Standards and watermist testing

Standards and Compliance

The use of Automist Smartscan can be justified today using prescriptive
code (Section 904.11 "Alternative Automatic Fire-Extinguishing Systems"), or a fire
engineered / performance based solution.

The Automist Smartscan System is an innovative technology which, in many cases, extends beyond the specific prescriptions of current codes. The compliant use of Automist Smartscan can be justified today using provisions for alternative means and methods or equivalencies from prevalent model codes.

International Residential Code (§R104.11):

"Alternative materials, design and methods of construction and equipment.
The provisions of this code are not intended to prevent the installation of any material or to prohibit any design or method of construction not specifically prescribed by this code. The building official shall have the authority to approve an alternative material, design or method of construction upon application of the owner or the owner’s authorized agent. The building official shall first find that the proposed design is satisfactory and complies with the intent of the provisions of this code, and that the material, method or work offered is, for the purpose intended, not less than the equivalent of that prescribed in this code in quality, strength, effectiveness, fire resistance, durability and safety. Compliance with the specific performance-based provisions of the International Codes shall be an alternative to the specific requirements of this code.”

To read a full analysis of applicable codes for structures regulated by the 2018 IRC, click here.
 

International Building Code (§104.11)/International Fire Code (§104.9):

"Alternative materials, design and methods of construction and equipment.
The provisions of this code are not intended to prevent the installation of any material or to prohibit any design or method of construction not specifically prescribed by this code. The building official shall have the authority to approve an alternative material, design or method of construction upon application of the owner or the owner’s authorized agent. The building official shall first find that the proposed design is satisfactory and complies with the intent of the provisions of this code, and that the material, method or work offered is, for the purpose intended, not less than the equivalent of that prescribed in this code in quality, strength, effectiveness, fire resistance, durability and safety. Compliance with the specific performance-based provisions of the International Codes shall be an alternative to the specific requirements of this code.”

To read a full analysis of applicable codes for structures regulated by the 2018 IBC, click here
To read a full analysis of applicable codes for structures regulated by the 2018 IFC, click here.
 

NFPA 1 (Fire Code) §1.4.1:

“Equivalencies. Nothing in this Code is intended to prevent the use of systems, methods or devices of equivalent or superior quality, strength, fire resistance, effectiveness, durability, and safety to those prescribed by this Code, provided technical documentation is submitted to the AHJ to demonstrate equivalency and the system, method, or device is approved for the intended purpose.”

To read a full analysis of applicable codes for structures regulated by NFPA 1 – 2018 edition, click here.
 

NFPA 101 (Life Safety Code) §1.4:

“Equivalency. Nothing in this Code is intended to prevent the use of systems, methods, or devices of equivalent or superior quality, strength, fire resistance, effectiveness, durability, and safety over those prescribed by this code.”

For jurisdictions utilizing different versions of the above referenced standards, please contact us with the title and edition of the model code to obtain an analysis of applicable codes.


Automist Smartscan’s testing process took place in internationally recognized labs. Extensive fire and technical testing was carried out at Exova Warrington UKAS Laboratory in the UK. The system was tested in accordance with, and met the performance criteria of BS 8458:2015 – Fixed Fire Protection Systems – Residential and Domestic Watermist Systems - Code of Practice for Design and Installation (BSi Verification Certificate – VC 712581). These tests include open rooms and ventilated scenarios.

To further supplement approval and make it easier for US AHJs to interpret Plumis’ existing data, we have begun the process of testing and listing the product through Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Much of the testing scheduled is a repetition of tests carried out in the UK which has enabled Automist technology to have been used in over 10000 homes in the UK.

Watch videos of the award-winning system in action


A performance-based design is defined as: “An engineering approach to design elements of a building based on agreed upon performance goals and objectives, engineering analysis and quantitative assessment of alternatives against the design goals and objectives using accepted engineering tools, methodologies and performance criteria.”

Plumis have an established relationship with Q-dot Engineering, who are familiar with the testing performed in the UK and have conducted their own independent testing in the US. They can provide design documents that are signed and sealed by a registered engineer.


The FCC mark is a certification mark employed on electronic products manufactured or sold in the United States which certifies that the electromagnetic interference from the device is under limits approved by the Federal Communications Commission.

Factory Production Control

Automist pumps and Smartscan heads are fully tested and validated for electrical and electronic integrity and operation; water flow; over-pressure safety switch operation and correct operation of controls, actuators and sensors. Each carries a serial number which is logged in production and also by the installer on site so that they are fully traceable.

ISO 9001:2008

Third Party Certification by BRE Global UK have established Plumis Inc have complied with the Quality Management Systems requirements of ISO 9001:2008 for the design, manufacture and supply of water mist fire suppression systems. Quality Management System certification enables us to demonstrate our commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, as well as continuously improving our company's operations. The internationally recognised quality management system standard is the preferred solution for organisations worldwide.

