Monthly Archives: October 2019

Can A Fire Tank System Fail In The UK?

A fire tank system is one of the safest ways to store water to suppress a fire. However, it does require regular checks and maintenance to ensure it is fit for purpose. A damaged or leaking water tank can impact the reliability of a sprinkler system, which is why it is imperative to ensure tanks are inspected on a proper basis. The implications of failing to adequately maintain life-saving fire equipment can be extremely serious.

The safety of sprinkler tanks is covered by legislation and something you should be aware of. Regulations ensure fire tanks almost never fail. To ensure stringent compliance with all legal requirements, you should undertake both in-house and expert inspections at regular intervals. As we have previously outlined before on our blog, there are differing opinions on how often you engage the services of an independent specialist. For the record, we recommend one is undertaken every 12 months – or before, if a problem is suspected.

A check by someone trained to inspect a fire tank system will identify any issues. A written report should outline measures that need to be taken. Inspections are a cost-effective way to safeguard your life-safety water supply. For example, an undetected leak can prove costly and waste a precious resource. It can also significantly lower water levels in a tank, highlighting the need for regular checks. Modern tank inspections do not require a vessel to be emptied – making them very straightforward and insurer-friendly.


Fire sprinkler tank maintenance

When the word ‘maintenance’ crops up in the same sentence as a fire tank system, don’t assume it means a quick whip around with a paint brush. Quite often, fire sprinkler tank maintenance involves relining or refurbishment. Why? Because many materials traditionally used in the manufacture of fire tanks, whilst extremely robust, can eventually corrode. It is excessive corrosion of tank walls that most often leads to leaks. The bigger the tank, the bigger the risk of major flooding and water damage.

Other problems associated with corrosion can include poor water quality that falls below legal standards. Even water stored solely for the purpose of fighting a fire can carry Legionella, the bacteria that can cause a type of pneumonia. Harmful pathogens are known to breed in areas behind outdated rubber tank linings and that is why risk assessments for Legionella are important too. Tanks which were installed without a coating or lining are most at risk from corrosion and should be checked regularly.

We provide a range of services to remedy problems in their early stages. However, they can only be carried before a tank is deemed beyond serviceable. If an inspection report states a tank should be decommissioned, we can only replace it. With conventional GRP fire tanks holding tens of thousands of litres of water, you can understand the need for planned maintenance as well as vigilance.

Sometimes, a sprinkler system will be activated on purpose to check that it doesn’t just work but has the capacity to store enough water. Such examples includes tests carried out in underground tunnels and major new developments. In these cases, great care is taken to avoid serious damage. In this information, the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme, WRAS, explains how water supply regulations impact LPCB fire tank systems.

Relining or replacement?

As stated above, we cannot repair a fire tank system if an expert has deemed it beyond refurbishment. However, if a written report recommends remedial action we can repair and / or re-line a sprinkler tank. The methods we use are outlined on our website and give a clear overview of how the different processes are carried out. The good news is, once the work is completed your tank will last for many more years. A robust, cost-effective remedy will offer peace of mind and keep corrosion in check.

We don’t use butyl rubber in our linings. Instead, we reline tanks with EPDM. It is better quality and offers more protection from problems commonly found with traditional sprinkler tank linings. All refurbishment work and relining will require a sprinkler tank to be drained – a process that your insurance company is likely to want to know about and something that should only ever be undertaken by professionals.

This type of work demands recognised skills and safety equipment. Potential dangers for those not trained include falls from height and many other risks. Look out for recognised trade accreditations to ensure you engage a firm with the necessary expertise. Look for links to the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association, CHAS, Constructionline and Safety Schemes In Procurement. It is worth remembering that bosses who instruct untrained staff to work at height face significant fines if a worker subsequently falls. Planning, Building and Construction Today reported earlier this month how a building company was fined £20,000 after a self-employed man fell through a skylight.

