Construction Updates for downtown businesses

Fire Service Line FAQs
The following letter to Downtown Property Owners is being sent out through certified mail to address any questions or concerns regarding Fire Service Lines. 

May 10, 2016
Downtown Property Owners
RE: Fire Service Lines
Dear Downtown Property Owner:
Several property owners within the project limits of the Downtown Infrastructure Improvements project have inquired about the ability to add fire service lines to their buildings while the current watermain is being replaced. The City’s intent with this letter is to answer frequently asked questions regarding this topic.
Are fire suppression systems required?
Fire suppression systems are not retroactively required for existing buildings built before the fire and building codes mandated fire suppression systems for that particular building use.
When am I required to install fire suppression systems?
The following conditions will usually require compliance to current codes for existing buildings:
  1. Alterations, repairs, additions or relocation of structures shall comply with the provisions for alterations of the building.
  2. The change of use or occupancy of any building that would place the building in a different division of the same group of occupancies or in a different group of occupancies.
  3. Any alteration or remodel that may compromise the existing building structural design, egress or safety factors for the occupants of the building.
If you as a building owner wish to do any of the above activities to your building, a fire suppression system will be required. If you are unclear as to what repairs or alterations may require a fire suppression system, please contact the city Fire Marshal Brian Andersen (721-6171) or Building Official Mitch Flanagan (857-4102).
How large does the fire service need to be for my building?
The size will depend on several variables such as type of building construction, how many floors, system pressure, floor area, and other factors. A design professional should be consulted who has the knowledge to design the system for you.
If I want to install a fire service line to my building, what do I need to do?
  1. You need to have the fire service line size designed by a design professional qualified in North Dakota to design the system.
  2. You need to hire a contractor that can install underground water infrastructure. These are typically listed under Contractors – General in the phone book.
  3. The contractor must be licensed with the State and City for underground construction.
  4. The contractor must apply for a right of way and excavation permit from the City Inspection Department.
  5. Your contractor will need to be ready on short notice to install the necessary tapping sleeve, pipe and valves from the city’s watermain to inside your building. Your contractor will have to provide all materials and labor for this work. The City’s contractor for the Downtown Infrastructure Improvements Project, Keller Paving, or their sub-contractors cannot perform this installation for you as it will delay the completion of the project and the opening of the streets.
Do I need an easement for the fire service line since it will be in public right of way? Also, who owns the fire service line?
No, you do not need an easement, only a permit from the City to ensure the piping meets codes and specification.
The fire service line is owned by the property owner and not the City. The owner is responsible for maintenance and repair of leaks.
Will the City pay the cost of the fire service lines?
Unfortunately, the city cannot pay for the installation of fire service lines. The fire service lines on other projects are installed by the developer of that project. Or, if a fire service was not installed and one is required later, the building owner is responsible for the cost of the service line and street patching.
Also, the service lines cannot be installed by special assessment since an assessment district for service lines was not created. The special assessments on this project are for storm sewer and street lighting.
Isn’t the City required to install a fire service line?
The City is not required to install a fire service line, only a domestic (drinking water) service line and a sanitary sewer service line. The city is providing a minimum 1.5” copper service line to each building. If a building has an existing service line that is larger the city will match that service line size. If a building has an existing fire service line, the line will be reconnected to the city’s watermain.
Are there workarounds or alternatives that would allow most uses without installing fire service lines or fire suppression systems?
Generally, no, there are not workarounds or alternatives. Fire protection is very important and when the building code requires the upgrade, fire protection systems must be provided.
I still have questions, who can I call?
City staff is available at any time to help answer questions related to fire service lines or other questions regarding the project. You can reach us at the City Engineering Department by calling 701-857-4100 or the other officials listed above. You may also contact Mark Lyman or Bryan Obenchain with Odney Advertising at 701-857-7205 if you have additional questions about the construction happening in downtown Minot.
Lance Meyer
City of Minot Engineer