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Sep 28, 2020

On this episode of Fire Code Tech we have Anand Kumar. Anand is a loss prevention specialist with over twenty years in loss prevention and insurance. In my conversation with Anand we talk about his professional experience. How to approach design with FM Data sheets, codes and standards outside the U.S and much more.

If you want to find out more about Anand follow these links. 

Anand's Consulting Company Website

LinkedIn Profile


Tell me a little bit about your background and your career in loss prevention?
Would you tell me a little bit about any certifications that you have?
How would you describe your role as a loss prevention specialist?
Could you describe management of change and what that means in the context of fire protection?
What would you consider your specialty for loss prevention and fire safety?
Do you have any tips and tricks for designing a job that complies with FM Data sheets?
Would you speak about your consulting practice and the work you are doing now?
What is your perspective on fire protection outside of the U.S?
What do you see as a trend in the industry?



Hello, all welcome to the show. I'm Gus Gagliardi, and this is fire code tech on fire code tech. We interview fire protection professionals from all different careers and backgrounds in order to provide insight and a resource for those in the field. My goal is to help you become a more informed fire protection.

Professional fire code tech has interviews with engineers and researchers, fire marshals, and insurance professionals, and highlights topics like codes and standards, engineering systems, professional development, and trending topics in the industry. So if you're someone who wants to know more about fire protection or the fascinating stories of those who are in the field, you're in the right place.

Welcome to episode 12 of fire code tech. On this episode of fire code tech, we have a non Kumar, a non is the loss prevention specialist with over 20 years in insurance. In my conversation with the non, we talk about his professional experience and some of the lessons learned. We talk about the complexities of designing with FM data sheets and some tips and tricks you can use while you are designing a project with these data sheets.

In addition, Anan, and I talk about codes and standards outside of the us. This episode is very interesting. And I think if you are a insurance professional, or if you're in the construction side of things and you wanna know a little bit more about how loss prevention works and what that process looks like, you're gonna enjoy this.

Don't forget to subscribe and follow us on social media. And if you want to help out the show, tell a friend about fire code tech. Let's dive in the show with AAN Kumar. And if you wanna find out more about him, there'll be links to his website and his LinkedIn in the show notes. Welcome AAN. Thanks for coming on.

Um, thank you for inviting me, you know, um, I'm really, uh, I guess anxious and, uh, happy to be here. well, awesome. I'm glad that we could have you on the show. So I wanted to start off with, um, asking you a little bit about your background and how you got into loss prevention and fire safety. Would you tell me a little bit about that?

Like, you know, like we were talking earlier about how not nobody actually kind of, uh, aspired to be, I guess, in loss prevention of high protection. Uh, for me it was, I guess I stumbled into the industry. I started off my career in, I would say, uh, maintenance and, and, uh, systems engineering, attached to oil tanker, doing maintenance on diesel engines.

Uh, I was also, um, a project engineer on, uh, power plant, uh, in my early days after graduation, I always wanted to do something, which I. Was not so routine, I stumbled, uh, into, I guess, loss prevention. Uh, and at that time this was 18 years back, uh, Alliance. I'm not sure whether, you know, Alliance Alliance is a German insurance company.

Um, they belong to, I guess, the, the same, uh, group or same tier of insurance companies like AIG and FM and all that. These are the, the big boys who, who ensure, uh, the big plan, the power, the oil, gas, and, and so on, so forth. So, uh, they were looking for someone who could, you know, do, um, uh, risk assessment or loss prevention for, for the, uh, power plants.

They, they were ensuring in, in Malaysia. And, um, I saw it as a, as an opportunity to do something different, uh, got into it. Uh, I lived it because. Every time I was meeting different people, uh, seeing different power plants, uh, seeing a steam plan or a fossil plant, uh, seeing a combined cycle plan, seeing, you know, a gas plan.

So on. So it, you always had something to look forward to or, or something that was going to intrigue you or, or something like that. Uh, so that's how I, I stumbled into the industry, uh, 18 years back, uh, and, uh, it has been, uh, I guess, a pleasant journey. For me, uh, to now that's, uh, interesting to hear. Yeah. I resonate with the idea that, you know, there's a lot of funny paths into, uh, fire safety or, you know, in your case loss prevention.

But yeah, I like your story about how you, you know, started off and you got to, you know, experience some of the projects with, uh, some hazards like, uh, power plants. And so I'm sure those have some unique. Hazards or they have some unique, uh, considerations in compared to, to other buildings. But yeah, that's, that's very interesting.

I like hearing about that to add to it. You know, when I was actually working in a power plan, uh, you never paid attention to the hazards, right? You were more interested in the operating plan. You are interested more on the operating parameters or, or you actually planning for an outage. Uh, so the, the focus and the perspective was, was different.

And then when you come and join an insurer, uh, the focus and perspective. Is on the hazards and how are those hazards protected? What is the reliability of the protection? What's the adequacy of the protection and so on, so forth. So it gives you a different, I guess, uh, view of things and a different appreciation of things.

So that kind of complimented, I guess, my. Uh, experience that I had, that I, I, I brought to the table. Very interesting. Yeah. I like, I like hearing about that perspective shift of, you know, you, you saw it as, you know, uh, somebody who was in the operations at the facility, um, for a power plant, and then, you know, you kind of you'd put on a different hat with, uh, loss prevention and yeah, I, I think that once the fire safety switch is turned on in somebody, I don't know if it can ever be turned off, but, uh, next thing, you know, you're staring at ceilings, looking for a sprinkler protection while you're at dinner with somebody.