Experts in fire tank system maintenance

Here at Nationwide Water Solutions, we provide a range of recognised services to ensure your fire tank system is in good repair – today and tomorrow. As well as carrying out recommended works, we undertake inspections using the latest technology. Our ultrasound equipment can measure the thickness of sprinkler tank walls and detect weaknesses that mere images would not show. In addition to carrying out all checks underwater, we supply photographic evidence with comprehensive written reports.

The publication of the report following the first phase of the Grenfell Inquiry is likely to lead to legislative changes, which could include making high-rise building owners furnish fire and rescue services with details about a property’s layout. Once we have read through the full recommendations outlined in the report, we will update you. Whatever the final outcome of the inquiry, one things is for sure – sprinklers and fire tank systems will become much more commonplace.

We will continue to work with our partners in industry and the public realm to ensure that the services we deliver meet and exceed standards to ensure sprinkler systems are well-maintained and carry on saving lives as well as material assets. Building safety regulations are likely to impact fire safety more than ever. You can trust us to deliver the very highest standards – from installing a new fire tank to maintaining an existing one.

Do Schools Need Fire Tanks?

Major insurers have joined the lobby for sprinklers and fire tanks in schools. We applaud their commitment to public safety and their efforts to convince more local education authorities and autonomous schools that modern fire fighting equipment is a must. While life preservation is the crucial factor, it should not be overlooked that the average cost of a school fire is in the millions. In some cases, tens of millions.

As one of the UK’s leading independent sprinkler tank specialists, we know only too well what can happen when not enough attention is paid to reducing risks in public buildings. Every year, up to 1,000 schools fall victim to fires. Yet, of all the properties developed for educational purposes over the past eight years, just 11 per cent have been fitted with sprinklers. Aside from the cost to the public purse of a fire, the disruption to children’s lives is considerable. They can lose irreplaceable coursework and even a sense of belonging – if they end up being crammed into portable classrooms for months while the fire damage is repaired.

Insurers point out that teachers suffer too, often being parted from notes they have amassed over an entire academic year or career. As a lobby calling for the government to make sprinklers and fire tanks mandatory in schools gathers momentum, we look at why now is the time for England to follow Scotland and get to grips with the gap in school fire safety.

Arson attacks and schools

There is a lot of evidence that points to schools posing a higher risk than some other property types for arson. While no recent major studies have been conducted into prevalence, we believe they are vulnerable simply because they are closed for long periods of time. Most schools are shut over weekends and for protracted breaks, including the six-week summer holiday. In Scotland this week, two youths were arrested on suspicion of arson following a fire at an East Renfrewshire primary school.

The blaze was reported on Sunday evening and was thankfully confined to just one room. Meanwhile, a nursery next to a school in Kent was damaged by fire earlier this month. The blaze is thought to have started in a store cupboard. In this case, arson is not suspected. The fire is believed to have been caused by an electrical fault.

However, a report into the cause of a huge fire that devastated the Glasgow School of Art was still not completed two years after the incident. Debris was still being removed from the gutted site. It was the second fire to devastate the building.

Because of their vulnerability, we believe all school buildings should have sprinklers and fire tanks. This is how a school fire can quickly get out of control.

Fire tanks and their use in schools

Fire tanks are a good idea for sprinkler systems in schools, largely because of campus layouts and sizes. The average comprehensive school, for example, has interconnecting buildings, most often on multiple levels. Any building on this type of scale requires adequate water to contain a fire as soon as it is detected. While sprinklers will automatically be triggered, relying on mains water is not recommended. We are proud to supply and maintain water storage solutions that are exclusively designed to serve sprinkler systems.

Insurers believe the threshold for current requirements are too low, focussing solely on life preservation. They want to see more done to protect material assets as well as provide more protection for firefighters called to tackle blazes in schools. They point out that arguments over the cost of installing sprinklers don’t stand up because, often, savings passed on by reduced insurance costs eventually pay for the investment.

