Technical Memorandum – TB203 Technical Bulletin

As an LPCB Level 4 accredited company Alpine Fire Engineers provide design, project management and the service & maintenance of Automatic Fire Suppression systems.

The LPC Technical Bulletin TB203 are the standards which we work to. This document incorporates the full BS EN 12845:2015+A1:2019 standard and describes the periodic tests and checks required to maintain an automatic fire suppression system fully and effectively.

Following a working group committee, the TB203 Technical Bulletin has been updated.

What you need to know

Dale Kinnersley, FPA Principal Consultant and Convenor of the RISCAuthority Sprinkler Rules Working Group says

…’The updates are based on research, testing, product innovation, and changes to recognised international standards that help underpin the requirements from insurers and provide more comprehensive fire protection system options in relation to current UK construction and industry practices’

Whilst there are minor changes to the test regimes, a key area of focus within the update is Sprinkler Water Storage tanks. Below you will find some key points taken from the TECHNICAL BULLETIN 203: SEPTEMBER 2022:1, for full details please see the FPA website here:

Minor changes to the tests and checks

Where Alpine undertake all the periodic services the below will now be incorporated into our workflows and completion certificates.

Weekly – TB203.2.2.2

The water levels, gauges, and correct position of the stop valve should be checked and recorded.  

Nb. Alpine service engineers already carry this out as part of our existing good working practice.

Monthly – TB203.2.3.3/4

There is now a monthly check to visibly verify the level of water in the storage tanks, by accessing the top of the sprinkler tank lifting the cover for the float valves and checking to ensure the tank is full.

Quarterly – TB203.3.2.5/6

Sprinkler tank float valves will have their operation tested, by activating the float valve arm to simulate a drop in water in the sprinkler tank to ensure water passes through the valve correctly.

The sprinkler tanks will also be visually inspected on the quarterly visits to identify any leaks around the tank or external corrosion, if defects are identified at an early stage this will not result in a large tank failure and the possibility of a full system isolation required

In the event of any issues identified on the sprinkler tank we will appoint a tank specialist to carry out further inspections to enable us to resolve the issues quickly and effectively.

Half Yearly – TB203.3.3.3

Pressure transducers are an electrical type of pressure monitoring switch fitted to some fire pump control panels, these are to have their accuracy checked against the other fitted gauges on the system and or any other transducers fitting on the system, if there are any discrepancies with these readings a calibrated digital meter can be used to check this calibration.

Major Change – Sprinkler water storage tank inspections, by an engineer from a sprinkler servicing contractor

Two yearly – TB203.3.5.2

There has been increasing concern that sprinkler system water storage tanks, a critical feature of the system, are often overlooked. There is clear evidence that early identification of impairments to the tank can prevent costly and protracted downtime of the system.

The previous technical bulletin required a 10-year inspection with full drain down of the tank to facilitate an internal inspection.

The inspection period has now been changed to 2 yearly inspections. Using ROV (remotely operated vehicle) an inspection can now take place without the drain down of a tank.

As the sprinkler tank is one of the most critical parts of the sprinkler system these checks are critical and can identify issues internally or externally with the tanks allowing us to plan any works required before a full tank failure occurs and causes the system to be fully impaired and inoperable for a length of time.

ROV Inspections

A submersible remote operated camera (ROV) is now mentioned as an acceptable way to carry out the checks required on the sprinkler tanks and a detailed report of this inspection would be issued, identifying any areas of concern.

If this ROV inspection cannot clearly inspect some of the tank components, areas inside the tank or identify immediate action required there may still then be the need to fully drain the tank to allow entry to carry out further checks before a plan of works required can be issued.

Three Yearly TB203.3.6.4

An additional service visit had been added to the latest TB203 relating dry pipe, alternate or pre-action valve sets where there is a now a requirement to fill the system with water before test.

All the water that has entered the system will require draining from the system after this test is complete and the system will be reset back to its operating mode.

Please note – before this service is carried out, we will have to identify any areas that trapped water may not be able to be drained from the system, in this case there may be a requirement to install additional drains to the system to prevent any water entering the area covered by the dry, alternate or pre-action system. This is to ensure that no water remains in the system following the test and therefore the potential for damage to the area covered or the system itself in freezing conditions

How can we help?

Please do not hesitate to contact Alpine at 0161 791 4511 or [email protected]  should you have any questions regarding the changes or would like a free no-obligation quotation – our Service Delivery and Technical team will gladly assist.