The standard commonly used in the United States for sprinkler system testing and maintenance is NFPA 25, “Standard for the Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems.”
In Europe, the common standard is the “VdS CEA Guidelines for Sprinkler Systems, Planning and Installation.” This specification was developed by a group from the protection section of CEA (Comite Europeen des Assurances) in line with the experts of EUROFEU (European Committee of the Manufacturers of Fire Protection and Safety Equipment and Fire Fighting Vehicles). The VdS standard not only addresses testing and maintenance, but also references installation requirements similar to NFPA 13, “Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems.”
For the purposes of this article, we will focus only on comparing general sprinkler system testing and maintenance requirements between NFPA 25 and the VdS standard and their guidelines for sprinkler systems. While there are numerous tests and maintenance procedures in both standards, the chart below will address only those most commonly noted during a Property Loss Prevention Survey.
NFPA 25 Frequency
|Gauge readings on installations, trunk mains & pressure tanks|
Monthly (wet system)
Weekly (dry, preaction & deluge)
|Water motor alarm test|
|Fire Pump Churn Test|
|Fire Pump Full Flow Test|
|Visual Sprinkler Valve Inspection|
|Waterflow Alarm Test|
|Valve “Turn Down Test”|
Annual (Position, Operation)
|Dry Pipe Valve Tests|
|Water Tank Corrosion Inspection|
Every 3 years
Every 5 years
|Foam Proportioning Systems|
|Pipework and Pipe Supports|
Based on the VdS standard, monitoring of sprinkler systems (valve tamper, tank level, system pressure, waterflow alarms, pump alarm, etc.) is required only under the following conditions:
- OH (Ordinary Hazard) systems with more than 3,000 sprinklers.
- HHP (High Hazard Production) & HHS (High Hazard Storage) systems with more than 750 sprinklers.
- High rack storage systems with more than 80 sprinklers.
According to the VdS standard, all testing and maintenance must be performed by a VdS approved installer.
If you are responsible for the installation, maintenance and testing of sprinkler systems for a European facility, Risk Logic Inc. recommends you obtain a copy of the current VdS standard and review all the necessary data for your project. If you would like to schedule a survey to review the fire protection testing and maintenance procedures, please contact Risk Logic.