Without regular inspection, testing, and maintenance plans, a fire safety strategy would not be complete. Also, regular inspections, tests, or maintenance services will not be exhaustive without proper documentation. When it comes to building security, you need to document that your facility meets all regulatory requirements and does everything possible to protect people and property in an emergency.
However, many organizations have difficulty keeping up with the sprinkler system documentation and/or knowing what to include. Below are nine of the most common sprinkler system documentation issues we've seen. This ensures that the facility avoids them.
8 Common Fire Sprinkler Documentation Issues
Lack of complete device inventory documentation
Sprinkler systems consist of many different components and devices, all of which must be documented in a complete equipment inventory report. This inventory serves as a checklist of experts to inspect, test, or maintain the system.
Unfortunately, many institutions do not correctly document this information. As a result, some devices are missing or not started in the device inventory.
However, it can be challenging to keep track of all batteries, control panels, communication lines, etc., especially in chaotic systems with complex sprinkler systems, to prevent system components from malfunctioning and causing a fire. Therefore, this is an essential document.
Forget to document the compliance part of the sprinkler system.
Regular sprinkler system inspections or tests usually prioritize nonconforming parts, so it is easy to remember to document them. However, one step that many facility managers often forget or overlook is to create a regulatory-compliant component, or the inspector finds nothing wrong.
Whether they are unaware of it or simply forget it, this is one of the most common sprinkler document mistakes the facility makes, but it's straightforward to make once you remember it.
Forgot to update the sprinkler documentation after fixing the reported flaw
Let's say you hire an inspector, and he finds some flaws in your sprinkler system. Then you made all the necessary changes they recommended. So you can complete it and continue until the next inspection, right?
Don't forget to update the sprinkler documentation after making any corrections! It is essential to track corrective actions taken after a defect is found during inspection and testing. By doing so, all regulators are aware that the facility is fully compliant.
Forget to update the FireSprinkler documentation as you make changes to your system.
Have you recently upgraded your sprinkler system? Perhaps you have added a new extension to your facility? Don't forget to document the changes you made!
Unfortunately, this documentation aspect is often forgotten because we are excited to install new upgrades and extensions. Throughout the installation process, there are many things to consider, but they always seem to obscure the documentation. However, keep in mind that it is essential to keep the stones unrotated and that all sprinkler documentation must be complete and up-to-date.
There is no documentation to test the backflow prevention device.
If your facility has anti-reflux devices, you will need to undergo an annual test by a certified professional. Of course, you need to document the details of this test.
In most cases, AHJ will require you to send these documents directly. However, AHJ will look for the record when you complete the onsite survey in other cases. For example, you can ask to see a report with accurate results. Look at the device tag or both.
Failing to Document Less Frequent Inspections & Testing
The NFPA requires multiple 3-year, 5-year, and one-off inspections and tests that your Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) will want to review, so make sure you've documented them! It can be easy to forget a task that occurs so infrequently, but having these reports completed and accessible will save you many headaches in the long run.
Just a few of these less frequent or one-off inspections and tests include:
½ inch fire hose valve test (3 years)
Occupant use fire hose pressure test (5 years, then every 3 years)
Check valve inspection (5 years)
Pressure gauge calibration (5 years)
Standpipe water flow test (5 years)
Dry head sprinkler replacement (10 years)
Spare sprinkler list (one time)
Failing to Document Code and Standard References
Buildings and facilities must remain up-to-code and compliant with any standards set by industry authorities. That said, an essential part of the documentation is ensuring those codes and standards are referenced throughout, wherever they are applicable.
Failing to Complete & Document Inspections & Testing within Acceptable Compliance Windows
Both the NFPA and Joint Commission have established their own guidelines for when inspection, testing, and documentation needs to be completed, which they call "compliance windows." These guidelines help provide a more exact schedule for completing these activities, defining terms like "weekly," "quarterly," and "semi-annually" more precisely. Therefore, it's essential to become familiar with these guidelines, so you can ensure you're hitting all documentation deadlines and staying compliant.
Are you looking for help solving your facility's fire protection system, fire fighting system, and fire safety issues? Installation, Service & Maintenance, Upgrading & Repair? Connecting with an experienced Fire Protection Consultant at PSB Fire Engineers can help. At PSB Fire Engineers, we understand that your unique building needs unique fire protection systems. Our team is equipped to ensure you receive the fire protection you need to keep your facility and people safe from harm.