While their employees work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are taking the opportunity to update their buildings. Whether that includes a complete renovation, or simply a much-needed refresh, fire system retrofitting should be part of the refurbishment process.
Retrofitting refers to the process of updating current fire protection systems or installing new ones in order to meet current fire safety codes and best practices. These systems can include fire sprinklers, fire alarm systems, or fire suppression systems.
So what should businesses and building owners pay attention to while retrofitting their fire safety infrastructure?
When Do You Need to Retrofit Fire Safety Systems?
Not every renovation requires retrofitting, and not every retrofit occurs during a renovation. However, there are some factors that will help determine when is the best time to replace an outdated system.
The appropriate times to retrofit fire safety systems include:
- During renovations
- Changes in building occupancy
- Changes in potential hazards
- Changes in building use
- Upgrades in older or faulty systems
- Changes to fire and safety codes
Changes in building occupancy and building use can greatly impact the role of fire safety systems. An office with a kitchen will have different safety needs than a warehouse or a commercial space. While older systems should be regularly monitored and retrofitted as needed, renovations are an opportune time to review the existing systems and ensure their functionality.
What Fire Safety Systems Need to be Retrofitted During a Renovation?
The most important fire safety systems that need to be retrofitted during a renovation are:
- Fire sprinklers
- Fire suppression systems
- Fire alarms
- Security systems
These two systems provide an immediate response to any fire risk, preventing the spread of the fire and stalling damage to property, assets, and employees.
While retrofitting outdated systems, businesses and building owners may also consider installing an integrated fire and security system for long-term ease of use, cost savings, and better overall system management. A dual system can provide peace of mind while facilitating a better flow of critical information in the event of an emergency, limiting false alarms and provoking quicker responses times.
Retrofitting Outdated Systems for Optimized Performance
In an office setting, kitchen fires and electric fires are the most likely cause of a fire. Retrofitting fire sprinklers, alarms, and suppression systems can go a long way in limiting damages and protecting employees. Business owners must also make sure that their building is up to code.
Every building—no matter its use—should have a fire safety plan in place and managers should conduct regular fire safety training including training employees on how to properly operate a fire extinguisher. These measures, in addition to a retrofitted building infrastructure, are essential to a safe environment that minimizes risk.