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Subscriber access to fire alarm / Fire alarm question / subscriber access to fire alarm
December 2,  2019
More on technical fire alarm issue from November 22, 2019
            Here is the code reference for voluntary or non-required fire alarms. I run into this a few times a year so I keep this handy.  
   NFPA 72 2016
   A nonrequired system is installed for a specific purpose. Whoever makes the decision to install a nonrequired system must have specific reasons for installing the system. The designer must discuss fire protection goals with the owner to ensure they are in agreement on the type of fire alarm system and its expected performance.
   A.23.3.2 Nonrequired fire alarm features are defined in 3.3.170. These are fire alarm systems or components that are not required by the building or fire codes and are installed voluntarily by a building owner to meet site-specific fire safety objectives. There is a need to properly document the nonrequired system and components. Nonrequired components must be operationally compatible in harmony with other required components and must not be detrimental to the overall system performance. It is for this reason that mandates that nonrequired (voluntary) systems and components meet the applicable installation, testing, and maintenance requirements of this Code. It is not the intent of the Code to have the installation of nonrequired (voluntary) systems or components trigger a requirement for the installation of additional fire alarm components or features in the building. For example, if a building owner voluntarily installs a fire alarm control unit to transmit sprinkler waterflow signals to a central station that does not trigger a requirement to install other fire alarm system components or features, such as manual fire alarm boxes, occupant notification, or electronic supervision of sprinkler control valves. See also A. and A.18.1.5.
   Alternatively, supervision and power requirements are required to be taken into account for the nonrequired components/systems on the required fire alarm systems.    Nonrequired systems are systems that are installed to meet specific performance criteria desired by the owner. Although the building code, the fire code, or other NFPA standards may not mandate its installation or performance, the system still must meet the requirements of NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. The intended performance needs to be documented so that the authority having jurisdiction can approve the final installation. Nonrequired systems that do not meet the requirements of the Code can create a false sense of security for owners and occupants who think they are protected by a code-compliant fire alarm system. Note that the terms nonrequired and supplementary have different meanings and are not interchangeable. Refer to the definitions of these terms in 3.3.170 and 3.3.286. The requirements of 23.3.2 do not imply that a building owner who wants to install a fire alarm system in a particular area of a building for property protection must install a complete fire alarm system throughout the building. The Code contains specific guidance on the use of dedicated function fire alarm systems. See for the definition of the term dedicated function fire alarm system. For example, if a building owner installs a fire detection and alarm system in a computer room for protection of the computer equipment, that system would have to meet the requirements of the Code for the area it protects. Documenting the rationale and design basis of the system is critical. Otherwise, an authority having jurisdiction may see the fire alarm system installed in the computer room and, not understanding that it was installed for specific property protection purposes, require the installation of additional devices and equipment throughout the building that extend coverage of the system beyond the original intent. Nonrequired protected premises systems and components shall meet the requirements of this Code.  All fire alarm system installations are required to comply with the requirements of this Code, regardless of the reason that they are installed.
Best regards,
Jim Sievers
          Thanks for sharing your expertise
Fire alarm question
            We have a client with a very large home in CA. The property is zoned residential and has been turned into a house for sober living.  After researching county records we find the property has a name and business license.
            For fire code would this be considered Residential or Commercial; we want to be sure before sending a proposal to the client.
            Thank you for your kind attention to this matter
Warmest regards
            If choice is only residential or commercial then I have to go with commercial.  But there may be other categories for a multi residential structure.  Best to call the AHJ in the area if you want to be sure -- and by the way - you need to know the code requirements for the proposal.
subscriber access to fire alarm
            I have a question about adding subscriber access to our fire alarm and documenting that in the Fire All in One.  For instance, we have a couple of customers (hospitals) that are able to put their system in and out of test status without having to call our central station and can add and delete call list information. We need some sort of statement saying they are responsible for their actions. Can we get this inserted into the fire alarm contract?  And how much will it cost?
Thank you,
             How much will it cost?  A lot less than the loss of your company if you do it wrong.  ​
            As I have pointed out many times, I am not a technical fire expert.  However, how can you permit a customer to put a fire alarm on test without notifying the monitoring center?  How do you permit a subscriber to change the Call List without letting the monitoring center know?  
            You can provide for that in the Schedule of Equipment and Services referred to in the first paragraph of the, which is provided with the Fire All in One.  You will simply state that customer has the ability to do these things and that you are not going to be liable for it.  You should get the Disclaimer Notice signed and have this information and disclaimer on that Disclaimer Notice too.
             You may want to check with the AHJ if you are contracted to provide the monitoring to see if this arrangement violates AHJ rules.​
            This would be great topic for the fire alarm experts to opine.

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
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