Security Business

MAR 2019

Find news and information for the executive corporate security director, CSO, facility manager and assets protection manager on issues of policy, products, incidents, risk management, threat assessments and preparedness.

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e county approved the construc- tion plans and issued a permit. e sprinkler contract was awarded and the sprinkler piping was extended in the building's addition; however, the smoke detector and pull box were for- gotten – that is, until the final inspec- tion by the local building inspector (cue the fan…prepare for the manure). Since the drawing showed two smoke detectors and a manual pull box that were not actually there, the building inspector would not provide a Certificate of Occupancy (manure, meet fan). No one was there to remind the building inspector that the construc- tion drawings were not reviewed and approved for fire alarm compliance, and thus should not be used for the final inspection. Later, he explained that if it is on the construction draw- ings, he expects to see it built. Since it showed them on the architect's plans, the system was required to be installed "as designed" – or the build- ing would not be allowed to open. The Consequences e owner and architect's willingness to add the non-required, supplemen- tal smoke detectors and a pull to the sprinkler monitoring system has now caught up with them. eir quick call to a local alarm company prompts the alarm company owner to decide to be the one to attend to this customer, counting on a great reputation with the local fire department and Chief Building Official (CBO). However, by the time the alarm company owner gets there, the building inspector had already reported the non-compliance back to the CBO, his boss. e CBO determined that the owner deserved to flunk the final building inspection – but decided to be generous by issuing a tempo- rary occupancy permit and giving the owner four weeks to comply by add- ing the as-drown supplemental smoke detectors and pull box. Adding to the stress was a project manager who demanded the system be completed that same week – aer all it was only two smokes and a pull box! To further complicate the issue, the original fire installation company had gone out of business, and the busi- ness owner had no drawings of his original fire alarm system on record. e city could not find the original, approved plans, but records indicated that this system had been permitted and approved. e new work still had to be sub- mitted for approval, and in addition, the CBO also wanted assurance that the existing equipment would be com- patible with the new smoke detectors and manual pull box – ensuring they would not overload the existing panel. The Aftermath Here's how the issue affected each stakeholder and how it was resolved: e alarm company: e alarm company could have walked away from this client and chosen not to get involved in unnecessary liability for a job that they did not sell or even design; however, being an experienced businessman and wanting to keep his customer – as well as maintaining his good reputation with local officials – the owner stayed the course. He com- piled all the necessary information regarding the existing system com- ponents and then turned it over to a licensed fire alarm system designer. e fire alarm designer (that's me): e plan reviewer hinted he may want the existing system drawn up as part of a new record of drawings to replace the originals that were lost. e fire alarm designer prepared the submittals – including calcula- tions and spec sheets but no drawings – for both the new equipment and for the existing equipment, and indicated that all the components were compati- ble and compliant. is work took two weeks, and as of this writing, it is still waiting for approval by the local building depart- ment plan reviewer. On the plans, the title block indicated that the layout was provided by the Fire Chief, indi- cated by name – aer all, it was the Chief who specified the type of detec- tion, quantity and locations. is assigned credit never goes over well, but I do it whenever I think an AHJ has overstepped the limits of their authority. Sure, the chemicals were toxic, but adding leak detectors or vapor detec- tion to the fire alarm system would probably be a better choice than smoke detectors in a room storing a non-flammable, corrosive chemical or a water-reactive acid. e building owner and architect: ey chose to submit the plans as described above, and – as of this writing – are waiting to get them approved. If they are, the components should be installed within the four- week temporary permit period. If, for any reason, the plans are not approved and the occupancy permit expires, the owner will instruct the architect to submit revised drawings with the two smokes and pull box removed. e 64 Security Business / www.SecurityInfoWatch.com / March 2019 Fire & Life Safety Only qualified, experienced and licensed individuals are permitted to design fire alarm systems. In this case, the building owner, architect and Fire Chief decided they were qualified to perform this function."

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