Room Integrity Testing
What is it?
Room Integrity Testing is required for any gaseous fire suppression system. Gas fire suppression systems work by releasing a gas agent into an enclosure and the gas then either reacts with the fire or reduces the oxygen level which then suppresses or extinguishes the fire. In order for the fire suppression system to work correctly the enclosure needs to hold the gas for a set period (usually around 10 minutes).
How Does it Work?
By creating pressure in the room with a door fan test and then measuring the pressure release period with sensors to a pre-determined level, we can determine if the room has enough integrity to hold the type of gas agent the fire suppression system is designed for.
This test predicts how long it will take for the gas to descend to a certain level without having to carry out a discharge of the system, which can be costly and disruptive.
Does the Test Cause Disruption?
No – people can work in the room and the testing does not affect any equipment in the room. The door fan test equipment is fixed to the main door and may block it for around 1 hour but apart from this you can use the room as normal.
What are the Standards and Guidance?
The main standards that recommend Room Integrity Testing on commissioning of a system and the annual re-testing of an enclosure are BSEN15004, ISO14520, BAFE SP203-3 and NFPA 2001. These are UK and US national and international standards that provide guidance on how to carry out the test and the frequency of re-testing.
How Often Should I Test the Room?
Any room, particularly Electronic Data Processing (EDP) rooms, tend to get disturbed by building service work and general building work. Should a small hole be made in the enclosure, or the room size changes, then a retest of the room integrity is required.
The problem here is that it is almost impossible to tell if your room integrity has changed during any period. This is quite a significant issue as you will have most likely invested a considerable sum in a fire suppression system to protect your business, people and assets and should the room integrity fail then the suppression system may not suppress the fire.
Imagine a several thousand pound fire suppression system failing to work due to a small hole being drilled by a contractor! This can be avoided by ensuring the room is tested annually for good room integrity.
British Standards recommend that Room Integrity Testing is carried out at least annually to ensure your gaseous fire suppression system will work correctly.
Assured offer this as part of our on – going service package for the preventative maintenance of fire suppression systems, we also offer this service to non-contracted service customers and one off testing.
Room Integrity Sealing
Unsurprisingly many rooms fail the initial Room Integrity Test, but also fail during the ongoing maintenance plan.
After every test Assured will provide a full report detailing the areas that failed or a certification of the pass.
Should your Room Integrity Test fail then we can offer a bespoke room sealing service on the back of any integrity sealing required. We find many builders and contractors struggle to understand the exacting requirements for room sealing, which may include the use of smoke to identify the leakage and specialist sealing products. Therefore using a company who lack experience and specialist skills in this area usually causes many re-tests and higher costs before the room is finally sealed
Sometimes we find the room is never sealed by third party contractors and that is when we are called in to find the areas which require sealing. We usually find that we can seal the room on the first attempt and because we have our own integrity testing equipment on hand to carry out re-tests then this is usually a more cost effective exercise as we can carry out the test during the sealing process instead of having to re-visit site each time after sealing works have been completed.
Pressure Relief Venting (PRV)
Most gaseous fire systems will release an additional amount of gas into the room, this can create over-pressurisation of the room by adding an additional volume of gas. Over-pressurisation of a room can cause structural damage and damage to equipment inside the room.
Therefore to ensure the room is not over-pressurised a Pressure Relief Vent (PRV) is required. This is a vent with louver blades which open to release any gas and therefore prevent a peak pressure spike.
As part of your fire suppression system installation, maintenance and integrity testing Assured will advise on the correct PRV’s to be fitted to your room.
We only use equipment of a high quality and reliability to ensure the best possible results are achieved. That’s why we only work with approved, reliable manufacturers, who we partner with to ensure consistency of service.
Our partner RetroTec provide our Room Integrity Testing equipment.
What’s the next step?
If you’re thinking of installing a new fire suppression system, looking to upgrade your existing suppression system or need a maintenance schedule for your system then why not book one of our Fire Suppression Consultants to visit your business and conduct a free site survey?
Or if you’re not ready for a visit just yet why not download our FREE Fire Suppression Buyers’ Guide? This comprehensive guide covers all you need to know about your legal requirements, types of fire suppression systems, what you need to consider, the laws you must comply with when installing a suppression system on your business premises and much more.