<strong>How Building and Fire Alarm Codes Affect Your System</strong>

How Building and Fire Alarm Codes Affect Your System

November 7, 2016
How Building and Fire Alarm Codes Affect Your Fire Alarm System | Electronic Contracting Company

By Don Dingman


What determines the size of the fire alarm system you need for your business? The simple answer, it depends on your building's occupancy classification. For example, an apartment building and a hotel/dormitory are very similar in size and layout. However, building and fire alarm code requirements between the two occupancies are completely different. The construction type of the building also figures into the calculations. There's no shortage of factors involved with over 25 occupancy classifications in various building codes.

The main purpose of a fire alarm system is to protect your building for safe occupant evacuation and to create more tenable conditions for firefighter safety. As building and fire alarm codes are updated, they are increasingly adding more requirements to interface with other building systems.

Systems integration is becoming increasingly more complex as systems evolve. One of the first control features of fire alarm systems was the control of doors, by either unlocking or releasing magnetic holders to close them. This control feature is still used today along with many more added emergency features. NFPA 72, the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, has an entire chapter dedicated to emergency control functions and interfaces.

The larger the building, the more complex the fire alarm system has to be. A hospital could have up to a dozen fire alarm panels networked together. The control functions for closing doors, air handling control, elevator capture, and any other required emergency function can be connected to a single panel, but viewed and controlled by one or more remote graphic stations. Another occupancy classification requirement is when to change the notification appliances from a tone or horn sound to voice evacuation.

Large arenas are a perfect example of integrating multiple building systems with a fire alarm system. Pinnacle Bank Arena’s fire alarm system, designed and installed by Electronic Contracting Company, is connected to the building’s smoke control system, elevator capture, and the fire/smoke door closures. It also mutes the building’s performance audio system to allow fire evacuation messages to be heard, among other minor interfaces for remote control.

Electronic Contracting Company has been involved in the fire alarm and low voltage communication industry for over 40 years and has seen many advances in the industry. From bells on an 110V circuit that’s activated by a manual pull station, to a second generation digital addressable detection devices. Electronic Contracting’s engineering staff is nationally certified by the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) at the highest level. Our install and service technicians are also NICET certified and state-licensed in the installation and inspection of fire alarm systems. 

Contact your nearest Electronic Contracting Company office for more information: http://www.eccoinc.com/location/lincoln-ne-0