A Failure Mode and Effect Analysis document was prepared for Automist Smartscan. It allowed us to examine all potential sources of failure so that they could be anticipated and effectively addressed. System-level performance objectives (for example, to suppress fires in worst-case conditions) were also derived from this approach. The UL 2167-2004 Water Mist Nozzles for Fire Protection Service process was used to identify tests and procedures for component validation, while BS 8458:2015 and BS 9252:2011 were used as the basis for fire performance validation. The relevant UL 2167 tests have therefore been incorporated into this product design and validation methodology.

To demonstrate performance beyond BS 8458:2015, Plumis is seeking an internationally recognised certification which tests reliability as well as fire performance.

Under the standard, Automist Smartscan is defined as a sidewall, open nozzle, pre-engineered water mist system for residential applications. The relevant extracts are:

5.14 m) Sidewall – A nozzle which is designed to be installed adjacent to a wall.

5.14 i) Open – A nozzle without a thermosensitive element which discharges water mist.

5.19 PRE-ENGINEERED WATER MIST SYSTEM – A system having predetermined flow rates, nozzle pressures, volumes, discharge patterns, and spray flux densities. These systems have specific pipe sizes, pipe lengths, flexible hose specifications, number of fittings, and number and type of nozzles prescribed in the manufacturer design and installation instructions.

The relevant clauses from UL 2167 standard are set out below. OK means that the Automist Smartscan has been successfully tested or verified.
 

UL 2167 Clause

Pass?

Comment

6 – General Construction

OK

(6.2 and 6.5 not relevant because they only apply to open nozzle systems)

7 - Strainer and Filter

OK

(In section 8.4, only the Residential – Section 44 - tests are being targeted)

8 – General Performance

OK

 

9 – Water mist Nozzle Requirements

OK

 

10 - Exposure Tests on Nozzles Incorporating Polymeric Gaskets

n/a

Tests to be carried only as part of UL Listing (certification). Domestic environments at 1.4m is not considered an environment highly susceptible to corrosive atmospheres.

13 – Water Flow Test

OK

 

15 – Water Droplet Size and Velocity

OK

Positions are customised for the horizontally oriented, 65° vertical spray fan, so that nozzle changes can be shown to provide equivalent spray characteristics.

17 – Deflector/Orifice Assembly Test

OK

 

25 – Corrosion Tests

n/a

Tests to be carried only as part of UL Listing (certification). Domestic environments at 1.4m is not considered an environment highly susceptible to corrosive atmospheres.

31 – Heat Resistance

OK

Tested under realistic fire conditions

32 – Vibration

OK

 

33 – Rough Usage Test

OK

 

34 – Impact Test

OK

 

38 – Clogging Test

OK

 

44 - Residential Area Fire Tests

OK

Smartscan has been tested against the similar BS 8458, which is narrower in scope (does not currently include pre-engineered systems) and has more onerous fire performance tests (including forced ventilation and no doorway lintels) than UL 2167. These have been run in Exova Warringtonfire and passed successfully.

49 - Design and Installation Instructions

OK

 

50 - Water Mist Nozzle Marking

OK

 

Definition — Assembly Occupancy. An occupancy (1) used for a gathering of 50 or more persons for deliberation, worship, entertainment, eating, drinking, amusement, awaiting transportation, or similar uses; or (2) used as a special amusement building, regardless of occupant load.

The reason a performance based approach is used on the Goodridge House is to seek approval for an alternative method of fire suppression. In this specific case, a traditional sprinkler system poses as much threat to the contents of the building as does a fire. One issue with any building that houses unique, one-of-a-kind artifacts is protecting such items from water damage from a sprinkler system due to accidental discharge. The artifacts can be damaged by water due to excess water discharge from an actual fire situation. Quite often the owner of these old world artifacts will not allow the pieces to be displayed in a sprinklered building. The risk of water damage is too high.

Most Assembly Use occupancies require a fire suppression system. The reason is that the majority of the occupants are unfamiliar with the space and a suppression system limits the hazard while providing additional time for people to leave the building. Limiting the hazard also reduces the risk to any firefighters who would respond to any incidents. As such, simply eliminating the suppression system is not an acceptable solution. In order to achieve compliance, some other type of suppression system is needed.

Design objectives met by an Automist Smartscan installation:

The first objective is critical to the contents of the building. The suppression system shall use less water than a sprinkler system and still remain effective without posing a risk to building occupants.

The second objective is to limit the temperature of the fire room to provide time for occupants to escape and reduce the risk of room contents being damaged by the fire. A typical temperature limitation for tenability is 200°C (392°F) six feet above the floor, and exclusive of the area immediately surrounding the fire. This limitation allows for people to duck or crawl out of a room under the hot gas layer.

The design objectives are intended to limit the energy that can be contained in the upper layer of smoke to reduce the risk of exposure to people and contents. They cannot be accepted as a guarantee that no adverse affects will occur.