I have a question regarding the webinar on July 30, 2015 by Jeff Zwirn on the residential smoke detector requirements. If the electrician meets the code requirement with 110v electrical smokes does the alarm installer still have to meet the code as well or can we install a couple of smokes as supplemental coverage. The smoke detectors installed by the alarm company would be monitored but not the electrical smokes.
Thank You,
Tracy A
    First when you say a couple of smokes, what is the quantity of smokes that you are recommending based on. Stated differently, there needs to be a science to your rationale so if you are saying two smoke in a ten thousand square foot home this would be problematic. Conversely, if you were saying 2 smokes in a 1500 square foot home that would be a better trajectory.  
    Both electricians and alarm contractors have to comply with the requirements of the local authority having jurisdiction , which is code driven to almost always include NFPA 72. That being said, for smoke alarms [UL 217 Listed] which are required by the AHJ, in situations where certificates of occupancy are needed; once NFPA 72 is complied with, that act will satisfy the requirements for what is being installed for same. Thereafter, if an alarm company contracts to install a supplemental fire alarm system, it too must comply with NFPA 72 for what it was contracted to install. Moreover, if the alarm contractor installs a complete fire alarm system, either because the customer wants all smoke detectors to be monitored and/or for other reasons, the alarm contractor is still obligated to comply with NFPA 72. With this in mind, if the home is existing and you sell a fire alarm system to this subscriber, whether it be for supplemental systems or complete systems, you are still duty bound to comply with NFPA 72. In other words, what others do and/or do not do for an unrelated self-contained system, does not remove your responsibilities to NFPA 72, no matter what type of fire alarm system that you ultimately install.
    In addition, it is perfectly acceptable for you to install a supplemental fire alarm system; assuming that there is a functional smoke alarm system [UL-217 single-station, self-contained interconnected] in place. Just comply with the equipment manufacturers specifications, NFPA 72 and all AHJ requirements. 
    I am not saying that it is a code violation to install a supplemental system. What I am saying is that if you install a supplemental system, or any fire alarm system, you still have to comply with all pertinent sections of NFPA 72 and AHJ requirements. What the electrician does and/or does not do, is not germane to your duties, albeit, if you are saying that your fire alarm system is supplemental, there has to be another system in place; and it has to be functional for obvious reasons; before you represent that what you are providing is supplemental.
    Also notable is that often times the alarm contractor does not know who the installer was; and many of the smoke alarms that are installed in homes are not interconnected, and/or they were installed when either no codes were in place to require same, or the codes did not require interconnection of smoke alarms, or they did not require smoke alarms with battery backup. Finally to this point, often times we find a grossly insufficient quantity of smoke alarms in a home, which is yet another troubling fact and risk to the subscriber. Therefore, coming full circle, this too needs to be taken into consideration by the alarm contractor as well.
    At the end of the day, the customer needs to know in writing what your system can do, what it cannot do and its limitations so that if there is a fire and/or a loss, there will be no question as to the type and extent of fire alarm system that you installed, did not install, and/or recommended, but was declined by the subscriber as a cost consideration. 
Jeffrey D. Zwirn, CPP, CFPS, CFE, FACFEI, CHS-IV, SET, CCI, MBAT, President
IDS Research & Development,  Incorporated
Tenafly, New Jersey