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Why aren't electronic nozzles mentioned in active fire suppression system (AWFSS) British Standards?

The UK watermist standard is out of date and should have been updated in 2020. All British Standards should be subject to review at least every five years. BSi has confirmed that electronic nozzles will be included in the update of the Standard. 

The development time for a new British Standard typically takes many years, as it often requires consensus from existing manufacturers. All British Standards are subject to review at least every five years, as a result, Standards tend to lag behind novel products.

A proposer of a new standard, or even a revision of an existing one, must be able to demonstrate a need for any proposed addition and is therefore also reliant on some market adoption.

US Standards Timeline:

  • July 2020: Plumis made a public input for the 2023 Edition, part of their 3 yearly mandatory updates of NFPA standards
  • September 2020: Plumis was invited to present/explain/answer questions to their public input to the committee
  • November 2020: Plumis asked to listen in to the Draft Standards meeting (which is open to public)
  • May 2021: Plumis resubmitted a modified public input because of the feedback from the committee's discussion
  • September 2021: Final draft meetings held by NFPA where the public input was accepted
  • April 2022: 2023 Edition of NFPA 750 published.

Timeframe to completion: Completed after 1 year and 2 months

The newest edition of NFPA 750 (water mist systems) has been published and includes the use of electronically controlled nozzles in its definitions. The US framework is different. It is much less prescriptive and relies exclusively on certification by a recognised laboratory (like UL) as the means to determine whether a product is fit for purpose, instead of incumbent representatives who may have a conflict of interest. They are also more strict on timing for updates, which MUST occur every 3 years. The UK water mist standard in contrast has not been updated for 7 years.

UK Standards Timeline:

  • 2017: Plumis join the FIA to demonstrate / lobby for innovation
  • 2017: Plumis join BAFSA/FIA watermist working group
  • 2019: Plumis join BAFSA to improve watermist representation
  • 2020: Plumis propose a PAS for electronically controlled nozzle
  • 2020: BSI stated PAS is too close to BS 8458
  • 2020: RCA accepted to join FSH 18/5
  • 2021: Plumis via BAFSA and the FIA ask FSH 18/5 for scope broadening: little support or impetus to progress
  • 2021: BSI support the publication of part 2 for BS 8458 which includes electronic nozzles
  • 2022: Delay in updates to the British Standards due to the publication of the EN 14972 series, which replaces a significant portion of water mist standards. Part 17, still to be published, will replace BS 8458 as it stands. No timeline yet for the publication of Part 17 or for a change of scope/revision to BS 8458.

Timeframe to completion: Ongoing after 5+ years

Unfortunately, the UK system lags behind the US in adopting innovation.

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