ESM-04
March 2017

System Inferface Test – AS1851-2012

AUST  Hendry advises building owners, property professionals and contractors the need to be aware that an annual System Interface Test (also known as Full Function Fire Systems Test) is mandatory where the requirements of Australian Standard AS1851-2012 (and 2005) are applicable as essential safety measures stemming from each states building regulations.

To facilitate better operational reliability of fire protection systems, amendments were made to AS1851-2005 ‘Maintenance of Fire Protection Equipment and Systems’ to include a requirement for building owners, managers and contractors to complete a System Interface Test annually.

This means where fire systems are interfaced with other building systems (life safety), these interfaces must be tested annually through a System Interface Test, before signing the annual maintenance statement.

/ TIMING OF TEST
Since a System Interface Test may be disruptive to building operations, it is recommended that the building owner or facility manager’s representative engages an independent and suitably experienced consultant (to attend the SIT as a witness) such as Hendry to minimise the time taken to complete the System Interface Test, and to communicate with building owners, engineers, facility managers and contractors to coordinate and manage the testing of the interfaced fire protection systems.

/ SPECIALIST EXISTING CONTRACTORS

Depending on the size and type of occupancy, the System Interface Test may require the services of a mechanical and hydraulic engineer, technicians specialising in fire alarms, sprinklers, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning), electrical power, vertical transport and building management systems (some would be the maintenance contractors for the building).

Accurate fire protection system interface documentation is critical to facilitating a successful System Interface Test and must be provided, obtained or created prior to the System Interface Test commencing.

/ FUNCTIONAL INTERFACED SYSTEMS
Refer to Table 1 for a basic example of a System Interface Test diagram/ matrix that identifies systems in a commercial building that may be functionally interfaced. Following on from this type of basic diagram will be a more complex matrix that provides a strategy and cause and effect chart that benchmarks the System Interface Test.

Types of System Interface Test/ Full Function Fire Systems Test Documentation Required:

  • Drawings – Mechanical Services, Electrical, Fire Services and Building Transportation
  • Equipment Schedules – Mechanical Services, Electrical and Fire Services, Building Transportation
  • Current Fire Matrix
  • Current System Cause and Effect Charts Specifying the Design Criteria
  • Specifications for zone and floor pressurisation
  • Basic System Interface Test/ Full Function Fire Systems Test Procedure (typical).

Automatic sprinkler and smoke alarm systems when activated in specific ways automatically cause operation of interfaced systems such as:

  • Stair pressurisation systems
  • Release fire doors
  • Operate roof vents to permit smoke to escape
  • Shutdown non-fire essential plant
  • Operate elevator override controls
  • Automatically cause fire pump sets to operate.

The criteria and methods of initiating the System Interface Test are specified in AS1851-2012 (2005) under the respective sections for each type of essential safety measure. In order to comply with the requirements of AS1851, through the System Interface Test, all of the System Interfaces must be verified as operational.

A System Interface Test is an opportune time, whilst all of the services contractors are onsite to check your systems capacity to do annual flow, hydrostatic, sandwich and stairwell pressurisation testing, to ensure your services meet their design criteria.

SYSTEM STAIR PRESSURISATION DOOR RELEASES ROOF VENTS SSIS PLANT SHUTDOWN FIRE PUMPS FIRE/SMOKE DAMPERS
Sprinklers X X X X X X X
FIP X X X X X X X
Smoke Detection X X X X X X X
Gaseous Suppression X X X
Hydrants X
Hose Reels X
Kitchen Fire Suppression X X X

Table 1: Test Matrix

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