What’s Involved in an Annual Dry Riser Test?

If you own or are responsible for a building over 18m, then you’ll already know that it’s a legal requirement in the UK to have a dry riser system installed to ensure optimal fire protection.

What you may not know is that it’s also a legal requirement to have this system inspected every 12 months to comply with BS9990 guidelines. Like sprinkler systems, dry risers must have an annual ‘wet test’ to ensure that, should a fire break out, the system can perform as expected to reduce risk.

So what’s involved in a full dry riser wet test? Here’s what you can expect on the day.

  • Air pressure check: Every dry riser wet test will usually begin with a test that checks the air pressure inside the system pipework. The air pressure is what keeps the dry valve shut to ensure no water enters the system outside of an emergency situation. This is where dry risers differ from wet risers, where water is kept inside the pipes permanently. An air pressure test can help to identify any potential vulnerabilities that could cause the dry riser to leak in the future.
  • Wet pressure test: This is the primary component of a dry riser wet test, and involves checking that the system can pressurise water as needed in the event of a fire. The system is filled with water using a hose and water pump, and pressure tested to 12 bar (or just under 175 psi) for 15 minutes or more. This tests for leaks, and will highlight any issues to be addressed. As dry riser pipes are kept dry, weaknesses in the pipework can often go unnoticed without wet pressure checks.
  • Component inspection: Along with an air pressure and water pressure test, a dry riser wet test also involves a full inspection of all system components, including both inlet and outlet valves, seals, and washers. Inspectors will also be looking to ensure that dry riser cabinets are undamaged and accessible, and that there is clear signage to highlight outlets in the event of an emergency. Outlets and cabinets will be closed, secured, and locked after the inspection.

Following a dry riser wet test, one of two things will happen:

  1. Should the system pass, you’ll be issued with a certificate that confirms the inspection, notes the date of the test, and states that all dry riser equipment met the necessary criteria for the BS9990 standard.
  2. Should the system fail, the inspector will discuss the problems with you and inform you of the repairs needed to pass the test. A follow up wet test can be arranged for when repairs are complete.

Maintaining your dry riser system

The effects of a poorly maintained riser system can be catastrophic. But the good news is that it’s easy to ensure you’re complying with the latest legislation and keeping your dry riser system working optimally.

Here at Eversafe, we offer a fire protection maintenance service for dry and wet risers, giving you confidence that you’re protecting your residents, tenants, and visitors should the worst happen.

To find out more about annual dry riser wet tests, get in touch with us at info@eversafefire.com, or call us on 01795 713123 to book a visit from our experienced team.