Facility managers have many responsibilities when it comes to their facility’s fire sprinkler system. Hiring a fire protection contractor to provide fire sprinkler services minimizes facility manager’s fire sprinkler responsibilities but it doesn’t eliminate them. Many facility’s managers don’t fully understand their responsibility for evaluating an existing fire sprinkler’s design, hazard evaluations, freeze protection, and record keeping. Understanding a facility manager’s fire sprinkler responsibilities helps reduce the risk of fire sprinkler system failure and code violations.

Facility Manager’s Responsibility for Fire Sprinkler Design and Hazards Evaluations

Unbeknownst to most facility managers, contractors don’t evaluate whether the fire sprinkler’s design adequately protects a facility during inspection, testing, or maintenance services. Fire sprinkler design evaluations are a separate service and are part of a facility manager’s fire sprinkler responsibilities. You should consider a fire sprinkler system design evaluation when there’s a change that could affect the original specifications of the fire sprinkler design and installation such as:

  • Occupancy
  • Water supply
  • Storage materials
  • Storage arrangement
  • Construction

Facility managers responsibilities also include hazard evaluations. When there are new hazards or changes to a facility, a fire protection system service contractor or fire protection engineer needs to evaluate the existing fire sprinkler system’s capabilities. Additionally, prior to any fire sprinkler services, you must make the fire protection contractor aware of any hazardous materials within the facility.

Freeze Protection

Water-filled fire sprinkler systems are susceptible to freezing when there isn’t an antifreeze solution or proper insulation. One of the facility manager’s fire sprinkler responsibilities includes maintaining a minimum temperature of 40°F throughout the facility. This is critical because it helps prevent fire sprinkler pipes from freezing. Additionally, you should check and make sure that the following areas/items don’t expose fire sprinklers to freezing temperatures:

  • Windows
  • Skylights
  • Doors
  • Ventilators
  • Concealed spaces
  • Attics
  • Stair towers
  • Roof houses
  • Low spaces under buildings

Facility Manager’s Fire Sprinkler Record Keeping Responsibilities

The two types of records facility managers must retain are the fire sprinkler system’s original documents and service records. The original fire sprinkler service records must be kept for the system’s lifespan and include the following:

  • As-built system installation drawings
  • Hydraulic calculations
  • Original acceptance test records
  • Device manufacturer’s data sheets

Inspection, testing, and maintenance records must be kept for 1 year after the next service occurs.

Fire sprinkler contractors have different responsibilities than facility managers when it comes to maintaining fire sprinkler systems. Knowing what a facility manager’s fire sprinkler responsibilities are can help you ensure you’re doing your job to maintain the system.


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