Designing a fire alarm System in Utah
Contact Larry Love the author for corrections, suggestions or ideas about this article. Larry@peakalarm.com Http://www.peakalarm.com
1. Meet with the owner to discuss any special concerns for their project, try to obtain a set of plans and meet with a NICET design professional to make sure you meet fire codes. 2. Pick the correct panel for the application. Some small to medium sized facilities could use a combination panel such as the DMP550 panel that is UL listed for fire, security & Access 3. Decide on the communication method such as 2 analog phone lines using a DACT dialer communicator or a high supervision cellular unit that sends multiple signals each day or a radio. 4. The cost for just monitoring on a fire alarm starts around $26 dollars per month and if you are using a high supervision cellular unit the cost is around $48 per month 5. Some local AHJ Fire Marshals have specific concerns so get to know those so you can design a system that they will approve 6. Talk to the owner about their specific occupancy and if their building is fully sprinkled or not. This will help determine what is needed in their building as far as equipment. 7. Pick a brand of Fire Alarm equipment that is not proprietary. Be careful not to have a specific brand installed that only has one dealer in the entire state. This can put the owner in a bind. 8. Typically a sprinkled building will monitor if the fire flow valves, PIV valves, pressure switches and tampers valves if the water is moving or if it has been turned off. 9. Typically you will have HORN STROBES that will sound and flash to indicate evacuation in sleeping areas often low frequency will be required and depending on ADA other factors are in play. 10. Typically if you have a kitchen with HOODS the fire system will monitor ANSUL Systems so if the fire suppression system activates it will activate the fire alarm system as well. 11. When there are air handlers/roof top units RTU over 2000 cfm they will require duct detectors and those will need to be monitored by the fire alarm panel. 12. Often the AHJ Fire Marshal will require remote test switches if the duct detectors are not easily accessible. 13. Understand that many Fire Marshals use 3rd Party review companies to review the plans so if you need the system installed by a certain date get everything done quickly. 14. Some jurisdictions are further out on review times than others Salt Lake has been 4-6 weeks out for their review before so get your paperwork and plans done early enough for your calendar. 15. Decide if you want your contractor to include the permit fees for the plans in their price or if you as the owner want to pay those fees directly. 16. Getting the CAD drawings done can be very expensive so if you have a PE that will do it great but the drawings will still need to be approved by the Fire Marshal and often a 3rd party. 17. Plan ahead for the fire panel to have a dedicated 20amp high voltage circuit and arrange an electrical contractor to take care of that and the circuit needs to be marked in red in the panel. 18. Plans to have signs made up to indicate the room where the fire alarm panel is installed (FIRE ALARM CONTROL PANEL) You can do this when you do your exit signs. 19. You can also consider other detection that can be added to the fire panel such as water, temperature for specific areas. 20. When you pick your devices such as smoke detectors, heat detectors, smoke beam detectors, flame detectors go over all the different aspects with your contractor. 21. Normally it is best to have Photoelectric smoke detectors installed in our altitude rather than ION since they will false alarm less. Little things can make a big difference. 22. Spacing of detection will need to meet code and can vary depending on the height of the ceiling and the occupancy of the building as far as placement. 23. Example: Normally smokes are every 30 feet in hallways and horn/strobes are 15 feet from the end of the hall and every 50 or 100 feet depending on the code and occupancy. 24. In certain medical occupancies you will have more smoke detectors installed even if it is a fully sprinkled building which often can eliminate the need for smokes other than the one required by code and the ones associated with elevator recall. 25. Emergency communicators in area of refuge may also be required 26. Fireman Phones at times are required 27. Smoke Control is a whole different animal for very large buildings and experts will need to be brought in. 28. Voice Evacuation or Mass notification systems are required in some occupancies and this also requires experts to do it right. 29. Planning the mA draw on the notification appliances and having enough power supplies is very important and a smoke detector is required at each power supply. 30. Each elevator will require 4 programmable relays. 31. Special FPL (One story buildings) FPLR (More than one story buildings) or FPLP fire rated red cable will be required on every fire alarm project. The FPLP cable also meets the requirement of riser cable but is required where there are plenum ceilings. 32. I am a NICET level 2 in Fire Alarm and Peak Alarm has several NICET techs on staff including level 3 and 4 techs. 33. This is not a complete list although it is prudent to go over these items with the building owner or contractors before work is begun to avoid change orders.