One of the areas being examined is the size of ‘compartments’ in a building. Some believe, with greater use of sprinklers, the existing standard size could be increased – but only for those properties with sprinkler systems. We don’t want to comment on this suggestion because it is a matter for building control and the government to examine. What we can say is that there is plenty of evidence out there to support claims that fire tanks in schools provide the most robust protection, delivering water to the seat of a fire as soon as possible and keeping it contained in those vital early seconds and minutes.

Currently, class sizes are rising in the UK. This corresponds with an increase in overall school pupil numbers. The average secondary school has a total of more than 940 students. In September, Zurich Municipal suggested that up to two-thirds of England’s schools lack systems to properly manage fire risks. After conducting research, it stated that the area worst impacted is the south of England.

Our background in fire safety

Nationwide Water Solutions installs, maintains and inspects fire tanks across the UK. Based in Yorkshire, we deliver services to a wide range of sectors. Our customers include those in manufacturing and industry as well as the public realm. We usually meet our customers for the first time when they decide they want to install a sprinkler system and need a dedicated water supply, or have concerns about the integrity of their existing water tank.

Our services include free site surveys for those looking to invest in robust water storage, fabrication of bespoke sprinkler tanks, installation and refurbishment and relining. We also conduct independent inspections that ensure sprinkler systems remain operational throughout as well as conserve water. Our team achieves this with technology that is used under water to survey the surface and components of a tank.

The fire tank repair service includes fibreglass and epoxy coatings as well as EPDM linings. We can only undertake repairs to water storage systems that have been deemed by an independent expert to be suitable. In cases where remedial action is recommended, our solutions can extensive the lifespan of a tank by more than a decade.

For further information about our products and services, please visit our website or contact us by telephone on 0345 505 254.


What Water Supply System Works Best With Sprinklers?

Sprinklers have become commonplace in buildings across the UK. To fire safety experts, they represent the contrast between Before Grenfell and After Grenfell. The devastating fire in a London tower block with poor fire safety equipment underlined what many had been advocating for years. Sprinkler systems save lives.

But property owners considering investing in the fire safety equipment may well ask: What water supply system works best with sprinklers? In this feature we will outline the challenges posed by water supply and explain why having your own source, specifically for containing a blaze, could mean the difference between life and death.

Sprinklers are relatively inexpensive to install when you consider the potential losses that could be incurred in a fire. For example, in a residential setting, the cost can be as low as under £2,000 for two-bedroom flat. If you are a landlord managing a portfolio of properties in large houses of multiple occupation or blocks of flats, the cost will obviously increase. Commonly, the bill is based on square feet. Likewise, sprinkler systems in retail, commercial and industrial settings are likely to cost a lot more than a system in a small private house.

In very small installations on one level, it is quite feasible to let sprinklers feed from a mains water supply. However, if a building extends over a larger floor space and, in particular, levels, challenges are presented. For example, water pressure from a mains supply will not be great enough to serve sprinklers on floors above a set height. There is technology available to get around this issue, but none beat the sprinkler tank.

Water solutions for sprinkler systems

Sprinkler tanks are the most common option for industry and tower blocks. They are also found in large public buildings such as hospitals and, increasingly, schools. They are rated for their performance, longevity and, most importantly, their ability to store even very large quantities of water. At a time when warehouse fires alone are said to be costing the UK’s economy a staggering £1billion a year, getting to grips with containment at the earliest stage has never been more pressing.

There is a misconception that, once the fire brigade is called, everything will be all right. Businesses and property owners need to understand that modern-day firefighters don’t just fight fires. Many are trained in emergency first aid and are often called to attend medical emergencies and situations where cutting gear may be required. Another serious issue is tenders running out of water. If this happens, there will be a wait for back-up to arrive. In the case of Grenfell, water was in such short supply that firefighters were sent into the burning building without it – a fact later admitted by a watch manager.

