The FDNY has strict requirements for all commercial and multi-residential buildings within its jurisdiction. This includes the NFPA 25 standards, which were adopted citywide in 2012.
A key component of this standard is for the inspection, testing and maintenance of effective fire sprinkler systems that are specially designed for each building and occupancy.
Warehouses may have different needs than other facilities. There tends to be less open floor space, and tightly packed commodities on in-rack storage systems that may reach near ceiling elevations. In order to meet FDNY, Building Department and insurance minimum requirements, these facilities may require Early Suppression Fast Response (ESFR) sprinkler systems in order to suppress a fire, but each warehouse is different.
Violations are very common. A recent study indicated that 1,100 buildings do not yet meet FDNY requirements and the Environmental Control Board has recently issued 983 violations for sprinkler system violations — reinforcing their ability to enforce the FDNY’s violation as well as the life-safety severity of these situations.
In order to mitigate a violation, a fire sprinkler system must be installed, tested, inspected and maintained by a Licensed Master Fire Suppression Contractor. Each FDNY violation falls within a specific violation category and the five most issued violations are as follows:
- VC-5: Failure to produce permit and/or record.
- VC-7: Labels/marks/stamps (color coding).
- VC-12: Maintenance of sprinkler, standpipe, alarm, suppression systems.
- VC-17: Certificates of fitness
- VC-20: Test/inspection
1. Inspection Records
If your fire sprinkler inspections are not recorded properly, the FDNY can only assume that existing sprinkler system(s) are not up to code. You must provide specific inspection/testing and maintenance documentation, upon demand, from a Licensed Master Fire Suppression Contractor in order to comply with the local fire code. Allstate Sprinkler is the most reputable, reliable and a leading Master Fire sprinkler contractor that enables our inspectors to use customized software to record every relevant factor in the inspection. Well make sure you have the appropriate paperwork to answer this violation.
2. Color Coding of Sprinkler System Pipes
During a fire, every second is priceless. Piping and components must be immediately identifiable, especially the exterior fire department connection. This apparatus is where the fire department connects their pumper truck while fighting a fire in order to augment the existing water supply. . Interior standpipe and sprinkler piping must also be painted accordingly. Valve handles must also be painted either red, yellow or green depending on their function.
3. Proper Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Fire Sprinkler Systems
In order for fire sprinkler systems to be effective, they must be inspected, tested and maintained properly. Dirt, dust, grime and paint will affect the operational capacity of sprinkler heads; valves might be shut closed by careless employees or customers; piping and components may become corroded or develop leaks; a definitive number of spare sprinkler heads and wrench must be kept on premises; NOTHING can be hung from overhead sprinkler piping; and all inventory must be kept within 18 inches of all sprinkler heads.
4. Certificate of Fitness
Certificates of fitness are issued by the FDNY to individuals who pass a written exam to ensure they have adequate knowledge of fire sprinkler/standpipe systems. Individual businesses should also have someone on-site who is certified to safely use, store and handle dangerous materials in their particular workplace.
5. Regular Testing of Sprinkler Systems
Your fire sprinkler system must be regularly tested by a Licensed Master Fire Suppression Contractor regularly to remain within code. This includes a regiment of monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual testing procedures.
If you’ve received a Notice of Violation from the FDNY, answering it within the time frame permitted will help you reduce any possible monetary fines if you need to appear before the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings/Environmental Control Board (OATH). Allstate Sprinkler Corporation is fully licensed and insured to test, inspection, repair and install designed sprinkler systems in all types of facilities. Contact us today for more information.