FDS are please to say that the quality of service that our employed service engineers give to all our 2500 sites UK Wide meant that there were only 3 emergency call outs during the two week festive period. This goes to prove that well maintained systems will reduce call-outs, inconvenience and excessive cost.
In the UK, sprinklers in non-residential premises should be designed, installed and maintained in accordance with BS EN 12845: 2004: Fixed firefighting systems. Automatic sprinkler systems, Section 20 of BS EN 12845 detail the maintenance requirements for a sprinkler system and Annex J of the standard deals with the precautions that must be taken in the event of a shutdown of the system. The Standard requires that the testing, servicing and maintenance be carried out by the system installer or a similarly qualified company but there is no reason why weekly test procedures cannot be carried out by the owner, providing that the person undertaking this work is competent so to do.
Given that a sprinkler system not only protects property but also life, and is often mission critical, the value of following appropriate procedures cannot be over-emphasised. Of particular importance is the need to verify that all valves are left in the correct position and that the system is fully operational on completion of any test procedure. The British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA) recommends that where these tests are carried out in-house, a second person be present to verify that this has been done.
The Fire Safety Order also makes it clear that in order to successfully discharge the obligations of the responsible person there is a need to ensure that adequate records are kept. The burden of proof in respect of offences created by the Order has been reversed from the normal presumptions of English law and in order to escape prosecution a responsible person will have to be able to prove, in the words of article 33, that he/ she ‘took all reasonable precautions and exercised due diligence to avoid the commission of an offence’. Record keeping is therefore a must. We also suggest that, should a sprinkler system have to be taken out of service, or rendered inoperable for some other reason (such as a loss of water supply from a public service main), then the fire and rescue service and the appropriate insurers should be notified. This is a ‘condition precedent’ in many insurance policies and failure to comply can result in a subsequent claim being denied.
For further information or a quote for a maintenance contract please either call 01769 575 040 or email FDS@fire-defence.com