Designing Enclosures for Room Integrity Testing

Designing Enclosures for Room Integrity Testing 

When designing server/data enclosures, it is the responsibility of the user and system suppliers to ensure that the enclosure and extinguishing system meet the design requirements as stated in ISO 15004.

Room-Integrity-Design

At the contract stage of the project, it is essential that responsibility for each of the enclosure requirements is made clear to all the relevant parties. In all cases it is important to consider the construction of the walls, floor and ceiling envelope when designing the enclosure containing one of your most important company asset(s) to be protected by the extinguishing system.  When designing the envelope for a protected enclosure there are  four critical factors to consider:

  1. Enclosure strength – to withstand pressure during gaseous suppressant discharge.
  2. Enclosure fire resistance – to withstand fire external to the enclosure.
  3. Enclosure pressure relief balance – to constrain the pressure differential across the enclosure structure to an acceptable level, by venting off excess enclosure gases during gaseous suppressant discharge.
  4. Enclosure air tightness – to aid retention of the agent after agent discharge.

In all cases the strength of an enclosure will be dependent on the materials of construction, the strength of fixings and attachments and the area they present to the load applied by the pressurised agent.

It is worth noting that Its been shown that once a fire – which has commenced externally to the protected area) breaks into the protected enclosure the agent will have little or no impact on asset protection. It is important therefore to maintain strict a‑minimum fire resisting enclosure of 60 min.

Room_integrity_test

At APT we provide room integrity testing for a wide variety of types and manufacturers of fire suppression systems, whether it is part of a system installation or annual inspection or intermediate post work testing

For further information on our room integrity testing services, please contact our technical manager Darren on 07775623464; or email us at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk

Room Integrity Testing for Enclosures Using FM-200 Agent.

Room Integrity Testing for Enclosures Using FM-200 Agent.

It is essential that the sealing aspect of protected enclosures is taken into account when using a FM-200 system in your enclosure. This is because the sealing requirements for effective retention are much more stringent than those for any of the Inert agents. If a protected enclosure is protected with FM-200, it needs to be sealed more air tight by at least 50% than that allowed for Inert Agents.  Obviously this makes it more important to get the enclosure design right, to allow for a more air tight envelope.   To satisfy the requirements for containing FM-200 on existing protected enclosures currently being upgrades from other Gaseous Fire Suppression systems, it may result in the need for structural improvements inevitably leading to an increase in building costs.

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Enclosure Air Sealing

The Integrity of a protected enclosure is defined by the ability of enclosure to adequately retain an extinguishing agent at a suitable level of concentration for 10 minutes to suppress a potential fire situation.  For any protected enclosure to be effective with any the Gaseous Fire System  the design concentration must first be achieved, and thereafter maintained at suitable levels ; achieve this the enclosures envelope must be adequately sealed.

Fire_in_server_room

To achieve compliance with the relevant standards you are required to undertake a room integrity test upon completion of the installation. One efficient way to ensure compliance with ISO 15004 is to carrying the pressurisation of the room with a blower fan system and also under takes the air sealing at the same time. Once the room is pressurised the air testing company can carry out a localised smoke test to identify all the air leakage paths; thereafter, targeted sealing works can be undertaken.  A final room integrity test can then be carried out to ensure compliance with the relevant standards.

For further information on our room integrity testing services, please contact our technical manager Darren on 07775623464; or email us at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk

The Importance of Room Integrity Testing

The Importance of Room Integrity Testing 

In ISO 15004, it clearly states that an enclosure must be integrity tested annually when protected by a gaseous fire suppression system and/or alternatively when alterations are made to the structure of the enclosure such as the introduction of new cable or mechanical runs. At APT we provide room integrity testing for a wide variety of types and manufacturers of fire suppression systems, whether it is part of a system installation or annual inspection or intermediate post work testing.  Our engineers use the latest high powered fan technology to test all types and sizes of enclosure from small server rooms to large data centres. If your enclosure fails the room integrity test we can undertake a smoke survey and produce a detailed report to highlight the air leakage paths, this allows your site operatives to accurately seal the areas of air leakage.

