About inspections

As a homeowner, will your inspection affect my household?

No, when we inspect home sprinkler systems we make sure it’s as non-invasive as possible. In general we check the water level in your tanks, make sure your valves are open, and that your sprinklers aren’t obstructed or blocked with boxes or other material.

After an inspection, do I get a copy of your report?

Yes. As required by NFPA 25, a copy of our inspection report must be left at the premises and if you’ve lost your copy, we can send another.

How does an inspection affect my insurance rate?

Buildings which are fully sprinklered enjoy special reduced rates. However, you must make sure that your insurance company receives verification of your system’s inspection, or you will still pay the higher rates.

How often should my system be inspected?

The NFPA standard recommends that a full sprinkler system should be inspected at least 4 times a year by a licensed contractor. However, each component in your fire sprinkler system has its own recommended frequency of inspection. For example, control valves without electronic supervision and/or chains and locks are to be checked on a weekly basis.

If you are unsure of the proper inspection/testing schedule for your system components, contact us, and we will help you set up a proper inspection schedule for each of your system components.

At Buckmiller Sprinkler, we hold the necessary Certificate of Fitness licenses (S-12 & S-13) required to perform valid NFPA inspections and we offer economical long-term service agreements for your piece of mind.

It is our goal to help you remain vigilant, catch malfunctions early or even before they start. With a detailed inspection schedule, solid reporting, repairs and more — it will be easy to obtain the test certificates which help you comply with your insurance company and FDNY inspection requirements.

Do inspections affect my insurance rate?

Fully sprinklered buildings enjoy reduced rates only if your insurance company received verification of your system inspection. If your insurance company has no such verification of your inspection, you will pay penalties in the form of higher insurance rates.

Section 402 of the Commercial Fire Rating Schedule (CFRS) states that building owners are required to have annual inspections of their sprinkler systems in order to enjoy the “sprinklered” insurance rate.

However, if your inspections are overdue, various penalties apply.

If an inspection is overdue for up to 12 months, a 5% penalty applies. If the inspection is overdue for 12-24 months a 20% penalty applies. If an inspection is 24-36 months overdue, a 60% penalty applies. If after 36 months an inspection is still not performed, a fully sprinklered building is rated as “Unsprinklered” for the purpose of insurance, with no credit allowed.

Are you getting the full financial benefit from your sprinkler system? Even though you may be fully sprinklered, you might be spending more than you should. Check with your insurance provider about the rate for your building and get your sprinkler system inspected today.

How does inspection affect my liability?

As an owner or manager of property, you are liable if your building goes up in flames. According to the most recent court decisions, even if a sprinkler system was not required to be installed in the building lost to fire, owners were still liable and had to pay out millions of dollars.

Likewise, cases also have shown that owners or managers of buildings with fire sprinkler systems are held liable if it was shown that they failed to maintain their system in working order.

Inspections are important. As owners of commercial buildings, there is an obligation and duty to maintain safe conditions for employees and occupants. Routine inspections protect you, your occupants, your building, and your insurance contract. Our team at Buckmiller is standing by ready to advise, inspect, test, repair, report — and most of all, put your mind at ease.


About violations

I received a notice of violations form, how do I fill it out?

We have a clearly labeled example notice of violations and certificate of corrections form to help guide you.

What are the most common violations?

Violations are commonly issued to property owners because they have not had their 5-year hydrostatic test, water flow test, pipes color coded to meet Local Law 58/09, or they may have corroded sprinkler heads that have yet to be replaced.

What is a cure date?

After a violation is issued, you have a 35 day window in which you can take care of the necessary repairs and testing to avoid the court date. All of your paperwork most be submitted by this date. If you are going through this process currently, contact us and we’ll help you make sense of the paperwork so you can regain confidence in your building’s safety and focus on your business.

Help! I missed my cure date, what happens now?

You must go to court and pay a fine no matter if you have already made the necessary repairs.

I missed both the cure and court date, what happens now?

You must pay a fine and request a new court date with the Environmental Control Board (ECB).


About testing

What is the main drain test, and why do I need it?

To remain compliant with the standard set by NFPA 25, it is required to perform the 2″ main drain test on an annual basis. This test is designed to verify the strength of water flow in your system. It helps you detect any defects that may exist in your system that impede water flow such as obstructions, almost shut valves, or a closed gate.

What is the water flow test, and why do I need it?

This is a required test to meet the standard set by NFPA 25. The water flow test must be performed on a quarterly basis, It ensures that your water flow detecting devices and alarms are operational. If connected to a central alarm, we will notify the fire department before running this test.

What is the Hydrostatic 5 year test?

Also known as a functionality test, this test confirms that your sprinkler/standpipe fire department connections are free from defects and are able to be used by the fire department. This test must be performed in the presence of a fire department official and conducted by a licensed fire sprinkler contractor such as Buckmiller Sprinkler.


About installations

How much do sprinkler systems cost to install?

It depends on the type of system and the size of the building, but an investment in sprinklers will generally be less than what you will pay if you have to wait for the FDNY to put out your fire.

Are smoke detectors good enough?

Smoke alarms are meant to act as alarms, not fire suppression systems. They won’t put out a fire, and they only work as long as they have batteries. Sprinkler systems control and contain fires by eliminating the threat in a safe and efficient manor.

What’s worse, fire damage or water damage from sprinklers?

Water from a fire sprinkler system is far less damaging than from a fireman’s hose. Sprinkler systems suppressĀ small fires before they have a chance to blaze out of control. According to a recent study, homes without fire sprinklers on average suffer over $179,000 in fire damages, compared to just $14,000 with fire sprinklers.


About Retrofitting

Will sprinklers ruin my home’s aesthetics and character?

Not anymore, nowadays sprinklers can be hidden with covers and installed flush with walls / ceilings. They can also be painted to match your home’s decor with custom concealed covers.

When a fire occurs, does every sprinkler head go off?

No, this is a common myth shown in movies. In fact, 82% of fires that occur in homes were controlled by two or fewer sprinklers.