Pipe manufacturers have long been warning that the use of CPVC pipe in fire sprinkler installations can be problematic. So have a number of experts.
Almost 2 years ago, Jeff Pfaendtner with Crane Engineering out of Plymouth, Minnesota spoke on material failures in fire protection systems before the National Fire Protection Association. He presented a number of case studies where CPVC pipes failed because of installation, contact with incompatible materials and stressful handling.
Wheatland Tube, a leading manufacturer of steel pipe, has for years also cautioned installers on the risks associated with CPVC in a fire sprinkler system. Listing those materials that shouldn’t come into contact with CPVC pipe, everything from oil and grease, caulk and solder flux, pipe clamps to spray on coatings, Wheatland, along with other steel pipe manufacturers, has been warning that material incompatibility posed very serious consequences.
And the CPVC pipe manufacturers were themselves not unaware of the potential issues. They provided clear disclaimers, not only recommending that chemical compatibility be confirmed prior to use of the CPVC pipe, but often listing incompatible products such as lubricants, leak detecting sprays, sealants, adhesives and pipe dope – by brand name.
No one should therefore be surprised that some smart lawyers have finally decided to sue. This issue has been percolating for some time.