In January 2020, a new standard was introduced that would require your building to get an integrated test for all new builds or substantial upgrades.
Three years later, there is a bit of a gray area as to who exactly can carry out this test for you, and what exactly will be required.
This obviously has enormous implications for any building owner, manager, or board that has a new build, addition or retrofit planned for the near future.
So let’s set the record straight and give you the straight facts.
What is this Integrated Test and Who Needs it?
We’ve explored this topic a few times in other blogs. So, for a deep dive, we invite you to read this.
But in broad strokes:
What is the Test?
CAN/ULC-S1001 Standard for Integrated Systems Testing
Who Needs It?
Anyone applying for a permit for a new build or substantial change that would impact the life safety system.
What Does it Test?
It ensures the various parts of your system (sprinklers, elevators, doors) work together in an integrated fashion and the proper series of events is triggered.
Who Can Perform This Test?
That’s where things get a little gray. Allow me to explain…
Who Can Perform My Integrated Test? What is Required?
In the early days following the announcement of this new standard, the messaging pointed to only a certified CAN/ULC-S1001 inspector being able to carry out the inspection, and only they could issue the actual certificate, and they had to be working with a certified firm.
However, 3 years later, things are playing out a little bit differently.
So who can perform your test? Right now that answer tends to differ depending on your municipality.
There are several municipalities in the GTA that are steadfast—you need a certified inspector from a certified firm.
However, there are more lax areas and municipalities. Right now, the building code says that the test is required, but it does not say that a certificate is required to be issued, nor does it say who is supposed to do the actual test.
That gray area means that some municipalities require a certified inspector and a certificate, while others do not.
So... Do I Need a Certified Inspector?
If I were a building owner, I would not trust my building’s fire safety to ‘just anyone.’
At the same time, in my experience, non-certified people doing these tests have led to some substandard inspections. I am hearing that dangerous things are going unchecked!
For example, integrations between smoke control equipment. There are people out there who are not doing pressure readings. Why is that important? Unless you go that extra step and take pressure readings, that pressure fan may be coming on the way it’s supposed to, but if it’s not feeding enough air, then your compartment is not pressurized the way it’s supposed to be. This is incredibly dangerous and would go completely unnoticed unless you checked the pressure readings.
The intention of this test is to make sure that the equipment is working the way it’s supposed to; Not just turning on or off. That does ensure your building is safe.
You Should Always Choose a Certified Firm, Regardless of Where You Are!
From a business perspective, the CAN/ULC-S1001 Standard for Integrated Systems Testing really serves two purposes.
The first is obvious. It’s to ensure that your building is as safe as possible by testing your equipment’s integration in a way that has never really been tested before.
The second purpose is to establish a baseline, on which all future testing will be based. And simply put, if a less-knowledgeable and less thorough non-certified tester is defining that baseline for you:
1. Your building is not going to be as safe
2. You’re opening yourself up to future costly compliance issues
The whole reason the CAN/ULC-S1001 standard exists is because of the problems that have been observed testing individual components in isolation.
Your elevators may pass an individual test. But unbeknownst to you, they may not be set up to trigger the next required (and potentially life-saving) sequential series of events. Without an integrated test, you may not know that gap exists until an emergency situation arrives.
Warning! You Could End Up Paying For This Test Twice if…
Many of the municipalities that do not require a certified tester/firm right now are moving towards changing that in the near future.
So, if you pay for a non-certified tester, you could easily end up having to pay to re-test to obtain that certificate anyways!
Why not do things right the first time?
Trust Canada’s First and Foremost Integrated Testing Firm
FCS Fire Consulting was officially Canada’s 1st ULC Authorized S-1001 Integrated Systems Testing Service Provider!
Don’t take chances with your building fire safety! Trust the authorized experts!
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