Black Building Testing Explained

10th November 2021

Black building testing (also known as integrated system testing) involves simulating a mains failure to test the functionality, performance and protection of your uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system. The test results demonstrate how your UPS will perform if called into action and ensure your backup power protection will deliver.

This in-depth article describes what a black test is and why it’s a crucial part of ensuring your UPS provides the power and protection you rely on.

What is a black building test?

When the power to your building or critical systems fails, your UPS is there to provide short-term power that enables you to act. But, can you really rely on your UPS to perform?

A black building test provides the answers you need. Engineers simulate a total power failure during the test and then record how your UPS and emergency generators work.

It’s called a black building test because it mimics the total loss of power, termed a “blackout”. Blackouts can have many causes, including issues with mains power, a lighting strike or a power surge. Regardless of the reason, a total loss of power is classed as a major incident and must be part of your business continuity planning.

The testing process is performed by qualified and experienced engineers. They will ensure that your systems are protected before, during and after the tests. Black building tests can be performed outside of working hours, minimising disruption and downtime to your organisation.

A black building test won’t interfere with or affect any of your live systems. It’s a totally separate and 100% safe power outage.

After every test, you’ll receive a detailed report of the performance of your UPS and generators. The test enables our engineers to assess the health and performance of your UPS and identify any urgent or developing faults that may need to be taken care of.

How does a black building test work?

During a black building test, our engineers will simulate a total power failure. The simulated power failure mimics an instant shut-down of power to your facility and critical systems.

Once the power has been cut off, engineers observe your UPS and backup generators to understand how they react in an emergency.

It’s important to note that every black building test is a simulation. At no time are your critical systems or infrastructure at any risk. Carter Sullivan’s engineers are highly trained and experienced and will perform all-black building tests to minimise any disruption to your organisation. 

What will I learn from a black building test?

Engineers will first and foremost assess whether the UPS and generators perform their critical function of providing power. They’ll record any delays or interruptions and give a health condition report of your UPS.

Simulating a total power failure is a valuable exercise that can identify any issues that could affect the safe operation of your UPS system. If spotted early, engineers can deal with any glitches and faults immediately.

A black building test is an essential part of your annual UPS service. Alongside all the other tests and checks performed, it gives you and your organisation confidence that it will deliver the protection you need in an emergency.

black building test

How often should I do a black building test?

You should perform a black building test at least once a year. If your UPS has been called into action or in some exceptional circumstances, you may complete it more regularly.

A black building test is a critical part of your annual UPS service. The annual UPS service checks the physical condition of your UPS, the current software installed and assesses its performance.

Never delay or ignore any scheduled maintenance, or your power systems could be at risk.

Why choose Carter Sullivan for UPS maintenance?

An annual UPS service is a core part of our power protection maintenance packages. As well as a black building test, our qualified and experienced engineers will test, check and update your UPS to ensure it delivers total power protection.

Every Carter Sullivan customer will receive the highest quality technical support and the highest standards. We provide solution-focused support, identifying issues and acting immediately to fix them.

We’re a trusted partner to the world’s leading UPS manufacturers, including Eaton and Riello. We’ve developed a strong relationship with these brands that provides information, access and support that benefits our customers.

We’re committed to providing total power protection for our clients.