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Water based systems layout Level III

Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
So, the time has come, at last. I have signed up for Firetech's courses, and am about halfway through the General Plans Portion of it. Still need to start the Hydraulics course. Both my General Plans & Hydraulics NICET Test are paid for, and just need scheduled. Anybody have any tips? Pointers? Suggestions?

Everything I have read on here about the Hydraulics test has me concerned. And how is the General Plans portion? Everybody I talk to in person gives me the same response: "I took the test when it was Work Elements, don't know anything about the Computer Based stuff."

Anything anybody wants to add to the conversation would be greatly appreciated!

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Look, I do not speak English; I speak spanish; I'm from Mexico, but personally, it was difficult for me to present the 2 parts of level III; of both the hydraulic calculations and the other part of planes, and this was because of the idiom, apart of that is very difficult in the CBT this level, is a plus that I give. Although I could not pass the exams; I recommend that you study hard for the part of hydraulic calculations, above all the criteria of designs for storages (tables of densities for class I to IV, adjustments, dry manual systems of standpipes and selection of pumps from a design criterion.

Study the calculator; lost much time if you don't understand.

Regards.

Jose Hernandez

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Thank you very much for the input. It is very appreciated!

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Hi Dennis,
I have recently taken and passed NICET 3, Layout of Water-Based Systems in the CBT format, and unsuccessfully attempted NICET 3, Hydraulics. I have also participated in Firetechs course for Layout, though not hydraulics.

As far as Firetech is concerned, from what I've seen (and I've been researching for two years), they offer the most comprehensive training. My only criticism is that it's too comprehensive. They cover EVERYTHING. It's information overload, so the additional challenge of sifting through the pile and picking out what's relevant presents itself. Don't get me wrong, there's immense value in their product, and what I'm saying is only my opinion, but the greatest investment you could make is to simply buy the books and read them. Read them every single night, chapter by chapter, write down questions that come to mind as you read, and find answers by reaching out to the community. Build a mental rolodex of the anatomy of each book, and be able to recall by memory the number and title of each chapter. Observe and follow the content outlines provided by NICET on their website. Above all else, respect the content of each book. By that, I mean don't assume that anything in any book is less important than the rest. It's all of equal importance, and requires your time and attention.

Purchase the Firetech tabs because they're awesome, and comply with NICET's requirements regarding tabs.

Other people have passed these exams, so logically they are passable. To me, this means that success is inevitable if you're willing to settle in for the long haul, and make sacrifices. DO NOT GIVE UP.

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Thanks Jeremy! I find the Firetech stuff has been pretty good, but I had a feeling it was way more than I needed to know. I am taking the IIIA test next week, so I guess I shall find out. I scheduled the Hydraulics test for December, so I will have a couple months to prepare solely for it, and have signed up for Firetech's course for it, as well. I do appreciate the input very much!

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Let me ask a question if I may. And, I am now an "old-timer" in this industry, even though I am not that old smile

Did you have to learn hand calcs when you started out as a design trainee? My first boss made me learn to calc by hand. I had to do trees and simple loops. We laid off the compound loops and grids. That laid a great foundation for understanding how to do the calculations for NICET. Now, I did take it many years ago. I passed III and IV hydraulics on the first try, if I recall correctly.

Maybe Firetech just teaches the old hand method. The SFPE handbook has a section on loop calcs that really helps. They talk about an FLC (friction loss coefficient) in the loops that gets you equivalent lengths and such to have your loops calc very easy.

Travis Mack
MFP Design, LLC
www.mfpdesign.com
"Follow" us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/MFP-Design-LLC/9221...

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Travis,
I learned how to do some hand calcing using the AFSA courses when I first started out. Also, a PE friend of mine lent me his college textbooks to study from, and I have played around with them. But at work, I use HydraCALC. After I get through the general plans test next week, I intend to fully immerse myself in hand calcs for a bit, and see how it goes. My thought was to try some, and compare what I come up with to what HydraCALC comes up with. I also have my PE friend lined up for a "study session" after I have a couple weeks in, so if I hit something I am having trouble with, he can help me through it. Also, I am signed up for Firetech's course, but again, I was going to start it once I get passed the first test. I am in a unique situation where I work, where as when our designer quit, I was handed the position, and had to self learn a lot on the fly. AFSA was a huge help, as was the gentleman I replaced, but it was a lot to absorb all at once! Luckily, I spent a decade in the field as an installer, so I already had a pretty good understanding of sprinkler systems in general.

