Installed Fire Alarm But No Approval? Start Here.

Installed Fire Alarm But No Approval? Start Here.

By Frank Fortino

We have seen an uptick in inquiries from buildings which have a functioning fire alarm system yet which do not have a letter of approval. We now have clarity on this issue, thanks to a FDNY’s Technology Management bulletin no. 03/2010 R.

This bulletin was originally issued in 2012 to assist those building owners who have installed fire alarm systems and yet did not obtain the signoff from FDNY. This Bulletin was created to give the owner an outline to new process for the application, and to coordinate the final sign-off process. The newly revised version, released on March 9th of this year, provides the clarity that we’ve been seeking.

There are four different statuses for buildings, and the first step is to understand which category the building falls under.

1. The fire alarm system has been filed but not approved.

In this case, simply reinstate the original plan and application with DOB, then submit the fire alarm design and installation docs for review and approval.

2. BIS does not show any filing, but the current C of O has a record of “Fire Alarm and Signal System”

In this case, File a PW-1 as Alteration Type 2 with DOB, then submit the fire alarm design and installation docs for review and approval.

3. Neither the BIS nor the current C of O show a record of “Fire Alarm and Signal System. 

In this case, File a Form TM-4 with FDNY, with supporting documents including a narrative of the system equipment and functionality. These documents must be signed and sealed by the Engineer of Record. Also include a copy of the C of O.

After receiving permission, file a PW-1 as Alteration Type 2 with DOB, then submit the fire alarm design and installation docs for review and approval.

4. BIS does not show any filing, and there is no valid C of O on the building.

In this case, start by obtaining a Letter of No Objection from the DOB. Next, file a Form TM-4 with FDNY, including a copy of the Letter of No Objection, along with supporting documents including a narrative of the system equipment and functionality. These documents must be signed and sealed by the Engineer of Record.

After receiving permission, file a PW-1 as Alteration Type 2 with DOB, then submit the fire alarm design and installation docs for review and approval. In this case, the Engineer on Record needs to identify the height and construction classification of the building, including number of floors, use and occupancy load on the drawings.

Once the category of the building is determined, there are specific steps to take which involve following existing procedures. Buildings should follow Bulletin10/2009 for submission of the fire alarm design and installation documents. Next is to follow Bulletin 06-01-11 for the procedure on scheduling inspection and testing.

There are additional steps, and Bulletins to follow. 01-02-12 outlines the conversion of the alarm signal to the uniform standard ’three pulse’ temporal pattern. The alarm system should also be connected to the central station monitoring.

The FDNY has extended the requirement for this work until March 15, 2018. For those of you who are in this situation, please take advantage and begin processing the documents and obtain the final signoff/letter of approval from FDNY and avoid any fines and criminal action.