So yeah. And, and sometimes, you know, you have to, uh, tell yourself, you know, stop looking at the ceiling. I know I've been in trouble with that before. Yeah. You know, every time you, you walk into a building, you're always looking like you're looking for the fire, right? , you've been programmed, you know, to, to look for certain things and evaluate certain things.

And sometimes, you know, it gets, I guess you wouldn't wanna go to a date and talk about this stuff, you know, where's the final, it'd be pretty dry. Yeah. . Yeah. So, yeah. So I saw that you, uh, just a little bit more about your, your background. Um, I saw that you have some, uh, certifications that I'm not, um, very familiar with.

I was wondering if you would tell me a little bit, a little bit about some of those, uh, certifications you have, um, like the, I see the, it seems like I've seen out of the, the states, the MI fire E uh, fairly frequently, but yeah, I didn't know if you could speak a little bit on that. You know, you, you, you talked about, uh, earlier about, uh, fire protection, uh, being, uh, I guess, uh, a career that people would actually focus on.

Uh, and I guess, uh, one of the reason it isn't is like you, you did mention earlier was that it's a new, uh, I wouldn't say a new profession, but a new, uh, specialization, I guess. In in Malaysia, um, unfortunately fire protection is in a recognized, um, subspecialty, if you wanna call it that way, we're still very much divided based on the, how do I say the, um, the olden olden divisions, like civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, uh, you know, so it's, it's, if you want, if you wanna practice fire protection, you would have to go and apply under the mechanical engineering umbrella.

So the majority of fire protection designers and installers in the country are pretty much mechanical engineers who do fire protection stuff. So there's no real specialist fire protection, uh, designers or installers, uh, per se. Right? So, uh, that's, that's one of the issues. The other issues, if you actually.

Have a career in the loss prevention industry, uh, or you do primarily fire perfection. It's, it's, um, difficult to actually sit for what I would call a jurisdictional, uh, registration. Uh, you, you talked about, uh, you know, yourself, uh, uh, getting your PE and getting and all that. So if you do loss prevention and you do, uh, you know, purely five protection, it, it's very hard to get ed, uh, within the Malaysia context, right?

So a lot of people who do something out of the traditional engineering fertility typically fall Malaysia. I'm not sure how much know about Malaysia. Malaysia is very much, uh, uh, a Commonwealth country. You know, we are, we were ruled by the British, in fact, we were ruled by the Portuguese. We were ruled by the Dutch.

We were finally ruled by the British. So very much everything we do is. Uh, very, uh, British centric. Uh, our politics is, is, uh, parliamentary type politics. Um, you know, the administration is, uh, um, is something that has been, uh, given to us by the British, before independence. So even when we, we might talk later about codes and standards, even the codes and standards that we adopt are very much, uh, British code and standards versus the north American, uh, I guess N FBA and ASME and, and, and so on.

So, uh, so, uh, the long story short was, uh, because I was not able to actually get, uh, I guess, professional recognition within my own jurisdiction. Uh, I decided to join the Institute of fire engineers, which is actually a ed, um, uh, professional organization in, in the UK. Uh, which actually, uh, it caters for, uh, the fire protection profession.

Uh, and, um, you know, uh, it's basically an, uh, organization that is, um, similar to the SF in, in the us. You are familiar the S right, right. Yeah. SFP is, uh, very big in the, in the us, I'm part of a local chapter, the Oklahoma SF P E group. It's, it's not very big, it's only maybe around 30 members, but yeah. We get together and have, um, talks sometimes.

So, yeah. S be interesting. Yeah. So the IFP is actually, I would say a peer of SF P E but based in the UK. And, uh, it's more prevalent. In, uh, Commonwealth countries. So if you, if you talk to fire protection engineers in India, you'd find that most properly, they would be a member of to, wow. I didn't know that.

Yeah. I appreciate the information on that for sure. Hey, no problem. Uh, in fact, um, uh, I think in SFP, you know, you have a member grade and then you have a, a professional member grade. Believe I believe so. There's different gradients of membership based on, you know, voting rights and some different things like that.

Um, to my understanding. Yep. So the, if E has something similar, they just call it an associate or a member, uh, and then, you know, they have a fellow and, and so on. So if, if you had, uh, uh, recognized academic, uh, uh, background, you could always join an associate member. And then if you wanted to be a member, you'd actually have to write, uh, um, basically what they call a professional review.

Uh, you know, that outlines, what have you experienced in say the last four or five years in fire protection? What focus you have done in fire protection and so on? So. To kind of, um, uh, I guess convince them that you have actually, um, you know, uh, been actively involved in this profession and you have actually gained knowledge, um, beyond your academic training, I guess, uh, before they make you, uh, like a full member and, and so on.

Hmm. Wow. That's very interesting process. I wasn't aware of that. I appreciate the, the background on, uh, Malaysia and, uh, yeah, just, just I, yeah, I didn't know a lot of that. It makes sense to, I just I've seen the, in my, uh, fire E designation on. Some people from, uh, different parts of the country or different parts of the world.

So, yeah, that's very interesting to learn about that. I wasn't aware I was, I guess I was aware of the organization, but not about some of the application process and some of the intricacies about that. So that's very interesting to know about, I'll have to keep an eye out for more professionals like yourself who, um, are qualified, like.

Yeah, no problem. But yeah. So, um, you spoke a little bit about your career, um, as a, like an insurance professional or a loss prevention specialist. I don't know. What would you, how would you describe your. Um, your role, like sometimes I, I feel, I feel bad cuz I'll say, you know, fire protection is a blanket statement and then my guest will be like, well, you know, I'm not a, a fire protection professional.

