Automatic Fire Sprinkler System - Flow Test

An automatic fire sprinkler system is a safety measure required to be installed in some classes of buildings for the protection of life. In Australia, each State and Territory sets out specific legislation in conjunction with the Building Code of Australia to establish the requirement for the installation and maintenance of these systems.

Typical Wet Pipe Fire Sprinkler SystemOnce installed an automatic fire sprinkler system is periodically inspected, tested and surveyed (maintained) to ensure the system will operate according to its approved design and will continue to do so until the next scheduled maintenance activity.

Typically maintenance activities are defined by Australian Standard AS1851, the Standard sets out the frequency of maintenance and activities for an automatic fire sprinkler system and its components.

Flow Test

A flow test, also known as a water supply proving test is a functional test & measurement of the water supply for an automatic fire sprinkler system. The test is conducted to ensure there is an adequate supply of water (flow and pressure) to satisfy the approved design & demand of the sprinkler system.

The performance criteria (baseline data) that forms the approved design of the automatic fire sprinkler system is recorded in as part of the required commissioning documentation and “Sprinkler Block Plan”. The block plan records details including the type, location & features of each water supply, the type, capacity and location of each pump-set, the type and the size and location of each sprinkler installation. The block plan will also record the height of the most disadvantaged sprinkler head, along with other related information.

The flow test measures the pressure and flow of each water supply including pumped water supplies. The pressure and flow rate is measured using calibrated gauges with the results recorded for later analysis.

On completion, the results are entered into a report that includes the required pressure & flow criteria of the approved design for the fire automatic sprinkler system; details of each water supply, pumps and tanks. The pressure and flow rates are then plotted on a trend graph to determine the pass/fail criteria.

Building Owners, Agents of Owners & Insurers

A flow test is ideally carried out yearly on the anniversary of the date the system was commissioned. Because each building is different, the time and requirements necessary to complete each test is also different. In some cases, the building owner, the agent of the owner or a representative of the owners insurance company may like to witness the test.

Precautions

Prior to carrying out a flow test, precautions should be taken to ensure the following:

  • a job safety analysis is conducted and a safe work method statement is prepared; and
  • there is sufficient capacity to cater for the discharge and to drain the large volumes of water necessary to carry out the flow test; and
  • each precaution set out in AS1851 has been considered and appropriate action taken.

Maintenance Essentials has developed a systematic methodology for carrying out an automatic fire sprinkler system flow test that delivers consistent results. For more information about our flow test service, contact our operations team on 1300 30 88 22 or contact our support team by email support@firewize.com.

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