Air test services from Air Pressure Testing UK

Head Office: Sayells Farm, 7 Harlington Road, Upper Sundon, Bedfordshire, LU3 3PE
Tel: 07967 233836 or 07775 623464
Email: info@airpressuretesting.net

Offices in London, Luton and Cardiff

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We offer both air pressure testing and solutions

 

Air Test services are members of BINDT


Introduction to Air Pressure Testing

Fire Integrity Testing

Fire Integrity Door TestingRoom Integrity Testing
Enclosures protected by gaseous fire suppression systems should tested for air-tightness upon commissioning of the system and annually thereafter. This is critical to ensure that the system will work effectively when activated; too much air-leakage will result in the concentration of the fire suppressant agent falling too quickly.

Air Pressure Testing provide the necessary Room Integrity Testing to the required NFPA 2001 or ISO 14520 methodologies.

We have extensive experience in testing all types and sizes of enclosure, from server rooms in offices to hospital intensive care units . In each case we carry out the necessary volumetric calculations prior to the test and use calibrated test fan systems along with laptops running complaint CA2001 software to determine results immediately upon completion of test.

In the event of a failed test result, we will locate and record the air leakage sites using smoke-puffers if permitted. We subsequently provide full reports, incorporating all necessary data test information and certification, usually within a few days of the test. This will ensure that you have all of the required information to undertake accurate remeadial works.

Remeadial Works
The majority of enclosure test failures are caused by the lack of enclosure integrity or the ability of the enclosure to adequately retain the extinguishant. The correct initial design concentration is achieved but the enclosure is not able to retain it for the required/ recommended holding period.

Remedial work should then be undertaken to reduce the leakage from the enclosure. This could include;

  • Sealing all holes, cracks or penetrations leading into or out of the protected space
  • Pipe chases and cable trays to be sealed around the outside and inside where they penetrate the perimeter boundaries of the enclosure
  • Walls to be caulked around the inside perimeter at both high and low level
  • Sealing of porous block walls
  • Addition of door sweeps or drop seals, weather stripping around jambs
  • Sealing of windows/glazed sections to the area

Fire Integrity Safe TestingOne of the advantages of the sealing works being conducted whilst a test kit is in place is that it can be seen if the works being conducted are effective and, therefore, a positive result can invariably be achieved (if this is possible).

Once the appropriate remedial work has been undertaken then the enclosure should be retested to confirm if an acceptable level of integrity has been reached.

Pressure Test Limited carry out remedial works and would be pleased to submit a quotation should there be any doubts as to the enclosure's ability to retain extinguishant or if a previous test has indicated a failure.

For further information on how to prepare for a enclosure test please download our enclosure test checklist

Fire Integrity Testing (further information)

Room Integrity Testing
Enclosures protected by gaseous fire suppression systems should be tested for air-tightness upon commissioning of the system and annually thereafter. This is critical to ensure that the system will work effectively when activated; too much air-leakage will result in the concentration of the fire suppressant agent falling too quickly.

Air Pressure Testing Ltd can provide the necessary Room Integrity Testing to the required NFPA 2001 or ISO 14520 methodologies.

We have extensive experience in testing all types and sizes of enclosure, from server rooms in offices to hospital intensive care units. In each case we carry out the necessary volumetric calculations prior to the test and use calibrated test fan systems along with laptops running Clean Agent software to determine results immediately upon completion of test.

In the event of a failed test result, we will locate and record the air leakage sites using smoke-puffers if permitted. We subsequently provide full reports, incorporating all necessary data test information and certification, usually within a few days of the test. This will ensure that you have all of the required information to undertake accurate remedial works.

Further Remedial Works

The majority of enclosure test failures are caused by the lack of enclosure integrity or the ability of the enclosure to adequately retain the extinguishant. The correct initial design concentration is achieved but the enclosure is not able to retain it for the recommended holding period.

Remedial work should then be undertaken to reduce the leakage from the enclosure. This could include;

• Sealing all holes, cracks or penetrations leading into or out of the protected space
• Pipe chases and cable trays to be sealed around the outside and inside where they penetrate the perimeter boundaries of the enclosure
• Walls to be caulked around the inside perimeter at both high and low level
• Sealing of porous block walls
• Addition of door sweeps or drop seals, weather stripping around jambs
• Sealing of windows/glazed sections to the area
One of the advantages of the sealing works being conducted whilst a test kit is in place is that it can be seen if the works being conducted are effective and, therefore, a positive result can invariably be achieved (if this is possible).

Once the appropriate remedial work has been undertaken then the enclosure should be retested to confirm if an acceptable level of integrity has been reached.

