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How often should sprinkler systems be serviced?

As you’ll well know, your fire sprinkler system is crucial to your modern fire strategy. It provides immediate response to fire incidents and significantly reduces the spread and damage of fires inside buildings. Though your fire sprinkler system’s initial design and installation is part of what determines its effectiveness, its continued functionality and compliance with strict safety regulations is also critical.

If you want your fire sprinkler system to perform to a high standard when needed, you must carry out regular service and maintenance. Adherence to prescribed service intervals is, whilst also highly recommended, a legal requirement in some cases that ensures safety and compliance. As such, the professional upkeep of your fire sprinkler system should be your top priority.

Base Fire Sprinklers has over 30 years of experience designing, maintaining and installing residential fire sprinkler systems. In this article, we'll discuss the importance of servicing your fire sprinkler system routinely to ensure these systems work correctly when needed.

Why regularly service your sprinkler system?

Fire sprinkler systems are designed to activate automatically and rapidly contain fires, so you should perform regular maintenance to ensure their reliability and functionality. When controlling the spread of fire, these systems play a pivotal role in protecting lives and minimising property damage.

According to LPC Rules and BS EN 12845, the effectiveness of well-maintained sprinkler systems is significantly higher in fire control scenarios than those not upheld. Without this consistent servicing, parts such as valves, sensors, pipes and other mechanical components can deteriorate or malfunction, meaning their efficacy can diminish during critical moments. Therefore, routine checks and repairs are essential in upholding the systems’ operational readiness and integrity.

Who can perform sprinkler system inspections?

To ensure objectivity and adherence to stringent safety standards, only independent third parties are qualified to conduct sprinkler system inspections under the LPC Rules for Automatic Sprinkler Installations 2015.

Under this rule, individuals such as the system’s owner, the building’s occupier, the system’s installer or the regular service and maintenance provider cannot perform inspections. Insurance companies are also prohibited from completing these inspections for commercial or underwriting purposes.

These restrictions are in place to prevent conflicts of interest and ensure inspections comply with all regulatory requirements whilst being carried out thoroughly and without bias.

Legal and safety requirements for sprinkler system servicing

As mandated by BS EN 12845, which sets the standard for fixed firefighting systems, you must have your fire sprinkler system inspected at least every 12 months.  It is crucial to perform these annual inspections to ensure your systems meet operational and safety standards year-round. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 also requires property owners to maintain all fire safety equipment, including sprinkler systems.

It goes without saying that you could face severe repercussions should you fail to meet these legal requirements, putting the safety of people and assets at risk. These range from hefty fines to increased liability should a fire break out. Regular maintenance and documented inspections may be legal requirements, but they’re also critical measures protecting human life and property from the risks associated with uncontrolled fire.

What does a comprehensive inspection include?

At Base Fire Sprinklers, a comprehensive inspection of a fire sprinkler system includes several detailed steps which aim to ensure optimal performance and adherence to safety regulations. These steps ensure that each component of the fire sprinkler system works adequately to guarantee reliable protection against fires should the situation arise:

  • Assessment of age and condition: A thorough inspection to assess wear and tear, potential vulnerabilities and parts that might need upgrading or replacing.

  • Flow and pressure tests: Detailed flow and pressure tests to determine the water pressure and volume meet the required standards whilst identifying any hidden issues such as leaks or blockages.

  • Mains and tank water supply inspection: A thorough examination of the mains and tank water supply to ensure the water source can supply the sprinkler system effectively.

  • Checking system valve positions: An inspection of all system valve positions to confirm they are set correctly and positioned for optimal functionality.

  • Pump duty analysis: A detailed examination of the pump’s duty cycle, efficiency and operational readiness, checking for electrical issues and signs of mechanical wear.

  • Comprehensive reporting: Write-up of a detailed report of any finding after the service visit, highlighting any recommendations or necessary actions for maintenance or improvement.

Keeping your sprinkler systems serviced has numerous benefits, extending beyond enhanced safety to include significant financial advantages. Well-maintained sprinkler systems not only have the potential to pay for themselves within about 10 years but can also last between 30 to 50 years, making them a wise long-term investment.

If you’re looking for top-tier service and support from a team committed to excellence in fire safety, contact the team Base Fire Sprinklers today.

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