What questions does an AHJ want to know concerning fire alarm?
As you are preparing to specify, design, or install, a fire alarm system, there are three primary questions an AHJ will want to know.
Question #1: What is the system being installed to and who is installing it?
The answer to this question should be NFPA 72, and qualified personnel. A qualified person is defined as, “a competent and capable person...that has met the requirements and training for a given field acceptable to the AHJ”. The qualification criteria or determination can vary from state to state, jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some jurisdictions the requirement may be training by the system manufacturer, others may required the system or its components to be installed only by a licensed electrician, some may require certification from NICET or some other certifying or training organization.
NFPA 72, section 7.2 provides a list of required documentation. There are 17 items on this list. Knowing what each of these are and submitting them the first time, will answer most of the AHJ’s questions, and ensure that your fire alarm plans are approved.
Question #2: What type of system is it?
This is important for the AHJ to know, so they can confirm that the selected system type is allowed by code, will be installed to meet the proper code requirements, and is in compliance with all local regulations. This also, provides the AHJ and fire department with expectations of the fire alarm signal and system response.
Question #3: what other components are connected to, or controlled by, the alarm system?
Are there sprinkler components, fans, doors, or smoke control systems connected to and controlled by the fire alarm panel? This lets the AHJ know what other types of systems are involved and what other contractors may need to be available for testing of the system.
Where a smoke control system is connected to the fire alarm panel, NFPA 101, section 9.11.4 requires integrated testing. Requirements for integrated system testing are outlined in NFPA 4, Standard for Integrated Fire Protection and Life Safety System Testing. Where these are installed, the AHJ, fire alarm contractor, and building owner, will have some additional advanced planning required.
What questions does an AHJ want answered concerning fire alarms? The three most important questions to answer when specifying, designing, or installing a fire alarm system are:
I’m Aaron Johnson, this is MeyerFire University
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