Monday, February 5, 2018

When Is Integrated Testing Required?

Integrated systems are defined as “a combination of systems that are required to operate together as a whole to achieve overall fire protection and life safety objectives”. The 2018 edition of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code is the first edition in which we see requirements for integrated testing of fire protection and life safety systems in accordance with NFPA 4, Standard for Integrated FireProtection and Life Safety System Testing.

Section 9.11.4 of NFPA 101 makes the general requirement for integrated testing, in accordance with NFPA 4, as required by Chapters 11 through 43, or where two or more fire protection or life safety systems are integrated.  As published, the NFPA 4 integrated testing process would have to be applied to many new or existing occupancies regardless of building size, construction type, occupant load, system complexity, or other operational or structural features.  The intent of NFPA 4, a testing protocol that verifies systems perform as intended, was not necessarily meant to be applied to every simple system.  It was intended for complex systems and structures, such as high-rise buildings and smoke control systems.

Multiple TIA’s (tentative interim amendments) were submitted, and approved, to provide guidance that meets the intent for the application and enforcement of an NFPA 4 integrated testing process.  The initial TIA (18-5) made the following two changes:
  • added section 9.3.5 – this requires smoke control systems that are integrated with other fire protection or life safety systems to be tested in accordance with an NFPA 4 process.
  • divided section 9.11.4 into two sections:
    • 9.11.4.1 – for basic testing, to ensure that all integrated systems receive testing to verify proper operation and function of the system
    • 9.11.4.2 – specifies systems that must be tested in accordance with the NFPA 4 integrated testing process

 The addition of 9.11.4.2 requires NFPA 4 integrated system testing in the following:
  • all smoke control systems integrated with other fire protection/life safety systems
  • all high-rise buildings with integrated systems
  • every 10 years in existing buildings

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