We had a similar situation with a local building official a few years ago. He insisted on full notification for a sprinkler supervisory system in a warehouse. The outside plan review company they used agreed with him. I filed a request for a meeting of their officials to discuss the situation. One day he called me at 2:10 in the afternoon, asking if I was going to attend the meeting. It started at 2:00 but he never provided that information to me. No doubt it was not an accident. The committee sided with the official, of course, and he dug his heels in even further.
    Our company is on the board of BFAAM (Burglar And Fire Alarm Association of Michigan). BFAAM learned of our effort for proper interpretation of the Code and agreed to take over the issue. The filing of a request for an official interpretation from SOM (State of Michigan) is costly and BFAAM felt this was an issue to be resolved once and for all. Many officials have their particular interpretation of this Code section and our members would often have to acquiesce simply to get their plans approved.
    Dan Decker,  CFPS, CPP, SET, and the current VP of BFAAM filed the requests with the SOM and  shortly thereafter we were asked to present our case. They soon decided in favor of BFAAM and notice went out to all AHJ’s clarifying that full occupant notification is NOT required for sprinkler supervisory systems. 
    This was a good learning experience for all involved, and while it does show that AHJ’s can be incorrect (despite what they may think), it also provides encouragement for fire alarm dealers. Sometimes the little guy can win.
Jim Anderson VP
Roseville, MI
    Interesting, However let me gave a real life experience with a Fire Marshal;
    I bid on a shopping center;  included were  pull stations as required.  It was a 16 store unit. Each unit had two exterior doors, a front door and a rear door. So that was 32 pull stations. Well someone else got the job.
    I felt our price was competitive so I stopped by to check the progress and noticed that there were  no pull stations on the rear exits.  I asked the installer how he passed the inspection without the rear pull  stations.
    Here is what he said “ Fire Marshal Bill doesn’t care about rear doors”..
     Another time I was at a pool supply store to modify an existing fire alarm. The local fire Marshall wanted a roof fan added because of chlorine storage.   I added a fan shut down and seemed to be ok.  About 3 months later I got a call from the pool supply telling me to remove the shutdown circuit ? Of course I asked why.  This is what I was told:    “Fire Marshal Bill #2 came by and said the roof fan had to be removed because the next door deli was taking air that the fan exhausted.  The owner is trying to recover his loss through his lawyer and the town."
      Well here is a real life experience and let me tell you they have the power to be inconsistent and if you want to get paid you must do what they want under all conditions  No one with any business sense should ever  challenge anything.  I was doing a lot of fire alarm work in Nassau County, and the plan reviewer had M.J. for a first name on his business card ( BILL #3 ). One day I asked him what does the M.J. stand for an he said “ Michael and if you ever call me that You will never get a plan through this office”.
    Well after doing fire alarm work for over 30 years this is only a sample of my real life experiences with Fire Marshals.
    Ken please hold my name back, I want to stay in business.. LOL  
    I held back your name so you won't get pistol whipped.  Everyone has their own pond to swim in.
    September will mark my 40th anniversary of installing and servicing Fire Systems in the tri state region of MA NH and VT.   Yes I deal with three different interpretations of NFPA 1, 70,72,101 IBCC IRBC, and the accepted standard is that the AHJ’s can almost never accept anything less than in the code and for good and sufficient safety considerations they can require a higher standard.  In the first pages of the NFPA documents above that states the Authority Having Jurisdiction for the jurisdiction is just that the Grantor of Decisions [please note the underlined letters.]
Johann J Nortz
    I remember an install about 15 years ago we performed for a lady who was a little irrational… She was being attacked by aliens, and when she called 911 and the police showed they would go up in the attic and hide behind the insulation where no  one could find them. We contacted every exterior opening, the master bedroom door and master closet door, glass breaks in every room with a window, 4 or 5 motions in a 2500’ foot house, contacted the attic hatch, 3 sirens in the attic, keypads at every exit and 1 in the bedroom, several panic buttons, 2 wireless panic- in case 1 didn’t work. We spent almost 2 hours showing her how to use the system, under every scenario she could come up with (she even wanted us to test the panic button while standing in the middle of the pool in the back yard, I refused, but we showed it worked on all sides of it). This lady was well known by the local police, she called them daily. To shorten this story, she set of the panic button before we even made it back to the shop that evening, and almost weekly thereafter. I guess the moral of the story is, if you have been in this business long enough you learn to pick your battles. This lady paid very well, although she was crazy in my book. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck….probably not a cat!
We had another one that was even worse. 2 competing brothers in the HVAC business, 1 swore the other was trying to kill him…….. this would take all day to explain….Have a great day, thanks for the knowledge you share with us.
    In response to MODIFY the fire code. Both you and Stu are correct, the FIRE INSPECTOR can only INSPECT and determine compliance with adopted code.
    On occasion an inspector or Fire Marshall will request something outside the code. (Such as an additional heat detector.) This is clearly outside the scope of his/her authority. If the system design was accepted and meets the requirements of the code, they cannot REQUIRE additional devices. That being said, the addition of extra detection devices would raise the system from MEETS REQUIREMENTS to EXCEEDS REQUIREMENTS. WE  If we install additional devices it is usually on our own initiative. If an inspector says " I know this is not required but I would like......"  We may try to accommodate his request. (((If it makes sense to us as a safety issue)) (And record it on drawings and as builts.
    We are in the LIFE SAFETY BUSINESS.
     IF an inspector makes a determination that you can ignore a requirement and does not put it in writing, the verbal approval is not worth the paper it is not printed on. (((Inspectors get selective memory)))
    Last, if we discover a conflict in the code, we will usually follow the more stringent, as I said the inspector or Fire Marshall that gives a verbal OK will not remember when it comes time to close out the job.
    From the confines of my mind,
Joel Kent
     I live in a small town and to me the fire marshal does not liked to be questioned even though there is not an amendment to the rule or decision he is making......it puts fire companies at a loss because we do not know what rule he is going to make up or enforce and it's very frustrating.