Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants
Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants



Navigation

Client login
Forgotten password
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Subscribe to our blog

Freephone: 0800 410 1130
E-mail: fire@lwf.co.uk

Fire Safety - Maintenance of Protection Systems

In general all commercial/public buildings in the UK will incorporate some form of active fire protection system.

Having been installed and appropriately commissioned, these systems are designed to operate in a desired manner, ensuring both the building and its occupants are protected.  Unfortunately as with all electrical and mechanical systems, failure is possible. 

To reduce the likelihood of failure, all fire protection systems must be subject to regular checks, testing and maintenance.  These actions ensure the system is working correctly and any items that are subject to failure, through ‘wear and tear’ etc can be identified and appropriate remedial action taken.

The reason for reducing the likelihood of failure, is the matter of consequence.  It is likely that most (if not all) of the fire safety systems installed in the UK have been installed as life safety installations, i.e. they protect life.  Therefore, failure of such a system could ultimately lead to injuries or even death.

It is not the intention of this bulletin to detail every code requirement for system checks, but to provide an overview of the most common requirements in typical buildings.

System Checks

Many fire safety installations require daily, weekly and monthly checks.  The general rule is that the more frequent the check, the less involved or intrusive it is.  For example, the daily check on a fire alarm system involves a visual check on the fire alarm panel(s), to ensure correct operation, i.e. no faults are indicated.  Similarly, with emergency lighting systems, does each unit appear to be working correctly, do any units appear damaged. 

System Tests

With a lower frequency, comes a more intrusive, involved form of testing.  These tests are typically on a weekly / monthly basis and are normally performed by in-house staff / facilities management.  The most common basic test of a system we should all be aware of, is the weekly fire alarm test.  This test is performed to ensure that the manual call points are sending a signal to the fire alarm panel.  This test also ensures that the sounders are working correctly and allows the occupants an opportunity to report any audibility issues as well as becoming familiar with the sound of the alarm. 

A less common system, but equally important (if installed) is a sprinkler system.  This will be subjected to weekly tests, which ensures the basic operation of the system, pumps and water supply.  This will often be an insurance requirement as failure to meet the insurer’s maintenance checks may invalidate the insurance policy.

Servicing & Maintenance

With most installations, there will be a periodic requirement to service a system, similar to a car.  This tends to be a more involved process and may require replacement of parts.  Most standards require this to be carried out by an appropriately trained engineer accredited with the appropriate qualifications.  Servicing should pick up any technical system faults and can also be used for planned maintenance, when a component is identified as nearing the end of its useable life, servicing will take appropriate action to ensure its replacement prior to failure.

Servicing of systems tends to be less frequent, for example, monthly quarterly or even annually.  This can depend on the system as well as other factors such as the risk group of the building and the size of the installation.

Summary

The fire safety protection systems installed in buildings are, in the norm, primarily there to protect life.  We must be mindful of the importance of these systems when we test and maintain them as their failure could have catastrophic results.

If you would like to know more – or would like to arrange an appointment with one of our senior fire safety advisers – simply call Peter Gyere on 020 8668 8663.

 

Subscribe to our fire safety blogs

Bulletins
Email Format
* indicates required

FIRE SAFETY BLOGS

  • Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment - External Access for the Fire Service - Part 42

    In LWF's Fire Engineering blogs for Architects and others in the building design business, we have been looking at the subject of firefighting. In part 41 of this series, we discussed where to fit landing valves in rising mains, taking into account travel distance for the firefighters to the place of fire origin. In part 42, we look at what external access to the premises for the Fire Service should be provided.In England and...

    Read more...

  • Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - Fire Prevention & Waste Management - Part 76

    In LWF's blog series for healthcare professionals, the aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 75, LWF discussed good housekeeping measures which should be implemented in a healthcare venue to avoid instances of fire. In part 76, we begin to discuss waste management from a fire prevention point of view. The effective management of waste on an ongoing basis is one of the...

    Read more...

  • Facilities Management & Fire Safety - Community Fire Safety - Part 2

    In LWF's blog series for those who work in Facilities Management, or who have an interest in or responsibility for fire safety, we have been looking at community fire safety. In part 1, it was established that while there was scarce regulation on fire safety standards in residential buildings, such dictates would have little effect on owner/occupier domiciles. Fire safety education, however, has proved more successful and the informal beginnings of this lay with the...

    Read more...

  • Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - Fire Prevention - Part 75

    In LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals, the aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 74, LWF discussed good housekeeping measures which should be implemented in a healthcare venue to avoid instances of fire. In part 75, we will continue from that point. Rubbish can accumulate in certain spaces which are out of the way and ignored, such as lift wells, behind radiators,...

    Read more...

  • Facilities Management & Fire Safety - Community Fire Safety - Part 1

    In LWF’s blog series for those who work in Facilities Management, or who have an interest in or responsibility for fire safety, our aim is to give information on best practice and fire engineering. In part 1 of this series, we will take a look at Community Fire Safety, a term which, while it relates in the main to domestic fire safety, can also be applied to business environments. Community Fire Safety (CFS) could be...

    Read more...

Case Studies

Brentwood Town Hall Redevelopment
The redevelopment of Brentwood Town Hall included renovating the existing five storey property to provide police and council offices, a community hub and lettable office space across the basement, gro...

Read more..

General Bulletins

Fire - The External Risk
When we consider fire safety, our focus is normally from within, what can we do to prevent the occurrence of fire and how we can limit its damage.  Whilst this is the correct stance to take, we m...

Read more..

Technical Bulletins

Evacuation Modelling - Factor in Human Behaviour
Evacuation of buildings can be analyzed in different ways. Approved Document B (ADB) which provides guidance on meeting the requirements of the England and Wales Building Regulations with regard to fi...

Read more..

Site map | Web development Croydon