By Frank Fortino
The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) recently proposed a rule that would allow licensed professionals to certify correction of certain fire alarm system defects. The certification program under consideration would eliminate the need for FDNY re-inspection in specific instances, reducing delays without compromising public safety.
Often, the defects identified by FDNY during initial inspection are minor and can be easily corrected by a fire alarm system installer or electrician. Current city regulations, however, do not allow certification of corrections by licensed professionals, and the backlog of FDNY re-inspection requests has only increased during the ongoing pandemic.
Limitations and Protections of Proposed FDNY Rule
The proposed rule includes several requirements to ensure the integrity of these re-inspections.
- Minor defects only. Licensed professionals may only certify correction of certain, minor fire alarm system defects. Systems with too many minor defects (more than 10 in low-rise buildings, more than 20 in a high-rise) would still require FDNY re-inspection. In addition, defects in design and installation of the following system components (when required), including operation issues, are excluded from the proposed certification program:
- Emergency alarm systems
- Emergency power switchover
- Firefighter service (Phase 1 and Phase 2), including elevator recall operation
- Fan shut down affecting operation of more than 20% of fan systems
- Fire shutter operation
- Power riser (including fire rating requirements)
- Primary power supply connection (including connection after building disconnect)
- Smoke control operation
- Sprinkler water flow switches and other non-sprinkler fire extinguishing system activation devices
- Stair pressurization
- Timely submission. Licensed professionals must submit certification of corrected defects to FDNY within 90 days of the defect notice date.
- Eligibility. To participate in the certification program, licensed professionals must secure a certificate of fitness, available to the following individuals:
- Registered design professionals
- Principals of companies that hold a certificate for fire alarm system installation, inspection, testing and servicing, registered with or licensed by the State of New York as a fire alarm system installer
- Master electricians or special electricians, licensed by the Department of Buildings
If passed, the rule would allow licensed professionals to correct and certify certain minor defects: missing components, non-approved components, and non-working components. Certification of corrected defects would confirm that system components “operate as designed,” with testing performed for a sufficient period to ensure that devices function as intended. Certification would also include a representation that other system components related to the scope of work have been inspected and tested.
In addition, all certifications of corrected defects would be subject to audit.
The virtual public hearing is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 25, 2020. To sign up, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive an email with a GoToMeeting link and call-in information.
We encourage everyone to please sign up and participate in this hearing as it is extremely important for this to pass. If passed, the rule would open the door for other policies to be entered into law. We need to support FDNY and continue to suggest policies that will make the process easier, faster, and more cost-effective.
If you have any questions, please contact Metropolis Group at 212.233.6344.