INTERNATIONAL FIRE ALARM _ DETECTION REQUIREMENTS

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					              THUMBNAIL OVERVIEW OF THE 2000
               INTERNATIONAL FIRE CODES FOR
          ALARM & DETECTION SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

Background

Since 1995, Buildings Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc. (BOCA),
International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) and Southern Building Code
Congress International, Inc. (SBCCI) have been working in a joint effort to establish a
common building for use throughout the U.S.A. In January of 2000, the International
Code Committee, the name for the new joint venture, published the first editions of the
Building, Residential and Fire Codes.

Many jurisdictions, including the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, are adopting all or
parts of these codes.

Following is an overview prepared by the Automatic Fire Alarm Association (AFAA), of
the fire alarm requirements contained in the 2000 International Fire Code (IFC) which are
also duplicated in the International Building Code (IBC). The intent of this overview is
to provide an informed code appliance individual a quick thumbnail of the IFC fire alarm
system requirements for the various use and occupancy classifications.

The AFAA is the only association dedicated solely to the enhancement of fire alarm
systems for the protection of life and property. AFAA also conducts numerous training
programs to help educate persons who are responsible for designing, applying, installing,
servicing, enforcing and other interested Professionals to provide safer buildings. For
more information you can contact the AFAA at www.afaa.org or 407-322-6288.

You can contact any of the following organizations for copies of the various publications
available on these codes:

      BOCA         800-214-4321
      ICBO         800-423-6587
      SBCCI        877-442-6337

In addition to the above, Berkshire Systems Group, Inc. makes every effort to keep
abreast of the latest code requirements in order to assist our customers, and potential
customers, in the application of fire alarm system codes. We would welcome your call
and make every effort to provide assistance. You can contact us at 800-344-4012.
                       USE AND OCCUPANCY CLASSIFICATIONS
Assembly (A) – Includes the use of a building or structure, or a portion thereof for the gathering
together of persons for purposes such as civic, social, or religious functions, recreation, food or drink
consumption or awaiting transportation.

Business (B) – Includes the use of a building or stricture, or a portion thereof, for office, professional or
service-type transactions, including the storage of records and accounts.

Education (E) – Includes the use of a building or structure, or a portion thereof, by six or more persons
at one time for educational purposes through the 12th grade. Also includes day care facilities for more
than five children older than 2 ½ years of age.

Factories (F) – Includes the use of a building or structure, or a portion thereof for assembling,
disassembling, fabricating, finishing, manufacturing, packaging, repair or processing operations that are
not classified as a Group H, hazardous occupancy.

Hazardous (H) – Includes the use of a building or structure, or portion thereof that involves the
manufacturing, processing, generation or storage of materials that constitute a physical or health hazard
in quantities in excess of those found in Tables 307.7 (1) and 307.7 (2).

Institutional (I-1) – Includes residential board and care facilities, assisted living facilities, half way
houses, group homes, congregate care facilities, social rehabilitation facilities, alcohol and drug centers,
and convalescent facilities housing more than sixteen persons on a 24 hour basis.

Institutional (I-2) – Includes hospitals, nursing homes (both intermediate care facilities and skilled
nursing facilities), mental hospitals and detoxification facilities.

Institutional (I-3) – Includes prisons, jails, reformatories, detention centers, correctional centers and
prerelease centers.

Mercantile (M) – Includes department stores, drug stores, markets, motor vehicle service stations, retail
or wholesale stores, and sales rooms.

Residential (R-1) – Includes hotels, motels, and boarding houses where the occupants are primarily
transient in nature (less than 30 days).

Residential (R-2) – Includes apartment houses, boarding houses (non-transient), convents, dormitories,
fraternities and sororities, and monasteries.

Residential (R-3) – Residential occupancies where the occupants are primarily permanent in nature and
not classified a R-1, R-2, or I and where buildings do not contain more than two dwelling units, or adult
child care facilities that provide accommodations for five or fewer persons of any age for less than 24
hours.

Residential (R-4) – Includes buildings arranged for occupancy as Residential Care/Assisted Living
Facilities including more than five but not more than 16 occupants, excluding staff.
                            FIRE ALARM REQUIREMENTS
ASSEMBLY
Occupant Load of 300 or more. Emergency voice/alarm communications system required with occupant
load of 1000 or more. No manual fire alarm boxes required if building is sprinkled.

BUSINESS
Occupant load of 500 or more, or more than 100 above or below the lowest level of exit discharge. No
manual fire alarm boxes required if building is sprinkled.

EDUCATION
All with an occupant load of 50 or more. Exception: If two-way communications is available from all
spaces to a constantly attended location or the building is sprinkled manual fire alarm boxes are not
required.

FACTORIES
Two or more stories and an occupant load of 500 or more above or below the lowest level of exit
discharge. No manual pull stations required if building is sprinkled.

