As an inspector, the following appears to be the inspections principle we follow:
NFPA 25, 2011 Edition – Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems
1.1.3 This standard addresses the operating condition of fire protection systems as well as impairment handling and reporting and applies to fire protection systems that have been properly installed in accordance with generally accepted practice.
So what about those systems not properly installed in accordance with generally accepted practices?
The system in question is a single riser protecting a single structure consisting of (3) two story town homes with the anti-freeze portion of the system protecting the attic and garages. The system was designed to NFPA 13R with approximately 100 sprinkler heads total.
Here are the following issues I found during an inspection:
- Gauges (2) installed without isolation valves
- System control ball valves (3) without supervision, lock & chain or seal
- No local alarm
- Double Check backflow prevention device installed in lieu of RPZ with anti-freeze present
- Riser room heater installed within 1” of anti-freeze piping
- Anti-freeze loop piping installed improperly
- No light in the riser room
- Riser room has no ceiling just transitions into the void space between the 1st & 2nd floor
If I interpret the inspections principle correctly, the above items are within the scope of NFPA 13R but beyond the scope of NFPA 25 and therefore I must assign a blue acceptance tag per SFMO.
Should we as an industry consider combining the inspections standard with the install standards to better maintain a reasonable degree of protection for life and property?
The simple truth is; education is the path to a more reliable system.