The best way to tackle a fire is as soon as it starts – with sprinklers. Having a system connected to its own water supply will ensure there is a good chance that the blaze will be contained. If you can stop a fire from spreading, you will limit damage, give people more time to evacuate a building and, ultimately, save lives.

During the summer, an 82-year-old woman told the national press that sprinklers saved her from almost certain death. Bedridden, she would have struggled to escape a fire that started in her bedroom – had the system not kicked in and quickly contained the blaze. The pensioner, who lived in a block comprising more than 50 flats, said she had been smoking in bed when the fire started. Water quickly doused the flames and she suffered only minor injuries.

In an earlier case, an 81-year-old pensioner described how sprinklers saved her life after she left food in the oven. Firefighters later said it would have taken just minutes for the kitchen to be destroyed had water not been delivered to the source of the blaze immediately. In both of these cases, having a reliable source of water was crucial.

Sprinklers and the problem of water supply

The most common type of fire sprinkler system is the wet-pipe model. It works on the basis of individual sprinklers. This means that sprinkler heads are only activated when a threshold is reached. As well as being effective, this system saves water and also prevents unnecessary water damage. A point worth noting is that many modern sprinklers take their design from one invented by Frederick Grinnell in 1890.

Nowadays, sprinklers are a requirement of Building Regulations in defined types of properties. This extends beyond commercial buildings, where they have enjoyed popularity for years because of the cost-savings offered through reduced insurance premiums. It is widely recognised that a sprinkler will activate in as little as one minute while it can take much longer for fire crews to reach the scene.

Therefore, the importance of having a dedicated water supply to feed a sprinkler system cannot be overstated. Surrey Live has reported that residents in a 17 storey tower block were told by the local council, their landlord, that sprinklers would not work during issues with the water supply system. Bottles of drinking water were handed out and the issue was blamed on defective pumps. However, fire safety experts say water should be stored separately for firefighting purposes and pumps should be maintained to ensure they deliver high pressure.

If you are a property owner considering the merits of investing in a sprinkler tank, the points raised above should give you an inkling of why they are a savvy choice. Too often, buildings have been destroyed because mains water is not a suitable option or there is a delay in the response to a fire because not enough water is immediately to hand.


Water storage for sprinkler systems

You can find out more about the benefits of having a sprinkler tank from Nationwide Water Solutions. It carries out site surveys to give building owners a good understanding of the requirements and where a tank would could be best sited. These surveys are free and help those managing properties fully understand the options available. In addition to installing sprinkler tanks the company can decommission and remove existing tanks.

It offers a comprehensive repair and refurbishment service for tanks that have been certified by a specialist as being suitable for remedial works. One of its most in-demand services in underwater tank surveys. Carried out with sophisticated equipment, this type of investigation allows every part of a tank to be checked for weaknesses including corrosion.



GRP Sprinkler Tank Installer Talks About The Wider Issues Caused By Fires

GRP sprinkler tank equipment is making a real difference in the UK – and here’s why…

Make no mistake, the biggest losers in any fire are those on the scene and property owners. But what about other people? Every day of the week in the UK routines are disrupted by fire and lives destroyed. Roads are closed, facilities shut and damaging smoke fills the air. Businesses with equipment or other assets stored in someone else’s building are also impacted, along with emergency services workers called to deal with 999 calls.

In an era when public safety should be at the forefront of everything, it is easy to see why many people think fire safety should never be left to chance. Nationwide Water Solutions is changing the way property owners and businesses manage the threat of fire. It installs water storage solutions to ensure sprinkler systems have their own dedicated supply of water.


The GRP sprinkler tank boom

A spokesman said: “Most property owners really get the fact that more can be done to prevent the spread of fire. However, not all of them have the cash to make improvements and some think fire safety is something that can be put off to another day. For those who want to protect their assets and people, the GRP sprinkler tank is popular. Fabricated from glass reinforced plastic, it is strong and safe. It can store large volumes of water, meaning sprinklers can get to work the moment they are activated.