HAZARDOUS
All H-5 occupancies and occupancies used for the manufacturer of organic coatings.

INSTITUTIONAL
All manual fire alarm boxes are not required at exits in patient sleeping areas if located at nurse’s
stations.
I-3 - manual fire alarm boxes are only required at staff attended locations.

MERCANTILE
Occupant load of 500 or more, or more than 1000 above or below the lowest level of exit discharge. No
manual fire alarm boxes required if building is sprinkled. During the time the building is occupied an
alarm signal can be sent to a constantly attended location from which evacuation instructions shall be
initiated over an emergency voice/alarm communication system in lieu of sounding general evacuation
signals. The system can be used for other announcements.

RESIDENTIAL
R-1 Transient Occupancies – All. Exception: Two stories or less with a direct exit to the outside. No
manual fire alarm boxes required if building is sprinkled.
R-2 Non-Transient Occupancies – with a dwelling unit 3 or more stories above the lowest level of exit
discharge, or a dwelling unit more than one story below the highest level of discharge or more that 16
dwelling units. Exception: Not over two stories and each unit has a direct exit to the outside. Manual
fire alarm boxes are not required if building is sprinkled.
                                   SPECIAL OCCUPANCIES

COVERED MALL BUILDINGS
Buildings exceeding 50, 000 square feet shall be equipped with an emergency voice/alarm
communication system.

HIGH RISE BUILDINGS
The following requirements apply to all buildings having occupied floors located more than 75 feet
above the lowest level of fire department vehicle access. They do not apply to: Airport Traffic Control
Towers; Open Parking Garages; Outdoor Assembly Occupancies (A-5); Low Hazard Special
Occupancies (rolling mills, structural metal fabrication shops and foundries, or the production and
distribution of electric, gas or steam power); and H-1, H-2 and H-3 Occupancies.

Fire alarm and emergency voice/alarm communication systems required.

Two-way fire department communication system required. Exception: Fire department radio systems
where approved by the fire department.

Supervised sprinkler control valves and water flow devices required on each floor.

Fire command station required.

ATRIUMS
Afire alarm system is required if an atrium connects more than two stories. A, E & M occupancies
require an emergency voice/alarm communications system.

UNDER GROUND BUILDINGS
As required by occupancy classification.

Where the lowest level in more than 60 feet below the lowest level of exit discharge manual fire alarm
and emergency voice/alarm communication systems required.

If a fire alarm system is not required by the above or the occupancy classification, a public address
system must be provided.

SPECIAL AMUSEMENT BUILDINGS
Fire alarm system to monitor the smoke detectors is required. However, the intent is there will be no pull
stations and the notification of occupants will be thru an emergency voice/alarm communications system
which is allowed to serve as a public address system.

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL TOWERS
Fire alarm system required to monitor the automatic detection system.
                            DETECTION REQUIREMENTS

EDUCATION
Manual fire alarm boxes can be eliminated where all the following apply:
      1- Interior corridors are protected by smoke detectors with alarm verification.
      2- Auditoriums, cafeterias, gyms, etc. are protected by hear or other approved detection device.
      3- Shops and laboratories involving dust or vapors are protected by heat or other approved
          detection devices.
      4- Off premise monitoring is provided.
      5- the capability to activate the evacuation signal from a central point is provided.

HAZARDOUS
An automatic detection system is required for highly toxic gases, organic peroxides and oxidizers in
accordance with Chapters 38, 41, and 42.

INSTITUTIONAL
Smoke detectors required in waiting areas open to corridors.
I-3 – In all resident housing areas
I-2 – Corridors and spaces opening into corridors. Exception: If patient rooms are equipped with
detectors or detectors are incorporated into the door closing devices.
I-1 – Single and multiple station smoke alarms are required. Exception: If the building is equipped
throughout with an automatic detection system.

RESIDENTIAL
An automatic detection system is required in all R-1 non-sprinkled buildings. System detectors are not
required in guestrooms provided the single station smoke alarms are connected to the emergency power
and they are annunciated by guestroom at the constantly attended location where the fire alarm system is
capable of being manually activated. Exception: The system is not required in buildings that do not
have interior corridors serving guestrooms, and guestrooms have a means of egress door opening
directly to an exterior exit access that leads directly to the exits.

Single or multiple station smoke alarms are required in all sleeping rooms, in every room in the exit
path, and on each story.

R-2 Occupancies - required a single or multi-station smoke alarms.
      1- Outside sleeping rooms
      2- In sleeping rooms
      3- In each story within a dwelling unit including basements
R-3 Occupancies – single or multiple station smoke alarms required, same as R-2.
R-4 Occupancies – single or multiple station smoke alarms required, same as R-2.
                                   SPECIAL OCCUPANCIES

HIGH RISE BUILDINGS
The following requirements apply to all buildings having occupied floors located more than 75 feet
above the lowest level of fire department vehicle access. They do not apply to: Airport Traffic Control
Towers; Open Parking Garages; Outdoor Assembly Occupancies (A-5); Low Hazard Special
Occupancies (rolling mills, structural metal fabrication shops and foundries, or the production and
distribution of electric, gas or steam power); and H-1, H-2 and H-3 Occupancies.

