What To Do After Failing Your Fire Hydrant Flow Test: Part 2 – Modify The Fire Hydrant Design

Oct 11, 2021

No one likes to fail a fire hydrant flow test. Especially one that influences the safety of individuals, and also public and private property. Contrary to what your fire maintenance contractor may have suggested, there are several solutions that don’t involve the installation of a fire fighting pump. It may be possible to modify the design of the fire protection system by including street fire hydrants or reclassifying “attack hydrants”, to “feed hydrants”.

Should You Install A Fire Pump After A Failed Fire Hydrant Flow Test?

After a failed fire hydrant flow test, a fire maintenance company or someone providing fire protection services may recommend that the property owner install a fire pump or fire tanks. Fire fighting pumps introduce some additional problems and should be avoided where possible. Fire pumps need monthly inspections conducted, require significant space, and are costly to install. On top of that, fire pumps introduce complexity and more potential failure modes. The images below show some examples of how the fire pump can fail and reduce the reliability of the fire hydrant system.

If you have been advised to install a fire pump, it’s worth checking if the troubleshooting investigations from Part 1, such as replacing faulty components, resolve the problem. If the site investigation does not uncover a problem, there may still be solutions to modify the design before you need to consider the installation of a fire pump.

Use Street Fire Hydrants To Provide Coverage

There may be no need to install an onsite pump if the building can be protected by a nearby street fire hydrant. If the site does not have a booster cabinet, the hydrant design standard states that street hydrants can be used to provide protection to the site. This solution will require the involvement of a Building Certifier to ensure that the non-compliant hydrant is removed and the street fire hydrant meets performance requirements. The street hydrant that will now be relied upon must be fully accessible, easy to see and fully operational. The street fire hydrant now forms part of the site’s fire hydrant system and is included, along with the other on-site hydrants, in the regular maintenance with minimal (or no) additional maintenance costs.

Modifying The System From An “Attack” To “Feed” Hydrant System

It may be possible to modify the fire hydrant system from an “attack” to a “feed” hydrant system. If the hydrant system is an attack hydrant system that relies on external (outside a building) hydrants only, then the required pressure may be reduced from 350kPa to 200kPa if the site meets the location requirements of a feed hydrant system.

This solution can be applied on sites where a fire truck can be parked within 20 metres of key hydrants. To meet this requirement, the extension of a driveway (hardstand) and even the installation of a firewall around hydrants located within 10 metres of a building may be required.

HTC Group Keeps Your Fire Hydrant Safe & Compliant

A failed hydrant flow test does not always mean the responsible property owner will need to install a fire pump. Keep in mind that utilising these solutions may require the system to be recertified and they may not be relevant in every situation. These solutions can offer significant long term savings when compared to the installation of a fire fighting pump. On the other hand, if these solutions are not applicable in your situation, you can rest assured that the capital invested in a fire pump is justified.

At HTC Group, we aim to set our own customer service standard by striking the balance between assured compliance, and minimising defect rectification expenses. We provide a range of options to put the power back into your hands to keep your hydrant system compliant. If you need professional hydrant testing you can trust, be sure to contact our helpful team today.

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