Inspection, testing and maintenance (ITM) for water-based fire protection systems, of a facility is an important part of Facilities Managers jobs. Regular fire safety inspections in institutional and commercial buildings is essential for the safety of both the occupants and the facilities. When ITM requirements for a building are met, buildings run more efficiently, spending on maintenance costs, upgrades and repairs is more readily identified, leading to less unexpected costs, and last but not least, safety is increased.
While the NFPA does put the responsibility for ITM on the owner of the building, often the facilities manager is acting on behalf of them. At times, depending on the training level and the experience of each individual facility manager, it may be appropriate to bring in an outside contractor to perform certain ITM activities. However, there are some inspections and maintenance activities that with the right training, can be handled with in-house inspections.
A critical component to ensuring that the water-based fire protection systems in your facility are running properly is understanding what can be done in-house, and is not covered by hired help.
This is where having the right training comes in.
If during the ITM process significant design issues are revealed, it can lead to the need for a “re-commissioning event”. While NFPA 25 does not require that an owner perform this recommissioning activity, it might be unavoidable or necessary in order to confirm compliance with all of the applicable design and installation standards. If the owner and / or facilities manager decides that a re-commissioning event is the right step, NFPA 3 is the recommended practice.
Much of this knowledge and research on facilities managers and their roles is what lead to the NFPA developing their new Hands-On 2-Day Training for Facilities Managers – Essentials for Life Safety and Fire Protection Systems, check it out!