Importance of a Data Centre Room Integrity Test

What is a room integrity test?

A pressure test is performed to check the integrity of a room or enclosure where a Fire Suppression System has been installed. The Test then assesses the room’s integrity to ensure that gas does not dissipate too quickly before putting out the fire.

The Test determines how long it takes a fire suppressant agent to fall to a specific height in a room without activating the proper fire suppression system. In addition, holes and leaks may develop over time as the characteristics of a home’s integrity deteriorate, owing to deteriorating seals around doors, floors, ceilings, and other voids, as well as on-site construction activities.

The room is sealed, and the air pressure is tested with a door fan and sensing equipment. The fan is inserted into the test room door to pressurize and then depressurize the space. A data set consisting of airflow, pressure, and leakage variables is created then used to simulate the room using specialist software. A pass must have a retention rate of at least 10 minutes. The length of time allowed between first and second explosions is ten minutes, which is considered adequate to enable deep-seated fires to be cooled below reignition levels and enable emergency services to respond.

How long does a room integrity test take?

It takes around 1.5-2 hours to build a typical server room. After that, there is a slight interruption, and IT servers and networks can operate normally. Any supply or extract ducts will require temporary sealing or closing if there is air conditioning and cooling. Each room on a site with fire suppression coverage will need to be tested for integrity.

What are the characteristics of a high-performing data center? 

The following are the essential requirements for organizations or businesses that build information technology data centers.

  • Manageability: Datacenters should give simple, adaptable, and integrated management to allow for repetitive activities to be automated and reduced.
  • Data integrity: Metadata should be implemented to prevent data from being altered or lost after it’s been received. Data integration checks, such as error correction codes or parity bits, should be used to guard against this.
  • Availability: Datacenters should make sure that the data and other IT resources in the data center are accessible to the company at all times. Information gaps can significantly impact company operations, resulting in financial losses and a negative public image.
  • Security: To avoid unwanted entry, strict security measures and procedures should be established. To prevent change, data center security procedures must be implemented.
  • Scalability: Without disrupting business operations, a data center’s resources (computing, storage, and network) and infrastructure should be expandable to meet changing corporate demands.
  • Capacity: Datacenters should be able to offer additional ability and resources so that they can store and process large quantities of data without interrupting access or with little interruption.
  • Performance: The components of a data center should deliver optimal performance based on the required service levels.

Room Integrity Testing Procedure

The testing predicts how long it takes for a fire suppressant to reach a certain height within a room without activating the entire fire suppression system. Room stability over time is dependent on the condition of the building’s various components. Over time, seals around doors, floors, ceilings, and other voids will fail due to deterioration or damage caused by on-site development activities such as additions or renovations.

After the air pressure has been verified, the room is sealed and tested with a door fan and sensing equipment. The fan is positioned at the entrance of the test chamber, forcing and then depressurizing the room. A data set including airflow, pressure and leakage properties is generated and used to simulate the space using specialized software.

A pass must last 10 minutes or longer. When a structure is abandoned and allowed to become unoccupied, the authorities usually set an expiration date. This time is considered adequate to enable deep-seated fires to cool below reignition levels, allowing emergency services access.

Room Integrity Test Times

The best time to start a server room project is immediately after the computer equipment has been installed and turned on. Any supply or extract ducts will need to be temporarily sealed or closed if there is air conditioning or cooling. In addition, each room on a site with fire suppression may require integrity testing because it has fire suppression over several rooms.

Relevant Room Integrity Standards

For any installation utilizing a fire suppression system, annual integrity checks should be done following BS ISO 14520-1 (ISO 14520-1:2015 gaseous fire-extinguishing systems) and BS EN 15004-1 (the design, installation, and maintenance of fixed firefighting and gas extinguishing systems).

Maintaining room integrity

Fire Suppression Integrity Test

Install a suitable suppression system and test the room’s integrity to reduce the risk of fires in a data center or server room. The goal of the testing is to make sure that a sufficient amount of the fire suppression chemical or gas is retained for an adequate length of time to put out the fire and keep it from reigniting. A qualified fire engineer frequently maintains many fire safety companies and their equipment. The same should be true of room integrity testing, and some businesses may be required to do so.

Door Fan Test

A Door Fan Test will always produce the worst-case leak for the space. This is because it draws air through leaks in the room, beneath the floor, and above the suspended ceiling to determine the descending interface of the suppression agent. The concentration hold time is the time it takes for the descending interface to reach the minimum protected height.

Door Fan Testing Procedure

The purpose of utilizing a door fan is to quantify pressure differentials between the enclosed space and the exterior. The door fan is positioned in the server room or data center doorway, and airflow and pressure readings are taken. The leakage test results allow us to calculate the room’s leakage characteristics, including the predicted retention period. The following are the stages in a door fan test:

  1. Site Survey: Spatially, you will need a site visit to fully grasp the scope of the job, including room and system specifics, limitations caused by terrain or access issues, and necessary permits and health & safety measures.
  2. Measurements and Data Recording: The space or enclosure is measured (including the maximum height) to create a planned design, including the kind and size of the fire suppression system and the amount of clean agent.
  3. Single Space Identification: When constructing the shielded chamber, false floor and ceiling tiles are removed to create a single testing area. The return air path is formed outside the enclosed space utilizing as many doors and windows as required.
  4. Door Fan Placement: The door fan test kit is positioned in the doorway leading to the area to be tested. Except when data is being collected, people may enter and leave the room while it’s in use. The amount and sort of door fan(s) used to pressurize and depressurize the enclosed space are recorded for the computer modeling phase.
  5. Air Handling Systems: The blower units (or auxiliary heating, if the area contains air handlers) must be set for regular use if the seal is broken and there is fresh air movement through the system. The blower motor may be defective, dampers are closed, and fans are in standby or off mode.
  6. Computer Modelling: The data from the tests is fed into a specialized program that models and calculates the design concentration and column pressures that would be seen when the clean agent/gas is released. Airflows, leak areas, and retention periods are determined. If the retention time is more than 10 minutes, the room has passed the integrity test.
  7. Chemical Spoke Pencils: When it comes to detecting leaks, slow-release caulk can be used in tandem with the door fan(s) to assist in determining where they are coming from. Smokeless pencils are used to mark the perimeter of enclosed areas and away from servers and other sensitive electronic equipment. The known leaks can be temporarily sealed, and the integrity test(s) repeated if necessary.
  8. Final Test Report: A thorough report, including findings and recommendations, is generated following the examination. The following are the components of my assessment: The inspection included a review of the relevant design drawings and documents and an analysis of actual fire suppression system designs and systems.


Routine room integrity testing should be part of a planned maintenance program in server rooms and data centers protected by fire suppression systems. Without it, a fire protection system’s resistance may deteriorate over time, resulting in cases when the release of a fire suppressant fails to quell a blaze but rather causes reignition.

Read more