This article discusses a Miami lawsuit involving plastic sprinkler pipes. People in the firestop industry have known for ages that there are sensitive compatibility issues regarding Lubrizol, a compound in the CPVC used for plastic fire sprinkler pipes. This is not new information and the company clearly shares information about what IS NOT compatible and what has been tested and found to be compatible. (click on the respective links to see the pages from the manufacturer) I don’t know any of the details of the case aside from what can be cobbled together on the web. It seems, from what I have read, that condo associations just found a gold mine.
The thing is, when you build in a salt environment (like Miami) you have corrosion issues if you use steel pipes, so plastic has a huge advantage. They are claiming it is a DEFECT because of incompatibility. I’m not sure that is a “defect” per se.
I see it as similar to galvanic reaction. This is where you can’t have aluminum MC cable touching copper pipes without a barrier to prevent corrosion (google it if you have to, its kinda cool science …unless it muks up your project, then it just sucks). The thing is, that you can’t sue physics for corrosion on steel pipes or galvanic reaction, but you can sue the manufacturer of the plastic pipe. So, bring on the lawyers.
Based on what I know (which is admittedly limited on this case) it sounds like lawyers and condo owners just wanna cash in and its at the expense of a company or companies who may or may not have some cash. If Im allergic to peanut butter can I sue Reece’s if I eat their product? (Thank God that is not the case..I’m a huge fan!)
All that said…If they find it was a cover up, then hang em. If it was just that the sprinkler contractor didn’t know the industry well enough, the firestop contractor didn’t read the details they submitted or that the GC didn’t actually have proper QA/QC on the project…HANG EM. That is just my two cents.
I wonder how this will shake out. If anyone finds out, please let me know.
Gratuitous Plug: A good Consultant or Third-Party Special Firestop Inspector should catch this sort of thing…just saying. There are a myriad other issue out there that can be avoided by building the right team.