New Fire Alarm Rules Take Effect on May 1
By Katherine Baerga
The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) recently updated its rules to align with the 2022 New York City Fire Code and current FDNY filing procedures. The new rules, which go into effect on May 1, 2023, are designed to facilitate and streamline fire alarm system design, installation, and certification, saving building owners time and money while facilitating quicker occupancy or re-occupancy.
Professional Certifications Now Authorized
Among the most significant changes, the amendments authorize professional certification of the design and installation of fire alarm systems—except building core fire alarm systems—as an option to Fire Department plan examination and/or inspection. The following individuals may perform professional certification, provided they hold on FDNY Certificate of Fitness for that purpose:
- Fire alarm installers and electricians
- Professional engineers
- Registered architects
Building core fire alarm systems must still be certified by FDNY as before.
Building Core Fire Alarm Systems
The new rules clarify language on the definition of “building core fire alarm system,” which includes fire alarm system devices and equipment in and around the central or main building stairwells, elevators, and utility risers of any building, except buildings classified in Occupancy Group R-3.
This term encompasses all buildings, not just high-rises.
Components of a building core fire alarm system include the following:
- Fire alarm control unit, including booster panels and data gathering panels
- Central station communications devices and equipment
- Elevator recall initiating devices and equipment
- Automatic smoke control and pressurization devices and equipment
- Sprinkler water flow and tamper switch devices and equipment
- Fire detection devices in electrical, elevator, mechanical and telephone equipment rooms
- Manual fire alarm boxes at or near stairwells
- Warden phones and firefighter phones
- Duct detectors and fan shutdown relays for any HVAC unit greater than 2000 cubic feet/minute (cfm)
- Notification appliances in building core areas and egress stairwells
Administrative Fire Alarm Filing Changes
The amendments reflect the fact that fire alarm plans are now filed electronically through the FDNY’s online portal. Previous language outlined detailed requirements for submitting physical plans, a process that has been replaced by electronic submission.
Another administrative change incorporates Local Law 195 of 2018, which removes the need to file fire alarm system design plans with the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB).
Correcting Defects in Fire Alarm System Installations
For FDNY fire alarm inspections that result in a Notice of Defect, the new rules make the following amendments:
- The scope of certification only needs to include the corrected components, not the entire fire alarm system.
- Certification forms are no longer required for correcting administrative violations, such as submission of as-built plans.
Sometimes “clarifications” are not always that clear. If you have any questions or need assistance with fire alarm system certification, please contact the Metropolis Group at 212.233.6344.