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Amendment To EN 12845 Sprinkler System Inspections

There has been a change to Clause 21 of EN 12845 in respect of sprinkler system inspections.

An amendment has been passed which clarifies who should be carrying out checks. The amendment removes the requirement for annual inspections to be carried out by third parties. However, the need for the inspection remains and, in an annexe to the change, it is recommended checks are still carried out by a third party. All inspections must be undertaken by a ‘qualified person’.

Clause 21 has been replaced by the following wording: “The sprinkler system shall be periodically inspected by a qualified person at least once a year (see Annex Q). The inspection report shall assess whether the system is in accordance with this standard, with regard but not limited to maintenance, operation and adequacy for the risk involved. A list of deviations shall be issued for action.”

However, the new Annex Q states: “When performing periodic inspection, it is recommended that the system inspections are undertaken by an independent body, e.g. not the system owner, building occupier, system installer (or competing installer) or service and maintenance provider (or competing service and maintenance provider).

“The qualified person is a designated individual, suitably trained, competent through knowledge and practical experience and with the necessary instruction to enable the test and examinations to be carried out.”

In this article, we focus on sprinkler tank inspections only.

Experts say very few property owners and managers with a sprinkler tank, an essential part of many systems, have people with the necessary experience or equipment to carry out a thorough check. In particular, they cite the need for ROV equipment to ensure full checks can be carried out without the need for a tank to be drained.

 

Why ROV inspections?

The Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle (ROV) is a smart piece of kit. Designed to move around under water, it requires expert control – along with diagnostic equipment to check the condition of a tank’s internal surfaces. Specialists point to their comprehensive benefits, which include the conservation of water. In the grand scheme of sprinkler system inspections, they can help to identify defects before they cause a leak or contamination.

Anyone undertaking such an inspection should know how to attach and operate HD camera and ultrasound equipment. They also need to be able to understand the data they return. In addition, they need to be fully aware of sprinkler tank components and their functions. This includes valves, pumps and the inlet, along with the internal structure of the tank.

A competent third party will offer conclusions and recommendations that can be relied upon. They are based on qualified data – all fully illustrated in written reports. Would you trust the safety of your people and property to someone without extensive knowledge of how a sprinkler tank works?

Anyone inspecting a sprinkler tank will need to be able to recognise:

  • The presence of rust
  • Weak spots in any section of the tank’s surface
  • Signs of corrosion or oxidisation
  • Perforations
  • Bacteria growth
  • Worn seals

In addition, they need to be able to check and recognise potential issues with ancillary equipment. This can include tank lids and access areas.

Sprinkler system tank inspections

A sprinkler system tank inspection should always be carried out with the water in situ. Not just to conserve water and save money but to ensure sprinklers remain fully operational throughout. Draining a tank for an inspection is unnecessary and potentially very dangerous. Using ROV equipment makes this possible. It is site and insurer-friendly and delivers accurate data that can be reliably used for planned maintenance.

It is worth noting that this type of sprinkler system inspection can be carried out on any type of tank, regardless of its location and size. Annual inspections should always be carried out by a specialist, say experts. Many problems are not obvious and require the use of high-tech equipment to properly identify and diagnose – hence the importance of retaining the services of an independent inspection expert.

The change to requirements in respect of one clause in EN 12845 does not mean an unqualified, untrained person can carry out an inspection. It makes clear they need to have the necessary qualifications. Neglecting to ensure a suitable person carries out the checks can have far-reaching and even tragic repercussions. It is worth noting that if negligence is suspected to have contributed to an emergency, criminal proceedings can follow.

 

Booking a sprinkler tank inspection

You can book a third-party or independent inspection with a nationwide specialist, who will travel anywhere in the country to perform this task. As well as having the necessary knowledge, they will have the essential equipment (outlined above). If your sprinkler tank is leaking, you can find out what to do here.

If you are not sure what your obligations are as a building owner or site manager, you should seek expert advice. Life preserving equipment must always be ready to kick in during an emergency situation. That means, it should be maintained to regulatory standards, so it is fit for purpose.

While not all buildings benefit from the sprinkler system, it is always worth reminding ourselves how common fires are.

