Is there a code requirement - IBC, IFC, or somewhere else - for a Knox Box?
I understand some jurisdictions amend code to require a specific key box - and I'm sure a specific "Knox Box" brand isn't written into code - but just a requirement that triggers the fire department key box to begin with.
I've always asked the jurisdictions whether they wanted one, and they usually do, but I've never found a requirement that I probably should know about by now.
Also, I've had this missed on many a job in a scope gap between subcontractors and the general contractor. What division would supply and install these?
As a consultant I usually get a bunch of pointed fingers elsewhere anytime I ask who is planning on providing it.
Thanks in advance, appreciate the variety of perspectives here.
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9/15/2022 08:11:00 am
In NPFA 1, Chapter 18 reads as follows:
9/15/2022 08:13:27 am
Section 506 if the IFC gives the Fire Code Official the authority to require the installation of a Key Box. KNOX get's thrown around too often as a generic term for a key box.
9/15/2022 08:14:34 am
Many jurisdictions require a Knox box and even have certain stipulations on expectable models and even who installs it those boxes. Knox box has a very well-known and renowned brand known for strength and security of their products and in all actuality I couldn't even name another brand off the top of my head.
9/15/2022 08:17:26 am
AHJ has the authority to require a key box. Like David said, Knox Box gets tossed around the same way band-aid does. The AHJ can require a key box.
9/15/2022 08:22:32 am
In our jurisdiction the knox box requirement is noted in the contract documents which are reviewed/approved by the fire departments. Some require the boxes to be tied in to the security alarm systems of specific structures (schools etc) all depends on the designer requirements.
9/15/2022 08:35:05 am
The requirement for a key box comes out of one of the fire codes (IFC or NFPA 1). The AHJ typically specifies a brand so that the proper lock is provided.
9/15/2022 08:41:30 am
NFPA 1 and IFC state the access box shall be UL listed. The Knox box is the only access box system that has the UL listing.
9/15/2022 09:12:18 am
Speaking more to the scope gap side, as an installing contractor, we have a line item specifically removing providing any of these from our scope. When we are requested to purchase, we only provide the FDC caps/plugs (even after telling the GC we are going to charge him OH/P and manpower time for purchase and these are not cheap) but the fire inspector does the actual install during an inspection as they have the key.
9/15/2022 10:13:32 am
Thank you Dan! Having the GC be responsible for it seems a little more appropriate than a sprinkler contractor.
9/15/2022 10:31:55 am
Typically, we have seen them under Security/Telecom as they are near access gates or card reader/door access. Whoever is providing doors and hardware would be my second thought. Often times the details are located on the site plans but most of those contractors are very specific as to scope which pushes me back to the GC.
9/15/2022 10:28:06 am
Agreed, typically the GC provides it, never seen a sprinkler sub provide one. On our local military installations, the Fire Departments have a stockpile and will sometimes provide them (because they are forgotten/overlooked) and the GC will order and give this one to the FD to refill their supply. This avoids delay in getting one installed since as you mentioned, they are forgotten.
9/15/2022 09:42:09 am
Our KnoxBox is in our Local Ordinance. The NJ Fire Code states the box needs to be maintained with updated keys.
9/15/2022 09:47:15 am
Also the building owner or business owner shall purchase the box through KnoxBox.com. My office suggests 60” above the ground next to the main entrance. The box is used to rapidly gain access to the building. Getting a ladder to access the box takes time. My staff also have smaller vehicles and they check the keys during the inspections.
9/15/2022 10:09:48 am
In my experience, the AHJ will specify the type and location of key box. The customer will purchase it and install it or have the sprinkler contractor do so. The local engine company will then come lock it once the customer has provided keys in the box.
9/15/2022 10:12:00 am
You all are awesome. Thank you. I've asked on AHJ calls before where/if they're wanted, but I never realized the options in NFPA 1 and the IFC. All the commentary is much appreciated.
9/15/2022 10:59:09 am
Most local amendments aren't going to say "Knox" in the same way they won't specify Tyco sprinklers or Potter alarm devices. But they will refer to a rapid entry system or key box and then use Knox as a standard.
9/15/2022 11:03:37 am
To add to some excellent comments:
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