The Five Questions You Must Answer To Ensure NFPA 110 Compliance

The Five Questions You Must Answer To Ensure NFPA 110 Compliance

Planned maintenance is a critical part of any backup power system. Regular verification that an installed system is functional is necessary to ensure that standby power will be available when primary power is lost. 

NFPA 110 requires that the Emergency Power Supply System (EPSS), including components like generator sets, transfer switches, circuit breakers, fuel systems, batteries and other equipment, be inspected weekly. In addition, the EPSS must be run under load at least monthly, and have minimum maintenance activities completed annually. This includes testing of all fluids (oil, coolant, and fuel). Finally, more intensive maintenance activities—such as battery replacement, cooling system service, valve adjustment, tune up, and fuel polishing—must be completed at the correct interval.

You don’t want to wait for a random inspection and testing to find out whether or not your EPSS is dependable. You need an established program of routine maintenance and operational testing to keep it functional, even when it’s not in use.

If you’re uncertain whether your EPSS is up to the task, here are five questions you must answer to ensure NFPA 110 compliance:

What inspection tasks are you performing and at what frequency level?

Did you know that there are inspection items for monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, and annual intervals? There’s a reason why these items are known as “routine maintenance.” If they are not part of your regular facilities’ maintenance schedule, you can easily fall behind on required upkeep.

Remember, all components, all fluids, and all systems are subject to NFPA 110 code. Your maintenance tasks must be centered on inspecting all of these items at the proper time.

Who completes these tasks?

Who is in charge of inspecting and maintaining your backup power systems? Is it the Facilities Manager, Property Manager…someone on the custodial staff? 

It’s important to know, because this person will be answering to the Fire Marshal at the time of the inspection. If you haven’t assigned these tasks to someone on your team—or you’re unaware if these tasks are being performed at all—you should look into this immediately.

What are the qualifications of the personnel conducting these tasks?

There’s no doubt that the Facilities Manager or Property Manager in charge of maintaining your building is a competent professional. But is that person an EGSA Certified Technician for generator systems?

Properly maintaining your EPSS requires a unique skill set, one that takes years to train for. The best way of ensuring that your backup power system is up to NFPA 110 code is by using a EGSA Certified Technician to perform regular maintenance and servicing.

Do you have auditable record keeping and documentation available to support your claims of routine maintenance?

Most people don’t realize that NFPA 110 section 8.5.1 requires that records shall be created and maintained for all EPSS inspections, operational tests, exercising, repairs, and modifications. 

This record has to include the following: 

  1. The date of the maintenance report
  2. Identification of the servicing personnel
  3. Notation of any unsatisfactory condition and the corrective action taken, including parts replaced
  4. Testing of any repair in the time recommended by the manufacturer

What level of risk are you willing to assume?

Every building owner and Facilities Manager faces the same issue: how do I maintain my building to code while my budget keeps shrinking?

Answering this question begs another one: what level of risk am I willing to assume? If your EPSS stops working at the wrong moment, it can have much greater consequences than failing an inspection: it can mean downtime for your business, loss of critical data, or much worse.

Your backup generators are often considered one of those “out of sight, out of mind” systems. But ignoring maintenance means you are assuming some level of risk that the system won’t be available when you need it.

Bonus question: What are the minimum services and interval requirements for my generator system?

At Electro-Motion, we hear this last question all the time. Budgets get slashed, staff is laid off, and Facilities Managers are left wondering how they will keep their EPSS up to code.

Electro-Motion’s maintenance proposals always recommend the minimum requirements for your system based on the NFPA 110 standard but will customize this to your preference with the caveat that failing to conduct proper maintenance could lead to unplanned and unbudgeted outage events and repairs.

We execute our services with EGSA (Emergency Generator Services Association) certified and trained personnel.  We have also created a collection of maintenance and testing schedules, forms and logs to help keep you in compliance with NFPA 110 recordkeeping rules.  You can use these forms to develop your maintenance and testing plan, keep a log of your maintenance history, and record results of your weekly inspections and monthly operational tests.

We provide emergency power integrity for 100% of our membership customers and are on call 24/7/365 to ensure an excellent customer experience.

Have some questions of your own? Call Electro-Motion at 650-321-6169 or click here to schedule a complementary consultation.

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