I'm a, uh, you know, uh, certified fire investigator or I'm a, you know, uh, uh, somebody in fire safety or, you know, they'll have a different designation for what they consider what they do. So I always feel like I have trouble like kind of dancing around, oh, are you a loss prevention specialist? You consider yourself a safety engineer, you know, but, uh, yeah, maybe you could touch on that.

Um, while you answer also, um, you know, what does that role look like? You know, uh, we talked a little bit about risk assessments and some of those, um, different parts of hazard analysis and kind of taking in the different components of the buildings, fire safety features and, you know, compiling them. But, uh, yeah, I don't know if you could touch on that.

Yeah, sure. Um, uh, loss prevention, basically, especially if you work for, uh, I guess an insurer, uh, I I've seen loss prevention for professionals working for, you know, the oil and gas, or even with the power sector directly. But if you work with the insurer, uh, it's a bit more broad because when we talk about loss prevention, There's multiple pers and in pers means, you know, things like, uh, fire fire is a peril, uh, or earthquake is a per, uh, flood is a per so when, when I, I visit a site, uh, my, um, I guess task would be to kind of evaluate the potential of a loss exposure, uh, based on this different pers.

So let's say if I go to a machine shop and they were actually just doing, uh, you know, uh, cutting and welding of metal, uh, or steel steel products, um, the, the fire hazard is really, I guess, relatively lower because, you know, you don't really have combustibles to burn. Then my focus would be on the other pers for example, you know, is the location.

In a, in a flood zone, if it's in a flood zone, what would be the exposure and so on, so forth, or if it's in a, uh, windstorm zone or, or a typhoon zone, you know, what would be the damage to that facility? Right. So when you talk about loss prevention, loss prevention and encompasses, uh, a slightly bigger, uh, uh, I guess framework, uh, that fire constitutes a big part, uh, because typically people buy and, and, and this can be different in different parts of the world.

Uh, in Malaysia, uh, we have what we call a fire policy, and then we have a, a property policy. So it basically, you know, if it's a fire policy, uh, fire, fire is the only thing. Probably covered, uh, if it's an all risk policy, that means I cover for fire. I cover for flood. I cover for earthquake, you know, so it, they there's, there's so many policies out there, you know, um, I'm at loss too, because, you know, I'm, I'm into loss prevention and not into, so, um, what I see with the pinch of salt, but, um, the, the fire per real kind of constitutes a big part of that insurance policy.

Uh, so when I'm on site, even though I'm doing a lot of, uh, I guess risk assessment that could be non-fire related, uh, fire tends to be, um, one of the things that you spend more time on because we evaluate, uh, you know, if you had a sprinkler system, whether the sprinkler system was adequate, uh, because one of the things that, eh, people don't realize is, um, I'm sure you're familiar with management of change.

Right? Uh, management of change is, is, is a very, it's a word that I've been hearing for 20 years, but, uh, in, in loss prevention and in fire protection, uh, when people build a facility, they, they, they build a code. Okay. But once when they change the operation within the plant, um, they might do MOC on their process, but very few of them actually do MOC on the fire protection that's been installed.

Mm-hmm . So, uh, a system that has, has met code when it was built, may not need code after a couple of years because, uh, you know, the intent, the process or the storage or whatever has changed. And very few people actually, um, pay attention to that or even, uh, you know, um, think about it. And I think if, if you've seen one of my LinkedIn posts, I kind of touched about it about, uh, you know, occupancies changes and, and sprinklers.

Uh, I, I did a, uh, um, a short post on LinkedIn on that. So, um, that's the reason why, I guess there's, um, there's a need for loss prevention, people like myself to go out and make sure that what's been, uh, designed for intent in the beginning actually still meets its intent after a couple of years.

Definitely. Yeah, I, yeah, I deal with that every day. So I understand what you're saying. Um, existing construction can, you know, we. You touched on a couple of really good things, but, you know, I, I can understand the, I don't know what to say about it. Pain points of dealing with existing construction and, you know, I think it's interesting.

You talk about management of, of change, you know, that's for those who might not know, it's more of like a, a process safety or kind of a, a systems engineering, uh, type of term, but, um, just kind of means, yeah. How would you describe that for the people who don't know? I'm not even sure I fully understand it.

I guess in, in simple terms is, uh, if you had an office. And your sprinkler. I mean, you're not, you're gonna design your sprinkler to protect that office. Right. And in, in, in, uh, fire protection terms, we'd call it a light, uh, hazard occupancy, because you have, I guess you have combustibles, you probably have a chair, you have a table that's wooden, or maybe have some carpet, you have some on the wall.

So, uh, you know, the protection design would be, uh, catered for that light. Um, I guess, um, uh, combustibles, uh, but I, I desire to, you know, uh, use part of my office to, uh, let's say install some toy products, which, um, I ordered from, from, from China. And I was going to do some online business where people could, you know, buy from my website and, you know, uh, my, my office is now a storage and transit point.

Uh, for delivering those, those goods, um, I've basically introduced new hazard into, uh, the office OFCY because, um, the toys are probably made of plastic and plastic has a higher, um, heat content rate, uh, in comparison to wood. And I have also now introduced, uh, the concept of storage within an office type occupancy.

So, uh, I guess in a simple terms, uh, management of change would be, if you knew you were going to do that, you would actually, um, get the five protection consultant or five contractor to look and evaluate if that, uh, light hazard design, uh, of the sprinkler system would cater for the new, um, new storage and, and, and plastic, uh, commodity, I guess.

