Fire Sprinkler & Stanpipes
Per the Alberta Fire Code 2014, Water-Based Fire Protection Systems must be maintained in operable condition, and must be inspected and tested in accordance with NFPA 25. Water-based fire protection systems include sprinkler systems, standpipes, private and municipal hydrants, hose systems, water spray fixed systems, foam-water sprinkler systems, foam-water spray systems, and fire pumps. This standard defines the minimum requirements, but higher standards may be required by your insurer or based on the type of facility.
A short inspection is required every three months on certain components of the system, including Pressure Gauges, Water-flow Devices, and Supervisory Devices. While required by the Fire Code, this is not frequently enforced by local authorities on a pro-active basis; However a post incident investigation will normally ask for records of these checks and failure to complete them may affect liability in the event of a system failure.
Once a year all components of the system need to be inspected and tested. In addition to the items checked quarterly, this includes a visual inspection of the entire system from ground level, so access to the entire protected area of the building is required. It also includes checking all gauges, fittings, valves, anti-freeze, drains, fire department hookups, spare heads & wrenches, and data plates. The Backflow Preventor device should also be checked at the same time, as required by Water Utilities(EPCOR). Depending on the size and complexity of the system, this can take anywhere from an hour to several days. Most commercial building can be completed in a day or less. Large residential buildings can take a couple days when it is necessary to access several hundred suites. Some particularly complex industrial sites could take longer. Most annual inspections will require only one technician, and are billed hourly. As every system is different, the best way to obtain an estimate for the cost of an inspection is to provide us with a previous inspection report, along with the size(sq ft) of the building and approximate allocation of space(office/warehouse/shop/apartments/etc).
In addition the the regular annual inspection and maintenance, additional work may be needed on a 3 or 5 year basis depending on the type of system. This includes flow-tests, hydro-static pressure tests, and obstruction investigations. Most of this maintenance will require two technicians, and take at least half a day.
What to expect
Quarterly and annual inspections can usually be performed by one technician. The technician will split their time between checking system components at the tree and valve rooms, and performing a ground-level visual inspection of the piping and heads throughout the protected area. This includes checking communication with the Fire Alarm panel(if connected), so the client will need to contact their alarm monitoring service and inform them of the testing.
If any problems are found with the system one of two things will happen. Small issues can sometimes be corrected by the technician before leaving; If the fix requires any parts or significant labor, a client representative must be available to approve the work. If an issue cannot be corrected immediately it will be noted on the inspection report, then a quote will be provided if possible and followup maintenance scheduled if approved. Any significant impairment to the system will be brought to the attention of our contact on site.
There are a few items the client must do to prepare for an inspection
- Post notice - in a residential building all tenants must be notified 48 hours in advance that an inspection will be taking place. Access will be required to any suite with a sprinkler head inside.
- Monitoring - most fire alarm systems are monitored by a security service or other monitoring provider. The job of the monitoring provider is to alert the fire department in the event an alarm is triggered on your system. Part of the testing on the sprinkler system includes checking for proper communication with the Fire Alarm panel. When performing testing, the monitoring provider needs to be notified, so they do not initiate a fire department response. The client will need to contact their monitoring provider before beginning, and after completion of testing.
- Access - Technicians will need access to all parts of the building that contain Fire Sprinkler protection. This includes mechanical rooms, server rooms, and residential suites. Make arrangements to provide technicians with keys or escort as necessary
somthing is wrong, what should I do?
DO NOT thaw out the pipes. Shut down your fire pump(if present). Give us a call, and let our technician get a look at it first. In many cases it is much faster and easier to complete a repair if the melt is performed in a controlled manner.
Close the shutoff valve for the zone the break is in, shut down your fire pump(if present), and give us a call. If you don't know where that is, then shut down the whole system at the sprinkler main. Some water will continue to come out of the break for a while after shutting down as the pipes drain.
In both these cases you must set a fire watch of the shut down area until service is restored.
Please note that any after-hours/weekend service, or any time we cancel other scheduled work to send someone out to your site is considered an emergency call-out, and high minimum charges and overtime rates will apply.