Testing? Check Your Gauge Dates!

In at least one Bay Area (California) jurisdiction, the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) halted approval of a NFPA 14 new construction acceptance test’s report due to a lack of current certification on the test gauges used on the diffuser, casting questions on the accuracy of the readings, and the report itself.

With days before final occupancy count and performance guarantee dates are on the line, this isn’t the time to check your paperwork, so be sure to understand what your AHJ requires, what you have available, and ideally, have them review it BEFORE proceeding to a flow test.  This saves hassle, drama and quite possibly, contractual penalties to be paid out.

For what it’s worth, this isn’t just a ‘cranky’ AHJ – NFPA 25 Handbook: ITM for Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, calls for:

  • 8.3.3.2.2.2: “Gauges, transducers, and other devices, with the exception of flow meters, used for measurement during the test shall be calibrated a minimum of annually to an accuracy level of +/- 1 percent.”
  • 8.3.3.2.2.3: “Flow meters shall be calibrated annually to an accuracy level of +/- 3 percent.”

All gauges, regardless of age or type – new or used, analog or digital – are to have a certificate available.  “Self-calibrating” digital gauges don’t provide a certificate, so those, too, require a certificate when in town.  (For work elsewhere, it’s still worthwhile to keep up: accuracy is key regardless of where you’re working.)

This goes for our fire engines, too.  The same AHJ indicated to us that yup, the fire engine’s pump also needs to have a current annual pump and vacuum test certificate available for review as part of the job documentation. (While there is no set standard for fire engines, however, our interpretation is using the Pump Pressure gauge and individual discharge gauges for the purpose of testing reasonably falls under 8.3.3.2.2.2.)

Need to track our certificates?  Easy — we share our certificates online.

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