Our superior fire alarm designs are compliant with NFPA codes and standards, including the Fire Code and National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.
The fire alarm systems we design are effective in all eventualities from restaurant kitchen fires to terrorist events and the full range of related emergencies.
Our solutions cater for the full range of needs including household, protected premises, supervisory alarms, and public emergency alarm reporting systems.
Legislation That Governs Structural Fire Safety
Building codes and more specific fire codes, as well as other legislation including local laws, govern the design, assembly, and installation of fire protection systems including fire alarms. Legislation applicable to New York includes the International Fire Code (IFC), Fire Code of New York State, the NYC Fire Code, and the NYC Building Code. Other cities and states have similar legislation.
LL26 effectively made changes to the existing NYC Fire Code, promoting and enhancing fire safety in the City by adopting fire safety regulations that were more modern and comprehensive. A long-term final deadline of July 1, 2019, was set for the mandatory inclusion of sprinkler systems in all high rise buildings over 100 feet that house businesses.
LL33 involves all the City’s construction codes, viz. the NYC Plumbing, Building, Mechanical, and City Fuel Gas Codes and relates to all issues relating to fire safety in these codes.
Creation of both these local laws relied on the International Code Council’s “model codes.”
National codes and standards, including the Fire Code and others formulated by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), are often cross-referenced in other codes. One of these, NFPA 72, the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, is a 418-page document that focuses more specifically on fire alarm systems. Compliance with this code is vital for fire alarm design.
Fire & Building Codes
The International Fire Code is a flexible model code that has established minimum regulations for fire protection and fire prevention systems using provisions that are prescriptive and performance related. Its principles are broad-based and allow for the possibility of using new, alternative, and innovative materials and system designs. The most recent IFC was published in 2018 and the next version will be released in 2021.
The Fire Code of New York State, which is based on the IFC, applies to everything regarding fire and fire hazards that relate to processes, premises, structures, and includes safeguards. All matters related to the construction, extension, alteration, repair, or removal of alarm and fire suppression systems are also included in the Code.
The NYS Code also governs or specifies:
The NYC Fire Code also covers everything related to fire and fire prevention and, amongst other things, has sections that provide:
As mentioned above, NYC Local Law 33 resulted in the adoption of new construction codes, including a new building code that was based on the International Building Code.
While the current NYC Building Code relates primarily to construction, it also several sections that cover fire, including:
NFPA Codes & Standards
The NFPA, established more than a century ago in 1896, is a self-funded nonprofit organization that is dedicated to eliminating death, injury, and any form of property or economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. Widely known as a codes and standards organization, it has produced more than 300 consensus codes, which leave the final determination of the provisions in codes to public safety officials with no vested financial interests. These are approved by the American National Standards Institute.
The NFPA is also regarded as the premier resource for fire data analysis and research. Many NSPA standards are regarded as industry benchmarks and are referenced in legislation, including the codes listed above.
But even though the NFPA establishes rules and administers the process of developing codes and standards, the Association does not independently test, evaluate, or even verify the accuracy of any of the information contained in NFPA standards.
Furthermore, the NFPA doesn’t have the power to enforce compliance with its codes and standards. But there are various enforcing authorities that are responsible for enforcing its standards. These are known as the authority having jurisdiction (ASJ). For example:
The NFPA requires users of its codes and standards to consult applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. These specify when NFPA standards, including anything relating to fire alarm design, must be complied with.
The NFPA Fire Code
The NFPA 1 Fire Code of the National Fire Protection Association was initiated in 1971 in response to the need for a document that covered all aspects of fire protection and prevention including what was used in other developed NFPA codes and standards. Its declared purpose is to “prescribe minimum requirements necessary to establish a reasonable level of fire and life safety and property protection from the hazards created by fire, explosion, and dangerous conditions.” Fire alarms systems are only a part of this but, nonetheless, a vital part.
While many changes have been made to the Fire Code over time, the current NFPA 1 Fire Code 2018 is a lengthy 801-page document that references more than 130 other NFPA codes and standards, including many that are considered to be industry benchmarks. It will be valid for a total of three years until the next version is published in 2021.
In a nutshell, the NFPA Fire Code provides a comprehensive, integrated approach to hazard management and fire code regulations by tackling fire and life safety for both the public and first responders, as well as protection of property.
Absolutely everything regarding fire prevention and protection is covered in the Fire Code including:
Other NFPA Codes & Standards
There are more than 300 consensus codes and standards published by the NFPA that are administered by more than 250 technical committees that involve about 8,000 volunteers.
Some of the benchmark codes and standards that are referenced in the Fire Code include:
These, and another 143 are mentioned in the Fire Code and are considered to be a part of the Code. Of these, 52 are referenced for extracts in mandatory sections of the Code.
Additionally, a number of other publications are referenced. These have been published by a wide range of relevant associations, agencies, commissions, committees, institutes, and laboratories: the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the American Petroleum Institute (API Publications), the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), ASTM International, the Compressed Gas Association (CGA), the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), FM Global, the International Electrotechnical Commission (ETC), the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration (IIAR), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors (NBBPVI), the National Railroad Freight Committee (NRFC), the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), the Steel Tank Institute (STI), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Underwriters’ Laboratories of Canada (ULC), the United Nations (UN) International, and the U.S. Government.
Several of the publications produced by ANSI and/or UL include standards that relate directly to fire safety and fire alarm design. For example the Standard for Antitheft Alarms and Devices.
The National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, NFPA 72-2019, focuses on fire alarm systems and deals with everything that relates to fire detection, signaling, and emergency communications. It also provides specific requirements for design.
The Code contains chapters on:
Additionally, there is an engineering guide for automatic fire detector spacing, a system performance and design guide, wiring diagrams and a guide for testing fire alarm circuits, and guidelines for emergency communication strategies for buildings and campuses.
The National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code classifies alarms as well as emergency communications systems.
More specifically, an alarm is described as, “An indication of the existence of a condition that requires immediate response.” Four types are singled out:
In addition, this code has information on mass notification systems for fire and weather emergencies, terrorist events, and biological, chemical, and nuclear emergencies.
Clearly, there is a myriad of codes and standards required to ensure that any fire alarm design is NFA compliant. You can rely on New York Engineers to make certain that your fire alarm system is not only compliant but works the way it should to effectively save lives and property.