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Commissioning Of Fire Protection
Fire Protection

Today more property owners are requesting that their sprinkler systems be commissioned as part of a quality assurance or quality control process that will verify the fire protection systems perform together as intended.  Too many buildings have systems that do not work properly due to any number of reasons; poor initial design, poor installation, inadequate testing, no owner’s manual and no trained personnel, unfortunately, are not uncommon problems. These and other problems are driving the establishment of the comprehensive commissioning program for the building fire protection systems that is being developed in NFPA 3 —Commissioning Fire Protection Systems.

What differentiates commissioning from acceptance testing? The commissioning of a sprinkler system involves more than the acceptance testing described within NFPA 13.  Commissioning begins at project inception and continues through design, construction and project closeout and then throughout the facility’s operation.  Commissioning can be defined as “a systematic process that provides documented confirmation that fire and life safety systems function according to the intended design criteria set forth in the project documents and satisfy the owner’s operational needs.”

NFPA statistics indicate that sprinkler systems function exceptionally well when properly maintained. The few instances of system failure are found to be directly related to shut water-supply control valves and inadequate maintenance, which can be construed as a misunderstanding of the operational needs of the system.