Commercial properties are often visited by many people. As a result, the need to be completely safe concerning fire protection is very important. One of the ways we can achieve this is by ensuring that standpipes and other fire protection systems are in perfect working order.
How is this achieved? With Reg 4 testing. If you haven’t heard of this before, today, we will explain what Reg 4 is and what you need to do with your standpipes to pass the test.
What is Reg 4?
Reg 4 is actually an abbreviated term. It is a common name for the Chiefs Regulation #4 program (a bit of a mouthful). This program is designed to oversee and offer guidance for the repair and testing of fire protection equipment yearly.
The rules and regulations are devised by the LA Fire Department. They comply with the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) guidance given in documents NFPA-14 and Title 19 of NFPA 25 (California Edition).
Reg 4 ensures that fire protection and standpipes are in perfect working condition. As a result, if they need to be used, you can be assured that they will offer the maximum amount of protection.
What is the Purpose of Standpipes?
You can consider a standpipe to be a construction of water ducts that act in the same way as a fire hydrant. The main difference is that whereas a fire hydrant may be located outside in a single location, a standpipe is an intricate network of pipes throughout a building with outlets on each floor.
Should there be a fire, firefighters can attach a hose to any outlet on any floor and successfully combat a fire.
Because they are not used often (thankfully) and contain water, standpipes, like any water-holding structure, can be prone to corrosion and degradation. Therefore, it is important that they are checked well for serviceability issues at regular intervals.
What is Tested Under Reg 4?
Reg 4 doesn’t just cover standpipes. The system is designed to cover all aspects of a commercial building’s fire protection systems. Reg 4 covers the following areas for inspection:
- Fire Alarms
- Automatic Elevators
- Fire Escapes
- Central Alarm Systems
- Emergency Power
- Gas Detection Systems
- Smoke Alarms and Management Systems
- Fire Pumps
- Fire Hydrants
And of course, standpipes…
What Are the Classes of Standpipe System According to Reg 4?
Reg 4 has different testing requirements for different types of standpipe. The following types are covered by Reg 4:
- Class 1 – A standpipe system that may or may not be connected to a continuous water supply, with 2 ½ inch hose connections
- Class II – A standpipe system that is connected to a continuous water supply. It has a 1 ½ inch hose connection
- Class III – A combination of class I and class II wet systems. It is equipped with both 1 ½ inch hose and 2 ½ inch hose connections and can be used for initial response by trained personnel and the fire department.
- Combined Standpipe and Sprinkler – A similar system to a Class III standpipe. However, it also provides a steady water supply to sprinklers.
Standpipe Reg 4 Testing Procedures. What Can I Expect?
Because the testing procedures for Reg 4 are performed to a given standard, it is easy to know what is required and what will be checked. According to LAFD Chiefs Regulation 4, here are the things that will be checked in simple terms:
The first port of call for a Reg 4 inspector will be to give the system a general ‘once over’. The general aim is to check the standpipe system appears to be in good working order according to NFPA 14 and NFPA 25.
As we have said, standpipes are used as water outlets for the fire department. Therefore the areas they will connect their hoses to need to be checked as operational and free of corrosion. The inspector will also ensure that signage pointing to the connections is serviceable and easily identified.
Detritus in the system is a natural occurrence. The inspector will flush the system to ensure that grime does not build up to a level where the system becomes blocked.
The inspector will push air into the system at a given pressure (around 25 psi) for 30 minutes. They do this so that any leaks in the system can easily be identified.
Air is used instead of water to avoid damaging the interior of the building if there is a leak detected.
Pressure, Flow Rate, and Gauges
Water pressure must be sufficient to fight fires on any floor. The inspector will check that water pressure gauges are reading accurately. Following this, they will hydrostatically test the system.
Flow is obviously of great importance. The inspector will also record the flow rate delivered by the standpipe system.
In the case of combined systems, the inspector will test all of the above, plus a little extra. They will also perform a full check on the sprinkler system. To see what this will likely involve and to make sure you pass, be sure to read our dedicated sprinkler guide here. According to Reg 4, this is an area that many businesses fail on.
Take a look at the Reg 4 documentation. You will see that it is littered with technical terms and is actually a very in-depth fire inspection. It can be hard to know whether you are compliant or not, and inspectors must be trained to perform a check.
However. There is an easier solution
Fraker Fire Protection, based in the Los Angeles area, can offer consultations and expert guidance so that you can pass the inspection. We also offer fitting and maintenance on standpipe systems. Visit our site to see our information on standpipe Reg 4 testing. Or, alternatively, contact us and we’d be happy to offer expert advice.