Recent fires in public, commercial and industrial buildings:

  • A commercial garage in County Donegal has been badly damaged in an overnight fire (reported November 21).
  • A hooded gang set a fire at Bransholme playground close to Biggin Hill Primary School – Hull (reported November 20).
  • A supermarket, closed for over a year after a fire in the flat above, has been reopened and revamped – Reading (reported November 20).
  • Multiple fire crews attended to a blaze at an industrial property in a Somerset village (reported November 16).
  • Investigation launched after blaze at an industrial unit which took eight fire crews to put out – London (reported November 13).
  • People living or working near Manor Way, Swanscombe were advised to close windows and doors due to smoke coming from a fire in an industrial building – Kent (reported November 16).

The advice from experts is to continue to use fully qualified independent inspectors. Especially for sprinkler system water tanks.

Questions over sprinkler system maintenance at flats

Questions are being asked about sprinkler system maintenance at a block of London flats, which was the scene of a major fire yesterday (Sunday). Twenty flats were completely destroyed in the blaze and a further ten damaged. At the height of the fire, six floors of the building in Barking were alight. Around 100 firefighters were on the scene for some hours.

Fire safety campaigners say it was a miracle there were no fatalities. Two people were treated for the effects of smoke inhalation at the scene and the building safely evacuated. The modern flats have been the subject of criticism from local residents, who have queried the safety of wooden balconies and cladding. Early reports, which are unconfirmed, suggested a fire warden scheme had been put in place after the sprinkler system was found to be faulty. Residents said the first fire crews on the scene had difficulty finding a water supply.

 

‘No excuse for slow sprinkler system maintenance’

Nationwide Water Solutions, Britain’s sprinkler tank specialist, helps building owners and management companies stay on top of sprinkler system maintenance. A spokesman said: “What we had here was a serious fire that had the potential for deadly consequences. We don’t know if reports that there had been problems with the sprinkler system are true. What we can say is that all sprinkler systems should be maintained and any problems quickly identified and put right. Every minute a sprinkler system is out of operation lives are being put at risk.”

If your sprinklers benefit from a sprinkler tank, Nationwide Water Solutions is available to provide a professional, independent inspection. It uses ultrasound and underwater cameras to check for problems without having to waste water or interrupt a sprinkler system. This can have insurance advantages and also save time. What’s more, you get to see hard evidence of any identified issues in images.

 

Speed of fire likened to Grenfell

Sunday’s fire at De Pass Gardens is said to have taken hold in mere minutes. One local, resident tweeted: “The speed in which this fire in Barking spread was crazy! Nothing learned from Grenfell.” It is worth noting that firefighters had to waste precious time looking for a water source. An on-site sprinkler tank can store water ready for use in an emergency via sprinklers.

For further information about sprinkler tank maintenance, visit Nationwide Water Solutions.

 

 

Fire Trends You Need To Know About

When it comes to protecting assets from fire, it is prudent to know what types of fire are causing the most damage – as well as the most common causes. While dwelling, particularly in multi occupancy properties, are always a worry, fire trends show that threats can come from external as well as internal sources. For example, recent research has highlighted the perceived global rise in wild fires and an increase in their severity.

A property located in large grounds that don’t benefit from careful landscaping or near an open expanse of vegetation, such as a common, park or derelict site, will need regular risk assessments. Emergency risk assessments may need to be carried out in extreme weather in the summer months or during an unseasonably warm spell. If sprinklers and a sprinkler tank are not already installed, making provisions in your budget should be considered a priority. It is worth noting that wild fires are impacting more acreage than ever before and inching closer to densely populated areas. There have been 96 major wildfires of 25 hectares or larger in the UK so far this year. In the whole of 2018, there were just 79. The increase has been charted by the European Forest Fire Information System.

 

The sprinkler tank and common fire risks

Fire risks are heightened in certain environments. Industrial and commercial settings, for example, carry specific risks. Assessments should take into account any chemicals stored or used on the premises and if an accelerants are present. Other dangers include paper, cardboard and fabrics. Materials used to construct a building should never be overlooked. The structure of a property should be inspected for flammable materials that may have been used before they were known to carry heightened fire risks. External cladding is a good example.

