HOME Forums Reply To: Replacement of fire alarm systems

Darren ZettlerDarren Zettler

I see I have generated some good discussion. Someone in my own office put it this way: If I renovate my house built in the 1980s would I have to install hardwired interconnected smoke alarms with strobes? I guess it depends on the extent of the renovation. How many house renovations have you seen where the Building Inspector makes the owner put in hardwired smoke alarms? I’ve seen a bunch.
I wonder if I removed the outside wall of an old commercial building and kept the same footprint but built a totally new wall to replace it would I have to put in drainage? Waterproofing? Insulation? Any of the other features that a new wall would have compared to an old wall. Probably would need to.
Lots of good information from Lukasz. We can’t always assume that the old building is a Part 9 retrofit building though. Could be a school (no retrofit), commercial building or industrial building. Just seems wrong to me that buildings that are 50, 60 or 70 years old get building permits that don’t require upgrades. The Fire Code is supposed to be about maintenance not about forcing people through Orders to ‘upgrade’ buildings that slip through loopholes in (OBC) construction standards. Regardless of decibel readings fire alarms are to be checked for audibility ‘throughout the building’ as per CAN/ULC-536 on an annual basis during the inspection.
Anyone have any old schools out there with fire alarm panels that have been replaced but they still don’t have smoke or heat detectors in the stairwells? Seems wrong to me.
If it is considered a Part 11 OBC ‘renovation’ who is doing ‘design’ of these replacement systems? (Answer: noboby). Who is making sure the programming and the system operation is suitable for the building? (Answer: maybe the installing tech or company, the same people in many cases who are replacing the panel and even verifying.) {I know there is supposed to be a separate designer, installer and verifier, but how many panels get replaced with one ‘company’ doing it all?}
Seems to me the Building Code needs to re-think this.
Here’s the excerpt from the OBC. Sounds like a ‘new’ system should comply with ‘all other parts’ Is replacing the control panel or all of the devices or wiring a ‘repair”?
11.3.1. New and Existing Building Systems Material Alteration or Repair of a Building System
(1) Where an existing building system is materially altered or repaired, the performance level of the building after the material alteration or repair shall be at least equal to the performance level of the building prior to the material alteration or repair. New Building Systems and Extension of Existing Building Systems
(1) Except as provided in Article and Section 11.5., the design and construction of a new building system or the extension of an existing building system, shall comply with all other Parts.

I’d like to hear from a few more departments.