Those facilities include hundreds of zones and tens of thousands of safety devices such as fire alarms, all of which must be evaluated as part of the commissioning and testing process for new buildings. The challenges associated with making sure those systems work as designed, and that the systems are able to communicate with each other in an emergency, expand as buildings grow from big to bigger to gargantuan.
Those challenges and how they are being met are the focus of “Managing Magnitude,” the cover story in the July/August NFPA Journal. Authors Robert Keough and David LeBlanc of Jensen Hughes share their experiences with an array of casino resorts in Macau and offer readers a handful of takeaways that can be applied to the commissioning and testing process for many types of “megaoccupancies.”
Keough and LeBlanc point to NFPA 3, Commissioning of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems, and NFPA 4, Integrated Fire Protection and Life Safety System Testing, as valuable tools to help fire commissioning agents manage the complex processes of commissioning and testing.
“Through our work in Macau we have identified important ground rules for each of the four project phases—planning, design, construction, and occupancy—that can help stakeholders avoid common mistakes related to commissioning,” they write. “With the trend of building big being embraced around the world, anyone involved in the commissioning process is urged to consider a handful of key practices that can effectively shape expectations and streamline the steps necessary to getting a facility up and running, on time and on budget.”