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More on Not to code wireless fire alarm

August 19,  2021
More on Not to code wireless fire alarm from August 9, 2021 article
          It has been a while since I have chimed in on a topic.
          I think that as an industry, we still have those that struggle to understand when a fire alarm system is required.
          1. NFPA 72 doesn't tell us when a system is required, but how the part's and various pieces are to be installed; i.e. the cookbook if you will.
          2. The "menu" if you will is the adopted Code for the Jurisdiction; most typically an amended version of the IBC or NFPA 5000.  As the IBC is the most widely adopted, my examples will be taken from that.
          3. The Model IBC typically uses occupant load as the determiner in Section 907.2 (R Use Groups are a notable exception) to determine if a "manual fire alarm system" is required.  This does not typically imply smoke detection other than those required by NFPA 72 at each FACU. Areas of a building that can "drive" smoke detection are HVAC units & fire/smoke dampers, elevators, and fire/smoke doors/curtains.  When smoke detection is not required, but the Owner or Architect determines that it desired, NFPA 72 offers the option of Non-required Coverage ( which only relieves the spacing requirement for the detection:
          " Detection installed for reasons of achieving specific fire safety objectives, but not  required by any laws, codes, or standards, shall meet all of the requirements of this Code, with  the exception of the prescriptive spacing criteria of Chapter 17."
          Notably, NFPA 72 doesn't relieve any spacing (CD) or output (DBA) for notification devices when they are not required, but being voluntarily installed.  Basically notification is an all or nothing option as the Code exist today.
          Some AHJ's seem to take the tack of having their own unwritten Code for this application.  As an example, I know of a CA AHJ that is requiring a single LF sounder/strobe in the common area of each R-2 apartment when the CA Code doesn't require interior notification.  My course of action to ensure that this is being noted correctly on the permit drawings is to state: "NOTIFICATION DEVICE PLACEMENT PER STATED REQUIRMENTS OF ____________ FIRE MARSHAL."  If the AHJ approves the permit drawings; then we are one step forward along on the process.  If the installing company then tailors their contract language (by working with you of course), I think that the risk has been mitigated.  Your and others thoughts?
Dave Miller, SET, Principal
MCG Design Services
          Too technical for me; I hope other fire experts chime in.  Thanks for your participation.  The Fire All in One requires installation per code and AHJ approval, or that the subscriber prominently note that the system is not code compliant.  I don’t recommend installing non-compliant fire alarms, even with protective contract provisions. 

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
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