I see. Yeah, that makes sense. Um, you know, when you contextualize it with the fire suppression example, yeah. I'm a huge fan of fire suppression and we deal with that all the time. People trying to store things in spaces where, you know, there's not designed for that. Um, it can get, uh, pretty hazardous very fast.

So that makes a lot of sense. Yeah. Another thing you touched on that I really liked hearing about is, you know, how loss prevention is kind of an umbrella of, of hazards to a facility that encompasses a little bit more than what fire is and, you know, so you talked about like earthquake and flood and fire, you know, I, I never thought about the holistic approach of the, the risk for a building kind of being, you know, more.

More than what fire is, you know, I I'm, so needle focused on, on fire protection and safety, you know, when I think of industrial loss prevention, I just am thinking about the big facility hazards. And, you know, I guess, uh, you probably look at it from a more holistic approach and about all the hazards for a building, not just the internal internal hazards.

So that was interesting. Oh yeah. I mean, because you know, a lot of people don't realize it that, you know, um, sometimes having a fire pump room in a basement area is actually, uh, the easiest place to get, uh, fluid. And then you have an impairment to your fire protection system. And, um, in, in this part of the world, I mean, NFPA, the team has a section on, uh, seismic protection for fire protection, but, um, uh, lot of people don't actually.

Pay attention to it. Uh, uh, and, um, and, and one of the things that I guess it's, it's difficult to sell something like a seismic protection for fire protection is because, um, as you know, you know, there's different intensities to, uh, quick, uh, so a lot of people feel like, you know, oh, I'm not, you know, I'm not like in San Francisco, you know, uh, the educate we feel is just, you know, minor tremors.

So, you know, it's not gonna damage my fire protection. So, you know, I don't need to kind, uh, abide to code on, on such things. Uh, so you know, that, that, that's kind of the challenge of, you know, trying to, I guess, uh, convince people that, you know, earthquake could, could actually now, if, if the fire protection was damaged, instead of having a fire loss, we have.

I guess from an insurance perspective, we have a loss because all the equipment and all the, probably the goods have been read by the sprinkler system. So then seism speed. Protection becomes critical. Yeah. It's interesting. Um, before working with the firm that does engineering, you know, I, you know, never quite understood, you know, I, I knew that if you were in a certain seismic category and you needed seismic testing, but I didn't know that the, you could get, um, Soil characteristics in, uh, essentially almost any part of the world with, you know, these, um, ex expansive soils or these where these seismic conditions could be possible.

So it's not something where you could look at a map and say, oh, this area is seismic in this area is not, they have to do the geotechnical work to, you know, determine that. And there's usually report, um, definitely always for new buildings, but, um, sometimes. Less frequently for existing construction. But yeah, I, I like that point.

You made about how seismic is a struggle because I've dealt with trying to educate people, uh, myself about the topic. And it's something that I didn't know about early on, but you know, now I just know to when I'm producing drawings to go search for the structural engineers drawings and see what the seismic class.

Category is, and, you know, um, take that into context when I'm designing systems. So yeah, I like that. Thanks. um, so I wanted to get into a little bit of a bit about, you know, what would you consider, you know, the type of facility that would be your specialty? It seems like, you know, you've talked about power and some different high industrial type facilities, but yeah, I didn't know if you would speak a little bit about, you know, what your, where your experience was or, you know, that sort of thing.

When I was in FM, um, I pretty much did everything under the sun. Uh, but, um, I, I did a lot of work in with the, um, basically electronic industry, uh, manufacturers, you know, uh, like in Intel and, um, uh, Johnson control and so on where they were building plants in, in, uh, this part of the world. And, uh, since they were actually clients with, uh, FM, uh, FM had a very strong philosophy that, uh, they always wanted to kind of influence, uh, the fire protection design, uh, at construction stage.

So I did a lot of work with these companies to, I guess, uh, convince them to, uh, adapt the FM data sheets, um, and, you know, uh, design to FM, uh, standards, uh, versus, you know, trying to, you know, take a shortcut and, you know, build to local jurisdictional, uh, requirements and so on. Um, so that was my, my early part of my, I guess, um, project type work related to five direct.

So I, you know, I still enjoy doing stuff like that. You know, getting involved in projects, doing peer review, because that's what we did a lot in, in FM, we did a lot of peer review work, uh, meaning that, you know, design or projection that came in, uh, we, you know, look at it and we would kind of comment if we felt that, you know, certain areas of the design were not, uh, consistent with FM data sheets, um, or, you know, had some, uh, deficiencies or something that was missed out and, and so on.

So area of, uh, involvement that I had and, you know, I still enjoy doing that. Uh, I also did a lot of, uh, power plan, uh, project. Especially in Singapore and Hong Kong, uh, in Hong Kong specifically, you know, there was, um, this company called China light and power and they had, uh, two major plants, uh, a castle peak power station and black point power stations.

They had about 16 units. And, um, this was in, I guess, uh, maybe the mid, uh, two thousands, uh, when FM actually came up, uh, with some research about, um, three dimensional fires and, and, and spray fires and, and, and pool fires, uh, from a, from a turbine generator. Uh, so, uh, FM did some mock up test the, uh, lab in the us, uh, and it produced a video.

I think you can find that video, um, uh, in YouTube or probably, uh, it kind of demonstrates, uh, because, you know, uh, turbines actually rotating missionaries and in any rotating missionary, you need a lot of. I guess lubrication, uh, oil or oil systems. And, um, uh, this oil systems sometimes are, you know, in, in, in pressurized conditions and so on.