Room_intergrity_test_fire_supressant

It is a requirement that a room Integrity Test is carried out at the time of the fire suppression installation. It is also a recommendation that a room Integrity Test is carried out on an annual basis as part of the routine maintenance schedule. This test is designed to ensure that an extinguishing concentration is held for a sufficient time (normally 10 minutes) to prevent re-ignition in the event of a fire.

Detailed studies have revealed that the predominant cause of failure of gaseous extinguishing systems is inadequate room sealing, which is usually down to excessive air leakage paths through the building envelope. It is also found that room integrity performance reduces with time; this is usually due to ongoing modifications to the envelope to accommodate extra mechanical and electrical installations such as data cabling etc.

Due to the potential issues associated with fire damage, it is essential that your main asset can contain the gas suppressant for as long as possible to prevent the fire reigniting. To enable this it is important to ensure that good room integrity is established at the end of the enclosures construction and maintained throughout the life cycle of the enclosure.

It is with noting that the annual integrity inspection and testing are also required by the BFPSA and are routine practice at most major commercial institutions such as banks and data storage companies. The benefits of ensuring good room integrity are recognised by insurers and regulatory authorities, who frequently insist on such testing.

For further information on our room integrity testing services, please contact our technical manager Darren on 07775623464; or email us at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk

Room Integrity Test

Room Integrity Test

A room integrity test is one of the most important aspects of any fire suppression system. If a protected enclosure has a suppression system, the agent that is discharged into the enclosure has to be able to remain there for a minimum period of 10 minutes, from the initial activation of the fire alarm or alert.

A fire suppression system can provide adequate cover and function correctly if the room is adequately sealed. A room that is insufficiently sealed may allow the suppression agent that has been discharged into the room to escape too quickly, prior to fully extinguishing the fire which may result in massive damage to your major asset.

On Site Fire Integrity Test 

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The performance of any protected room and fire suppression system can only be guaranteed when serviced regularly through a professional maintenance routine. APT always recommend that room integrity testing is made part of an annual service and maintenance package, to ensure that on discharge, the suppression agent achieves and maintains the correct concentration, at the appropriate height for minimum required time frame.

In many instances although the room may be quite air tight, the enclosure may fail as the distance from the structural height, i.e. the ceiling of the enclosure may be very close to the top of the protected height – the top of the server racks. When designing a protected enclosure it is always best to allow plenty of distance between the top of the protected height and the ceiling as this should result in more retention time, as long as your enclosure is sufficiently airtight.

It is worth noting that if your protected enclosure suffers fire damage, it may not be covered by the buildings insurance if you don’t have up to date Fire Integrity Certification.

For further information on our room integrity testing services, please contact our technical manager Darren on 07775623464; or email us at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk

BS8233 Noise Assessment

BS8233 Noise Assessment

A BS8233 noise assessment report should be submitted during pre-application discussions or more commonly during a planning application. In some circumstances, a planning condition will be included on the planning permission requiring the submission of a noise report.

BS8233-Noise-Survey

In many cases a planning permission officer or the local environmental health team will be the first person involved in informing a client that they are in need of a noise impact assessment, this will typically be due to the fact that a complaint or concern has arisen around the increased noise and/or the perceived increase in noise due to a change of use or an increase in licencing hours.

Our BS8233 noise impact assessment will measure and predict the effects that the new/proposed noise source will be likely have on the current noise climate. This is achieved by firstly establishing a baseline measure of the existing noise climate and then comparing this with the introduced noise. If this comparison cannot be achieved due to practical purposes, then a reasonable prediction can be made through various modelling methods.

Noise_SurveyCentral_London

There can be a large variety of scenarios and requirements that may be present during noise impact assessments, with this in mind it is important to liaise with the case officer and environmental health team, in order to ensure that the appropriate legislation and British Standards are being adhered to at all times.

If part of your planning conditions requires you undertake a noise survey and would like to speak with one of our noise consultants, then please give us a call us today. The noise assessment process isn’t intrusive, lengthy or costly. Normally we would leave a meter over a 24 hour period which would gather the necessary data automatically, taking into account other factors such as construction, setting and external variables. We could then provide a detailed report and advise how best to proceed.

