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Old 10-27-2018, 01:15 PM   #1
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Default Commercial Fire Alarm Programing & Testing

Hello all. For a commercial building fit-out:

#1-What is the electricians, when installing fire alarm system, responsibility/involvement regarding the programming of the devices/system. I know the fire alarm vendor tech is involved but I believe the installer also has to help/assist with this?

#2- What's done during the pre-test( not the inspector/FD test). Just test a few devices, circuits. Is there a structured protocol to system testing?

Thank you very much.
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Old 10-27-2018, 01:23 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electricgolfnut View Post
Hello all. For a commercial building fit-out:

#1-What is the electricians, when installing fire alarm system, responsibility/involvement regarding the programming of the devices/system. I know the fire alarm vendor tech is involved but I believe the installer also has to help/assist with this?

#2- What's done during the pre-test( not the inspector/FD test). Just test a few devices, circuits. Is there a structured protocol to system testing?

Thank you very much.
electrician installs and wires system, tech comes in and takes it from there. Field troubleshooting is electricians responsibility, not techs.

Once the systems is accepted, the FA techs company/vender usually has maintenance contract on their system, but not always.

Last edited by 360max; 10-27-2018 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 10-27-2018, 01:25 PM   #3
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Are you certified/trained to install fire alarm system's? Check the instructions for initial testing/troubleshooting procedures.
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Old 10-27-2018, 01:48 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. I'm coming from estimating perspective. 360 so what's involved for the electrician during testing of system? Joe not sure that how the testing is approached on the field.
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Old 10-27-2018, 03:43 PM   #5
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In the past, when I still worked for someone, we as electricians would install the cabling and boxes as well as the panel back box. We'd provide a circuit to power it. On finish we'd install the devices. The fire alarm people would install the panel circuit board and terminate the cabling in the panel and program it. They'd also label the addresses at each device. We'd only assist in the testing or help locate and repair damaged cabling.
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Old 10-27-2018, 03:49 PM   #6
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How itís worked for me in the past: fire alarm tech programs the facp. If there are problems, the electrician figures them out. Missing devices, duplicate addresses, shorts on the wires, etc - that the electricianís job to find and resolve.

The tech then generally does a walk test. Often, the electrician helps with this, pulling stations, smoking smokes, etc, and radioing back for the tech to confirm location and device type (so the facp displays the proper device when a trouble/alarm goes off) and to reset for the next device. Whether every device needs testing, or only a portion, depends on locality, alarm company, whether itís a whole new system or just an addition to an existing system, etc, changes.

Electrician generally stays there until the facp gives you its blessing: SYSTEM NORMAL.

Different localities and towns may have more or fewer requirements. Not all towns have their own license/certificate. Call the ahj to find out. Some states have a state-wise certification. Some donít. Some municipalities have their own, above and beyond, blah blah blah.

Meow.
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Old 10-27-2018, 04:08 PM   #7
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In the past, when I still worked for someone, we as electricians would install the cabling and boxes as well as the panel back box. We'd provide a circuit to power it. On finish we'd install the devices. The fire alarm people would install the panel circuit board and terminate the cabling in the panel and program it. They'd also label the addresses at each device. We'd only assist in the testing or help locate and repair damaged cabling.
This has been my experience as well.
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Old 10-27-2018, 04:26 PM   #8
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In the past, when I still worked for someone, we as electricians would install the cabling and boxes as well as the panel back box. We'd provide a circuit to power it. On finish we'd install the devices. The fire alarm people would install the panel circuit board and terminate the cabling in the panel and program it. They'd also label the addresses at each device. We'd only assist in the testing or help locate and repair damaged cabling.
We the electricians on most all jobs do it ALL. Install and term everything.
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Old 10-27-2018, 04:29 PM   #9
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How itís worked for me in the past: fire alarm tech programs the facp. If there are problems, the electrician figures them out. Missing devices, duplicate addresses, shorts on the wires, etc - that the electricianís job to find and resolve.

