Fire device performance rates part of benchmark report

Information such as what device types provide the most revenue for the least amount of labor will be part of BuildingReports' benchmark report
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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

SUWANEE, Ga.— Fire and life safety device performance rates for commercial facility inspections will be part of a benchmark report scheduled to be released later this summer or early fall by BuildingReports, an inspection reporting services company.

The findings are from BuildingReports’ vast inspection database. The 2014 BuildingReports Fire & Life Safety Inspection Benchmark Report, billed as an industry first, will benefit the entire industry, including testing and inspection service companies, according to Jason Kronz, president and CTO of the company, which is based here.

“Specifically for testing and inspection service companies, we believe they’ll be able to look at the data and see, for example, what device types provide the most revenue for the least amount of labor,” Kronz told Security Systems News. “They may see some device types that they don’t typically test because maybe they don’t have someone that’s trained to test those items, but they may see that is something that they should be [training their staff to test].”

The free benchmark report will “include failure rates of fire and life safety equipment and analyze the key factors contributing to device maintenance and performance including manufacturing, installation and environmental conditions,” according to a company news release.

BuildingReports describes itself as providing “mobile and online inspection reporting tools that enable inspectors to quickly gather data on fire and life safety devices to ensure they are working properly and meet code requirements, or identify actions needed to meet compliance through easily verifiable inspection reports.”

It has been doing business since 1999 and Kronz said the company now has a “massive amount of data” that it has collected from its member companies that do the inspections.

Kronz told SSN that when he and company CEO Brett Brewster started BuildingReports, their goal from the very beginning “was to have a positive impact on the industry from using the data we would receive from all these service companies.”

Kronz said that after 15 years, “we feel at this point we have enough data to present to the industry in confidence, and to start to have the positive impact we’ve always wanted for the industry.”

And he said the benchmark report is a first because of the nature of its content. “BuildingReports is really uniquely positioned in the industry to provide this data,” Kronz said. “We’re the only solution that does and has done a device level inspection with the device specific information for each device type in the industry.”

He declined to release most of the specifics in the benchmark report until its release later this year. BuildingReports member companies will receive the report first, and then it will be available to others in the industry to download at the company’ website, www.buildingreports.com. A pre-signup will be available on the site for those interested in the report.

“We think at the highest level, the data does tell some interesting stories,” Kronz said.

For example, the industry’s move to addressable fire systems from conventional ones has been done on the assumption that the addressable ones are more reliable, but there hasn’t been hard data to back that up—until now, he said.

He said BuildingReport’s data shows that when you compare the “failure rates between all the devices that are connected to a conventional system versus all the devices connected to an addressable system, addressable systems have a 37 percent lower failure rate. We feel that is a dramatic difference … [and] good news for the industry.”

On another front, comparing inspections at different types of facilities, “the data shows additional oversight in the health care industry leads to longer fire alarm inspection times, but lower fire alarm system failure rates,” according to the news release.

Health care facilities have a 50 percent lower failure rate—it’s 1.44 percent—for fire alarm system devices compared to other occupancy facility types, which have a 2.83 percent failure rate, the release said.

And the data shows the average time to inspect the fire alarm devices at a health care facility is 6 hours and 10 minutes, compared to an average of 2 hours and 40 minutes at other types of facilities, the release said.

The reason for that, the release said, is probably due to “the additional oversight by CMS [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] and its accreditation partners,” such as The Joint Commission, which “ensures diligent maintenance and inspections, resulting in more reliable systems.”

Those findings could lead to new industry initiatives, Kronz said. “Having a third party health care accreditor in the health care industry is obviously having a positive impact on that facility type, so what does that mean for the rest of the industry as a whole?” he said.