If you would like to know more about or noise impact assessment service, please contact us at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or contact me (Darren) directly on 07775 623464. Alternately please visit our website at www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk

Noise Impact Assessment in London

Noise Impact Assessment in London 
Noise impact assessments are often required at the planning stage of developments that may generate noise, and noise-sensitive developments which may be affected by noise. Some developments, such as mixed use, fall into both categories. Potentially noise generating developments often require a Noise Impact Assessment to be undertaken. This normally requires existing ambient noise levels to be established, typically by undertaking measurements, and the impact of noise from the development to be established. For large developments, it is often necessary to consider secondary effects, such as the impact of increased traffic on existing roads.

Noise Impact Assessment In London 

Sound_Testing_Flats

A BS 8233 Noise survey report; or, noise impact assessment should be submitted during pre-application discussions or more commonly during a planning application. In some circumstances, a planning condition will be included on the planning permission requiring the submission of a noise report.

In many cases it will be the planning officer or the local environmental health team that will inform a client that they are in need of a noise impact assessment, this will typically be due to the fact that a complaint or concern has arisen around the increased noise and/or the perceived increase in noise due to a change of use or an increase in licencing hours.

Noise Assessment in Central London 

BS8233-Noise-Survey

Our noise impact assessment will measure and predict the effects that the new/proposed noise source will be likely have on the current noise climate. This is achieved by firstly establishing a baseline measure of the existing noise climate and then comparing this with the introduced noise. If this comparison cannot be achieved due to practical purposes, then a reasonable prediction can be made through various modelling methods.

There may a number of requirement that may be present during noise impact assessments; with this in mind it is important to liaise with the case officer and environmental health team, in order to ensure that the appropriate legislation and British Standards are being adhered to at all times.

If you would like to know more about or noise impact assessment service, please contact us at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk  or contact me (Darren) directly on 07775 623464. Alternately please visit our website at www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk

BS8233 Noise Surveys

BS8233 Noise Surveys  

In large cities, there is far more noise pollution than ever before; this comes from a huge range of noise sources such as traffic, alarms and music/sport venues. As cities populations get larger, people start to inhabit an increasingly compacted space the work of acoustic consultants is becoming ever more important to help reduce excess noise levels. This can be done through a variety of means and methods, one of the most important methods in the context of busy urban environments in the noise impact assessment.

Noise Survey Equipment

BS8233-Noise-Survey

The main purpose of a BS8233 noise assessment is to measure and predict the impact that a development will have on the surrounding environment, residents and whatever noise sensitive receptors happen to be within the vicinity of the development.

The local authority may require a noise impact assessment for a number of reasons, this can include the opening of an entertainment premises in a sensitive area, the installation of new mechanical plant such as a new air-conditioning unit or a change in opening hours of a premises that already has permission to operate from the local council, such as a bar/nightclub wanting to extend its licence from 23.00 to 02.00.

A noise impact assessment may be required at the application stage or once planning permission has been granted. A noise survey and report are required if:

  • The proposed development with commercial areas that may create noise which may affect nearby noise sensitive properties. For example, a new commercial activity near existing residential properties.
  • The proposed development location will be sensitive to noise and is likely to be affected by existing noise sources i.e. busy roads, railway, airports or commercial activity.

=The noise impact assessment is to demonstrate that:

  • The source of noise is evaluated and quantified
  • Nearby noise sensitive receptors identified
  • Noise receptors have been determined with reference to noise standards

The BS8233 noise assessment may also set out control measures where it is necessary to reduce noise to acceptable levels. For example, the installation of different glazing e.g. from double to triple glazed panels or acoustic trickle vents are installed so that internal noise standards are met.

If noise levels are shown as NEC category B and above, the local authority will look for noise reduction measures that will achieve the “good” internal noise level criteria in bedrooms and living rooms set out in BS8233:2014.  Where the noise levels are shown as NEC category D, the local authority usually recommends that planning consent be refused.