Air Pressure Testing Limited can carry out remedial works and would be pleased to submit a quotation should there be any doubts as to the enclosure's ability to retain extinguishant or if a previous test has indicated a failure.

For further information on how to prepare for an enclosure test please download our enclosure test checklist

Air Test Services
Our Company believes in working with our clients to achieve the best possible results for an Air Test. We believe that by being involved at the beginning of a project we can save our clients expensive and difficult remedial works at the completion stage of a project.

More useful Information for Enclosure Integrity Testing
The use of gaseous fire extinguishing systems to provide protection for computer and plant rooms is all but essential, given the consequences of fire damage and downtime for such critical equipment. For a fire suppression system to work, the room must have sufficient integrity to retain an extinguishing concentration for a specified period after discharge. Failure to do so and the fire reignites. As this is the predominant cause of failure, the British and International Standard (BS:ISO14520) requires that an enclosure integrity test (aka room integrity test, fan test, or pressure test) be conducted on system installation and thereafter at annual intervals.

Air Pressure Testing have undertaken hundreds of enclosure integrity tests on varying room types from comms room/s to massive power station turbines; and have the experience to help you achieve a test pass at the first attempt. We are one of a very few companies that fully understand the theory behind extended discharge tests and are able to undertake testing to enclosures where extended discharge tests are required.

Extended discharge tests are commonly used where it is not possible to fully seal an enclosure – such as a Gas Turbine Enclosure in a power station. An initial discharge is release in a sufficient concentration that extinguishes the fire, and then an extended discharge takes place to replenish the extinguishing agent at a suitable rate to prevent the fire reigniting for a required period of time.

Initially the test was introduced as an environmentally friendly alternative to discharge testing following the phase out of halon extinguishant under the Montreal Protocol on ozone depletion. It is applicable to all sizes of enclosure and all extinguishing gases, including Argonite, Inergen, Proinert, IG55, FM200, FE25, HFC 227ea, FE25, Novec 1230 and CO2.

The enclosure testing is clean and non-disruptive, using a door mounted fan(s) to measure leakage flow. Work may continue as normal in the room during the test. An immediate result is obtained for the total room leakage and consequent extinguishant retention time. If this is below that required by the Standard, a detailed inspection is carried out to identify all major leakages for remedial sealing. A formal report is issued detailing the results and any recommendations.

This should be retained for regulatory authority/ insurer’s reference. If you fail the test - Air Pressure Testing can undertake the remedial works for you; and due to the importance of these areas; specialise in out of hour’s remedial works as we understand the impact/cost of closing down areas such as turbine rooms etc. Further information is given in the listed documents. Please contact us for an immediate quote.

A Guide to Fire Sealing
Successful extinguishment of a fire by a gaseous extinguishing system is critically dependent upon the extinguishing concentration being maintained for a specified period after discharge. Excessive leakage of extinguishant through the construction or ventilation system may result in reignition.

The criterion used to determine whether the amount of leakage is acceptable is the retention time. In most circumstances, extinguishant is lost via leakage through low level apertures to be replaced by fresh air entering at high level, thus creating a descending interface. The retention time is the time it takes for the interface to reach the highest item requiring protection. A minimum retention time of ten minutes applies in most cases.

The only ways to determine the retention time are either to discharge the gas and measure concentration or, universally preferred, to undertake an enclosure integrity (or fan) test. This utilises a door-mounted fan to pressurise the room and the air flow is measured. From this an equivalent leakage area is derived and the retention time predicted.

Enclosure Construction
Although in-situ foam is widely used as it is frequently seen to be a simple sealing method, expanding as it does to fill the gap. There are however a couple of problems associated with it. Firstly, it has a tendency not to adhere to all the surfaces so that what might superficially seem to be a good seal has, when examined closely, a significant leakage path running around it. Secondly, care should be taken to ensure that its use does not breach any fire resistance requirement.
Constructional joints are another feature that require sealing. This may include board joints and the junctions between wall and floor elements.

Any profiles in ceilings/walls should be sealed at the junction with adjacent walls/ceilings. Even small open profiles will pose a leakage problem if there are many of them.

Doorsets should incorporate flexible 'smoke' seals and frames should be backfilled or mastic sealed. Rolling shutters and louvered doors are a particular problem and should, if possible be avoided. If drop curtains are used to reduce leakage through these items it is important that they run in channel guides to reduce edge leakage and unwanted displacement.
Air supply and extract ducting will usually be dampered closed on extinguishant discharge. There will inevitably be some leakage past louvered dampers. Whilst this will not normally pose a problem, it will become significant in enclosures where there are extensive areas of dampers in relation to the enclosure size. Under these circumstances it should be ensured that the dampers are well adjusted to minimise leakage.