The tech then generally does a walk test. Often, the electrician helps with this, pulling stations, smoking smokes, etc, and radioing back for the tech to confirm location and device type (so the facp displays the proper device when a trouble/alarm goes off) and to reset for the next device. Whether every device needs testing, or only a portion, depends on locality, alarm company, whether itís a whole new system or just an addition to an existing system, etc, changes.

Electrician generally stays there until the facp gives you its blessing: SYSTEM NORMAL.

Different localities and towns may have more or fewer requirements. Not all towns have their own license/certificate. Call the ahj to find out. Some states have a state-wise certification. Some donít. Some municipalities have their own, above and beyond, blah blah blah.

Meow.

lol.. thanks. So when the tech programs the FACP with addresses etc. nd I believe from when I was on a jobsite the electricians gives the tech the addresses either via a list or labels on devices boxes( i think).
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Old 10-27-2018, 05:30 PM   #10
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Addresses are either specified on the print that the architect or fire alarm company provided at the beginning of the job, or else the electrician makes them up and writes them down on the print as he goes along. Not sure if that answers your question.
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Old 10-27-2018, 05:49 PM   #11
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It may depend upon whether your company has its own fire alarm people, make their own prints, and can program their own systems. I do the start ups on generators so I’m the factory guy in that case.
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Old 10-27-2018, 06:56 PM   #12
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......

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Old 10-27-2018, 09:48 PM   #13
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......
????
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Old 10-28-2018, 08:24 AM   #14
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My experience has been mostly like @nrp3 said except we terminated the board as well.
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Old 10-28-2018, 08:58 AM   #15
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????
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Old 10-28-2018, 09:00 AM   #16
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Hello all. For a commercial building fit-out:

#1-What is the electricians, when installing fire alarm system, responsibility/involvement regarding the programming of the devices/system. I know the fire alarm vendor tech is involved but I believe the installer also has to help/assist with this?

#2- What's done during the pre-test( not the inspector/FD test). Just test a few devices, circuits. Is there a structured protocol to system testing?

Thank you very much.
Some of the answers depend on the area rules and regulations.

Are you/your company required to have a separate license or certification to install/service fire alarms?

What is in the job specs in regard to this matter?

I think nrp3 answered the way things are for the typical jobs I have been on.
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Old 10-28-2018, 09:38 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electricgolfnut View Post
Hello all. For a commercial building fit-out:

#1-What is the electricians, when installing fire alarm system, responsibility/involvement regarding the programming of the devices/system. I know the fire alarm vendor tech is involved but I believe the installer also has to help/assist with this?

#2- What's done during the pre-test( not the inspector/FD test). Just test a few devices, circuits. Is there a structured protocol to system testing?

Thank you very much.
Usually for a "parts and smarts" job, we install all of the conduit and wire, terminate the devices and the panel. They do all of the programing if its a proprietary system.

If we have total control, and it's an off the shelf system, we do all of it.

I dont like to call it idiot work but, its far less of a business to learn than typical commercial electrical work.
Here fire alarm guys are paid much less than electricians.
They seem to throw the systems together and work like hell to get maintenance and monitoring contracts.
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Old 10-28-2018, 10:54 AM   #18
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Our electric subs do the permanent power, conduit and or cabling and we install the guts, devices, program and test. That's the way it's always been for us. Thats the way I prefer it.
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Old 10-28-2018, 11:07 AM   #19
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We dont allow the alarm guys to terminate anything, we believe its our work.
No one ever complained.
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Old 10-28-2018, 03:56 PM   #20
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Where I'm at we typically do everything but the programming, which is done by a technician from the fire alarm manufacturer. Then when the system is complete, we put a guy by the panel with a radio, and another guy walks around with the tech and verifies each device. The techs offer insight/suggestions when troubleshooting is required, but we are the ones who actually do it.

On some projects, if you're modifying an existing system, the building may have rules about having their maintenance contractor do the work, or check over our work, other times not.
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