Projects in occupied buildings in Boston undergoing renovation have a renewed focus on the continued maintenance of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems in these buildings. This Insight will help to explain the different systems that have come under review, code requirements for maintenance, and how you can best plan in advance.
What is considered a Fire Protection or Life Safety (FPLS) System?
Of the many systems that are present in a typical urban building, the following are critical for ensuring the safety of occupants in the event of a fire:
- Fire Alarm Systems
- Fire Protection Systems (sprinklers and standpipe systems)
- Fire Protection Water Supply (fire pumps)
- Smoke Control Systems
- Emergency Power Systems (generators)
Each of these systems is a complex combination of components working together to protect the building occupants, and it is important that the systems work as intended every time they are called upon. Since the nature of these systems is that they should only activate in the event of an emergency, a routine and regular testing schedule needs to be implemented. This is critical during construction in an occupied building, as systems may be impaired, and the risk of fires is increased due to the presence of construction.
What are the requirements?
The Massachusetts Comprehensive Fire Safety Code (527 CMR 1.00) requires owners, operators, or occupants to to keep records of all maintenance, inspections, and testing of fire protection systems, fire alarm systems, smoke control systems, and emergency power equipment until their useful life has been served, as required by law, or as required by the AHJ (Sections 10.2.5 and 10.2.6).
Several codes and standards outline the specific inspection and testing requirements for FPLS Systems. The relevant standard for water-based systems is NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems. Fire alarm system inspections and testing must comply with Chapter 14 of NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, while smoke control system testing requirements are in Chapter 8 of NFPA 92: Standard for Smoke Control Systems. Lastly, generator tests are described in NFPA 110, Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems.
A record of your systems’ maintenance may need to be produced at the building’s quarterly or annual city inspections, when applying for an alteration permit, when getting TCO or occupancy for a completed renovation, or simply if an AHJ shows up for any reason and request said reports.
This Insight is the first in a new mini-series. You can expect to see the specific maintenance and testing requirements for each type of system discussed in more depth throughout the series. Using the links below you can find prior Insights for the following systems:
- Standpipe – (August 2016) https://coderedconsultants.com/insights/you-will-not-get-your-ti-certificate-of-occupancy-in-boston-if-you-are-missing-this-test/
- Smoke control – (March 2017) https://coderedconsultants.com/insights/requirements-for-existing-building-smoke-control-retesting/
- Fire pump – (June 2021) https://coderedconsultants.com/insights/fire-pump-flow-test-reports/
If you have questions on the inspection, testing, or maintenance requirements for your fire protection or life safety system, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*images by Vecteezy