NORFOLK, VA. — Mr. Wilson protests too much (August Letters, Leave sprinkler installation to sprinkler fitters). Residential fire sprinkler systems connected directly to the domestic potable water system are an easy and profitable installation. As a licensed mechanical, electrical, gas fitting, and plumbing contractor, I have been awarded jobs where we do all three.
My workforce got a chuckle out of the statement that plumbers don't install fire sprinklers and sprinkler fitters don't install plumbing. My HVAC techs are excellent licensed electricians. My pipefitters can run conduit, DWV pipe, copper and PEX as well as welded steam line. My plumbers assist in the installation of ductwork. I have a plumber and HVAC tech that can weld.
I believe that a mechanically inclined individual with an excellent work ethic can learn and master more than one trade. Additionally, the more well rounded they are the more valuable they are to the company, and in economic downturns, my workforce is intact and working overtime.
While my company specializes in boiler and water heater installations and repair, and we can run pipe with the best of them, I'll accept that Mr. Wilson's company should be installing commercial fire sprinklers. I have no desire to enter into his market and compete against him. Having said this, I take umbrage that Mr. Wilson tags me as an “independent expert.” The truth is we are damn good at what we do, and we have plenty of work and are rarely the low bidder.