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.
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.