The very nature of design/build projects requires you to participate in the design process. You may even feel comfortable with assisting in this process. However, these types of projects come with increased responsibility. With most design/build projects, the owner will ask you for your opinion.
How could maintaining a fire alarm system in a government building possibly be different than a private commercial building? It may not seem obvious, but attempting to maintain a fire alarm system in a government building brings many unique issues into focus.
Readers of the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 72 2010, the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, will find many changes including three new chapters. One of the new chapters is dedicated to circuits and pathways.
Fire-Lite Alarms by Honeywell, Northford, Conn., has released its 2010 training schedule comprising 100 accredited educational sessions taking place throughout the United States. Its traditional two- and three-day courses covering fire alarm basics to hands-on installation and programming are free.
Typically, contractors know what codes and standards are in force in their market areas, and if they don’t, they should find out. But often this is limited to the code they use the most, the National Electrical Code (NEC).
Most contractors install strobe lights to comply with the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code by simply using a combination audible-visible appliance everywhere one or the other is shown on the plans.
We have all had experience with smoke detectors. Specifying the right smoke detector for the application will improve the reliability of fire alarm systems tremendously. Of course, the detector must be installed correctly to prevent problems.
In 2008, fires caused more than $15.5 billion in direct property loss, but overall, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) reported a decline in fire losses from the previous year. Fires in residential properties accounted for $8.6 billion.
Have you ever seen a poor fire alarm system installation? Perhaps the original installer executed an incompetent design, or an incompetent installer poorly installed a proper design. In either case, the bottom line profitability of the installer will suffer.
Recently, while witnessing a company performing a periodic test and inspection of a large, old fire alarm system, technicians discovered the system’s trouble light was illuminated. A fire alarm’s trouble light is never insignificant.
Contractors often field calls from prospective customers regarding the installation of a fire alarm system. The customer has made the decision to protect his building and wants advice on how best to accomplish this goal.
There are two basic categories of alarm panels on the market today: residential and commercial. Commercial panels, whether single- or dual-use combination, must be tested by a third-party organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) of Northbrook, Ill.