NYC Fire Alarm Requirements For Fire Department Approval.
NYC fire alarm requirements are designed to provide maximum safety and fire protection for the types of buildings and occupation volume one might see in a large city. For this reason, fire alarm requirements are not only mandatory, but are also essential for minimizing loss of life or property in the event of a fire or any other emergency situation where the services of the fire department might be needed.
The NYC fire code was recently revised in 2008 however, and any systems that were legally compliant and in service prior to that time can be kept according to the laws that were in affect prior to the revision. If a new fire system is being installed or implemented, it must follow the new laws.
NYC fire alarm requirements are individual and specific to the type of dwelling or business in which the system is being installed. Hazardous materials add a new level of complexity to the system required and greater consideration is needed when designing and installing a system for this purpose. Since many hazardous chemicals pose a significant risk to life and property, additional system protection may be needed.
The appropriate fire alarm system must be adequate for the nature of the structure and its occupancy. Although human life is of the utmost importance, other considerations would be the nature of the business, what is being protected and the type of fire alarm system best suited for the type of business being conducted. A registered design professional working in conjunction with the fire department can advise on the best system for a specific type of business. Some businesses hold a higher risk of fires than others as well as higher occupancy levels that might require more complexity in the design and implementation of a new fire alarm system.
Depending on the nature of the installation, an inspection by the fire department may or may not be required. Core building systems consist of the base or core components of a fire alarm system such as the fire command center, fire pump, main sprinkler flow switch, central station connections, and core alarm boxes. This type of installation requires prior approval as well as an inspection by the department after installation is complete. Prior approval is done by submission of design and installation documents before the installation. Once approved, installation can begin.
In other installations where the core building system is already in place, approval can be requested by a registered design professional certifying that the installation meets the requirements set forth by law. Once these documents are submitted, they are reviewed by the fire department to insure that they have been filled out properly and that the system described is appropriate.
The submission of the design and installation documents in both types of installations requires the seal of the registered design professional. This insures that the person designing and overseeing the installation is qualified, understands and is familiar with NYC fire alarm requirements. Additionally, approved engineering drawings must be submitted with the design documentation. These drawings provide a visual representation of the system. The department will retain an electronic copy and the registered design professional will maintain the originals.
After installation is complete, either a request for inspection or request for professional certification must be submitted. Core building systems require post installation inspection by the fire department. In partial or add on installations, a registered design professional must submit a certification to the department indicating that the installation is appropriate and meets the NYC fire alarm requirements. These documents must include information outlining the sequence of operation of the system and contain a statement from a registered design professional that the system was tested and performed as expected.
Where an inspection is not needed and a certification by a registered professional was completed, the department will review the documentation for completeness and system adequacy. For core building systems, the department will complete its final inspection and inform the design professional of any changes needed.
In both scenarios, the building will remain vacant until final approval for occupancy from the fire department has been received. This applies to both new construction and existing structures. In the case of an existing building, re-occupation is not allowed until the installation of the system is completed and final approval by the department is given.
A registered design professional is a requirement when building or renovating a structure for a business. He or she should know what is necessary for installing a system that meets NYC fire alarm requirements. Additionally, they most likely have dealt with the city of New York when applying for and getting installation and design documents approved. This will go a long way in insuring that the approval process goes as smoothly as possible, which means that the business can begin operating in a shorter amount of time.
The laws governing fire alarms can be complex and confusing and without a clear understanding, more money might be spent than needed. Involving a professional up front saves time as well as money and minimizes the likelihood of unexpected setbacks. Before installation begins, the design, cost and time frame should all be discussed thoroughly so that the business owner knows exactly what to expect and how the process works.
Once a new business owner has established the location of his or her business, a fire alarm system must be part of the design and construction process. Since a fire alarm system is integral to the construction of the building, this should be decided upon before additional interior design decisions are made to insure that the system will not only offer protection, but will provide an esthetically pleasing solution.
By proper planning and consultation with a design professional, the business owner is not only streamlining the construction and implementation process, but is also insuring that the system installed provides the protection needed for the business. This way, meeting NYC fire alarm requirements is assured and the business can open and begin operating without the added worry of safety and protection from potential loss.