“We are seeing lots of new clients looking to invest in water storage systems because they appreciate it may take time for a water carrier, for example, to reach them in an emergency. Fires can spread quickly so a small blaze that may have, at first, seemed containable can rapidly get out of control. If a fire brigade has to call for additional resources, they could be located some distance away.”


Nationwide Water Solutions

Nationwide Water Solutions is a GRP sprinkler tank expert. It also installs a wide range of other tank types, each depending on their intended environment. Based in Yorkshire, it covers the whole country.



Commercial Sprinkler Tank Services Needed To Safeguard Businesses

Use of commercial sprinkler tank services are on the rise as businesses look for more advanced and robust ways to protect their assets. Businesses with commercial kitchens, large storage areas and those accommodating people, workers and customers, require safety solutions fit for 2019. Helping more commercial clients than ever before, Nationwide Water Solutions installs and maintains sprinkler tanks for a multitude of building-types.

Increasingly, we are being asked to assess properties such as large hotels and complexes where commercial kitchens are based. That is because incidents such as chip pan fires can often go on to cause extensive damage and pose a serious threat to both the public and material investments. Helping commercial clients reduce the risk of a fire spreading is critical to our work.


Water solutions for commercial enterprises

As one of the UK’s leading commercial sprinkler tank specialists, we work hard to provide fully tailored water solutions that ensure sprinkler systems work whenever required. This often involves assessing exactly what size – and shape – the water tank needs to be to meet its obligations while being in the best possible location for the site its services.

If you run a commercial business and want to learn more about the benefits of on-site water storage to feed sprinklers, we offer a country-wide free site survey service. This will give you a detailed overview of your needs and the solutions available to meet them.


Commercial sprinkler tank expert

Nationwide Water Solutions is the commercial sprinkler tank expert with an enviable track record in the delivery of bespoke water storage facilities. With satisfied customers in both the public and private sectors, we are committed to delivering on the very best fire safety equipment. In addition to installing water storage tanks, we also carry our repairs on ageing or leaking tanks. If you are not sure what the condition of your tank is, book an inspection.

We use the very latest tech to carry out comprehensive checks under water – helping you save money and ensuring your sprinkler system remains active. For further information about our commercial sprinkler tank services, visit Nationwide Water Solutions.

Industrial Sprinkler Tank Inspection Advice

Safety and water conservation are top priorities for our customers, that is why they come to us for industrial sprinkler tank inspection advice. We are always on call to take bookings for our independent inspection service, offering big businesses peace of mind. Whether you run a pharmaceutical business, are in the cosmetics industry or run a manufacturing plant, our experts provide thorough service that it always backed up with written and photographic evidence.

Some of our customers are in the distribution business and provide warehousing for a wide range of goods. As well as storing high-value or large volumes of stock, they often employ dozens of workers. Protecting their assets, both material and physical, starts with high-quality fire safety equipment that is well maintained.


Industrial sprinkler tank inspections

It doesn’t matter where you are located in the UK, we can get to you. Nationwide Water Solutions carried our industrial sprinkler tank inspections across the country. We recommend regular inspections because they keep you up to speed with the condition of your tank. You will know at the earliest opportunity if there is a problem. You will also know the recommended solution.

Having a sprinkler system with its own water supply is important if you want to quickly contain a fire and stop it from spreading. Too often, buildings which could have been saved have been lost to fire because not enough water was available at the outset.


Your sprinkler tank partner

We don’t just carry out industrial sprinkler tank inspections. Nationwide Water Solutions provides tank-relining and refurbishment services. We also install new sprinkler tanks and offer a bespoke design service. Trusted by household names, we put the safety of your people and products first.

With industry accreditations and a commitment to delivering on the very best services, we are the sprinkler tank specialist of choice for a growing number of brands in the industrial sector. Want to know more? Visit our website or give us a call on 0345 505 2540.