NFPA May Break Out Integrated Testing Standard

A document being discussed June 14-15 at the annual conference is NFPA 3, Recommended Practice for Commissioning and Integrated Testing of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems. Integrated testing may become a separate document.

The new NFPA 3 document, Recommended Practice for Commissioning and Integrated Testing of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems, will be extensively discussed during next week's 2011 NFPA annual conference in Boston. Two educational sessions and a post-conference seminar about it are scheduled.

In an NFPA Journal article now available online, Matt Klaus, NFPA senior fire protection engineer and staff liaison for the document, discusses its origins and plans to break out its integrated testing content into a separate NFPA 4 standard.

NFPA 3 is a recommended practice, not a standard, that is focused on active and passive fire protection and life safety systems, Klaus explains in the article. The document defines commissioning as a process providing documented confirmation from project inception to occupancy that all building systems function as intended. The process continues into occupancy with recommissioning and periodic integrated testing spelled out, he says.

"Integrated testing is a field activity that assures that all of the systems that are interconnected can speak to each other as intended by the design team," Klaus explains. "The committee agreed that this is something that can and should be standardized. There's nothing in the IBC codes or NFPA codes that requires this integrated test. The NFPA 3 committee went to the Standards Council at its March meeting and requested a new project, which would be to take the integrated testing portion of NFPA 3 and start a new document called NFPA 4, Integrated Testing. The Standards Council is looking for public comments, and we'll know in August if we're able to separate that part of NFPA 3 into NFPA 4. I imagine you'll hear some conversation this year at [the] annual meeting about the integrated testing portion and what's being done about it."

He says NFPA 3 was developed after the National Institute for Building Sciences approached NFPA about five years ago to write a guideline on commissioning of fire protection systems. NIBS made the similar requests of ASHRAE for HVAC systems, IEEE for electrical systems, and the Roofing Contractors Association for roofing systems with the goal of developing an NIBS package of standards or guidelines for how building systems should be commissioned.

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