Thought should also be given to other penetrating elements. Cable ducts may be well sealed externally but are likely to provide a leakage path unless packed internally at the point of penetration.

Finally, it should be remembered that, despite the need for good practice, some leakage is not only inevitable but necessary to help relieve initial overpressure.

It is hoped that the above comments are of assistance to those responsible for sealing protected rooms. Clearly successful sealing can only be determined by fan testing. However, provided the above points are carefully and fully applied there is no reason why the enclosure should not satisfy the retention time requirement. If you think you have a problem in terms of your enclosure construction - please contact us at info@airpressuretesting.net as we also offer a sealing service.

Integrity Testing Requirements
As from January 2001, gaseous fire extinguishing systems have been controlled by International Standard No 14520(1). This covers all the extinguishing gases introduced to supersede halon (e.g. Argonite, Inergen, FM200). It was published following the European Union decision(2) requiring halon systems to be decommissioned by the end of 2003. Under this Standard, it is a requirement that an enclosure integrity test is conducted both upon system installation and annually thereafter as part of the routine maintenance schedule. This is to ensure that an extinguishing concentration is held for a sufficient time to prevent reignition in the event of a fire.

Studies reveal that the predominant cause of failure of gaseous extinguishing systems is inadequate room sealing. It is also found that rooms get leakier with time, usually due to changes in construction, cabling or services. It is therefore important to ensure that good room integrity is established and maintained, particularly bearing in mind the potential consequences of system failure. Annual integrity inspection and testing are required by the BFPSA and are now routine practice at most major commercial institutions. The benefits of this are widely recognised by insurers and regulatory authorities, who frequently require such integrity testing. Annual integrity test requirements are also a requirement for U.S. designed systems under NFPA Specification 2001(5).

It is a requirement that all enclosures are tested on a annual basis Air Pressure Testing can set up a yearly testing regime to ensure you comply with the relevant standards such as BS:ISO14520 & NFPA 2001; we will even contact you to remind you that your test/s are due. If you require any further details on the service please contact us at:
info@airpressuretesting.net

References
BS EN:ISO 14520 Gaseous Fire Extinguishing Systems (2000)
EU Regulation 2037/2000 (26/6/00)
BFPSA Code of Practice for Gaseous Fire Fighting Systems
LPC Recommendations for Loss Prevention in EDP Installations
NFPA 2001 Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing Systems (2000)

Enclosure Integrity Testing FAQ’s
Q: Why do I need an enclosure test?
A: The test is a requirement of the British Standard for gaseous fire extinguishing systems – BS EN:ISO 14520. Most fire insurers will require evidence that the test has been conducted and the result is satisfactory.

Q: How quickly can an enclosure test be arranged?
A: Usually within a few days.
Q: How long does the enclosure test take?
A: Usually between 1 and 2 hours.
Q: Will the enclosure test set off alarms?
A: No. The enclosure test is completely independent of the detection system.
Q: Is the enclosure test disruptive?
A: No. It is only necessary to stop access to the room for 10-15 minutes. Personnel can continue to work in the room. The enclosure test can be paused if immediate access becomes required.
Q: Does equipment need to be switched off during the enclosure test?
A: No.
Q: Does air conditioning need to be switched off during the enclosure test?
A: Recirculation (chiller) units may continue to run. Air supply/extract ducts passing into the enclosure will need to be either dampered closed or will be temporarily sealed.
Q: Will I get a certificate if I pass the enclosure test?
A: It will be issued within a few days. This should be retained for possible inspection by the authorities/insurers. A summary certificate can be issued at the time of enclosure test if required.
Q: What happens if the room fails the enclosure test?
A: An inspection will be conducted to identify leakage paths for remedial sealing. These will be pointed out at the time of the enclosure test and a plan included in the report. It is recommended that a retest be conducted after remedial action to confirm the adequacy of the retention time.
Q: Can remedial sealing be done at the time of the enclosure test?
A: Yes, provided the leakage can be swiftly remedially, or temporarily, sealed.
Q: Does APT undertake remedial sealing?
A: We can do this if requested or the client can arrange remedial sealing themselves.
Q: How often should the enclosure test be done?
A: The relevant British Standard (BS EN:ISO 14520) specifies that the test should be conducted annually as part of routine maintenance.

Air Test Services
Our company believes in working with our clients to achieve the best possible results for an Air Test. We believe that by being involved at the beginning of a project we can save our clients expensive and difficult remedial works at the completion stage of a project.

Our Aim Is To Get You A Pass!

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