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

I appreciate your willingness to learn. When the Fire Sprinkler Academy of Technology was offering the 8 week design course online, I was teaching the calc portions for some of it. If you need some help, provided schedule works, I could do like a 30-60 min web meeting to help you out. Feel free to shoot me an email sometime.

Travis Mack
MFP Design, LLC
www.mfpdesign.com
"Follow" us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/MFP-Design-LLC/9221...

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Thanks man! Much appreciated! I will be in touch!

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

I would suggest being familiar with the calculation procedure per NFPA 13 including 8.5.2.1 finding the square foot of each sprinkler [standard spray] for hydraulic calculations {which is different than sprinkler spacing}, finding end head pressure based on area/density method, equivalent length of fittings, equivalent length modifiers for different C factors [Table 23.4.3.2.1] and fitting length modifiers for non-schedule 40 pipe fittings [23.4.3.1.3.1]. Also you'll need to be familiar with remote area reductions based on ceiling height and qr sprinklers, dry pipe and roof slope area increases. And please don't do remote area reductions on dry pipe systems.

I'm not sure if loop calcs are required for Level 3 but pretty certain they are for Level 4.

There are lots of opportunities to make very easy mistakes in hydraulic calculations.

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

As I recall, 3 is tree systems. 4 is simple loop. There may have been one compound loop. I truly don't see the need for compound loops calcs by hand at this stage. I think tree systems are great so you can truly understand what is going on with systems and how sometimes smaller pipe size is better than large, how you can minimize over-discharge and such. But compound loops by hand are just not part of this arena any longer.

Travis Mack
MFP Design, LLC
www.mfpdesign.com
"Follow" us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/MFP-Design-LLC/9221...

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Thank you guys for all the responses. I really do appreciate it!

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

I use the OUT mnemonic device to remember hydraulics. I learned it from somewhere I can't remember.

O is the orifice, i.e. what PSI do i need to push out the required amount of water. Solved for with the Q=K *(sqrtP) or with end head pressure like 100 psi for a Class I standpipe, 7 psi minimum for a sprinkler, CMSA sprinklers' listing, etc.

U is up or elevation losses. 0.4331 psi/ft of elevation added or subtracted if the piping goes down.

T is through or as above the friction losses through devices, pipe, fittings; anything the water flows through. This is found in the equivalent length tables of NFPA 13, product data submittals for valves or backflow preventers, pipe specs, etc.

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Wow! That is a good one, @NewtonFP! I honestly have never heard that before, but I dig it!!!

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Well, this wasn't what I had hoped to be responding with, but I took the IIIA test yesterday, and did not pass. I really, really thought I was prepared for it, but man did they ask some obscure questions. I was worried about the IIIB test, but was fairly confident for IIIA. Guess it is back to the grind of digging, digging, digging. I really didn't see this coming. It sucks, but I think the lesson I will take from it might be valuable in the long run. Not so much right now though...

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Sorry to hear that, Dennis.

It is a bummer to be sure but most of us here failed at least once down the path to our certification so you are not alone. I took my first test back in the 1980's, failed miserably and I thought I was very well prepared.

I know you can't remember the exact questions and answers but can you give me a couple examples of the obscure questions?

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Dennis:

I'm not sure if it is too late, but can you challenge any of the questions. I recall one of my questions was in reference to minimum spacing from a truss web member. I was applying the 3x rule as that was the required referenced standard. However, none of the answers were even close to the 3x rule. They were based on a standard 2 editions prior. I think I found the exact answer in a standard from the 80's or late 90's. That was definitely not the referenced standard. I believe that challenge may have saved me on one of the elements.

If you have a legit reason for proving the question(s) referencing the incorrect standards, would that be enough to pass??

Travis Mack
MFP Design, LLC
www.mfpdesign.com
"Follow" us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/MFP-Design-LLC/9221...

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Sorry to hear you didn't pass.

When taking my exams I took some grey-hairs out to lunch to quiz them about old ways of doing things. The exams I took covered buried fabric bag water storage tanks, wooden cooling towers and weird stuff like that which I had never seen. Some of that stuff ended up on the exams and it wasn't that any of us are stupid but sometimes there are just odd questions on the exams.

We are here to help, if you can think of any general things you might need to study we can probably help. If you PM me i should have some study material I can pass on. I'm looking to take my NICET 4 next year.

