If I Have Sprinklers, Do I Also Need Smoke Detectors? Part 2

In our previous blog on this subject, we addressed whether smoke detectors are required in business, healthcare and assembly occupancies if they have sprinklers installed.  In this edition, we’ll look at general requirements for educational and residential occupancies, based on the IBC/IFC and NFPA 101. As mentioned in Part 1,  it’s important to remember that sprinklers are [Read More]

Can Fire Alarm System Smoke Detectors Replace 120 VAC Smoke Detectors?

  When it comes to renovations of multi-residential buildings or transient occupancies (hotels, SROs, etc.), one of the considerations that designers of record has is long term costs to the owner.  An item the often gets overlooked are the living unit smoke detectors.  Most assume that local, 120 vac powered (AKA ‘single station’) smoke detectors [Read More]

Can Elevators Still Be Used During a Fire Alarm?

We’ve all seen the signage in elevator lobbies to use the stairs in event of fire.  Some signs even say the elevators are out of service in event of fire, but that’s not always true.  People may become unsure of what to do when they see an elevator door open on the 30th floor during a fire [Read More]

New Two Hour Fire Alarm Cable Update

UPDATE: 2/19/16  I received notification from a reader regarding a new UL 2196 rated CIC cable available from Radix .  This is an 18 AWG cable that features two Oxygen-Free Bare Copper (OFBC) conductors insulated with ceramifiable silicone rubber, an aluminum/aramid shield, a 22 AWG solid TC drain wire and low smoke zero halogen FRPE red [Read More]

Are Fire Alarm Strobes Required in the City of Chicago?

The Chicago Building Code (CBC) defines which buildings are required to have fire alarm systems and is specific about how these systems are to be put together.  What comes to a surprise to those that design and/or install these systems is, among other things, what is included and not included regarding notification of an alarm [Read More]

Chicago High Rise Office Space Fire Alarm Speaker Requirements

Like other major metropolitan areas, the city of Chicago requires emergency voice and communication systems in its high rise buildings (over eighty feet in height).  Rather than sound a general alarm when a detection device activates, the fire department is notified without any audible warning provided to the high rise occupants until the fire department [Read More]

Does a Renovation Project Change Elevator Recall Requirements?

We frequently get questions about whether an office buildout/renovation changes the existing elevator recall sequence or mandates it if there is no recall.  The simple answer is that if the elevator equipment is not substantially altered after its installation, the requirements applicable at the time of installation remain in force.  Whether or not the space [Read More]

New Carbon Monoxide Requirements

Starting January 1, 2016 the State of Illinois will require carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in schools which fall under the jurisdiction of the Illinois State Board of Education.  Public Act 099-0470 inserts language to 105 ILCS 5/10 that adds the requirement for school boards of education to ensure each school has proper CO detection in [Read More]

Update Regarding UL 2196 Listed Cables

    UPDATE!!!!  There are additional cables that are listed under the FHIT portion of UL 2196.  We’ve reviewed all the products listed under this category and are not advocating any particular cable, but from a life safety system installation perspective, the most interesting cable that we’ve seen involves a two conductor, 14 or 16 gauge, [Read More]

Installing Mineral InsuIated (MI) Cable

Mark Hall and Ben Piper of Pentair Pyrotenax/Raychem, a manufacturer of mineral insulated (MI) cable, recently posted important information in our comments section regarding the installation of MI cable in Chicago and per UL standards. Ben Piper pointed out Chicago allows MI to be installed without a raceway when used with a required fire alarm and/or emergency voice communication [Read More]