What if I Fail My Room Integrity Test

What if I Fail My Room Integrity Test

One common question we often get asked is “What if I Fail My Room Integrity Test”. If your Integrity Test result is less than the required 10 minute retention time then it will result in a test failure. However; thereafter a smoke survey inspection can be carried out to identify all major air leakage paths prior to the undertaking of the remedial sealing works.  An air leakage report is issued detailing the results and any recommendations in an easy to follow format. This allows you to undertake remedial sealing works on the day of the test to achieve a test pass.

A Room Integrity Test with a Blower Door System 

Room_intergrity_test_fire_supressant

At APT we understand the importance of protecting your critical assets and as a result our room integrity testing process is as rigorous and as complete as any other within the industry, using our extensive knowledge of testing Data Centres, Server Rooms and ITU you can be safe in the knowledge that the testing is being undertaken by a UKAS accredited testing laboratory.

We undertake room integrity testing using the latest UKAS calibrated blower door systems. The blower door fan is latched into a fully adjustable cloth door panel that fills the opened door frame space. the enclosure test is undertake by running the calibrated fan at different pressures, thus generating pressure into the protected enclosure from the outside space. By monitoring the pressure differential between the external space to the protected room a series of readings is taken from 10-60Pa on pressurise and depressurise and data inputted to our integrity software; together with added information such as the protected height and the type and weight of gas, i.e. FM200, FE25, Argonite etc.  Once the information is logged into the computer the software can then work out the descending interface height hold time, or mixing concentration result.

Integrity Test to Data Centres 

Room-Integrity-Testing-on-data-centre

If the protected room is air tight, then a pass should be easily achievable. If the room has too many air leakage paths (and the retention time is less than 10minutes) then it will result in a test failure. To achieve a pass the room will require a smoke test to highlight the air leakage paths, after the smoke survey further sealing works can be undertaken along with a final retest to achieve a room integrity test pass.

If you have a protected enclosure that requires a room integrity test, please contact us at: info@airpressuretesting.net or call Darren direct on 07775623464. We undertake testing throughout London, England and Wales.

ROOM INTEGRITY TEST IN LONDON

ROOM INTEGRITY TEST IN LONDON  
If you have a room that’s protected by a gaseous fire suppressant system, it is required to have an annual Room Integrity Test. Protected enclosures such as Server Rooms, Plant Rooms, and Laboratory’s all need to be tested on an annual basis, given the potential consequences of fire damage and the subsequent down time for critical assets.

Under BS ISO 15004, it states that an integrity test be undertaken prior to the handover of the enclosure and annually thereafter. Also, if the enclosure envelope has received new works i.e. new penetrations for electrical installations another room integrity test should be undertaken immediately after the works have been completed.

To allow a fire suppression system to work properly the room must have sufficient airtight to retain an extinguishing concentration for a specified period after discharge – usually 10 minutes. Failure to do so may cause the fire to reignite causing further damage.

Fire Damage to a Server Room.

Data_Room_Fire_Damage

We undertake room integrity testing to all types and sizes of enclosures, from large data centre’s which have a floor areas of hundreds of square metres to small server rooms not much bigger than a WC. In each case we carry out the necessary calculations prior to the test, and use high powered UKAS calibrated fan systems with integrity testing software to determine results immediately upon completion of the room integrity test.

Our experienced engineers continually ensure that the room integrity testing is clean and non-disruptive, using the latest door mounted fan systems to measure the air leakage flow. Throughout the test the room can carry on working as normal, with no requirement for shutdowns to your critical assets.

If you have a protected enclosure that requires a room integrity test or you think you have a problem in terms of your enclosure construction, please contact us at: info@airpressuretesting.net or call Darren direct on 07775623464.

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.

Why do I need a Room Integrity Test?

Why do I need a Room Integrity Test?

If you have a gaseous suppression system, then you are required to carry out a room integrity test in order to check the enclosure ability to retain an effective concentration of gas, which is a critical to the safe operation of the system.

This is to determine the time that an extinguishant will remain active in an enclosure at the designated protected height, which is usually the top of your critical equipment, such as server/data racks. This is achieved by measuring the amount/time of extinguishing agent to escape from the confines of an area and allowing the concentration to diminish.

Room-Integrity-Testing-on-data-centre

As part of the ISO 14520, ISO 15004, NFPA and BFPSA Codes of Practice for Gaseous Fire Fighting Systems, room integrity testing should be undertaken in a protected enclosure to determine whether air leakage could impact upon the extinguishant performance. The Room Integrity Test should be undertaken when it is first installed, and then regularly as part of the routine maintenance, once a year and/or if works have been carried out to the enclosures’ envelope, such as newly formed penetrations through the walls to allow for new electrical/data installations.

The integrity test is undertaken by installing a calibrated blower fan unit within the test doorway to pressurise and depressurise the enclosure.  Afterwards a series of air flow measurements are taken from which leakage characteristics of the enclosure are established. The predicted retention time is calculated the type of extinguishing system data and the leakage characteristics.

Room_integrity_test_With_blower_fan

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.

Air Pressure Testing provides the necessary Room Integrity Test to the required ISO 14520, ISO 15004 methodologies. We have undertaken hundreds of enclosure integrity tests around the UK and Europe. As part of our service, we can also arrange an annual test plan and remind you when the fire enclosure test is required.

If you require our fire enclosure testing services, please call Darren on: 07775623464 or email us at: info@airpressuretesting.net

What Happens if I Fail my Room Integrity Test

What Happens if I Fail my Room Integrity Test

Room_intergrity_test_fire_supressant

If you fail your room integrity test don’t panic, APT’s highly trained and experienced Enclosure Testing 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, pencil checking the most common problem areas first. Some of the most common air leakage paths within the building envelope are:

  • around cracks or penetrations within the masonry/.plasterboard walls.
  • around pipe chases and cable trays where they penetrate the perimeter boundaries of the protected enclosure
  • around the inside perimeter at the floor and ceiling junctions.
  • Around porous block-work walls – this can be remedied by painting and ensuring the mortar joints are full.
  • around the entrance door reveals – door sweeps this can be remedied by installing drop seals, weather stripping around jambs.
  • around window frames and glazing.
  • Around various penetrations within the ceiling void such as underside of doorways.
  • Around poorly installed air conditioning dampers.

Once we have undertaken the smoke test and located the air leakage paths, we can collate and issue a detailed air leakage report which can be passed on to the fire sealing team. It’s also worth noting that the smoke won’t cause any damage to the building and/or equipment.

Fire_in_a_data centre

By combining our fan testing equipment, we blow the smoke out through any penetrations in in the enclosure envelope; this makes the air paths far more visible. Smoke leaking from the enclosure can also be seen outside, and photographed to provide a record of any external leakage paths.

Pressurised Smoke tests are ideal for identifying both generic and smaller more torturous areas of air leakage.

If you would like some more information in regards to Room Integrity Testing on your server room or data centre in London, please contact us now at info@airpressuretesting.co.uk  or call me Darren on 07775623464.

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

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.

Room_intergrity_test_fire_supressant

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