We are just getting started in offer Residential Fire Alarm in Texas. We will sell, install and inspect the alarms the monitoring with be handled by Dispatch Center in San Antonio. I looked over the contracts you have available and I'm not sure which one we will need. You guidance will be greatly appreciated.
For residential subscribers get the Residential All in One. It will cover fire and other alarms. Talk to our Contract Administrator Eileen Wagda at 516 747 6700 x 312 for more information
follow up question
What a delightful staff you have! I did speak to Eileen this morning, before purchasing the suggested contracts, I had a question that she felt you should address. [Eileen Wadga is our Contract Administrator - and she spends several hours a day on the phone talking to alarm companies all over the country about contracts - I think she spends other times talking to her kids but I'm not sure - but she gets the job done and the contracts out on time- thanks Eileen]
We are just now starting our Fire Alarm business for our Residential customers only.
The Texas requirements for residential is it that we put a smoke detector in every room that could be a potential sleeping quarters. I have found information from our competitors that there is a waiver that the customer can sign stating we have presented to them what the state requires and if they sign this waiver stating they want less than what is required that this will release us from enforcing what the state requires. Is this true?
If we are in violation we could be charged with a class B misdemeanor, lose our alarm license and other punishment. We are nervous about proceeding until we can get some type of support proof about this waiver.
If it is true, when I complete my drawing of the residence do I have to draw where the state requirement is and then what was actually installed per customer request?
Thank you for you time and clarification,
I had one of my alarm attorneys research this one. Here is what we found:
A landlord has a duty to install smoke detectors, and that duty cannot be waived. A landlord also has a duty to inspect and repair smoke detectors, but that duty can be waived by the tenant. We did not find any statute that requires a residential property owner to install smoke detectors in the residence.
Section 92.006 of the Texas Property Code states that landlords MUST install smoke alarms and that tenants may NOT waive any rights, remedy or duties under this law. The code requires one smoke detector in each bedroom. If the dwelling unit uses a single room for dining, living and sleeping, the smoke alarm must be in the room. If there are multiple bedrooms served by the same corridor, one detector must be located in the corridor near the bedroom in addition to the detector in the bedroom. Also, for units with multiple levels, there must be a detector on each level.
The landlord has the duty to repair and inspect detectors. This duty may be waived but only by written agreement between the landlord and tenant. However, the duty to install may not be waived at all based on what I have read in the Texas Property Code.
One more follow up question
It is my understanding from the Texas State Fire Marshal's Office that in Texas the local authorities have jurisdiction. Meaning local authorities have to go by the Texas Statues and Rules. They do have a choice to adopt some/or all of the NFPA. I was told that I would need to check with the local authorities to make sure we are installing RESIDENTIAL Fire alarms to the local authorities specifications. As proof I was told to refer back to the Texas Statues and Rules 6002.003 & 6002.004.
That being said, should we add something similar to the below statement in our contract?
"Smoke detectors. If the alarm system includes smoke detectors, I agree that: (A) The number and placement of such detectors may not fulfill the requirements or recommendations in codes, Laws or standards that apply in my jurisdiction, Including the code provisions of the National Fire Protection Association and the International Residential Code; (B) I have sole Responsibility for complying with any and all codes, Laws and standards that may apply to the installation, placement and maintenance of the alarm system; and (C) Any smoke detectors described in this contract are supplemental devices only and are not intended to be a part of a primary fire alarm detection system. I understand that electrical smoke detectors, if installed in my premises , are designed to be connected to tan electrical power source. These detectors will not operate, The alarm will not sound and the alarm signal will not be transmitted when: The electricity is cut off; the back-up batter, If included as part of the system, Is low or dead; or fire cuts off the electricity before the alarm is activated, sounds and is transmitted. Connecting these detectors to a separate dedicated electrical circuit may increase their reliability, but even dedicated circuits can fail. I understand that these detectors all have limited useful lives, after which time they will not function. It is my sole responsibility to monitor and replace all detectors before or at the end of their useful lives."
I find no language in the statutes you refer to that requires a residential alarm system to include fire alarm protection. You are correct that the AHJ is the final authority for any systems that you are selling and installing. If your local Fire Marshal is requiring smoke detectors then it makes sense to comply. You could question what authority the Fire Marshal is relying upon to insist on smoke detectors, or their particular placement, if there is no statute or local ordinance that requires that equipment.
The language you quote above is acceptable, though I don't believe it necessary.
The Standard Residential All in One, which we do customize state by state, does include the following provision as one of its standard provisions:
"FIRE ALARMS: Unless the schedule of protection provides for a fire alarm system to code ALARM COMPANY makes no representation that the fire alarm equipment meets local code requirements or constitutes a fire alarm system as that term is defined by the Authority Having Jurisdiction [AHJ] over fire alarm systems in Buyer’s premises. If a fire alarm system to code is specified in the schedule of installation then ALARM COMPANY will install fire alarm equipment pursuant to AHJ requirements. Buyer agrees that any equipment required by the AHJ not specified in the schedule of installation shall be an extra to this contract to be paid for by Buyer at time said additional equipment is requested."
The Standard Residential All in One also contains these provisions:
"FALSE ALARMS/PERMIT FEES: Subscriber is responsible for all alarm permits and fees, agrees to file for and maintain any permits required by applicable law and indemnify or reimburse ALARM COMPANY for any fines relating to permits or false alarms. .... Should ALARM COMPANY be required by existing or hereinafter enacted law to perform any service or furnish any material not specifically covered by the terms of this agreement Subscriber agrees to pay ALARM COMPANY for such service or material."
Gina, your questions raise interesting issues, but unless you - or our friends in Texas - can point to a law pertains to residential fire detection devices and waivers, I think I'll stick with the provisions we already have in the Standard Residential All in One. You will find that this contract addresses the issues you raise in your questions and many more that you haven't considered.