So, uh, if you did have a fire with a Turine generator, uh, it was, it becomes a very challenging type fire. So FM kind of spearheaded the research on it and shared that information with a lot of clients and China light and power was one of the, the, I guess, pioneer clients, at least in this part of the world that, um, uh, bought into that idea and, you know, wanted to upgrade their, uh, fire protection system for the Turine generators.

So I. Kind of tasked to help them, um, you know, improve their fire protection system. And I, I was based in Hong Kong for two years, just, you know, supporting the entire project on the 16 units. So that, that was probably one of my, I guess, um, memorable times in, in, in, in my, I guess fire protection and project type work, uh, one, because it was a, it was a running plant.

So, um, we had to schedule installation, uh, whenever there was, um, uh, unit outage. So, uh, uh, timing and, and so on made it, uh, I guess, more challenging than a Greenfield type project. Um, I also did fire protection work for a couple of power plants in Singapore, uh, notably to power and, and, uh, One of the things that, you know, you get involved in, in these projects as an insurer is, um, we are always interested in what we call validation.

Um, when I say validation is in, in this part of the world and I, I not, I won't speak about the rest because I I'm, I'm quite familiar with how practices are over here. People tend to forget about, uh, testing and acceptance, you know, commissioning testing, and acceptance. So people install fire protection systems and they don't really see the need to actually do, um, uh, the testing and commissioning and acceptance to establish if what they had intended was achieved.

Um, you would out of 10 projects, if you find one project that is actually. I've done a proper acceptance test that's, uh, you know, amazing. Right? So the, the culture of acceptance testing was not big in fire is still not big in fire protection, even for large projects, like a power plant projects. Um, so I, I remember very well, uh, when I was involved, uh, with the project in Singapore and they were installing, uh, uh, CO2 systems for the gas turbine enclosure and, uh, I was working with FM that time.

So, uh, uh, we asked them, you know, if they were gonna do, uh, discharge tests and they were going to, uh, measure the amount of concentration of CO2 in the enclosure. And they said, no, you know, uh, we are not because, you know, we have already done our, uh, I guess, uh, computer or modeling simulation, and we know we can get the concentration.

So we are not gonna, uh, discharge, CO2 and waste CO2 and so on. Um, so I mean, coming from an insurance company, you typically know, uh, you know, you have statistics that kind of support that, you know, when systems are not properly installed and you don't do proper acceptance, what is the failure mode? What's the failure rate and so on.

So, um, uh, there's a kind of heated discussions between, I guess, the insurers and, uh, uh, the project manager, uh, but finally, you know, uh, we were able to, I guess, Put our foot down because we kind of, uh, uh, told them that, you know, we would advise, uh, the authority having jurisdiction in, in Singapore. It's the CF that, you know, um, uh, from an insurance perspective, uh, uh, acceptance and discharge test would be ideal.

So, so they finally did it and they failed the test and believe me in every, uh, CO2 discharge test I have done at various projects in power plants. They have always failed the first time, uh, in, in, in, in the case, in that particular case, the concentration levels were not achieved in another case, basically the, um, enclosure bulged and, uh, started leaking CO2.

Uh, so there, there were different, different, I. Uh, failure modes that happened in, in different projects. Uh, but you know, these are the ones that are memorable because, you know, it's like, you, you, you try to, you know, kind of, um, convince people what the right thing to do. And you finally, you know, I mean, you, you don't wish the customer to have a failure during the test, but, you know, by, by that failure, you kind of prove a point.

Right. So, so that, those, those were kind of some of the memorable experiences. Wow. That's a really powerful story about, you know, when you're saying preliminary testing or commissioning or acceptance testing, um, I, wasn't thinking of, uh, kind of a more special hazard system, like, uh, carbon, uh, monoxide or not carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide system.

Gosh, carbon monoxide system. That sounds terrifying. um, no, but, uh, yeah, and you know, talking about the different. Areas for the system to, to fail. And yeah, it's often a very hard task, even in the us to, you know, not just have the test be done, but get the right documentation and to, you know, verify, like you were saying that the system was installed properly, you know, oftentimes for, uh, fire suppression, it's, you know, getting, uh, finding a way to hydrostatic test, uh, new piping added to a system or, you know, with fire alarm.

Um, the company I work with does, uh, you know, third party commissioning. So oftentimes we'll get, uh, into situations where we might retroactively go through and commission a system and, and verify that all those devices and systems are, are working. So, uh, yeah, I like that note a lot and yeah, I really want to.

More about your, uh, time at FM. I know you're not with FM anymore, but, um, I've spent some time recently dealing with FM data, FM global data sheets and designing with those data sheets. And so I really am very interested in that part of your career and just, uh, yeah, I wanted to know if you had any, um, like tips or tricks for, you know, I feel like it's so difficult to understand all of the data sheets that FM has and you know, when know when to use them during the design process.

So, yeah, I didn't know if you had any, um, tips or tricks or just, you know, how what's a better way to approach designing a job, um, per FM standards. Uh, well, you know, that's a good question about trips and tricks. Uh, I never actually thought of that before, but, uh, when you compare, uh, FM data sheets to NPA, uh, I think the FM sheets have been laid out in a much more straightforward manner because, uh, I think NFPA the team is probably just a huge document, uh, which tries to address every single, uh, occupancy out there that needs, um, I guess printer protection, uh, the FM data sheets are more what they call occupancy specific data.

