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How Building Owners Can Benefit from Inspection, Testing, and Preventive Maintenance Programs

Thursday, February 10, 2022

How does performing regular inspection, testing, and preventive maintenance affect your building systems?

Mechanical Systems

Planned maintenance will reduce a system’s energy consumption and extend its useful life. Well-maintained equipment also improves indoor air quality and comfort. When you are proactive with your system, you will benefit from reduced operating costs, higher long-term system value, and reduced downtime. According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the average life expectancy of a light commercial HVAC rooftop unit is 15 years. Lifespan decreases significantly if proper preventive maintenance is not performed.

All HVAC equipment requires periodic cleaning, inspection, testing, and preventive maintenance. Many building owners perform breakdown repairs only. This can result in increased operating costs, inefficiency, and premature failure of components, or entire system failure. The reliability of the equipment becomes questionable.

Perhaps the most visible benefit is long-term cost savings. Proactive planned maintenance has been proven more cost-effective than “reactive” maintenance. Reactive maintenance can cause damage to the system and end up costing more for repairs – or worse, entire system replacement. Building owners can also eliminate deferred maintenance and control costs, and greatly reduce the “surprise” expense for repairs. Planned maintenance offers building owners a known annual cost and the peace of mind that comes with expert help.

Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Fire Protection Systems

Periodic inspection, testing, and maintenance (ITM) of fire protection systems are required. Approving authorities typically adopt standards created by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Some of the more common ITM standards are:

  • NFPA 10 Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers
  • NFPA 25 Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems
  • NFPA 72 National Fire alarm and Signaling Code

Compliance with approving authorities is not the only benefit that building owners realize from an ITM agreement. An ITM program, in accordance with NFPA standards, provides ongoing verification of proper system operation. This is a comprehensive, three-part program as defined by NFPA 25, 2011 edition:

Inspection – “A visual examination of a system or portion thereof to verify that it appears to be in operating condition and is free of physical damage.”

Testing – “A procedure used to determine the operational status of a component or system by conducting periodic physical checks, such as water flow tests, fire pump tests, alarm tests, and trip tests of dry pipe, deluge, or preaction valves.”

Maintenance – “In water-based fire protection systems, work performed to keep equipment operable or to make repairs.”

Ahern is a multi-trade mechanical and fire protection contractor specializing in facility services, construction, piping, and prefabrication services. We offer 24/7 emergency service as well as design and installation capabilities. We can tailor a combined planned maintenance program for your mechanical systems, and an ITM program for your fire protection systems. From start to finish, our team of experts will ensure your systems are properly designed and installed to meet your facility's needs.

Contact Ahern today to learn more!