In the course of daily business, you often receive a request to update or replace electrical systems in a building. Have you ever proactively asked customers to allow you to review and audit their fire alarm systems?
Design/build means different things to different people. Regardless, you should know that it places more responsibility on your shoulders as the electrical professional. It means you need to stay abreast of the codes that affect your installations.
Where do you begin? The technician inside all of us wants to immediately lay out the design on the plans, but that should not be your first move. Instead, determine what goals the owner and other relevant stakeholders want the building’s fire protection system to do.
I have often described the reliability of a fire alarm system installation as dependent on four elements: design, equipment, installation and maintenance. I have also explained that the last two elements contribute the most to a fire alarm system’s operational reliability.
Designers, contractors and authorities having jurisdiction often misunderstand the term “survivable.” They presume it means the installer has chosen to use either a Class A wiring scheme or has placed the circuits in metal raceway.
As most of you know, the codes and standards for fire alarm and mass notification systems change on a three-year cycle. New technology and more refined occupant needs top the list of reasons for most changes.
At a recent gathering of fire alarm industry friends, we found ourselves lamenting that, even though we felt confident that NFPA 72 2013, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, provided very good guidance for designers, installers and authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs), we still find new instal
As a contractor, you bid on numerous fire alarm system projects based on plans and specifications developed by an engineer. You assume the engineer has discussed such things as quality and reliability with the owner because the specifications focus on those issues.
We all know that fire alarm systems that are tested and maintained on a regular basis are more reliable. According to NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, the owner is responsible for inspections, testing and maintenance as well as any alterations or additions to the fire alarm system.
I am sure many of you are certified by the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) in fire alarm systems and encourage your employees to become NICET-certified as well. NICET has been certifying individuals in fire protection fields since 1978.
I receive questions and stories about installer experiences with code-compliant fire alarm systems in the field, many relating to issues about the use, application and installation requirements of visible and audible notification appliances.
Like many engineering disciplines, the fire protection world is built on tradition. And while tradition provides stability and uniformity, it also explains why the fire protection community has moved toward new technology applications at glacial speed.
When we think of system integration in the electrical and fire alarm systems market, we understand it involves bringing together component subsystems into one larger system and ensuring they function as one. And normally, the integrated system includes a fire alarm.
A contractor installed a new fire alarm system in a college dormitory and asked the owner, “How thoroughly do you want me to test the fire alarm system?” I was there to witness the system’s pre-acceptance test before we called the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) to arrange for the final acceptan
The tools and equipment necessary to install and test a fire alarm system have changed over the years, and until a fire official asks to perform a particular test, many contractors may be unaware that they need a new meter or specialized piece of equipment.