So, you know, if I wanted, uh, uh, you know, the sprinkler design for, for a power plant, I would go to NF, uh, sorry, uh, FM data sheet 1 0 1 or 7 79, uh, you know, 1 0 1 would be for fossil plants, steam turbines, and, uh, 79 would be for, you know, combined cycle plan or, or, or, or, uh, gas Turine plants. So, um, I guess that's where the major differences it's it's, um, uh, it's not all under, uh, one umbrella.

You gotta go to different data sheets. Specific data sheets, uh, and they call it occupancy specific data sheets, uh, to, to, to find stuff. So, um, they also break it up into different categories. So for example, if you wanted to look for, uh, construction type hazards, you would go to, I guess, um, the one series, hopefully it's still the same because, you know, I left FM about six years, six, seven years back.

Uh, and then if you wanted anything to do with, uh, water base fire protection, you'd go to, uh, the two series. And then if you wanted to do anything, but, uh, extinguishing type fire protection, whether gases or water spray systems, you'd go to the four series. So it's, it's kinda split into, uh, that manner. And, uh, the FM data sheets.

Uh, where it, it kind of, uh, I guess diverges from the NFPA is it also has data sheets on, uh, other hazards. So, you know, they have data sheets on flood. They have data sheets on earthquake. They have data sheets for, uh, what we call machinery breakdown. That means how to evaluate, uh, combustion controls for, for boilers, uh, for furnaces and so on.

Cause I, I did mention to you that, you know, loss prevention is just, is beyond fire it's it's it's anything that can cause, uh, a loss. So, um, uh, I think if I'm not mistaken boilers and ovens and all that comes under the six series, uh, so, so it's, it's kind of broken up in that way. Uh, and it's, it's, it's not difficult, you know, maybe one day, uh, if you have time, you know, uh, we can get on a zoom call and I can do a quick demonstration to you, how to.

Uh, the, or how to approach the, the, the data sheets. Oh yeah, I appreciate, I appreciate that. And yeah, I just think that some of my, the difficulties come in from a, um, a more in the us, uh, traditional approach of, you know, um, going to 13 for all of your sprinkler, um, hazards, you know, unless there's something very special for the facility or, you know, um, going to 72 for, you know, pretty much all of your fire alarm for your standard commercial building's, uh, I think you get in this habit of, you know, going through those channels.

And then, you know, I just had a job recently where we designed to, um, FM global data sheets, and now, you know, uh, you have, of course, Yeah, I think it's two dash six, which is your, how you classify your hazards. And the hazards are classified, um, differently than N FPA 13, you know, uh, uh, a shop for a car or car maintenance, you know, might be a HC three, which, you know, translates to an extra hazard group, um, which in N F P a 13, it's only a, uh, you know, could be an only, an ordinary hazard and maybe even oh one or, you know, maybe oh two, but.

You know, so you find a lot of these differences and, you know, and then to make it even a little bit stranger, you know, you have a generator room and then, so you're going to a whole different data sheet for ignitable liquids operations, which has a, you know, a dramatically higher, uh, density and, you know, area of operation.

So it's just, uh, it's a little bit difficult to, you know, grab all these data sheets when you need 'em for FM. But yeah, I don't, I don't know. I don't wanna harp on you too much on it. Like you said, cuz you worked there six years ago, but yeah, I just thought that was interesting and yeah, I just had some, some struggles recently with trying to navigate those as effectively as I could.

So no, no worries. I mean, it's just interesting to talk about it and I, I do deal with the sheets off and on, but maybe. Not on a daily basis, uh, even now. Uh, and then I, I sometimes when, you know, I don't find the answers in FPA. I tend to go back, uh, and thank God it's, it's now publicly, uh, accessible, you know, 10, 15 years back.

It was, uh, not really, uh, on, uh, accessible to, to public. It was only to those who, clients of FM. Um, but one of the major things that I kind of felt why I like the FM data sheets was, um, you know, when you come to stuff like, uh, flavorable, liquid hazards, right? Um, the FM data sheets kind, uh, intuitively guide you to look at it beyond just, um, the, the suppression system, but also to think about, um, if, if let's say you had, uh, a water spray system, uh, on some flammable liquid and that flammable liquid.

Um, was ignited the, uh, the detection system triggers and water gets discharged. Um, uh, now the mixture of, um, water and, and burning liquid, where is it gonna flow? So you gotta talk about, you gotta think about containment. You gotta think about drainage and so on. And I, I think when you, you, you just, you in the NFPA, uh, document, uh, it it's there, but it's not.

So I guess obvious, and I find a lot of people when they actually design, um, by protection for, I say, special occupancies, like flavorable liquids. Um, you find that containment and drainage is not something that they have actually catered for, uh, many times. And, and again, uh, I would say this is specific maybe to, to this region.

Uh, but if you use the data sheet, I think, uh, it kind of, uh, guides you toss. Considering those, those, those factors. Um, so, and, and maybe I'm, I'm being biased because, you know, I was 10 years, uh, plus minus, uh, in FM. Uh, and then, you know, so maybe I did brainwashed me a bit too much. That's okay. I mean, you, you can only know what you're used to and, uh, and you know, that's why I probably think that, you know, the NFPA is the easier road cuz it's just been beat into my head for so long, but no, uh, that's awesome.

That's good. Yeah. I like, I think, you know, you're right. FM is a more concise document and if you are just looking for very, um, specific hazards, um, I think that FM is easier. Yeah. So yeah, I, I can see what you're saying about the, just uh, for one stop shop, if you will, for, um, the more holistic approach to a building for the FM data sheets, but yeah, that's interesting stuff.

