Obviously, AACALC7 can be used by all sprinkler contractors, designers and installers to carry out the full hydraulic calculation of Ordinary / High Hazard fire protection systems to the BSEN and similar rules. It would be their responsibility to layout the pipework and heads to suit the building and it's other services to match the type, height and arrangement of the goods being protected.
The procedure up to now is that such computer programs produce their results in the form of various tables as stated in those sprinkler rules which are then printed out and posted, together with the manually or CAD produced drawings and associated information, to the appropriate Reviewing Authority. Recently those organisations have chosen to receive that data in the form of PDF files, knowing that they can and do, potentially contain viruses which must be scanned for.
With AACALC7, this procedure can be enhanced by just transmitting the DXF drawing + AHR file (if directly from CAD) or the hydraulics AHC file (if doing the calculations separately from the drawing). With the former, I have made the reviewing process very easy as a separate "Reviewers" part just shows :-
Note how I have reduced the operation of AACALC7 to just clicking on 6 buttons (2 of which are "Help" and "Close") - I really cannot make it any easier!
If the contractor sends their hydraulic calculations file(s), then the Reviewer can just use all the various features of AACALC7 to select, calculate and view the results, just as the originator did in their design office - you MUST get the same answers because you are both using the same program, hydraulics data file and pipe types/sizes/fittings database which only I can revise. So the screen you would view would look like :-
However, I have always been concerned that we are not using the computer for what it is good at - repetitive calculations. Up to now, one has just prepared the data for two design areas in any one installation - called the most remotest and the most favourable - and ensured that the pipe / head sizes, pump / tank details etc. were satisfactory for these two conditions. What if the "fire" occurs somewhere else?
Another problem overlooked by some reviewing authorities is that these two sets of calculations are carried out when there is NO water in the system - on the Qcap/Qmax graph the MR / MF design areas must be at least half a bar pressure BELOW the minimum level of water in the storage tank! So when one carefully considers all the flow, pressure, velocity and density calculations given by the (usually mine) computer programs since 1985, they should all say ZERO! I therefore have a better idea which is included in this version of AACALC7.
If the sprinkler contractor enters all the pipes and heads for any complete installation / building and sets out a suitable pump / tank set, then one can simply move a design area (of set square metres and shape) anywhere on the plan view :-
With just one click your mouse, the two sets of hydraulic calculations are balanced to the pump / tank set defined and a summary is shown, with the densities of coverage at the operating heads given in green :-
You will note the "Results screen" is in two parts :-
- Tank full - "best" case of maximum flows, pressures, velocities, densities etc. for that group of operating heads ie. the first minute of the fire breaking out. Text will be in blue if satisfactory or turn red if too high / low needing a change to the water supply or pipe / head sizes or spacings
- Tank empty - "worst" case of flows, pressures etc. for that same group of heads when the water is just about to run out (hopefully the fire has long since been put out by the sprinkler system but the rules usually say that the tank must supply 60, 90 or more minutes operation)
One can then move the square / rectangle representing the design area somewhere else on the drawing, click again and see another summary within 1 second!
So one can try along the edges, in the far corner, next to the control valves, right in the middle and so on in a few minutes at most to consider the WHOLE scheme.
If you want to try this out yourself, select the 7th demonstration job (called Gridded Example) to see the noded up isometric view on the screen. Now choose "Reviewer" and select the second "Files of type" option (called Certain hydraulics files) and click on ALANSDEMO7.AHC and then "Open". You will then see a new screen so just select "Show plan and then select heads to calculate" to view the plan and a purple square you can move around - just click at any convenient point - and again and again until "Stop".
Isn't this better? There is no need for ANY separate MR/MF calculations to be carried or assessed by the contractor or the reviewer and one can dispense completely with the Qcap/Qmax graph (Where did the square law flow axis come from? Where did the half a bar allowance come from? No, this graph just cannot be right!). Surely this will make the designers task easier and the reviewers can assure themselves that the complete sprinkler system is satisfactory without pouring over reams of (currently) meaningless numbers! Just an idea - forget it if not appropriate.
May I quickly summarise the features of AACALC7 that may be of particular interest with reference to the above picture :-
- All controls are on the left hand side of the screen display with the isometric, elevation or plan taking up the rest - do you like the coloured pipes?
- A small "aerial view" plan is always on show and a red rectangle can be moved around it to see that section expanded in the main picture
- Even if another display is shown in the centre of the screen eg. Pipes, Info, Calculate etc. then all these controls will still work on the underlying drawing
- All controls have meaningful titles and a hint is given and the cursor changes to a hand pointer if you hover your mouse over it
- No little icons or right-clicking required anywhere - I have even done way with menus!
- All text used is a very clear font and is larger than other programs seem to use so making it easier to read on high-resolution screens (in tasteful shades of blue rather than always black!)
- If you move your mouse near the centre of any pipe, a little 'information' box pops up confirming all the data / calculations about it
- If you click on a pipe on the drawing, it is highlighted in the "Pipes" or "Pipes Grid" part
- If you click on a pipe in the "Pipes" or "Pipes Grid" part, it is highlighted on the drawing
- Every change is recorded in a history list and stored on disk and in restore points
- Timed BAK files are created upon reading in of each job eg. if data file is called "Fred" then "Fred@090615-1416.BAK" would be made on 15th June 2009 at 2:16 pm
- There is always an up-to-date "LastVersionofLastJob.AHC" job file stored even if the program or Windows crashes
- You can specify a completely separate "backup" directory / folder / library (perhaps on another disk, USB key or network share) that will safely keep up-to-date copies of all your jobs
- The most recent 10 jobs are stored in a "Last" list so 2 mouse clicks will open them
- You can search the current computer for the various data file types if you forget where you stored them - useful for where AACALC7 is on a USB key and you move it to a new PC
- "Help" text is available at all times, either generally about the program or specifically about the section currently visible
- "Close" is always the correct action to remove a form from the screen - no confusion about what "OK" or "Cancel" does!
- Data can be entered via your CAD drawing or entered in 2 basic ways (word-processor or spreadsheet) when noded using range types, dittoed or copied pipes - is that enough flexibility?
- Program is less than 2 MBytes in size, works properly in all versions of Windows and does not need any setup or install routines to work, nor any support files (.DLL, .OCX or .NET ones)
- I supply a common (encrypted) pipe types / sizes / fittings data file called AACALCDATA that only I can change (and upload to this website) to prevent incorrect information being used in your calculations and to ensure that ALL users / reviewers get the same answers for their jobs
- I hope I have demonstrated how my latest full hydraulics calculations computer program can take your marked up CAD drawing (perhaps using my Tree and Grid Wizards to create all / part of it) and produce the calculations, reports and graphs you need with minimum further effort - if the drawing is right, so must be the calculations
- If you do not want to do this, then you can just node up your sprinkler layout in the usual fashion (perhaps utilising my "range types" idea) and do the calculations, results and optional Qcap/Qmax graph, revising and correcting your data as you develop the design and then make sure those changes have been included on your CAD drawing
- Why AACALC7? Well there was a previous AACALC and if Microsoft can have Windows 7 then I can have AACALC7
I hope you find this all of interest and can find the time to evaluate the FULL FREE program. My contact details are in the "Help" section of the program for security reasons.