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Dennis,
I re-read my post from a week or so back, and realize that I was referring to the General Plans Preperation (aka 3A exam) as, "Layout of Water-Based Systems." Apologies, as I meant General Plans, or 3A...

DO NOT LET YOUR FAILURE DISCOURAGE YOU. It took me three tries before I passed, and it took a village to make it happen. Many people answered what now seem like ridiculous questions, including Travis Mack in this forum, which made all the difference. Anyway, I spoke with a guy in Salt Lake City that recently passed Hydraulics (aka 3B), and it took him five tries. This is what I was referring to at the end of my first post, when I said that success is inevitable if you're willing to settle in for the long haul, and make sacrifices. One more piece of advice - don't stop studying or take a break to let the dust settle. You know what they're going to throw at you now, and you've got 90 days until you can test again. Study every day.

Best of luck, I hope you pass.

Jeremy

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Ok, so having a chance to look a few things up from my office, where I work most comfortably, I used the "find" function in Adobe, and found two answers that I know I definitely got wrong. Something I didn't realize was in the back of NFPA13. So those two are on me. I just wonder now if getting those two right would have made a difference. Apparently, 500 is a passing score, and I got 452. Out of 58 questions, I have no idea how that math works. Anyway, there are two other questions I am/was totally lost on, and still do not know what they were looking for. It is just frustrating that I know these four questions had me stymied, but I do not know what else I got right or wrong, to know what area I was lacking in. But, I am going to just keep my head down and nose to the grind, and will see what happens. On another note, I was supposed to take the hydraulics course in mid December, but I pushed it back to the end of my testing window. I suddenly, for the first time in my life, am not in a hurry to advance my career...lol.

Sprinklerdesigner2, the two questions I am stuck on are:

1. The plans call for a 90 to be bolted right to a city main, with the OS&Y valve bolted directly to the 90. What pump allows this layout?
A. Split case horizontal Electric
B. Split case horizontal Diesel
C. Vertical Turbine
D. Vertical Inline

I haven't found this answer yet. My fire pump supplier is UPS'ing me a couple of books, along with the NFPA20 Handbook. I am curious to see if it is in there, as I can't seem to find it in NFPA20.

2. A lobby has a ceiling that is 24' high. There is a ceiling pocket that is a 25' diameter circle in the center, that is 26' high. There are 8 standard heads space evenly around the perimetere of the pocket. Per NFPA13 how many additional heads are needed?
A. 1
B. 2
C. 3
D. 4

That may not have been the exact wording, but it was something similar. In this case, if I was at my computer working on a drawing or whatever, and could see the pocket, prehaps I would understand it better. But sitting in a testing center at a computer, reading words, every answer I seemed to come up with was not listed as an answer.

@TravisMack Thanks for the suggestion, but I honestly don't know if there are any I can challenge or not. It is hard to say, when you don't know what questions you missed.

@NewtonFP Most of the guys around my area don't seem to willing to help. I do have a friend that is a FPE that will provide me with some tutoring, I just haven't taken advantage of that yet. I didn't think I need to for the IIIA test. I had already discussed setting something up for the IIIB test, which just haven't made it that far yet. I would be interested in study materials, if you can part with them, provided it isn't something I already have. I will msg you.

@Jeremy No worries, I knew what you meant. And congrats on passing. I have no intentions of giving up. I have been with this company for 16 years. At least 10 of that was in the field, installing, but I moved from that to design many years ago. I love what I do, and anticipate doing it until the day I die. It is just a bummer, because it makes you feel inferior. But, when I came in yesterday and told my boss I failed, he reiterated 4 points to me:
1. I am still the smartest guy in the company (in his opinion--those were his words, not mine. I certainly wasn't feeling it yesterday.)
2. If it was easy, everybody would do it.
3. I am still certified as a Level II. They can't take that away for failing a test.
4. I am trying to better myself. There is no shame in that. Keep trying to move up, and be better.
Which I thought was pretty cool, and gave me some of my confidence back.


With all this being said, I probably never should have taken the test Tuesday. Monday our septic tank backed up at the house. We had to have the tank pumped, and have a plumber come out and snake the lines, and it was just an utter and complete mess. I never hit the shower until 10:15 that night. I should have canceled. It was too much chaos. But doing so would have made me feel like i was making excuses. Just like even typing this last paragraph does. Work isn't always calm, and I should be able to work through the chaos. It probably was too much of a distraction. But I am not blaming it on that. I blew it, and will just have to try harder next time...