So that's another thing don't mind just in, um, there's another data, uh, uh, I guess, uh, resource that, um, I still use is the, uh, Excel, uh, gap. Data sheets, which I also find, uh, very easy to understand and, and, um, very easy to, um, I guess, uh, adapt. Uh, and, and in fact, uh, after using the Excel gaps, data sheets, I find them even more, um, I guess, uh, layman then, then, then the FM data sheets or, or, or an FBA.

Um, so that's something, you know, you probably may, I'm not sure whether you've seen those, uh, but you know, you haven't, you might see them in future. Yeah. Yeah. So I'm, I'm only kind of a peripheral. Lee peripheral Lee. I don't know if that's a word. Um, I'm only kind of aware of the, um, Excel gaps, data sheets, or the, you know, I guess they're probably not data sheets, whatever they're, how have you classified their, um, standards?

Uh, mostly because, uh, they are big in the S F P E community, and I've seen some of their, you know, just through, um, Googling and trying to find out information on fire protection. I've seen some of their papers before and been really impressed about the detail and, uh, you know, but yeah, so I'm kind of aware of them, but yeah, that's interesting.

I'll have to take a look at some more of those. Again, I haven't had a project yet come across my desk where they've been required, so. Okay. How about to see there are also kind of in the, um, I guess occupancy centric kind of, uh, approach, ah, I see, I like that. Um, so yeah, I wanted to get a little bit about, um, what you're doing now and, uh, you know, uh, I know, understand that you have your own kind of, um, consulting practice now, but yeah, I wanted to talk about, um, the kind of work you performing now.

I know you're you were saying that you still like to get involved with peer review and so get into that sort of thing. So, yeah, wouldn't, I.

Organization or insurer, uh, I'm just, uh, doing it independently now. Uh, because there's a lot, there's a market for, uh, insurance comp, a lot of insurance companies don't like to keep inhouse, uh, engineers or in-house consultants, because that becomes an overhead that becomes, uh, uh, a fixed cost. Uh, so they, they rather, you know, uh, employ, uh, someone on, on a, a me too basis.

So there's a market for that. Uh, so, um, last year when AIG was downsizing, you know, I, uh, I guess I was one of the lucky ones, so, um, and I was kind of thinking, you know, what should I do next? Or should I go work for another corporate or, you know, try something different. And, uh, I decided, you know, trying something different would be, um, I guess, more fun.

So, and, and you, you tend to do things, uh, Uh, I guess more variety. Uh, when I say variety is, um, sometimes, you know, clients ask me to do risk assessment based on, on the British standards. Sometimes a client ask me to do, uh, risk assessment based on an FBA sometimes based on FM. Uh, so, uh, it gives me a bit more broad base exposure to the different requirements.

Currently, I'm actually doing a peer review for a client, uh, in, in the middle east. Um, and it's actually a, um, uh, sugar refinery. So, you know, it was fun because, you know, it reminded me of the Imperial sugar incident back in two and eight. So, you know, I was doing a lot of read up about that loss and, you know, uh, as part of my, my peer review exercise.

So you, you do a lot of, uh, um, uh, a variety of work. Uh, I had a client that, you know, they insured told them that, uh, there. Fire protection or their sprinkler systems were inadequate and, uh, they didn't believe the insurers. So they wanted, uh, a kind of, uh, uh, independent, uh, Obed. So I got involved and, uh, uh, probably after what I shared with them, they got even more upset because, uh, they were actually dealing with flammable and combustible liquids.

And, uh, the sprinkler system they had installed was probably only fit for oh one. Uh, so, uh, so yeah, so, uh, in that perspective, you, uh, what I found in the last one year is, um, I've been doing, um, lot more variety type of work. And, uh, instead of having a standard scope, because if you work for an insurer, it's typically you're going out, you're doing a risk assessment.

You're trying to quantify the risk and you're producing a report. Right. So it's kind of. Every job is kind of, uh, free set in its nature. It's been defined, but in, in the independent market, it's typically what your client or your customer wants you to do. So, like I said, you know, they may want you to just bench benchmark, the local codes, they might want to, you know, you to benchmark against international codes, or they might just want you to, uh, uh, like I said, the sprinkler analysis.

So, you know, it it's, it can be split, it can be D it can be broken up into different things and, you know, uh, they define what they want. So you, you know, uh, you, you do it to what you've been asked to do, uh, and that, that kind of, you know, uh, keeps it interesting. I think that's one of the best parts about consulting is the variety of the work.

You've mentioned a couple times how you've gotten to have fun and by being involved with a lot of different types of projects and very interesting projects and hazards, that's pretty cool about the, the sugar plant. And yeah, I imagine that there are some combustible dust hazards, which I always like to hear about, but yeah, no, I wanted to, I feel like I would kick myself if I didn't ask you about, um, you talked about benchmarking to different standards and you know, different qualifications for systems, but yeah, I really wanted to ask you about your sense of, um, how to navigate codes and standards.

Really. I. Super fascinated with, um, the codes and standards process, um, outside of the us. So, yeah, I just wanted to hear a little bit about how you navigate codes and standards when you're, you're going into, uh, somewhere new or, you know, maybe it could be like a, a country you're not used to, or yeah. I, I don't know.

I'd just like to hear more about, um, your sense of the codes and standards outside of the us and, and kind how you navigate that, I guess. Yeah. So, well, um, I think NFPA is quite adopted. I'll say it's quietly, widely adopted, but, uh, it's not widely implemented to the letter. Okay. So that's, that's, that's one of the, the challenge.

