Overview Of A Room Integrity Test
If you’ve installed gaseous fire suppression systems and you’re unsure if you will require a room integrity test, what it involves and what happens if you don’t pass, then please read through this page.
Essentially, a room integrity test establishes how effectively gas fire suppression systems work. The test measures whether or not the space can hold an effective concentration of fire-retardent gases so the system can operate.
Why Do I Need A Room Integrity Test?
Now we’ve covered ‘what is a room integrity test?’, we’ll move on to why you need one.
Independent regulators ISO (International Organisation for Standardization) and the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) require that you conduct room integrity testing. ISO 14520 and NFPA 2001 are the sections of their recommendations which outline these laws.
These rules apply to any size or kind of room fitted with gaseous fire suppression systems. If you do not carry out these tests regularly, you risk having a building with an ineffective gas suppression system, which is a fire hazard.
How Is A Room Integrity Test Done?
In simple terms, we carry out room integrity tests using a method similar to air pressure testing. This method calculates the air leakage rate of the fire suppressant gas specifically. This process includes:
- Our technicians will install a large fan, usually in a doorway
- Next, we’ll temporarily seal all openings in the room and switch the fan on
- Our technicians will gradually increase and decrease the air pressure in the room
- Finally, we’ll record the differential pressure is at each step, which measures the amount of fire retardant gas that is escaping
When Should A Room Integrity Test Be Carried Out?
You should carry out room integrity tests as soon as your gaseous fire suppression systems are installed. Thereafter, you should carry out yearly inspections.
How Long Will A Room Integrity Test Take?
The duration of the test will depend on the number of rooms and systems that you want to test. For your peace of mind, UKBC will provide results on the day, as well as a written report a few days later.
What Happens If My Building Fails?
Once again, these tests are similar to those used to measure why a room may fail an air pressure test. These include:
- Smoke Testing- During a smoke test, our technicians will fill the building with smoke and pressurise the space. This will provide a visible indication of the problem areas, as the smoke will flow through the openings. In less extreme situations, we can use devices known as ‘smoke pencils’ to complete the task.
- Depressurisation- Depressurisation is conducted by pressurising the whole building, forcing air out through any gaps or cracks. When our technicians reduce the pressure, there will be draughts as the air rushes back into the room, indicating where the air is escaping.
- Thermography- Thermography uses infrared cameras to detect where the hottest and coldest spots are in the house.