fire alarm process in Mass

I was hoping someone could help me out and just summarize the process of installing a fire alarm system in SE MA. I have an upcoming project in fall river, and I dont usual work in MA, nor do I regularly do fire alarm systems. The building is a medium sized mill that is is being renovated into mixed use. First as far as designing the system, is that normal done by an EE? Is it required to be? Then do you have to submit the plans to the Fire Marshall and have them approve them? I have heard that a supplier will typically design it for you if you buy the components from them, Is this true? Finally when the system is installed, do both the electrical inspector and fire Marshall look at? Thanks, I dont have much administrative experience in MA and RI.
 

peter d

Senior Member
Location
New England
I was hoping someone could help me out and just summarize the process of installing a fire alarm system in SE MA. I have an upcoming project in fall river, and I dont usual work in MA, nor do I regularly do fire alarm systems. The building is a medium sized mill that is is being renovated into mixed use. First as far as designing the system, is that normal done by an EE? Is it required to be? Then do you have to submit the plans to the Fire Marshall and have them approve them? I have heard that a supplier will typically design it for you if you buy the components from them, Is this true? Finally when the system is installed, do both the electrical inspector and fire Marshall look at? Thanks, I dont have much administrative experience in MA and RI.
Well, you're in for a real treat then. :p Yes, a building that size is almost always designed by an EE, hopefully familiar with local fire alarm codes as they seem to vary from town to town. Some suppliers will do the design for you for a nominal fee, others will include it in the equipment bid price. I've done small system design myself, but no way would I do one for a mill conversion or larger job. Regardless of who makes the plans, they have to be approved by the town/city fire marshall. The EI will usually only look at the wiring line voltage circuit for the alarm panel itself, whereas the fire marshall will inspect the system for compliance.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
I really don't know about the engineering end of it. I am experienced in installation and service of FA systems in ma.

We have one state code applied equally across the state.



:lol::lol:

Yeah sure we do. It's more like every city and town is different some are easy some are tough but knowledgable and others make things up on the spot.

First stop for you should be the city or towns fire department and see what they have to say there are some that require NICET training to touch the system in any way.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
Many fire departments in MA still do direct monitoring via old master box telegraph systems or updated radio boxes. This is often in addition to, or in place of a central station monitoring service.

You will want to nail this down first as these boxes are often in the $5K range.

I know in many large buildings we are often also installing fire communication radio repeater systems in. I have no idea what triggers that.
 
I really don't know about the engineering end of it. I am experienced in installation and service of FA systems in ma.

We have one state code applied equally across the state.



:lol::lol:

Yeah sure we do. It's more like every city and town is different some are easy some are tough but knowledgable and others make things up on the spot.

First stop for you should be the city or towns fire department and see what they have to say there are some that require NICET training to touch the system in any way.
thanks for the good advice. Wish me luck.
 

kelley

Member
Location
Massachusetts
As others have said, check with local fire department. Some towns are now going through the building department for design approval. FD is still doing inspections and acceptance.

good luck
 
Process

Process

For fire alarm you can go through an electrician but it's best to go through an actual fire alarm contractor. You will need the plans drawn out first, you can have that done by a fire alarm designer or from the actual fire alarm contractor who will do the installation. But yes, the plans will need to be approved by the AHJ first.
 
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iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
For fire alarm you can go through an electrician but it's best to go through an actual fire alarm contractor. You will need the plans drawn out first, you can have that done by a fire alarm designer or from the actual fire alarm contractor who will do the installation. But yes, the plans will need to be approved by the AHJ first.
Maybe in your area but here in MA electricians handle fire alarm installations. There are some fire alarm contractors around but their installers must also be electricians.
 

peter d

Senior Member
Location
New England
Maybe in your area but here in MA electricians handle fire alarm installations. There are some fire alarm contractors around but their installers must also be electricians.
Sort of different from RI. RI has a limited "Fire Alarm Contractor" and "Fire Alarm Journeyman" license that allow them to do all testing and installation of FA systems with the exception of the line voltage power to the control panel (even though they usually do it anyway.)
 
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