Right. So if someone tells you, you know, oh, our design is to N FPA, you can't take it to face value. That's, that's one of the challenges in this part of the world. Um, the, the second thing I'd probably like to share is, you know, yeah. You know, we have the Australian standards, we have the British standards, we have the European norms and, and so on.

Uh, I mean, fire protection is so huge, but let's just talk about like sprinkler systems. Um, the, when you talk about sprinklers, you have the, uh, I guess the, uh, design specifications, and then you have the installation and you have commissioning. So, um, when you talk about installation, uh, regardless of, of, of I guess, um, uh, standard, whether it's the European standard or it's the Australian standard or it's the NFP or it's the local there's very little, um, I guess difference.

I mean all, all standards recognize that, um, uh, the further away you put your sprinkler head from the ceiling, the longer it's gonna take to discharge because heat and smoke accumulates, uh, below the ceiling. And if it's too far away, you know, it's, you're going to delay activation. So you have to install it as, as, as, as close as possible.

Uh, MF P a gives I think, uh, 300 mm. Or something like that, if I, if I'm not mistaken. So, um, so even it comes to installation, it's, uh, you hardly find major, uh, uh, I guess, differences. And then when you come to the commissioning and testing, you know, it it's again, uh, pretty much consistent. Um, you know, if you had, if you had sprinkle piping, you wanna do a, you wanna flush the system, you wanna do a pressure test, uh, and so on.

So all standards talk about the same thing. Where it differs is actually where the design specification is, uh, you know, European, uh, nor may ask for a different density. The British standard may ask for a different, different density. An FPA may ask for a different density. Uh, you know, the Australian standard may ask for a different density.

So if so, I guess if you have used them, uh, frequently enough, then, you know, you realize that you know where the difference are, and then you just focus on where, uh, it matters. And that kind of, you know, uh, as time goes by, I guess you just get, uh, familiar with it and you get used to it and, and it helps you, I guess, a bit in your analysis.

Uh, and, and so. Yeah, definitely. I, I understand what you're saying. I was talking with somebody, uh, recently about, you know, this same kind of topic and they were saying, well, you know, fire science is fire science, no matter where you go around the world. So there's a lot of similarities. And as long as you have a strong understanding of the fundamentals, um, there's a lot of crossover.

In these, um, in the different parts of the world. So yeah, I like what you said about that, but I wanted to end with the question about, um, professional development for you, but yeah, I've seen you post a lot of really good stuff on, on LinkedIn, and I feel like you have a, a good sense of what's happening in the industry and it seems like you read a lot of the same good, uh, publications I enjoy, but yeah, I just wanted to know, um, what do you see as a trend in the industry right now, or, um, you know, where do you, where do you kind of see your profession going in the future?

Well, you know, um, one of the things that I'd kind of like to highlight was, um, when I started in this profession, uh, information was not so easily available. Right. Um, when I say information was not so easily available was like, you know what we have today, social media, LinkedIn, uh, has kind of changed the landscape of professional development.

Uh, I, I think, uh, in today's world, it's whether you have the yearning to improve yourself, if you, if you wanna improve yourself, it's out there, you just have to look for the information, you know, it's, it's, it's that easy, uh, 20 years back, you know, I guess it was there. It wasn't so easily available. It was probably in a book.

Uh, you probably need to know by the book or the book by the book or, or, or something like that. And there was less webinar. So, you know, there wasn't, uh, information was not so easily, uh, available compared to what it's today. And especially during this pandemic period, uh, you find that, uh, a lot of classroom based trainings are now being posted on, on, on, on the web, on, on, on LinkedIn or, or, and so on.

And it kind has, it has made it so much easier for someone who is, uh, looking for, for information or looking to improve themselves to, to have it, um, at their fingertips. So that that's, that's, I guess, the, the, the biggest change and, and I'm, I'm a strong believer that, you know, professional development doesn't have to be formal.

It can be in a very informal, uh, uh, means, uh, when I say informal means everything doesn't have to be a certification. Uh, process, uh, it can always be bits and pieces and you will, you know, it, it all add up one day. So that, that's my, my bit about, about, uh, professional development. I think, you know, in, in today's environment, uh, it's at your fingertips.

It's whether you want to tap on it or you don't, you don't want to, uh, if you, if you're still waiting for someone to spoon feed you, then I think, uh, that's never gonna happen. Right. uh, or it probably take longer than it should be. So that, that's my, my bit about, uh, professional level. Yeah. Yeah. I like that.

I definitely am with you on the fact that there's, there's more, Reese's NA resources now than there's ever been. And you know, if you, if you are having trouble, you just need to look a little bit harder because, um, I don't know. I, I think that there's a lot out there and, you know, I. I've kind of got into this whole podcast thing for, um, helping, putting out one more informal resource.

And so, yeah. So I hope people enjoy it and, but yeah, anyways, AAN, I want to thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I really, I really enjoyed speaking with you. Um, we didn't get to all our topics, but maybe we'll have to do this again sometime in the future. Thanks GU you know, I really enjoyed, uh, chatting with you and it's always nice talking to someone, uh, about, you know, stuff that, you know, kinda picks you.

So yeah. Thank you so much. Thanks for listening everybody. Be sure to share the episode with a friend, if you enjoyed it, don't forget that fire protection and life safety is serious business. The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are by no means a professional consultation or a codes and standards interpretation.

Be sure to contact a licensed professional. If you are getting involved with fire protection and or life safety. Thanks again. And we'll see you next time.