Protected Enclosure Integrity Testing FAQ’s

Protected Enclosure Integrity Testing FAQ’s

Our clients often ask us as series of question in regards to the room integrity testing to data centres and/or server rooms. To help clarify these questions, and more we have written the following article

  1. Why do I need a room integrity test? The test is a requirement of the British Standard for gaseous fire extinguishing systems – BS EN:ISO 14520. Most fire insurers will require evidence that the test has been conducted and the result is satisfactory.
  2. How quickly can a room integrity test be arranged? – Usually within a few days.
  3. How long does the enclosure test take? – Usually between 1 and 2 hours.
  4. Will the enclosure integrity test set off alarms? – The enclosure test is completely independent of the detection system.
  5. Is the room integrity test disruptive? – It is only necessary to stop access to the room for 10-15 minutes. Personnel can continue to work in the room. The enclosure test can be paused if immediate access becomes required.
  6. Does equipment such as servers need to be switched off during the enclosure integrity test? no, severs will not need to be switched off during the integrity test.
  7. Does air conditioning need to be switched off during the enclosure integrity test? – Recirculation (chiller) units may continue to run. Air supply/extract ducts passing into the enclosure will need to be either dampered closed or will be temporarily sealed.
  8. Will I get a certificate if I pass the room integrity test? – It will be issued within a few days. This should be retained for possible inspection by the authorities/insurers. A summary certificate can be issued at the time of enclosure test if required.
  9. What happens if the room fails the enclosure integrity test? – An inspection will be conducted to identify leakage paths for remedial sealing. These will be pointed out at the time of the enclosure test and a plan included in the report. It is recommended that a retest be conducted after remedial action to confirm the adequacy of the retention time.
  10. Can remedial sealing be done at the time of the enclosure test? – Yes, provided the leakage can be swiftly remedially, or temporarily, sealed.
  11. Does APT undertake remedial sealing? – We can do this if requested or the client can arrange remedial sealing themselves.
  12. How often should the room integrity test be done? – The relevant British Standard (BS EN:ISO 14520) specifies that the test should be conducted annually as part of routine maintenance.

Room-Integrity-Testing-on-data-centre

If you have a protected enclosure that requires an integrity test please contact us at info@airpressuretesting.net or call Darren direct on 07775623464.

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

How we undertake a Room Integrity Test

How we undertake a Room Integrity Test

Our clients often ask how we undertake a room integrity test, so we have written this article to explain this in more detail.

  1. Any internal doors with the enclosure are opened and some of the false floor and/or ceiling tiles are removed so that the protected enclosure is tested as one space.
  2. The enclosure is measured, a plan made and the type and quantity of extinguishant recorded. The height of the highest protected equipment within the enclosure is noted.
  3. The door fan equipment is set up on an external door. Any other external access doors should be locked to prevent access by personal during the test. It is worth noting that operates  may continue to work within the enclosure during the test, however they won’t be able to leave during the test, i.e. when pressure readings are being taken.
  4. Any mechanical air handling equipment that supply and/or extract to/from the enclosure will need to be set by the client to the same condition as would occur on system discharge – usually dampers closed and fans off.  This need occur only whilst pressure readings are taken.  Re-circulation and a/c units without fresh air make-up – external air supply) may be left operating throughout the test to prevent temperature build-up and possible damage to the critical equipment within the enclosure.
  5. The extinguishing system and enclosure data obtained earlier is entered on to the computer.  This calculates the design concentration and the column pressure that would be exerted by the gas after discharge.
  6. The blower door fan is used to both pressurise and depressurise the enclosure to the column pressure and the fan pressure required in each case is recorded.  For certain system design a series of pressure readings are taken.
  7. The pressure data is entered on to the computer which calculates the airflow, equivalent leakage area and the retention time.
    If the result satisfies the specified retention time – usually 10 minutes) the enclosure is deemed to have passed the room integrity test.
  8. If the retention time is less than that required, a detailed smoke survey inspection is undertaken to establish the main leakage paths.  Our small chemical smoke pencils are used as they only produce very small quantities of smoke at the perimeter of the enclosure and are not used in the vicinity of any sensitive electronic equipment.
  9. If practicable, major leaks may be sealed by the client and new pressure readings taken and a revised retention time is then calculated.  Retention times meeting requirements are recorded as passes.
  10. A full written test report will be submitted. The report contains details of the enclosure, extinguishing system parameters, pressurisation results and predicted retention time graph.  Recommendations are given advising the sponsor of any leakage areas or other features requiring remedial action.
  11. A Room Integrity Test pass cert will is produced which should be laminated and attached to the front door of the protected enclosure.
  12. We usually allow 2 hours to undertake each Room Integrity Test enclosure.

Server_Room_Integrity_Testing

we hope this article goes some way to explaining how we undertake a room integrity test. If you require more information in regards to integrity testing compliance on your server room, please do not hesitate to contact Darren direct on: 07775623464 or email us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk