Why Commissioning?

Technical Change to the 2010 NBCC & NFCC

    • 2010 NBCC Article
    • 2010 NFCC Article

Where life safety and fire protection systems are installed to comply with the provisions of the NBC or the NFC, the commissioning of these integrated systems must be performed as a whole to ensure the proper operation and inter-relationship between the systems.

What is Commissioning?

Subcommittee had various discussions as to what
“commissioning” is
Two different processes identified:

  • Commissioning – Owner Driven Process
  • Integrated Systems Testing – Code Requirement

Intent of the NBC / NFC were reviewed with NRC to align the ULC S1001 with Building and Fire Codes


A process of documentation, adjustment, testing, verification and training, performed specifically to ensure that the finished facility operates in accordance with the Owner’s documented project requirements and the construction documents

Integrated Systems Testing
A methodology for verifying and documenting that all interconnections between systems provided for fire protection and life safety are installed and operating in conformance with their design criteria


Owner Driven and Quality Focused

  • Ensure Owners get what they paid for
  • Owner gets more out of their investment

From Pre-Design to Turn-Over

  • Document Owner’s Project Requirements
  • Develop Commissioning Scope and Plan
  • Review of Design Documents
  • Construction Checklists and Submittals
  • Review Construction and Testing
  • Training and Closeout

Integrated Systems Testing

Address “gaps” in existing Standards

  • Systems typically tested and verified independently


  • Code Driven – required by Building & Fire Codes
  • Minimum testing to prove integrations in situ
  • One input per integration to confirm corresponding outputs
  • Documentation

Integrated Systems Testing is not

  • Replacement of system acceptance by Design Professionals
  • Review of system design or installation
  • Replacement of existing testing and verification requirements



  • Verify and document that interconnections between systems are installed and operating in conformance with their design
  • Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems
    • Fire Alarm, Sprinklers, Emergency Generators, etc.
  • Systems with Fire Protection and Life Safety Functions
    • Elevators, A/V Systems, Lighting Controls, etc.
  • Not intended to verify individual system installations

The link between two or more integrated fire protection and life safety systems which has an associated input / output correlation. The link between two or more integrated fire protection and life safety systems may or may not be a physical connection.

*Interconnections may include electrical, optical, or wireless transmissions, or data transfer protocols.


Integrated Testing Coordinator

  • Maybe a person, firm, or corporation
  • Knowledge and experience with design, installation, and operation of integrated systems
  • Knowledge and understanding of
    • Codes and Standards regulating design
    • System operation under normal and fire conditions
    • Methods of validation

Integrated Testing Coordinator

  • Licenses and Certifications?
    • Standard can’t dictate professional qualifications
    • Could be as part of adoption or in Owner’s contractual requirements

Integrated Testing Participants

    • Persons identified in the Integrated Testing Plan
      • Design Professionals
      • Installing Contractors
      • Verifying Parties
    • Knowledge and experience in the design, installation, and operation of their relevant systems
    • Regulations may exist for licensing and/or certification of these individuals

Planning Phase

Information Gathering

  • Interconnection Details
  • Fire Protection / Life Safety System Design Documents
    • Drawings and Specifications
    • Sequencing Descriptions and Coordination Between Systems
    • Riser Diagrams
  • Operating and Testing Instructions
  • Alternative Solutions
  • Miscellaneous Information Required

Integrated Testing Plan Development

  • Functional Objectives of System Integrations
  • Sequences of Operation
  • Test Protocols and Procedures for Integrated Testing
  • Occupant Notification Procedures
  • Alternative Safety Measures
  • Phased Occupancy, as applicable
  • Approved by the Design Professionals and Reviewed by the AHJs, where required
  • Guidance in Appendix B

Implementation Phase


  • Receive Design Professionals confirmation of acceptance testing complete and systems ready for integrated testing
  • Receive Installing Contractors confirmation systems installed in accordance with design and ready for integrated testing
  • Receive Verification Documents
    • Fire Alarm Verification, Installation Test Reports, Contractor Material and
  • Test Certificates, TAB Reports, etc.
  • Receive Inspection Certificates
    • Electrical Inspection, Elevator Inspection, etc.

Integrated Testing Plan Implementation

  • Sufficient notification to AHJs, where required
  • Implement occupant notification and alternate measures
  • Perform Integration Testing Protocols
    • Document Testing in Integrated Testing Forms
  • Correct and Retest Failed Integrations
    • I/O correlation not per the sequence of operation
    • Failed devices noted for follow-up by design professional
  • Return systems to normal condition
  • Prepare Integrated Testing Report

Testing Protocols

Integrated Systems Testing Requirements

  • Project and system specific testing procedures
  • Performance Based
    • Demonstrate proper operation of integrated systems
  • Minimum level of testing detailed in ULC S1001
    • Additional Testing may be required based on installation
  • Functional operation of input devices
    • Simulated operation permitted for non-restorable devices or tests that could harm persons or damage systems
  • Acceptance of documented testing at ITC discretion

Systems Covered in ULC S1001

  • Fire Alarm Systems
  • Mass Notification Systems
  • Elevators
  • Emergency Generators
  • A/V and Lighting Control
  • Notification Systems
  • Sprinkler Systems
  • Standpipe Systems
  • Fire Pumps
  • Water Supplies
  • Water Supply Control Valves
  • Freeze Protection Systems
  • Fixed Fire Suppression Systems
  • Cooking Suppression Systems
  • Hold-Open Devices
  • Electromagnetic Locks
  • Smoke Control Systems
  • Hazardous Protection Monitoring
  • Smoke Alarms

Testing effort related to system complexity
Example – Smoke Exhaust Systems

    • Various input/output correlation tests
      • Fan and damper control / status monitoring, door opening forces, control interfaces (Firefighter’s Smoke Control Station, BMS)
    • For simple analog interconnections
      • one input activated to initiate sequence, operation of fans, dampers, etc. confirmed to test integrations
    • For complicated digital interfaces
      • each software command string considered an integration

Sample Test Protocols

Fire Pumps
Emergency Generators
Sprinkler Systems
Fire Alarm Systems

Fire Pumps

Testing of each interconnection, as provided

  • Fire Pump Running
  • Trouble
  • Phase Reversal
  • Loss of Phase
  • Connected to an Alternate Source
  • Controller Main Switch in Off or Manual Position, etc.

Monitored condition created to show correct integration

  • Fire Pump manually started and “Fire Pump Running” annunciation confirmed
  • Fire Pump trouble condition created and “Fire Pump Trouble” annunciation confirmed

Emergency Generators

Testing of each interconnection, as provided

  • Generator Running
  • Generator Trouble
  • Excessive Temperature
  • Low Temperature
  • Damper Monitoring, etc.

Monitored condition created to show correct integration Additional Generator Start-Up Test

  • Full load test – all systems running at full design capacity
  • Simulated loss of normal power, automatic generator start-up
  • Systems confirmed as operating under emergency power

Sprinkler Systems

Testing of Each Interconnection

  • Typically alarm and supervisory device monitoring
  • Test method appropriate for the integration
    • Flow water to test an integration to a flow switch
    • Turn valve to test an integration to a supervised valve

ULC S537 Verification acceptable at ITC discretion

  • No duplication of existing test and verification requirements

Fire Alarm Systems

Most common system considered during development
Testing of integrations with other systems

  • Based on design sequence of operation
  • Input / Output correlations

Example – Fire Signal Receiving Centre Integration

    • Receipt of alarm signal
    • Receipt of supervisory signal
    • Receipt of trouble signal
    • Disconnect provides specific trouble at system and trouble signal at signal receiving centre


Integrated Testing Forms

    • Developed by the ITC
      • Test Protocol and Procedure
      • Space to document observed results
    • Signed upon completion
      • Integrated Testing Coordinator
      • Test Participants, as appropriate
    • Initial and Re-Tests Documented
      • Re-Test Forms clearly indicated

Integrated Testing Report

    • Final Integrated Testing Report consists of the
      • Integrated Testing Plan
      • Documentation collected during Implementation Phase
      • Integrated Testing Forms for Initial Test
      • Integrated Testing Forms for Re-Tests
    • Intended for use throughout the building’s life
      • Life Cycle Testing
      • Modifications
    • Format that can be easily maintained and updated

Life Cycle Testing


  • Building and Fire Codes, Other Legislation
  • Contract Requirements

Periodic Integrated Systems Testing

  • Integrated Systems Testing throughout building life cycle
  • Ensure system integrations are maintained
  • Frequency
      • 1 Year Confirmation Test
      • 5 Year Periodic Testing
  • Documentation of Testing

Retro Integrated Systems Testing

  • Integrated Systems Testing for Existing Buildings
  • Confirmation that systems are properly integrated
  • Similar process as new construction
  • Lack of design information may require detailed review
  • Repeated every five years

Integrated Systems Testing for Modifications

    • Amended Integrated Systems Testing
    • Implement testing for effected systems only

Appendix A – General Information

General Information

    • Aligned with the Standard Numbering (e.g., A1.1)
    • Provides background from the Working Group on intent
    • Examples of procedures and approaches to be considered
    • Examples of existing tests and reports
    • Examples of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems

Appendix B - Integrated Testing Plans


  • Building or Facility Information
  • System Integrations and Functional Objectives

Sequence of Operation

  • List of each integrated test outcome
  • Cause and Effect Matrix

Test Protocols and Procedures

  • Test Methodology and Step-by-Step Instructions
  • Record initiating device activated and confirm each output
  • Test Scenarios


  • Coordination of test participants
  • Notification of Testing

Personnel Safety

  • Occupant Notification of Emergencies
  • Safety Protocols
    • Dealing with Unexpected Results – Back Out Protocols
  • Emergency procedures

Phased Occupancies

  • Systems required to be functional for occupancy to be subjected to testing prior to occupancy

Pre-Testing Documentation

  • Design Professional / Installing Contractor acceptance
  • Acceptable Verifications

Testing Forms

  • Record all tests and observed conditions
  • Track Deficiencies for Review by Design Professionals
  • Re-testing of Deficiencies

ULC-S1001 Code Adoption

Reference Standard Status

  • Proposed Code Changes submitted to NRC to reference ULC-S1001 in the 2015 National Building and Fire Codes
  • Proposed Code Changes have been reviewed by the Reference Standards Working Group
  • Recommendations made to the Standing Committees
      • Use and Egress
      • Fire Protection
      • Housing and Small Buildings
  • Proposed changes accepted by all three standing committees
  • Changes circulated for public comment

National Building Code of Canada

2015 NBC Tentative Changes

  • Remove 2010 NBC Article
  • New Subsection 3.2.9, Sentence
    • Testing of integrations between fire protection and life safety systems, and systems with fire protection and life safety functions as a whole
    • ULC-S1001 Reference Standard for Integrated Testing
  • Appendix Note A-
    • Owners must ensure fire protection and life safety systems are functioning in accordance with their design, including interconnections with other building systems
    • CAN/ULC-S1001 provides the methodology for verifying and documenting that interconnections between building systems satisfy the intent of their design

National Fire Code of Canada

2015 NFC Tentative Changes

  • Construction requirements in Article
    • References the NBC for installation of system integrations
  • New Section 6.8 on Testing of System Integrations
    • Integrations between fire protection and life safety systems to be tested and maintained in confirmation with ULC-S1001


Fire Commissioning Process

    • All aspects of the construction process
      • Pre-design, design, installation, acceptance, closeout, etc.
    • New Construction, Retro, and Modifications
    • Reviewing existing Commissioning Processes
      • CSA Z320, NFPA, NIBS, ISO, Public Works, etc.
    • Defining Fire Commissioning Team
    • Fire Commissioning Phases
    • Fire Commissioning Expectations
    • Aligned with ULC-S1000 Series Standards

ULC-S1003 & ULC-S1004

Acceptance Testing

    • Recommended practices for design professionals to ensure systems properly installed and functioning
    • Reviewing all aspects of the construction process
    • Aligned with ULC-S1000 Series Standards
    • Acceptance Testing requirements in development for both active and passive systems
    • Extent of Testing requirements being developed based on system components, percentage of component to be tested, and permitted failure rates

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    Question - When is the CAN/ULC-S1001 testing required?

    Answer -The National Building Code 2015 (NBC 2015) and CAN/ULC-S1001 both stipulate that when integrated fire protection and/or life safety systems are built or affected by work, integrated systems testing is necessary. It is necessary to produce an acceptable Integrated Testing Report.

    Before the building permit is closed or before permission to occupy is given.

    A continuing operational requirement of the National Fire Code 2015 (NFC 2015) is integrated systems testing. The schedules for this continuous testing are provided by CAN/ULC-S1001. Building owners are in for of making sure that acceptable Integrated Testing Reports are maintained on file, made available on the construction site, and delivered to the Fire Department upon request.

    Question - Who can perform the Integrated Systems Testing?

    Answer – An Integrated Testing Coordinator is in charge of creating and carrying out the Integrated Testing Plan in accordance with CAN/ULC-S1001. This person should be knowledgeable about:

    1. Standards and codes for diverse systems
    2. The systems’ standard and emergency modes of operation
    3. Checking the systems’ performance 

    All licences and certificates necessary by contractual commitments, federal, provincial, and other legislation (such as municipal regulations) must be held by the integrated testing coordinator.

    Question - What information is required in the Integrated Testing Report?

    Answer- The Integrated Testing Report must contain every piece of documentation mentioned in CAN/ULC-S1001’s Subsection 7.3. This comprises:

    1. The Integrated Testing Plan
    2. Forms for Integrated Testing 
    3. Integrated Test Forms for Repeat Examinations
    4. The paperwork needed by Section 5.3 

    Note – An example Integrated Testing Plan is provided in Appendix C of “CAN/ULC-S1001-11-REV1”, which can be seen for free (user account required) at

    To help in identifying the documentation needed in the Integrated Testing Report, an example checklist has been given as an Appendix to this advice.

    Question - Who shall receive the Integrated Testing Report?

    Answer – The following parties must receive the Integrated Testing Report:

    1. Building proprietor
    2. City (upon request from Fire & Protective Services or Building Standards). Depending on the city’s requirement.
    3. Upkeep on the construction site

    Code References

    Both NBC 2015 and NFC 2015 require testing in accordance with CAN/ULC-S1001, “Integrated Systems Testing of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems”, if there are fire protection systems and life safety systems that need to be integrated with one another. To guarantee that everyone Systems are examined “as a whole” to ensure that they work well together. Below are references from NBC 2015 and NFC 2015: 

    • This is stated in NBC 2015, Division B, sentences and fire protection and life safety systems, as well as systems with fire protection and life safety functions, are integrated with one another, they must be tested as a whole in accordance with CAN/ULC-S1001, “Integrated Systems Testing of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems,” to ensure that they have been properly integrated. 

    This is stated in NFC 2015, Division B, Sentence According to CAN/ULC-S1001, “Integrated Systems Testing of Fire Protections and Life Safety Systems,” interconnections between fire protection and life safety systems must be tested and maintained.

    Examples from CAN/ULC-S1001 of Systems that Require Integrated Testing

    1. Emergency generators (e.g. startup test, loss of power simulations)
    2. A/V and lighting control systems
    3. Notification systems 
    4. Sprinkler systems 
    5. Standpipe systems 
    6. Fire pumps
    7. Transmissions with fire signal receiving center (e.g. receipt of signals) 
    8. Mass notification systems
    9. Elevators (e.g. proper recall)
    10. Emergency pressurization systems
    11. Smoke exhaust systems
    12. Hazardous Protection monitoring
    13. Smoke alarms
    14. Cooking equipment fire suppression systems (release of agent not required)
    15. Hold open devices (each door tested to ensure returns to closed and latched position)
    16. Electromagnetic locks (each must de-energize) 
    17. Smoke control systems
    18. Water supplies (test responses to pressure sensors, level sensors, etc.) 
    19. Water supply control valves 
    20. Freeze Protection Systems
    21. Fixed fire suppression systems (release of suppression agent not required)