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Oh, and thank all of you for your responses. It means a lot, and it is nice to know there is somebody out there who understands the struggles. I really do appreciate it guys!

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Dennis:

Quote:

1. The plans call for a 90 to be bolted right to a city main, with the OS&Y valve bolted directly to the 90. What pump allows this layout?
A. Split case horizontal Electric
B. Split case horizontal Diesel
C. Vertical Turbine
D. Vertical Inline

If I had no clue on this, I would approach it in this manner.
1 - As far as I know, there is no difference in NFPA 20 for suction piping on diesel or electric pumps. So, that eliminates A/B. 2 - A vertical Turbine is installed in a water storage tank, so there is no connection to the city main.
3 - That leaves only a vertical inline. Also, a vertical inline has more flexibility with the orientation of the elbows in the suction piping.

Travis Mack
MFP Design, LLC
www.mfpdesign.com
"Follow" us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/MFP-Design-LLC/9221...

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
Travis,
That does make the most sense. I guess I spent too much time looking in the book for the answer, in black and white, and not enough time using logic.

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Correct. You can arrange any manner of elbows in the suction piping of a VIL fire pump. The way the problem is worded the elbow would need to be 10 pipe diameters away from the suction flange of a horizontal split case due to being the in the same plane. A vertical turbine takes suction from a well or pond so there is no piping.

Also an important note is the OS&Y in the suction piping. If this were a butterfly there needs to be 50' between the butterfly valve and the suction flange of the fire pump.

I would guess 1 sprinkler on the ceiling pocket. It is too large to omit sprinklers and taking the allowed spacing of standard spray leaves me with a single sprinkler in the center which is likely not practical since expensive light fixtures usually hang there. Ref NFPA Fig. 8.6.4.1.1.3(B) where X<36" in this case. Practically I would answer 4. The correct answer is likely 1 because nothing was stated about fixtures.

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Just curious but for the CBT exam did you have a copy of all the referenced standards available to you and if so were they electronic or hard copy?

Studying for the PE exam now where only hardcopy books are allowed. I plan to take the Level IV exam next year so wondering how to best study for that.

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
@NewtonFP I had a hard copy of all the reference material. On the Level I and II tests, they were available electronically as well, but for the level III test, they weren't. It was hard copy only. I believe Level IV is the same, but would have to check NICET's website to be sure. Good luck on the IV test! I can only imagine what it will be like. Also, you said to PM you about study materials, but I don't see where PM'ing someone is an option on this forum? Prehaps I am missing it though--it's been a LONG week!

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

Having recently passed the Level III I wanted to give some input to help others. First I had to take the 2nd half (hydraulics) two times. I attempted it a couple years ago and went in to it unprepared. Then I focused on getting my PE, but came back to finish off the NICET cert. It just kept nagging at me having not passed it. The outline provided by Nicet I felt wasn't very accurate, but I did gain a lot of info on what was actually on the test, by failing it once. I also realized that even though it's all in the book, you have to be fairly quick, so I focused on speeding up the 2nd attempt.

Points I focused on:
1. Storage! - I highlighted everything related to reduction and modifications to density/areas
- They like to ask storage questions that aren't exactly straight forward. Having quick reference to the code that reduce density requirements helped me. Being well versed in which storage chapter/section you need to be in helps too.

2. Standpipe - The two main points to highlight here are the water demand and design requirement. Know sprinkler/unsprinklered max demand. Know how much gpm per stp/riser. I went through the book and highlighted the key numbers in this area. Super useful.

3. Fire Pumps - They didn't get too crazy on the questions here. A lot of the pump questions were related to water supply/demand, so knowing churn/rated/150% was important. An example would be they would ask you to use the city supply plus the pump supply to calculate the final pressure at a certain elevation, given a specific flow.

There are obviously questions that cover other parts of NFPA 13, but I didn't find those much harder than Level II.
I'd be willing to answer questions if anyone has any. I didn't know anyone else that had taken or passed the test when I took it, so felt like I was going in blind.

RE: Water based systems layout Level III

(OP)
YahReally--Thanks for the input! I am taking the hydraulic portion of the Level III this Thursday. I wasn't feeling too overconfident, however, I took two of Firetech's practice tests on Friday, and got an 80% on both of them. That made me feel a little better, but obviously I am not going to feel completely better until Thursday afternoon when I am finished with the test.

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