Too often, life-safety and asset protection systems are ignored in a real estate transaction. Usually they are not mentioned in a disclosure statement, no service records or system inspection reports of fire sprinklers, heat or smoke detectors. An EKAN Home Inspection looks for this info and makes note of the lack of documentation and the need for it being provided.
The other day a West Vancouver client asked me to arrange for and participate in a fire protection sprinkler inspection, with a fire safety contractor. Here's what was discovered:
- No maintenance records after three decades of service. In our jurisdiction, a domestic sprinkler system needs to be inspected annually for proper operation. Would it even work if called upon?
- The sprinker heads were the subject of a product recall. Talk about horseshoes and luck that a fire never stressed the system!
- The flow switch was not connected to the alarm and monitoring system. Had a sprinkler head operated and put out a fire, water would continue to flow through the pipe with no one aware for a day, a week or an month. Imagine the damage!
In this particular case, I had a diligent client who wanted all fire safety systems verified. The inspection revealed inadequacies in the system which will shortly be corrected.
As a professional engineer I know that occupancy in commercial, institutional and industrial buildings is subject to all life-safety systems being operational. Why should we accept a lesser standard with our personal residences?