10th Edition Updates – Integrated Life Safety Testing

Welcome back to our 10th Edition Major Changes blog series. In this post, we will be discussing NFPA 4, The Standard for Integrated Fire Protection and Life Safety System Testing.

The upcoming 10th edition of 780 CMR Massachusetts State Building Code (which will adopt and amend the 2021 International Building Code (IBC)) includes requirements for integrated testing of life safety systems via the adoption of NFPA 4, 2021 Edition.

High-rise buildings and buildings with smoke control systems, under 780 CMR §901.6.2.1 and §901.6.2.2, must undergo integrated testing per NFPA 4. NFPA 4 defines integrated testing as a, “Test performed on fire protection and life safety systems to confirm that operation, interaction, and coordination of multiple individual systems perform their intended function”. The testing shall be performed by the Integrated Testing Agent (ITa), “A person or entity, identified by the owner, who plans, schedules, documents, coordinates, and implements the testing of the fire protection and life safety systems and associated subsystems”. The ITa shall have skills that demonstrate an experience or knowledge of integrated operations of the design, installation, operation and maintenance of the type of fire protection and life safety systems installed.

The inclusion of this requirement may increase risk to a projects schedule and\or budget if building owners, design teams, and construction managers, are not tuned into these requirements.   This risk can be mitigated through early involvement on projects so that integrated system design reviews can be performed in advance of construction occurring.  Once construction begins, early development of test plans and along with setting clear expectations with the construction team, are key to successful integrated testing.  Continued coordination between the ITa, the construction manager, and the building owner will ensure that this testing can be completed thoroughly and effectively at the end of a project. The AHJ may request the ITa testing documentation as part of the certificate of occupancy closeout process.

Check back next week for another Insights post as we continue our “10th Edition Major Changes” series as part of CRC’s 10th Anniversary!

Application of any information provided, for any use, is at the reader’s risk and without liability to Code Red Consultants. Code Red Consultants does not warrant the accuracy of any information contained in this blog as applicable codes and standards change over time. The application, enforcement and interpretation of codes and standards may vary between Authorities Having Jurisdiction and for this reason, registered design professionals should be consulted to determine the appropriate application of codes and standards to a specific scope of work.