GBA’s fire protection engineer, Dave Lewis, PE, FPE, ARM was recently selected to present at the 7x24 Exchange Midwest Chapter & AFCOM 2014 Fall Conference. Below is an excerpt from his talk.
Many of our clients fall into the category of critical facilities, i.e. facilities that can’t tolerate disruption to normal business operations. This includes data centers and telecommunications centers, with key electrical and mechanical systems, designed and built with redundancy and reliability that exceed those found in other types of occupancies. Preventative maintenance on these systems is critical. The increased complexity of design and preventative maintenance are necessary to attain peak system performance and align with corporate goals for business continuity.
When developing a plan for business continuity and uptime of a critical facility, it is important to consider a few key items.
- Fire suppression, detection and alarm systems – will the minimum levels of protection required by code support your corporate goals for continuity of operations and appetite for risk?
- Waterbased and/or clean agent suppression systems– How susceptible is your equipment to water damage?
- Early warning smoke detection to supplement standard smoke detection – How vulnerable is your equipment or product to smoke damage?
- The age and complexity of the alarm system as it relates to ongoing maintenance – As the age and/or complexity of your systems increases, has your preventative maintenance increased as well?
To make matters more challenging, changes in technology have rendered some fire alarm systems “obsolete”, making them harder to maintain and more susceptible to failure resulting in downtime. These issues can result in a higher frequency and duration of critical fire protection impairment, ultimately leading to catastrophic loss and expense.
Fire protection professionals can assist in evaluating existing systems to determine if performance is consistent with corporate goals and are maintainable. For new facilities, owners and tenants should consider fire protection systems with other critical building systems to ensure that design align with corporate goals.
To learn more about GBA’s Fire & Life Safety Team and how we can help achieve your corporate goals for business continuity, visit our website.