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more comments on grandfathering fire alarm systems / comment on employer liability for employee car accidents
June 7, 2017
more comments on grandfathering fire alarm systems from May 31, 2017
Ken –
    Quite the ‘can of worms’ opened when discussing the definition/interpretation of a ‘grandfathered’ approach to fire alarm/life safety equipment replacement. Many good points/opinions shared by many obviously knowledgeable professionals that reflects the expertise levels of your readership…
    That being said, I would like to ‘spring board’ off of Matt Imkin’s (APS Security) insightful posting as it really brings to forefront the primarily deciding and over-riding criteria – “The AHJ is really the one to dictate what must be done…”. In the many jurisdictions our firm provides installations/service throughout the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, one consistent and underlying fact is this – every AHJ (Fire Marshal, Deputy Fire Marshal, Inspector, FPE. Etc.) has an expectation that they will be informed upon any primary FACP, sub-FACP, FACPS, etc. planned replacement prior to commencement. Whether no permit required, basic inspection upon completion, simple panel installation diagram or full plans and permit(s), I would never recommend or perform any control unit replacement (whether ‘like for like’, same panel/current revision or upgrade to new panel/manufacturer) without communicating with the Authority and (hopefully) receiving in writing their requirements. In our service areas, many Jurisdictions do not even recognize the term ‘grandfathered’ as permits and plans/calculations are required whether or not ‘like for like’ or otherwise.              Thus, though obviously different jurisdictions (cities, counties, state to federal level) will have established their own criteria, I would highly recommend that the applicable AHJ is always initially consulted prior to any primary control equipment replacement.     Some may not like or adhere to this opinion, but likely the main driving reason of disagreement would be  be expediency and/or economically driven, of which is not a concern that should over-ride… what is expected, ethical and right.  
    Also, as a side note, many Jurisdictions in our areas of service allow for what can be considered ‘reverse-engineering’ approach when an emergency panel replacement is necessary. This entails control unit replacement prior to D&E and submittal for permits so as to restore immediate life safety equipment functionality and thus prevent the need for extended fire watch requirement for the duration of the engineering/design and submittal for permit process (of which can be a six week+ process in many circumstances). I will say that the developed relationship between the AHJ and the life safety systems installation contractor that would allow for such an ‘reverse engineering’ approach originates from years of communication and trust that the contractor has a developed history of advance communication and adherence to and knowledge of Authority requirements/expectations. The ‘death knell’ – attempts to circumvent and/or bypass their requirements and expectations, whether intentional or inadvertent, as this has the potential of establishing a countering and thus negative AHJ relationship that can weigh on and follow an otherwise legitimate company for many years -
    Just my humble opinion…
Respectively submitted,
Richard Schwank, President
Statcomm Inc.
Mountain View, CA
    Dave Miller must provide his services for contractors and owners in small towns and villages.   
    In NYC, the statement “They should ask for the AHJ to respond in writing, so that the Owner can pass that information to all firms that may be bidding the project.   Note that the open ended question makes it incumbent on the AHJ to note what upgrades, if any they will require.”    This would never happen here as well as many other places and rightfully so.   That is why licensed engineers prepare and file plans with a permit application and they are the responsible party in determining what has to be done.   After the plans are filed and reviewed,  comments/object will be stated based upon the submitted plans, notes, operational matrix, occupancy and site conditions and use.   But even after that procedure and acceptance it is not something that you can hang your hat on.   The inspectors doing the eventual inspection do not always agree with the approved plans and can ask for other things or not even accept what was done in accordance with them.   This is more common than you would think.   This is why both the licensed engineer and licensed fire alarm contractor needs to be very experienced and very seasoned, not just someone just fresh out of the box who wants to get his feet wet in the fire alarm industry of which there are many.   It could be his first and last job as well as a very bad and expensive experience.   Welcome to the big city!
comment on employer liability for employee car accidents from May 30, 2017 article
    So based on Bart’s comments …..... should we have our installers (payroll employees) change out of their shirts/uniforms before leaving at the end of the day?  
Colette M. Came
    That will not be necessary.  Bart's point was that wearing the company shirt may alert the potential Plaintiff that the employee may be working at time of the accident.  
    Employees are not working if they are commuting to or from work.  They are on company time if traveling from job to job.  
    Employers are liability if the employee negligently causes an accident while driving the company vehicle [anytime] or driving the employee's personal vehicle during or for work [though not commuting]


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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
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