FIRE ALARM EXPERT
By Greg Kessinger, SET, CFPS
New IFC & IBC Fire Alarm Changes for 2009
IN SPITE OF THE FACT that the entire Fire installed).
Alarm and Detection Systems sections in Chapter • The maximum sound level of a building now
9 of the recently published 2009 International Fire cannot exceed 110dBA, 907.5.2.1.2. This is
Code (IFC) and International Building Code (IBC) have 10dBA lower than the previous maximum
vertical lines along each page, indicating that every- sound level allowed and is now in line with
thing changed, it mostly amounts to a reshuffling NFPA 72, 2007.
of existing rules and their renumbering. Upon close • Average ambient sound pressure of 95dBA is
examination, you’ll notice some of the changes are now the point where strobe lights must be added
simple clarifications of existing wording. Most of in lieu of adding more audible devices (instead
the remaining new changes represent the inclusion of 105dBA); again to be in line with NFPA 72,
of existing rules taken from NFPA 72, which were 2007 requirements, see 907.5.2.1.2.
already required. Only a few of the changes indicat-
ed in the IFC and IBC actually affect how we install New sections in the 2009 IFC/IBC might
fire alarm systems and smoke alarms. affect installations
• The cab of airport traffic control towers do
NFPA 72 existing rules present in new IFC/IBC not have to have audible notification appli-
• Strobe lights are not required in elevator ances installed (907.2.22 exception).
cars: see 907.5.2.3. • Protective covers installed over manual pull
• A smoke or heat detector is required to be boxes cannot project more than the four
provided at the location of each fire alarm inches, as allowed by section 1003.3.3.
control unit, notification appliance circuit • Voice evacuation systems were only allowed
power extenders and supervising station to be used for non-emergencies when per-
transmitting equipment, see 907.1.2(4). mitted by the local code official. Now they
• One advantage of taking this requirement are allowe