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NYC requirement for on-sight responsible employee / removing fire alarm systems in NYC and maybe elsewhere
November 22, 2017
NYC requirement for on-sight responsible employee
   This issue has been a concern for a couple years now. S95 is for fire alarm systems and an individual with a license needs to be present for maintaining, testing and when there are people within the building. My question is, when the place is empty and there are no shows(a theater) going on. Does a s95 need to be present even when a building is empty? We’ve been scheduling people in the building but with no employees, contractors, testing and/or maintenance to the system. Is FDNY ok with the building not supplying a s95 holder as long as the building is completely empty or is there a certain amount of people that need to be inside for a s95 to be present? Thank you for taking the time to read my email, I hope for a response soon as this is an issue I cannot get a straight answer for.
John B
Assistant Director of Safety & Security
      I asked fire alarm expert Bob Williams from Briscoe Protection to respond; here is his response:
    Each building that has a fire alarm system, sub system or related system  has to haveS 95 certificate of Fitness holder physically  present.   The Fire Dept does not give specific directions on what" physically present" means but l am assuming it means during  business hours as that is how l have seen it enforced.      The S95 certificate holder must be able to identify fire alarm devices and is required to make sure the fire alarm maintenance company and the building  imparment coordinator are notified to any off normal fire alarm conditions. 
    They do not stipulate who he must work for but it is usually one a many duties assigned to an employee of the Engineering Department. 
    I think Fire Safety Directors can have dual status; Never the alarm company since they would have to be there every day the building is open.
    Just so you know Briscoe provides an S 95 review course as a public service for interested groups. Theer is never a charge for the training. We have trained over 1200 people prior to them taking the test and l believe we are the only company that does this.  Anyone interested can contact me direct at or 631-619-9398 and say they heard about it on your forum  
Hope this helps. 
Bob Williams
removing fire alarm systems in NYC and maybe elsewhere
    Though this is specifically a NYC issue, it most likely applies elsewhere.  This will be of interest only to those doing fire alarm work, and even then, only to those of you who lease the fire alarm system as part of your monitoring, inspection and repair services.  The issue that was previously addressed was how can the fire alarm system be removed if it was installed pursuant to filed plans, and as far as the Fire Department is concerned, becomes part of the real property?  If the system is sold to the end user it's not an issue.  However if the system is leased, to be removed when the contract expires or terminates early, the lease provision allowing removal would seem to contravene the Building Department prohibition on removal without a permit to remove.  One fire alarm company owner asked the NYC Building Department a few [loaded] questions and received the response below:
    This information as provided below should bring some clarity to my past Emails concerning building permits and attachments to building in NYC as it relates to fire alarm systems plus.  The response is from the NYC Building Department as listed (reply).
    The questions and the Building Dept responses follow:
  • Question: From my understand, any new and existing building construction as related to but not limited to new additions and alterations require a building permit in NYC.   Construction required documents and plans as well as Building Department documents and forms must be filed, a fee paid and the plans and documents are reviewed.   They are then either accepted or rejected and therefore need further clarification or corrections until approved.   Once approved, a Building permit is issued for the work as stated.  All work that is permitted, is considered to be permanent change to the premise and that work is not subject to a change, alteration or removal unless another application is filed and approved to do so, correct?  
  • Reply:   Any change, alteration or removal of permitted work requires a filing, approval and permit, except to the extent it is exempt from the requirement of a permit per AC 28-105.4 and 1 RCNY 101-14.
  • Question:  If any attempt to remove that work, it would require a new filing to do so, is that correct?
  • Reply:   A new filing is required to remove permitted work.
  • Question:   Any so called lease of the newly installed and filed and approved work, devices, building materials, equipment and electrical work etc., cannot just be removed because the filing and approval by the Buildings or other Departments has deemed it to be a permanent part of the building, is that correct?   
  • Reply:   I cannot address rights under a private lease agreement, but agree that a filing approval, and permit is required to remove permitted work, except to the extent it is exempt from the permit requirement per AC 28-105.4 and 1 RCNY 101-14.
  • Question:  If a fire alarm system plans and the relevant Building and Fire Department forms, application and plans are approved, the installation of that fire alarm or other systems once installed, inspected and approved are now a permanent official and legal part of the building, correct?  
  • Reply:   I am not sure what you mean by “legal” part of the building.   To the extent the fire alarm or other system is shown on approved plans, it would need to remain and not be removed without Department approval and permit. 
  • Question:   In the case of a filed and approved fire alarm system again, any attempt to remove that existing fire alarm system would require a new filing to do so and most likely would not be approved unless another new or replacement systems was filed to replace it, if that correct? 
  • Reply:    A fire alarm system may not be removed without an approved application and permit.
  • Question:   Any so called lease of the fire alarm systems or as others may state “a fire alarm system installed to provide a service that is never sold and can be removed at the end of the agreement” with the company that has provided it, cannot remove it because the filing and approval with the Building Department has deemed it to be a permanent part of the building, is that correct? 
  • Reply:  Answers above apply.
Yours truly,
Rufus T. Firefly

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
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