How we undertake a Room Integrity Test

How we undertake a Room Integrity Test

Clients are understandably nervous prior to the undertaking of an integrity test on their server room/data centre, as its often their most important critical asset. To help explain this in more detail – and alleviate potential fears) we have collated the step by step guide below.

  • The enclosure is measured, a plan made and the type and quantity of extinguishant recorded. The height of the highest hazard in the enclosure (risk height) is noted.
  • Where relevant, doors within the enclosure are opened and a number of false floor and ceiling tiles are removed so that the protected enclosure is tested as one space. A return air path is established outside the enclosure by opening doors/windows as appropriate.
  • Room_intergrity_test_fire_supressant
  • The door fan equipment is set up in a suitable door opening.  Personnel may continue to work within the enclosure during the test and may enter and leave, subject to access, except when pressure readings are being taken.
  • Any air handling equipment involving supply into, or extract from, the enclosure will need to be set by the client or end-user into 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 may be left operating throughout the test to prevent temperature build-up in the enclosure. Details of the arrangements are note.
  • The extinguishing system and enclosure data obtained earlier is entered on to the computer.  This calculates the design concentration and the column pressure (typically between 4 and 20Pa) that would be exerted by the gas after discharge.
  • The door fan(s) is used to 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.
  • 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 test.
  • If the retention time is less than that required, a detailed inspection is undertaken to establish the main leakage paths.  This includes floor and ceiling voids as relevant.
  • On occasions, chemical smoke pencils may be used in conjunction with the door fan equipment to assist leakage identification. These produce only very small quantities of smoke at the perimeter of the enclosure and are not used in the vicinity of any sensitive electronic equipment.
  • Should the leakage path distribution be found to be other than the worst case situation assumed in the initial computer calculation, the retention time is recalculated accordingly. Also, if practicable, major leaks may be temporarily sealed, new pressure readings taken and a revised retention time calculated.  Retention times meeting requirements are recorded as passes, subject to any necessary corrective actions; those not doing so are reported to have failed.
  • A 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.

Note – The duration of the room integrity test is approximately two hours per enclosure.

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 on Data Centres

Room Integrity Testing on Data Centres

We often get asked the question “what’s the difference between a Data Centre and Server Room?”

A server room is ‘as it sounds’ a room that stores the servers. A data centre on the other hand is usually much bigger and is usually a whole facility dedicated to containing a vast amount of computer racks in an ultra-secure environment. The most identifiable difference is the size.

Fire_in_a_data centre

Almost any modern office that use computers will possess a server room, however, larger bodies such as large scale businesses, universities and retail operations almost always invest in purpose built data centre infrastructure, as they all need to process much larger amounts of data; this has to be done in a secure and controlled environment.

Data Centres usually consist of the following three key elements;

  • Building Elements – Cooling System, Air Economisers, Fire Prevention & Suppression systems and Access Flooring
  • I.T. Elements – Equipment Racks, Air Containment System, Cooling Monitoring, Cabling, PDUs and Environment Sensors
  • Power Elements – UPS, Generators, Switchgear, Panel Boards, Meters, Breakers and Transformers.

All this requires a facility that’s very secure along with a large physical space to house the entire collection of infrastructure and equipment. Data Centres are arguably the most important asset for any company, with this mind isn’t it essential that data centres are run and maintained in the safest way possible and why room integrity testing on data centres should be used as part of every companies ongoing maintenance plan.

Room-Integrity-Testing-on-data-centre

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

Ensuring Compliance for Server Room Integrity Testing

Ensuring Compliance for Server Room Integrity Testing

Air leakage and smoke ingress are detrimental to an installation’s firefighting capabilities and can result in massive failure of your critical asset. Ensuring compliance for server room integrity testing compliance should be at the top of the agenda for all facility management companies.

Blower_Door__Integrity_Testing

The effectiveness of a gaseous fire suppression system can only be guaranteed, if the enclosure surrounding it is air tight. Unfortunately if the system does not operate effectively, by maintaining the correct concentration for an effective time period,- usually 10 minutes) it may cause the whole system to fail resulting in critical system failure.

Previous studies have revealed that the predominant cause of failure of gaseous extinguishing systems is inadequate room sealing to the building envelope. It is also found that room integrity performance reduces with time, usually due to changes in construction, mechanical and electrical services as well as a natural breakdown of sealing materials such as mastic and/or sealing foam etc.

Ensuring good room integrity should be shown the highest priority. And once the room/enclosure has passed its annual server room integrity test, it should be carefully maintained throughout the year. Any extra works undertaken to the room envelope within the annual test period may result in the need to undertake another integrity test.

The room integrity door fan test is undertaken in accordance with the general requirements specified in BS:ISO 14520, NFPA 12A, NFPA 2001 and isroutine practice for most major companies. The insurers and regulatory authorities usually insist on annual room integrity testing. It is worth noting in the event of a critical failure of your protected enclosure, if you don’t have complaint certification you may void your buildings insurance.

If you require more information in regards to a server room integrity test, please do not hesitate to contact Darren on: 07775623464 or email us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk

Why Do Room Integrity Testing?

Why Do Room Integrity Testing?

We often get asked why do room integrity testing? there are two critical reasons why you need to undertake the testing, the first is It’s a legal requirement and the second is you may invalidate your buildings insurance if you do not have up to date room integrity certification.

Fire_in_server_room

The Relevant Standards

BS5306, ISO 14520 and BS EN 15004 – 1, 2008 all require a gaseous system (any system) to have its integrity checked annually. The equipment should be designed specifically for this and it should be regularly calibrated at least once a year. An Integrity test should be conducted in accordance with BS5306, ISO 14520 (BS EN 15004 – 1, 2008) or NFPA 2001 and at a minimum this should be conducted annually.

