As the building owner or facility manager, your building’s sprinkler system may not always be top of mind, but it is imperative to understand the basics of your system. When a situation arises, you should be prepared to assess the problem and make decisions or work with an outside professional to resolve the situation.

While an outside provider, such as Ryan Fireprotection, is often hired to perform inspection, testing and maintenance, the owner is still ultimately responsible for the building and the sprinkler system. This includes knowing the type of system(s) installed in the building, where the systems are housed and when the most recent tests and inspections were performed. “Knowing where any low point drains are in a dry system is one of the most critical things an owner should know but often doesn’t,” said Brad Bojrab, Vice President of Service at Ryan Fireprotection. “It is one of those items that needs to be inspected by the owner or facility manager on a much more frequent basis than just during a quarterly inspection.”

Building owners should refer to NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 25, Chapter 4 for a complete guide to the owner’s responsibilities in regards to their sprinkler systems.

A few top points from NFPA 25, Chapter 4 to keep in mind:

  • File and know where all of your past inspection paperwork is. A visit from a fire marshal can go smoothly with all paperwork in order or can cause much unneeded stress if your paperwork is missing. If paperwork cannot be located, the owner can reach out to a Ryan Fireprotection representative, and paperwork can be sent to the owner.
  • If the building’s functionality (occupancy classification) should change, it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that the sprinkler systems installed are equipped for the new purpose. If in doubt, the owner should schedule an appointment with a Ryan Fireprotection professional to discuss if an engineering survey and assessment of the system is required. This is commonly seen in buildings with leased spaces, where new tenants have a different hazard classification due to the type of business they are conducting within the existing space.
  • After professional inspection and testing services are performed, it is the owner’s responsibility to fix any impairments and/or deficiencies that are reported within the inspection documents. After an inspection is performed by a Ryan Fireprotection professional, the owner will receive a quote for any needed or recommended repairs, and then the owner will need to take action. To help with this process, Ryan Fireprotection offers a service hotline to answer any questions.

Knowing a building’s sprinkler system will better equip the building owner or facility manager with the knowledge needed to make smart maintenance decisions about the building. Since it is important to understand the sprinkler system in your building, you may find value in having a refresher course, you can start by scheduling a “no cost” owner’s training appointment with a professional that will give you a basic overview of your system.

To have a Ryan Fireprotection professional conduct inspection and testing services on your system, please complete this form or call 1.800.409.7606, and press 1 to be connected to our service department.