The Importance and Benefits of Integrated Testing for Fire and Sprinkler Systems

Posted on: July 16, 2017

Cost, convenience, and code: why these life safety systems need to be evaluated together

Fire safety and sprinkler systems are perhaps the most important elements of a building’s life safety apparatus, protecting a structure and its occupants when they need it the most. However, it can be a complex process to ensure that all components of your system are properly tested and inspected, and if not done right, they may not be up to code.

Building owners and contractors should consider using a full-service firm like LifeSafety Management, which provides integrated testing and inspections for all fire, sprinkler, and all other life safety systems. One benefit stems from bundled services – much like a phone company provides TV, phone, and internet services in one package to generate savings and convenience, we offer complete life safety systems testing, maintenance, and inspections that save you time, money, and scheduling difficulties.

But there’s a much bigger benefit – and a potential issue. If these items aren’t tested together, they may not work correctly and your building may be in violation of code. And with life safety systems, the stakes are much higher than with most other value propositions, especially if you are a building owner responsible for protecting people and property.

Integrated testing ensures you’re compliant with NFPA code

It’s essential to make sure that your sprinkler and fire safety systems follow applicable codes issued by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), specifically NFPA 72 and NFPA 25.

NFPA 72 covers fire safety systems, specifically “the application, installation, location, performance, inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire alarm systems, supervising station alarm systems, public emergency alarm reporting systems, fire warning equipment and emergency communications systems (ECS), and their components.” NFPA 25 is geared toward sprinklers, “govern[ing] the periodic inspection, testing, and maintenance of water-based fire protection systems including land-based and marine applications.”

An essential stipulation of these codes is that both a certified fire inspector and a sprinkler inspector inspect and test each of the components at the same time to ensure that the systems work in conjunction. Using different contractors can make this difficult and cause some common issues:

  • With individual contractors, a sprinkler inspector may not be licensed to inspect the fire safety system, and vice versa.
  • Using different contractors who can’t test both systems often means that they have difficulty coordinating schedules. In this situation, each inspector often goes ahead with testing and inspection on his own – but full code compliance means both systems need to be done at the same time.

The cost savings and efficiency of integrated testing

Using one company to provide fire and sprinkler testing decreases the time it takes to schedule and complete the actual evaluations, which could reduce disruptions to your building. And a full-service provider can also save you money. Hidden or variable fees, additional hourly charges, and the expense of unnecessary service calls when using multiple contractors can create additional and unforeseen costs. A firm that offers consolidated services narrows down the line item on your expense sheet to a single, consistent entry.

Avoid the blame game during repairs and service calls

Conducting repairs when they are deemed necessary is a key requirement of testing and inspection services. Unfortunately, when a building owner involves multiple companies and something doesn’t work correctly, there can be a lot of finger pointing.

For example, a sprinkler contractor might assert that “It’s the electrical piece that’s the issue,” whereas the fire system inspector or the HVAC contractor may blame any malfunction on another component. With a full-service firm responsible for all aspects of the system, the blame game doesn’t happen – the issue is simply identified and fixed.

Other benefits of hiring an integrated service include:

  • Having one contact results in less wasted service calls – avoiding calls to the wrong type of contractor
  • All inspection, testing, and maintenance services are billed on a single invoice, which means less processing time and cost for vendor set up
  • It eases budgeting for a building owner or manager – costs are straightforward and the need for bids from individual contractors is reduced or eliminated
  • There is less chance of a vital issue being overlooked. A full-service vendor closely evaluates the aspects of a life safety system in concert – and takes responsibility for all of them

To fully understand the efficiency of hiring a firm like LifeSafety Management is to see what we do in action. We will not only test and maintain your building’s fire and sprinkler systems, we coordinate services for all essential components of your life safety apparatus – including backflow preventers, fire hydrants, extinguishers, elevators, the HVAC system, and more.

We are dedicated to ensuring that your building and its occupants are completely and consistently protected. Contact us today at (800) 330-1158 or through our online contact form for a free consultation.