Investigation and Consulting

Corrosion of sprinkler systems has become a growing problem in the U.S., which many building owners are being forced to deal with on an unplanned basis. Corrosion can be costly and have detrimental effects on the reliability and anticipated operational performance of sprinkler systems. Corrosion problems may manifest through visible staining of piping and surrounding construction to more dire consequences such as clogging of pipes, prevention of valve operation, inadvertent sprinkler operations or pinhole leaks.

NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, requires investigations to assess the conditions of sprinkler systems to prevent corrosion failures. JENSEN HUGHES has developed protocols to assist clients in meeting or exceeding the requirements of NFPA 25. Furthermore, JENSEN HUGHES has investigated corrosion in a variety of fire protection systems, including wet, dry pipe, deluge and pre-action systems. These systems have included carbon steel, ductile iron, galvanized steel, stainless steel, brass, bronze and copper piping and components.


JENSEN HUGHES engineers offer a variety of investigation and consulting services to help our clients understand corrosion issues and to develop real solutions to corrosion problems including:

  • Develop corrosion investigation and design protocols
  • Conduct conditions assessments and due diligence surveys
  • Develop remediation options
  • Develop design drawings and specifications to minimize corrosion in both new and existing systems

Picture_Section 2_Forensic_CorrosionOur Approach

JENSEN HUGHES works with metallurgical and water testing laboratories to implement a three pronged approach to investigate the extent, severity and root cause of corrosion in fire protection systems. A typical project will involve an internal examination of the sprinkler system, analysis of the water supply and system water, and a metallurgical examination.

Internal pipe examinations are facilitated through the use of a pipe push camera (boroscope), which provides live video from within pipes to allow for instantaneous viewing of corrosion and other abnormalities. The video is also simultaneously saved to allow for analysis and review with clients at a later time. Findings of these investigations are used to develop solutions for remediation and are carried over to design practices employed by JENSEN HUGHES staff.

FindingsPicture_Section 3_Forensic_Corrosion

In some cases, the severity and extent of corrosion can impact the ability of sprinkler systems to control or suppress fires. Corrosion and its products can limit or prevent adequate water flow in sprinkler systems or increase surface roughness beyond the conditions anticipated in the designs of these systems. Figure 3 shows an unexpected weld scarf (trim) remnant found in a pipe during an examination.

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