When Should Room Integrity Tests be done?

An room integrity test should be performed immediately after a system has been installed and routinely every year thereafter. Any alteration such as changing a door, putting a cable/s in or even replacing equipment can affect the rooms (enclosures) gas holding ability (Integrity), routine servicing of equipment will not reveal this, so an Integrity Test should be carried out after any alteration and the annual testing dates adjusted to follow annually thereafter.

How is the Room Integrity Tests Carried Out

A portable fan is temporarily installed in the doorway via a collapsible panel. The fan then both pressurises and depressurises the room. The results are then fed into the specialist software which then works out the retention time. If the enclosure attains results in excess of 10 minutes then the protected enclosure will pass the test, anything under 10 minutes and it will result in an integrity test failure due to excessive air leakage. If it fails the test APT can help you to locate the excess air leakage paths via smoke testing.

Room_integrity_test_With_blower_fan

If you require more information in regards to room integrity test please do not hesitate to contact us. Air Pressure Testing provides the necessary Room Integrity Testing in London and throughout the South East to the required NFPA 2001 or ISO BS EN 14520/ 15004 methodologies. We have undertaken hundreds

If you require room integrity testing in London, please call Darren on: 07775623464 or email us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk

 

What Happens if my Enclosure Fails the Room Integrity Test?

What Happens If my Enclosure Fails the Room Integrity Test?

If your protected enclosure fails the room integrity test, APT’s highly trained and experienced test engineers will be able to locate the problem areas and identify where air is leaking out of the building by walking around the test enclosure with a localised smoke puffer – as shown in the image below)  checking the most common problem areas first.

room_integrity_test_smoke_test

By combining our door fan blower equipment and a small smoke puffer we can quickly pressurise the room, which makes smoke testing far more effective. Using this method can quickly locate any penetrations within the room envelope as the smoke is more visible. The smoke can then be photographed to provide a record of any external leakage paths so they can be accurately targeted during the air sealing works. 
Pressurised smoke tests are ideal for identifying both generic and torturous areas of air leakage. Crucial remedial sealing work should then be undertaken to reduce the leakage from the enclosure. The sealing works may include:

  • Addition of door sweeps or drop seals, weather stripping around jambs
  • Sealing all holes, cracks or penetrations leading into or out of the protected space
  • Pipe chases and cable trays to be sealed around the outside and inside where they penetrate the perimeter boundaries of the enclosure
  • Walls to be caulked around the inside perimeter at both high and low level
  • Sealing of porous block walls
  • Sealing of windows/glazed sections to the area

One of the advantages of the sealing works being conducted whilst a test fan kit is in place, is that it can be seen if the works being conducted are effective via ongoing smoke testing and sealing works as the smaller air leakage paths may not be visible until the larger penetrations are sealed.  Once the appropriate remedial work has been undertaken the enclosure should be retested to confirm the acceptable retention time as been achieved, which is usually 10 minutes.

Air Pressure Testing provides the necessary Room Integrity Testing in London to the required NFPA 2001 or ISO 14520 methodologies. We have undertaken hundreds

If you require room integrity testing in London, please call Darren on: 07775623464 or email us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk

Room Integrity Testing in London

Room Integrity Testing in London

There are literally tens of thousands of protected enclosures – such as server rooms and data centres) throughout London and the South East. With many of the banking and commercial institutions based in the capital the requirement to provide a safe environment for critical equipment is greater than ever.

It is now a requirement of the BFPSA that all protected enclosures such as server rooms and/or data centres have valid enclosure certification – it is also a requirement of all major commercial institutions to comply with ISO standard BS EN15004.

The benefits of ensuring room integrity are widely recognised by insurers and regulatory authorities, who frequently require room integrity testing in London to prevent critical system failure on valuable assets such as server rooms and data centres.  It is also worth noting that you may negate your buildings insurance if you don’t have the valid certification.

Enclosures protected by gaseous fire suppression system -such as server rooms should be tested for air-tightness upon commissioning of the system and annually thereafter; however you are also required to undertake testing if you make any changes to the room envelope such as the introduction of new data trays and/or pipework. etc. This is critical to ensure that the system will work effectively when activated; too much air-leakage will result in the concentration of the fire suppressant agent falling too quickly resulting in rapid fire spread as shown in the image below.

Fire_in_server_room

For most extinguishing system types, a retention time of ten minutes is the minimum period the suppressant agents is required to be retained for within the enclosure. NFPA 2001, Standard on Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing Systems, requires that a minimum concentration of 85% of the adjusted minimum design concentration be held at the highest level of combustibles for a minimum period of 10 minutes. This is usually long enough to prevent re-ignition for most deep-seated fires and should provide adequate time for the emergency services to attend and prevent the fire taking hold.

An Integrity test predicts how long fire suppressant agents take to descend to a given level in the room without having to discharge the actual suppression system. The room is sealed, and then the air pressure is tested with door fan and sensor equipment. The fan unit is temporarily located within the test doorway to pressurize and depressurize the enclosure. A series of pressure and air flow measurements are taken from which leakage characteristics of the enclosures are established. The predicted retention time is calculated from the leakage characteristics and the enclosure and extinguishing system data.

Room_integrity_test_With_blower_fan

Air Pressure Testing provides the necessary Room Integrity Testing in London to the required NFPA 2001 or ISO 14520 methodologies. We have undertaken hundreds of enclosure integrity tests around the UK and Europe. If you require room integrity testing in London, please call Darren on: 07775623464 or email us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk