect my sprinkler heads, or don't I ??
There's nothing specifically made to protect sprinklers from that kind of mechanical damage. The best I can think of is a combination of fusible link sprinklers, plastic bags and sprinkler guards. If there are false ceilings, consider installing concealed sprinklers.
How about hanging an 24 x 24 rigid wire grating with 1/4" or 3/8" openings from the piping directly under each sprinkler. If you ensured that it met the requirement of open grid ceilings, I would think it would shatter the paintball to eliminate the damage aspect. The normal paintball is supposedly .68 inches. Then you could bag the head. Just a thought.
you could change out any existing exposed or semi-recessed sprinklers for concealed heads - less chance of hitting the operating element
Building safety codes now allow curtains using 1/2" diagonal mesh or a 70 percent open weave that extends 18 " below the sprinkler deflectors in lieu of the vertical obstruction requirements of NFPA 13. A curtain should be able to absorb the energy of the paintball so it may not break open to spread the paint. You could hang one up from the ceiling and test it.
These requirements were determined by the NFPA via fire tests with sprinkler discharge that penetrated a single privacy curtain (refer to NFPA 101: A.18.104.22.168)
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