Review of Hazards

Generally, sprinkler systems are considered reliable and effective when properly designed, installed and maintained. Research shows that between 2003 and 2007, sprinklers operated in 93% of all fires large enough to cause actuation and were effective in 97% of the fires in which they operated. From its initial installation, the sprinkler system remains in readiness for the event of a fire, at which time it will be required to spring into action. However, What occurs to the protected occupancies and the system after the initial installation up to the time of a fire, can have a profound impact on sprinkler system’s effectiveness. Buildings are dynamic and in the modern era of design flexibility, structures are increasingly subject to changes in characteristics, use and function. Over time, new tenants replace old ones, walls may be removed, added or altered, protected commodities can change, and sprinkler systems may require modification. 

It was long understood that it was the responsibility of the building’s insurer to make sure deficiencies in the existing sprinkler system, due to changes in design, were identified at regular audits and noted to the customer in their ‘Risk Improvement Document’. This method of detecting deficiencies has inherently been a risk in its own right, for both the building occupier and the insurance provider.

As stipulated by the LPC Rules for Automatic Sprinkler Installations 2015 incorporating BS EN 12845 it is now the responsibility of the sprinkler maintenance provider and the user (e.g. building owner/occupier) to make sure a routine, periodic inspection on the sprinkler system is carried out, greater than that carried out during a maintenance visit.

To remain compliant with Technical Bulletin 203:2015: 1, the ‘Review of Hazard’, as it is referred to, should be carried out at quarterly (not less than 13 week) intervals. Three times a year this can be performed by the responsible person on site, however, once every year the Review of Hazard must be completed on site by a competent person. Checks of the entire premises are made during the Review of Hazard which shall include the following:

• Have any structural alterations been made since the last review which necessitate modifications to the sprinkler system (including low level office installation and partition relocation)?

• Are there any new buildings, mezzanines or extensions?

• Has there been a change of use to all or any part of the protected building?

• Is the ambient temperature range still within acceptable limits for the design of the sprinkler system?

• Has any painting or decoration been undertaken since the last inspection?

• Are frost protection measures adequate?

• Have there been any significant changes to plant or equipment (quantity and location), or changes in production?

• Is the storage type still consistent with the sprinkler system design (ie free-standing storage has not changed to rack storage)?

• Is the design of the rack sprinklers consistent with the storage category?

• Are flues (horizontal and vertical) within the storage racks kept clear as designated by the design requirements?

• Are minimum clearances maintained between stored items and sprinkler heads (See BS EN Clause 12.1 and 12.5.1)?

• Has the nature of goods stored or their packaging changed? Does this alter the category of stored goods?

• Have there been any changes to storage arrangements (plastic pallets, shelving, drum dollies, boxes or totes)?

• Have there been any changes in storage height?

• Where a smoke or heat detector system interacts with a sprinkler system, is a suitable maintenance contract in force?

• Have there been any problems with the sprinkler system?

• Have there been any alterations to the sprinkler system?

Churches Fire Security Ltd possess qualified technicians, who are trained and competent in carrying out the Review of Hazard to ensure requirements are met, reporting any deficiencies and quoting for any required corrective action(s). This will ensure that you are fully aware (and can address) any risk to your business, where a sprinkler system that may have been fit for purpose when first installed has not evolved with the building. Identifying and addressing such risks is vital for any organisation wishing to demonstrate compliance with the Quality Management Systems requirements of BS EN ISO 9001:2015.