Monday, March 14, 2016

What to Expect When You're Expecting a 5-year NFPA 25 Inspection


The 5 year inspection for sprinklers and fire protection systems can be an agita inducing activity for facility managers and fire protection personnel.  This anxiety is related to the seeming complexity and involvement of this task, as well as, the cost and quality of the service. 

What items actually have to be inspected and tested? What level of testing must various components be subject to?  How much down time will be required for these inspections to take place? How can we know that everything is getting inspected and tested as it should be?

NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, sets the frequency, requirements, and guidelines for fire sprinkler inspection, testing, and maintenance.  Besides the 5 year requirements, this document describes all inspection, testing, and maintenance requirements for all system components including daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, and other, as-needed requirements.  Wading through this information to find what will be expected for the "5 year" can be a daunting task.  However, we have done this work for you.  This post, and associated downloadable checklist, outlines and defines what system components you can expect to be inspected or tested during this process.




Sprinkler Systems

Obstruction and internal piping inspection - the internal sections of the piping are to be inspected for the presence of any organic or inorganic materials

Gauges - these are to be replaced or tested; must be accurate to within 3% of full scale

Sprinkler heads - applies to solder-type heads with a temperature rating of 325 degrees or greater, and sprinkler heads installed in harsh environments (i.e., corrosive atmospheres or corrosive water supplies)

Standpipe Systems

Hydrostatic test - manual and semi-automatic standpipes only are to be tested at 200psi for 2 hours

Flow test - Class I and Class III standpipes, to verify required flows and pressures are available at most remote hose outlet

Water Storage Tanks

Interior inspection of tank - to ensure that the interior is not becoming corroded or deteriorating

Level indicators - to ensure accuracy and that the indicator has free movement

Pressure gauge - are to be tested and calibrated, must be within 3% of scale of gauge

Foam Water Systems

Water supply flow test - this applies to the hydrants and water supply mainlines

Proportioning systems - ball-drip automatic type are to be dissassembled, cleaned, and reassembled

Valves

Alarm valve interior- all alarm valve components, strainers, filters, and restriction orifices are be internally inspected

Check valve interior - to ensure that all components work correctly, are freely moving, and in good condition

Pre-action/deluge valve interior - internal inspection confirms that all strainers, filters, orifices, and diaphragm chambers are in operational condition, and free of damage

Dry pipe valve interior - internal inspection confirms that all strainers, filters, orifices, and diaphragm chambers are in operational condition, and free of damage

Dry pipe valve gauges - these are to be replaced or tested; must be accurate to within 3% of full scale

Pressure-Reducing and Relief Valves

Sprinkler system pressure-reducing valves -  full flow test of each valve is required

Hose connection pressure-regulating devices - full flow test of each device is required

Hose rack assembly pressure-regulating devices -  full flow test of each device is required

NFPA 409 Hangar Specific Requirements

For aircraft hangars, NFPA 409, Standard on Aircraft Hangars, requires the following, additional 5-year inspections.  These inspections and test are to be operational with an actual discharge.

Piping
Deluge valves
Hose stations
Foam concentrate pumps
Foam concentrate control valves
Foam proportioning devices
Monitor nozzles
High-expansion foam generators 
Floor drain systems and separators
Grounding equipment (functional test only)