Correct Installations of Notification Equipment for Hotels/Motels

Grill The Fire Expert: A look at alert notification system requirements in hotel/motel rooms


Installation Flaw Revealed

No, the wiring is not t-tapped or run in series with one conductor. The horns are shown using two-conductor cable, and the "red wire" is actually a pair of conductors. This is properly indicated by two hash marks on the lines depicting the wiring path.

Yes, the beds could be moved around and the pillows could wind up being farther from the strobe than the prescribed 16 feet. However, the fact that a room might be remodeled again someday after this installation is not a design consideration.

Building inspectors are there to determine that the installation went in according to the approved plans, and meet the rules of the adopted building code, as installed. Actually, any number of things can happen to make an installation non-compliant in the future. That's why ongoing inspections are required of you by NFPA 72 and regular inspections are conducted by your local fire prevention officers or fire department. Besides, like most hotels and motels, the headboards on the beds are permanently mounted to the wall.

No, the plastic raceway does not have to be specifically listed for use by fire alarm systems. Actually, the cable could have been legally run exposed, and merely fastened securely into the corners of the wall and ceiling using nails and clips. Placing the wiring inside plastic raceway for aesthetics does not violate any rules. Similarly, it could have been hidden in a hollow space behind wooden crown molding in each guest room, but the higher cost to add this molding was rejected by the owner.

Yes, it is true that routing the wiring inside the walls would have been best. Yet the wiring exiting the rear of the plastic raceway is not a violation; also splices and connections were all made at the appliance and no additional junction box was required.

No, the devices were not mounted eight inches too low, at 72 inches. The 80-inch minimum mounting height for wall mounted visible notification appliances does not apply to sleeping rooms. Instead, the rule for sleeping rooms requires that if a 110cd. strobe is used, it is to be installed at least two feet below the ceiling; otherwise, you must use a 177cd. strobe. Besides, when laying down in bed, this height difference is nullified.

Yes, a surface back box could have been used to mount the first horn/strobe, with the surface raceway mated to it and the wiring entering the side of the box, instead of how it is shown entering from inside the wall. This was not done because using a surface box would have been even more unsightly than exposed wiring and would have added to the expense without adding appreciable safety benefits. Actually, surface mounted appliances (including sprinkler heads) in guestrooms are sometimes compromised when they get used as hooks for coat hangers or even draped with clothes. (Look for the increasingly popular international "no coat hangers" symbol next to the sprinkler heads in many hotel guestrooms.)

Some people guessed at violations that could not possibly have been determined by the information provided and the illustration pictured here, which was included.

No, the notification appliances and boxes do not have to be listed together as an "assemble." Everyone should be satisfied as long as the associated electrical boxes/conduit are of the proper size, with conduit/raceway/ wiring installed per manufacturer's instructions, NFPA 72 and NFPA 70.

It is true that sometimes components are listed together as an assemble, when a combination of certain parts are required to make that device/installation comply with a code or standard. For example, usually a special back box is required for installations in damp or outdoor locations and the installation instructions would indicate this. However, this project's notification appliances are installed per the manufacturer's installation instructions which were reviewed and accepted as part of the original listing process of the appliance.

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