If you would like to know more about or noise impact assessment service, please contact us at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or contact me (Darren) directly on 07775 623464. Alternately please visit our website at www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk

Sound Testing for Leasehold Agreements

Sound Testing for Leasehold Agreements

One of the main reasons for neighbour disputes is down to the fact that floor modifications may have taken place without the flat owner, first consulting his/her leasehold agreement. In many cases the lease agreement contains something similar to the following conditions:

Sound Testing through Floors

Part-E-Sound-Testing

‘If the tenant wants to change the floor construction within his dwelling he shall’:

  • Commission an independent acoustic consultant to carry out a pre installation test, design the new acoustic installation and carry out a post installation test and provide the results to the landlord’s surveyors for approval; and
  • Invite the Landlord’s surveyor to inspect the acoustic insulation before it is concealed; and
  • Accept that the Landlord, whilst granting this Licence, does not accept any responsibility for the design or performance of the insulation provided and that if any issues arise the Tenant will address these immediately. In the event of reasonable complaint being upheld by the Landlord or his agent concerning noise affecting other Tenants within The Building, the Tenant will arrange for carpeting (the provision of which shall be determined by the Landlord) to be positioned and maintained at the Tenant’s sole cost;

We offer a comprehensive acoustic service to let our clients comply with their leasehold agreements.

  • Pre-works Sound Testing of the existing construction. This offers an accurate overview of the acoustic performance of the existing floor partition/s prior to the commencement of construction works. It also enables us to offer a targeted acoustic design using the sound insulation performance of the existing construction.
  • Acoustic design review – once we have the performance figures from the sample sound testing have been established, we can forward a design that should improve the performance of the existing floor partition – even if you are changing the floor from a carpet to engineered timber floor finish!
  • Site Survey Visit – This allows us to check that the installation team is installing the acoustic materials as per manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Final Precompletion Sound Testing in-line with Approved Document E. This provides an accurate overview of the acoustic performance of the upgraded partition/s, the results of which can be handed over to the relevant person for sign off.

If you are about to make changes to your apartment floor, and you require acoustic design advice, then please contact us now at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk  or phone me directly on 07775623464.

 

Noise Complaints in Existing Apartment Blocks

Noise Complaints in Existing Apartment Blocks

Over the last few years we are noticing a rise in noise complaints in existing apartment blocks. There may be many reasons for this. Noise problems range from airborne noise transmission from voices TVs and music to footfall impact noise caused by high heels on wooden/tiled floors – it is usually the impact noise that is noticed most by the residents if the unit above has changed their floor finish from carpet to wood.

Excessive-Noise

In many cases even if the floor assembly has been designed and constructed to provide adequate airborne isolation, impact noise can still be a major problem. One of the main problems is if works to the floor finish have been undertaken, changing it from carpet to timber. Even if it passes the sound test, the perceivable rise in impact noise often leads to complaints, as carpet and underlay normally provides a good degree of impact sound isolation. Taking this into account it’s very important that impact isolation design, is taken into account before the installation of a hardwood and/or ceramic tile finish.

If you think you may have a problem with sound in your dwelling and/or you have encountered complaints from a neighbour due to changes you have made to the floor finish then please contact us now. Try to describe the noise problem in as much detail as possible. Describe the nature of the sounds, when and where you or your neighbour can hear it. Is it impact noise or airborne noise or a combination of both? The more information you can provide us, the quicker we can try to determine the nature of the problem and find a solution. It may be as simple as the installation of an acoustic resilient membrane to the floor.

Acoustic_Site_Survey

In our experience, if careful consideration is shown to the acoustic element of the floor upgrade, it should reduce the chance of complaints at a later stage, which will also avert costly legal battles at the end of the project and which often leads on to expensive remedial works.

We can come in prior to works commence and undertake a sample sound test of the existing floor partition, thereafter we can advise on the acoustic design of the floor. once the works have been completed we can then undertake a final precompletion sound test to show compliance with Building Regulations Part E.

If you are about to make changes to your apartment floor, and you require acoustic design advice, then please contact us now at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk  or phone me directly on 07775623464.