Buildings in close proximity to car parks or similar vulnerable sites may also be at heightened risk of fire. If you cannot move parking further away from your building, get advice about how an external fire may impact your property and its occupants.

 

How to mitigate fire trends

While many fires can be prevented with the right safety procedures in place, some are hard to predict. That is why a modern fire-fighting system capable of containing a fire is paramount. If you are considering the merits of a sprinkler system, book a free sprinkler tank survey with the UK’s leading fire tank expert – Nationwide Water Solutions.

Maintaining A Sprinkler Tank For Tower Block Safety

As phase two of the Grenfell Inquiry is delayed until next year, the focus is turning to tower blocks with existing sprinkler systems. In particular, maintaining a sprinkler tank in tip-top condition. The issue is a pressing one for housing providers. Ignoring potential problems can lead to fire safety failures that could be catastrophic.

Nationwide Water Solutions is the UK’s market leader in sprinkler tank maintenance and repairs. It says: “The onus on landlords to ensure their buildings are safe have never been more pronounced. Great care must be taken to ensure buildings not only have modern fire-fighting equipment but that it is fit for purpose. A failure to look after tenants’ safety could end in tragedy.”

 

Maintaining a sprinkler tank improves fire safety

While a sprinkler tank may look perfectly all right when viewed externally, it is often internally that the problems start. Nationwide Water Solutions recommend ROV tank inspections because they can detect early signs of corrosion and other potentially serious issues without the need to empty the tank of water. This means a sprinkler system is fully operational throughout the inspection period, saving time and preserving water. Regular checks can offer peace of mind or alert a building owner to a potential problem. A detailed report should set out the problem and include photographic evidence and offer solutions.

Maintaining a sprinkler tank is cost-effective. Even if a tank is deemed in need of a new lining, remedial work is much less expensive that decommissioning and installing a new one. Over the past year, businesses have recognised the cost benefits. Industry, in particular, has paid careful attention to the condition of sprinkler tanks. Now it is the turn of housing providers.

 

Ensure your sprinkler tank is correctly maintained

You can book an ROV sprinkler tank inspection using the telephone number at the end of this article. Nationwide Water Solutions inspects tanks across the UK. It also provides nationwide fire tank maintenance services and repairs. If you are worried that you are not maintaining a sprinkler tank to the correct standard, call 0345 505 2540.

 

 

Fire Sprinkler Tank and Safety In Multi Storey Car Parks

A fire sprinkler tank is currently not legally required in UK multi storey car parks. This is in spite of growing calls from local authorities and campaigners. A brand new multi storey car park at Manchester Airport is today the scene of major blaze. It is not yet known if the car park benefits from sprinklers. Plumes of smoke can be seen billowing from a site close to Terminal 2, which is currently undergoing a £1b expansion.

Asset protection, as well as life preservation measures, should be a priority consideration for any enclosed space near a major development or where people congregate. The nature of multi storey car parks means they are often located inside a building or adjoining a facility. Even in cases where an indoor car park is adjacent, the risks of a fire spreading can be high. This means that a detailed evaluation of safety equipment is imperative.

 

Enclosed parking spaces and a fire sprinkler tank

Nationwide Water Solutions, the fire sprinkler tank company trusted by major brands in the public and private sector, said multi storey car parks are an issue. “The problem is that they house vehicles that contain fuel,” said a spokesman.  “If a fire breaks out, it can be hard to tackle, spread quickly, and pose a range of challenges.

“More and more fire safety experts are advising developers to look carefully at fire risk assessments for multi storey car parks and other types of under-cover storage areas. What we have to bear in mind is that vehicles can catch fire for any number of reasons. Having a vehicle fire inside a building is much more serious than at the side of a road.”

The British Sprinkler Alliance has raised the issue at Government level. The BAFSA raised similar concerns following a fire that caused £20m worth of damage in Liverpool. Engineers Ireland and even The Times newspaper have had something to say about lack of action over dangers posed by fires in multi storey car parks.

 

Don’t wait for legislation – act now

Many experts expect a sprinkler requirement for enclosed car parks to form part of a new nationwide approach to fire safety. You don’t have to wait to be compelled to install sprinklers. Do it now and ensure you include a fire sprinkler tank to ensure water is available to tackle a blaze immediately.