Automatic detection required in: mechanical equipment; electrical; transformer; telephone equipment; or
similar rooms not sprinkled; and elevator equipment rooms and elevator lobbies.

Detectors at each connection of vertical duct or riser serving two or more stories from a return air duct
or plenum of an a/c system. In R-1 & R-2 occupancies a detector is allowed to be used in each return air
riser carrying not more than 5000 cfm and serving not more than 10 air inlet openings.

ATRIUMS
Spot type smoke detectors must be installed: at the atrium ceiling; on the underside of projections into
the atrium; and around the perimeter of the atrium openings on all floors open to the atrium.

If projected beam detectors are used they must be installed in accordance with their listing.

The actuation of two spot type detectors or single beam detector shall cause an alarm at a constantly
attended location and activate the atrium smoke removal system.

UNDER GROUND BUILDINGS
As required by the occupancy classification.

SPECIAL AMUSEMENT BUILDINGS
Smoke detection is required throughout. The activation of a detector is required to:
1 – Sound an alarm in the building at a constantly attended location.
2 – Increase the illumination in the means of egress.
3 – Stop any conflicting or confusing sounds and visual distractions.
4 – Activate directional exit marking

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL TOWERS
Automatic detection system required throughout.
                              GENERAL REQUIREMENTS
All non-required systems are required to meet the code.

Manual fire alarm boxes shall be located not more than 5 feet from the entrance to each exit.

Fire alarm boxes must be red and mounted so the activating handle is between 42 to 48 inches from the
floor. In restrained occupancies (I-3) they are permitted to lock. If the system is not monitored by a
supervising station the following is required on or next to the box: When Alarm Sounds – Call Fire
Department.

Wiring in accordance ICC Electrical Code (NFPA 70) and NFPA 72. Wireless systems per NFPA 72.

Power supplies per NFPA 72.
Alarm notification appliances activated by: system smoke detectors; sprinkler water flow devices;
manual fire alarm boxes; and other approved types of automatic detection devices or suppression
systems. Exception: Smoke detectors for Use Group I-3 are permitted to actuate an audible appliance at
a constantly attended location.

Pre-signal systems are not permitted unless approved by code official and fire department. If approved
24-hour personnel supervision must be provided to actuate the alarm.

Each floor must be zoned separately and zones cannot exceed 22,500 square feet, and the length of any
zone shall not exceed 300 feet in any direction. In high- rise zoning must be by floor and type of
initiating device. Exception: Automatic sprinkler system zones shall not exceed the area permitted by
NFPA.

Visible alarm notification appliances required in public and common areas, and required accessible
sleeping rooms and suites in Use Group I-1 and R-1 plus an additional number per Table 907.10.1.2
(similar to ADA requirements).

In Group R-2 occupancies required to have a fire alarm system, and dwelling units shall be provided
with the capability to support visible alarm notification appliances in accordance with ICC/ANSI
A117.1.

Audible alarm notification appliances must produce a signal 15 dBA above ambient or 5 dBA above the
max with a sound duration of at least 60 seconds whichever is greater. The minimum for Use Group R
and I-1 is 70 dBA; 90 dBA in mechanical equipment rooms; and 60 dBA in other use groups. If the
ambient is greater than 105 dBA visible appliances are to be provided in lieu of audible devices.
Exception: Visible notification appliances are permitted in critical care areas of I-2 occupancies in lieu
of audible.

All devices and circuits are to be 100% acceptance tested per NFPA 72 and a Record of Completion
shall be provided verifying the system has been installed in accordance with approved plans and
specifications.

Detection devices must be smoke detectors unless ambient conditions will cause them to alarm. The
alternative type detectors may be used.
Automatic detectors used for fire safety functions must be a part of the fire alarm system, and activate
the alarm notification appliances or supervisory signal at a constantly attended location. If no system is
required they can operate from normal electrical service. All detectors must be located per NFPA 72.

In new construction all smoke alarms must be AC powered with battery back up. Battery operated
devices are permitted in existing buildings.

Where more than one smoke alarm is required they must be interconnected. Exception: Battery
powered units in existing construction.

All sprinkler system valves and water flow switches must be electrically supervised, and alarm,
supervisory, trouble signals automatically transmitted to a central, remote or proprietary supervisory
station. When approved by the code official the signals can go to a constantly attended location.

Duct smoke detectors shall be connected to the fire alarm system and initiate a visible and audible
supervisory signal at a constantly attended location. The supervisory signal is not required at a
constantly attended location if they activate the building alarm notification appliances.

				
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