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Do you have a preventative maintenance program in place for your fire sprinkler systems? How about for any other mechanical or electrical services at your property that require routine intervention?

Some examples of routine maintenance programs are for HVAC systems, boilers, vehicles, and even landscaping. As you can imagine (or have experienced), if you do not have a preventative maintenance program in place, you are always reacting to service requests, work orders, and repairs. Not only does it cause headaches always having to scramble to find someone who can service your system, but it can also cost upwards of 2-3 times more for an emergency repair, in any industry not just fire sprinklers.

There are 5 reasons you should have a preventative maintenance program in place at your property, especially for fire sprinklers:

1. Easy to Budget

2. Keep your Property in Compliance

3. Increased Life of your Sprinkler Systems

4. Reduce the Long-Term Service Costs

5. Better Relationship with your Service Provider

fire sprinkler inspection

1. Easy to Budget

In our industry, we follow the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) codes and standards for both the installation and inspection, testing, & maintenance of fire protection systems. This allows us to follow and recommend to our customers a process to follow for the routine inspection, testing, and maintenance of the fire protection systems at their properties. Specifically, we utilize NFPA 25: Standard for Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems and FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets 2-81: Fire Protection System Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance to advise our customers on the preventative maintenance procedures that should be followed.

By following these codes and standards, we know that there are recommended and required inspection, testing, and maintenance that should be done for each fire sprinkler system and their components. Because these procedures are recommended and / or required (depending on the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ)), we know that they have to be completed on a regular basis anyways, so it makes it easier to budget for. For example, most AHJ’s will require backflows, fire sprinkler systems, fire pumps, fire extinguishers, etc. to be inspected and / or tested annually at the very minimum, but some AHJ’s like hospital joint commission or other state / government funded facility will require these systems to be inspected or tested on a quarterly basis.

It is up to the property manager to work with a reputable service provider to make sure all of the necessary preventative maintenance program tasks are identified and properly scheduled to be completed at their required intervals. Beyond the annual or quarterly inspections, there are other tasks that should be completed at less frequent intervals of 3-years, 5-years, 6-years, etc. depending on the type of systems protecting your facility. By working with your service provider, they can assist you in the budgeting of these maintenance procedures.

2. Keep Your Property in Compliance

In the last couple of years, there has been a shift in the emphasis put into actively maintaining fire protection systems. In our area, we have seen many jurisdictions start to adopt an online compliance engine through Brycer called The Compliance Engine. This makes it easy for fire departments to manage the records of the properties in their jurisdiction and stay on top of the facilities that have deficiencies with their fire protection systems.

For so long, there was not much care toward maintaining fire protection systems. It is a common belief that once you have a fire protection system installed, you are set and won’t have to worry about whether your property is protected or not in the event of a fire, but that’s not the case.

It’s the exact opposite.

Fire protection systems require active involvement to make sure they are going to function should a fire ever break out at your facility. Fire Sprinkler systems especially require a bit more attention. Due to the involvement of water in the role of the fire protection system, a typical wet pipe sprinkler system does not have running water through it like a domestic water or plumbing system. Sprinkler systems generally sit uninterrupted and when water is stagnant for an extended period of time, the steel pipe and water begin to react to each other, causing corrosion, buildup, or blockage from scaling.

Because they are prone to corrosion and blockage, we must follow the guidelines that have been laid out by the NFPA and FM Global to make every effort to ensure that your fire protection systems are functioning properly at all times. That is the tricky thing about fires. You never know if or when they will ever occur. While we all hope it never does happen to anyone’s property, we know that it does happen and it is best to ALWAYS BE PREPARED.

3. Increased Life of your Sprinkler Systems

Just like anything else, if you take care of it, it will last longer.

Sprinkler systems and the components of sprinkler systems are no different and should be taken care of. The better you take care of your sprinkler systems, the longer they will last and the less you will need to make major repairs to them. When a sprinkler system is properly taken care of, they can last upwards of 40 to 50 years. On the flipside, if they are neglected, the sprinkler system will not last nearly as long. You may still get 20 years out of your sprinkler system, but that is a lot of wasted money when a sprinkler system costs anywhere from $20,000 to upwards $130,000 or more, depending on the size and type of sprinkler systems needed in your facility. That said, you could get by on annual maintenance costs of $500 to $5000 depending on the size of the facility, type of sprinkler systems, and number of systems we would need to take care of.

Save yourself big-time in the long run by having a preventative maintenance program in place for your property. For help on getting the right plan in place for your property, our Fire Protection Specialists can help.

4. Reduce the Long-Term Service Costs

When you need something taken care of right away, there is often a premium that you end up paying due to the urgency and convenience. What if you were able to plan out the repairs that you needed to make, budget for them, and complete them on your time?

Would that free up both time and resources for you and your business to focus on other things that demand more attention?

The Short Answer: YES!

You would be able to spend less time in a reactive state of maintenance. Think about it for a minute. What if every hour you spend reacting to a problem, you have to work an extra three hours to catch up and refocus your attention on what you were doing before you had to react. That means the problem is taking four hours of your time and resources because you had to react. Is that acceptable?

Instead, what if you spent one hour working to prevent the problem from occurring in the first place by catching it during your preventative maintenance routine. What could you do or get done in that extra three hours generated by being proactive? What could you spend that money on?

Not to mention, you are saving money by scheduling the repairs to be made in advance because your service provider will know exactly what materials are needed for the job and the time it will take to complete the repair or service that needs to be done. If it is something they can take care of without your direct supervision, then you can have them check in with you when they are finished and you have created even more time for yourself and your business with no lost time. At this point, you have effectively saved money and generated extra time for yourself to get more done.

5. Better Relationship with your Service Provider

This one speaks for itself. By having a preventative maintenance program in place with your service provider, you have the opportunity to see them more and establish a strong relationship with them. No longer are you dreading the annual inspection thinking, “I wonder what they are going to find wrong this year…” Now, with a proactive approach, you can work together with the thought of “what areas can we improve or focus on this year that needs attention?”. The shift in mindset allows you to view the service provider as someone that is on your side, looking out for the best interest of you and your property.

I believe that having your service provider at your property more often gives you more of a chance to build trust and understand where both sides stand for the well-being of your property. Now you don’t have to worry about finding a new service provider every year. Because the same team is at your property year over year, they will know your property just as well as you do. That can only be beneficial for the long-term value of your property should you ever decide to sell or need to sell.

Not sure how to implement a Preventative Maintenance Program at your property?

Contact our Service Department for a Consultation!