If you are concerned about fire risks in a multi storey car park you own or manage, ask for a free site survey from Nationwide Water Solutions.

Sprinkler Tank Work By Accredited Professionals

The safety of your people and assets should always be paramount. Property owners and businesses invest in automatic sprinkler systems because it gives them peace of mind. Ensuring sprinkler tank work is only ever undertaken by accredited professionals is vital.

Engaging unqualified workers to repair or maintain an important component of fire safety equipment is not just dangerous, it is foolish. A sprinkler tank failure, for example, could cause serious water leakage or cause sprinklers to fail in an emergency. It is also important to bear in mind that anyone working on a sprinkler tank should be trained to work at height and have the appropriate first aid knowledge.

Nationwide Water Solutions, the UK’s foremost expert for all sprinkler tank work, explains what accreditations you should look out for.

 

Safety Schemes In Procurement

If you see the SSIP logo, you can be assured that your sprinkler tank work is being undertaken by a contractor competent in health and safety management. This important accreditation is recognised across multiple sectors, including construction.

 

CHAS

This third party accreditation body is a trusted advisor on health and safety compliance. It is considered an authority and sets industry standards that accredited members must follow.

 

The British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association

The BAFSA is the driving force behind the manufacture, installation and maintenance of automatic fire sprinkler and water-based fire suppression systems in the UK.

 

Sprinkler Tank Work You Can Trust

Nationwide Water Solutions is accredited by all three of these important organisations and more. It installs new sprinkler tanks as well as delivering inspection, maintenance and repair services. It works with businesses and public authorities across the UK, setting new standards in fire safety.

If you are in the process of investing in a sprinkler system and want to benefit from on-site water storage, arrange a free site visit. For all your sprinkler tank work, contact Nationwide Water Solutions.

3 Ways A Sprinkler Tank Protects A Vulnerable Building

If you run a business that sells flammable materials such as furniture or beds, a sprinkler system with a sprinkler tank is a no-brainer. But what if you own or manage a a building you don’t realise is vulnerable to fire? The best way to gauge the risk is through regular and thorough assessments.

Even the most obvious fire risks are sometimes overlooked. Firefighters regularly deal with major fires in commercial kitchens and retail units containing large amounts of fabric and / or cardboard. A recent fire in Kettering devastated a long-established bed shop. If you want to ensure your building, business and people are protected from the devastation of fire, here are three ways to make a difference…

1. Book a sprinkler tank site survey

A water storage tank site survey is a good idea if you are planning to install a sprinkler system or already have one. It will look at the size, location and nature of the site and give you a clear understanding of what may be required. You can book a completely free site survey here.

 

2. Maintain an existing sprinkler tank

It is easy to let things slip when you are busy or struggling to grow your business. But ignoring the condition of an existing sprinkler tank can end up costing you everything. Make sure your tank is independently inspected to ensure any problems are detected early. By monitoring your tank and taking swift remedial action, your automatic sprinklers will always have water on standby.

 

3. Replace a redundant fire tank

If your fire tank is redundant or earmarked for decommissioning, don’t wait. Talk to Nationwide Water Solutions. This is the company trusted by household name to remove and replace outdated water storage tanks.

For further information about the sprinkler tank and how it can protect your vulnerable building, call Nationwide Water Solutions on 0345 505 2540.

Industrial Fire Safety In The Spotlight

Industrial fire safety was in the spotlight again earlier this month. Firefighters were praised for dealing with a potentially difficult fire in an industrial building in Gloucester. Four people were taken to hospital as a result of the blaze. Two fire appliances were sent to the scene one Wednesday night.

Emergency services were told a blaze had broken out in an industrial building at Hempstead at 8.29pm. Nationwide Water Solutions Limited, the UK’s leading supplier of sprinkler tanks and services, said it was heartening to note that the fire had been quickly contained. All four men taken to hospital were suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.

 

Concerns over industrial fire safety

A spokesman said: “In this case, the fire was quickly put out and damage was minimalised. Unfortunately, that is not always the case with fires in industrial buildings. Many lack modern firefighting equipment and others have systems that are out of date or not properly maintained.

