Testing and maintenance

Research Foundation workshop proceedings and webinar recording on “ITM Data Exchange: New Frontier of Standardization to Support Reliability Analyses” is now available

Fire protection systems are an essential part of a building’s safety ecosystem. The installation of such systems is just the beginning of a more dynamic safety process that requires diligent inspection, testing and maintenance (ITM) efforts. ITM plays a significant, fundamental role in managing facility risks, and ensures that systems will activate as intended, when needed, and ultimately minimize downtime — because down time equates to accumulated risk. There are nearly 70 NFPA codes and standards requiring some form of ITM.

In recent years, there has been interest in using inspection, testing, and maintenance activity data to inform decisions related to system reliability, risk acceptability, and ITM frequencies. These data are being captured in thousands of different formats, through hundreds of different approaches, and by thousands of different groups, but one key element has been lacking to date - standardization. This void has restricted the ability to determine sound performance-based inspection frequencies and prevents stakeholders from exchanging and analyzing data that can influence safety and efficiencies.

To address this need, a novel approach to standardizing ITM data using concepts of linked data and graph-modeling was pilot tested through a Fire Protection Research Foundation project. The project developed a proof-of-concept comprehensive, scalable, and extensible ITM data exchange model that can facilitate data sharing from diverse data sources to support reliability analyses and predictive analytics. Guided by the concepts of fair data principles, this case study demonstrated how graph-modeling and other cutting-edge techniques are being leveraged to collect and consolidate data to enable further analysis, reporting, and sharing of ITM data for the needs of various stakeholder groups.

Earlier in January 2021, the FPRF hosted a workshop with various stakeholders including AHJ’s, facility managers, building owners, fire protection contractors, inspectors, fire protection engineers or consultants, codes & standards representatives, fire protection manufacturers, insurers, data solution providers and other relevant stakeholders. The primary objectives of this workshop were to: Review the developed ITM Data Exchange model and the supporting material and provide a forum for stakeholders to provide feedback on the developed model and analytics dashboard. The workshop also touched on aspects such as how to move this concept forward as a community, how to develop and implement a community review and update process, and how to leverage this data model to share and exchange data to support analyses for the benefit of the fire protection community. The outcomes from this workshop are summarized in the Inspection, Testing and Maintenance (ITM) Data Exchange Model Workshop Proceedings, which are now accessible on the FPRF website.

The Foundation also presented this ITM data exchange model as a webinar on June 29, 2021, as a part of their 2021 webinar series. If you missed attending the webinar live, the webinar recording is now available for viewing here.

Visit www.nfpa.org/webinars for more upcoming NFPA and FPRF webinars and archives.

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Victoria Hutchison
Research Project Manager, passionate about the advancement of fire protection, life safety and emerging technologies through the development of research at FPRF.

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