When you determine that your state or local jurisdiction has adopted the IBC (or IFC) into law, then you will need to purchase that document in order to determine which buildings (or what parts of certain buildings) are required to install fire/sprinkler alarm systems, and what minimum level of protection is required for them. The IFC will contain additional testing and maintenance rules for these systems. A word of caution: make sure you purchase the proper code edition used by your state/local jurisdiction! Not every state will adopt an ICC code "as is" and some feel a need to amend it because they feel 'special'. You need to check out the list of these states on the www.intlcode.org website by clicking on "ICC STORE" and then on the "State and Local Codes" link. You may also call them and talk to them, if you feel unsure of the correct edition to order. But in any event, if you design or install fire alarm systems, then you must own the current set of building/fire code rules telling you where and when to install fire alarm and detection equipment. NFPA 72 then indicates how to install the fire alarm equipment to enhance overall system reliability.
About the author: Greg Kessinger, SET, CFPS, president of an alarm installing company since 1981, teaches NICET training classes to fire alarm system designers and installers and continuing education seminars for Ohio's fire alarm inspectors. You can reach Greg Kessinger at 888-910-2272; e-mail: Greg@firealarm.org; or visit his website at www.FireAlarm.org.