“We would urge any business with industrial premises to contact us. We offer completely free site surveys to those thinking of investing in automatic sprinklers and a sprinkler tank for on-site water storage. For those who already have a sprinkler tank, we offer a full range of services – from independent ROV inspections to repairs. We also carry out routine maintenance work.”

The cause of the fire in Gloucester is still being investigated. It is thought it was contained to an extraction unit.

 

Talk to the sprinkler tank specialists

Sprinkler tank specialists for more than a decade, Nationwide Water Solutions has installed life-saving water storage tanks in industrial premises operated by household name. It works with businesses from a wide range of sector to deliver water storage solutions designed to protect material assets as well as people.

For further information visit Nationwide Water Solutions.

The Importance of Maintaining A Sprinkler Tank Contents Gauge

A sprinkler tank contents gauge plays an important role in helping you to monitor water levels in your fire tank. Consider it an early warning system that can indicate the presence of a leak. It will prompt you to take action to minimise water loss and more serious damage.

At Nationwide Water Solutions, we often refurbish or replace a contents gauge during sprinkler tank repair work. But you shouldn’t wait for something to go wrong before you act to repair a faulty, old or damaged piece of monitoring equipment such as this. We are here to help you keep your sprinkler tank and ancillary equipment in tip-top condition before a problem develops.

 

Dangers of ignoring a sprinkler tank contents gauge

A contents gauge should be regularly checked. An indication that the water level in your tank has dropped suddenly could suggest:

 

  • Corrosion
  • A perforation in the tank lining
  • Problem with valves

 

Help yourself to keep a close watch on sprinkler tank water levels effortlessly. Ensure your contents gauge is easily accessible so you can take readings quickly and conveniently. If you are worried your gauge is not working, seek advice immediately. This relatively low-cost piece of equipment provides long-term peace of mind and should be replaced if it is beyond repair.

 

The contents gauge and your sprinkler tank

Here at Nationwide Water Solutions, we provide a wide range of services designed to ensure you have adequate water supplies to tackle a fire the moment one is detected. We install sprinkler tanks of all shapes and sizes to work with automatic sprinkler systems. We also provide a range of repair and refurbishment services, along with ROV tank inspections.

Concerned about the integrity or your sprinkler tank? Don’t leave it. Contact us to book an inspection. Visit our website or give us a call on 0345 505 2540.

 

Sprinkler Tank Advice for Care Homes

Care homes benefit from sprinkler tank advice. That is because this robust water storage system provides additional protection for older properties that have been converted. It also significantly aids the delivery of water to buildings with multiple floors. With many former hotels and other buildings converted into retirement and nursing homes, they have taken on a purpose for which they were not originally intended.

Risks in care sector buildings can be high. While current regulations safeguard many residents from common types of accidental fires, they cannot rule out the possibility of electrical faults and even unusual causes of fire. Most recently, deaths have potentially been caused by paraffin-based skin creams. Two pensioners died in fires that are being linked to flammable ointments.

 

Fire safety and sprinkler tank advice

Sprinkler tank advice is vital if you want to direct water to sprinkler heads in the right quantity. This done the the moment a fire is detected. In a care home setting, it is vital – if the building is to be safely evacuated. Getting everyone out can be difficult and time-consuming when many residents will have serious mobility issues and other complex health problems. if If you run a care homes that does not benefit from a sprinkler tank, talk to Nationwide Water Solutions.

We are here to guide you through the pros and cons of having a fire tank installed in your premises. We offer completely free site surveys across the UK and are used to working in sensitive environments. We advise property owners on the best location for a sprinkler tank as well as the correct shape and size for their building.

 

Care homes and fire safety

It is quite staggering to note the number of even modern care homes in the UK without automatic sprinklers. Residential care facilities are businesses and need to consider loss prevention as well as life preservation when undertaking risk assessments. The right sprinkler tank advice guarantees the availability of water around the clock to contain a fire and offer everyone peace of mind.

To book a free site survey visit Nationwide Water Solutions or for a no obligation chat call 0345 505 2540.