The National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) has published a position paper concerning the proposed standard NFPA 731, which would apply directly to the installation of electronic premises security systems. The NBFAA's top concern is that much of today's currently available equipment would not be able to meet the new standard, which applies to surveillance, intrusion detection and access control. According to the NFPA, the standard is designed to help reduce false alarms and ensure reliability and quality of equipment.
Hear what the NBFAA has to say in the following position paper:
The National Fire Protection Association at the upcoming NFPA World Safety Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas, NV on June 6-10, 2005, during the Technical Committee Report Session is submitting for consideration of the NFPA membership their proposed standard referred to as NFPA 731 ' Standard for the Installation of Electronic Premises Security Systems.
The majority of equipment manufactured by current design specifications cannot mechanically meet the requirements of this standard. The standard was composed for equipment that may be designed in the future. Any standard that is created must be designed for the use of current technology. A standard that is put into law without the technology capable of complying with the law will be catastrophic to the industry. If the standard was developed as a guide perhaps the technology in time could comply.
Listed equipment must be tested by a listing organization, the process is expensive and time consuming. Equipment generally is not listed for the majority of the UL listings required by this standard. The majority of alarm equipment is only listed to be electrically sound.
Fire alarms are mandated for installation by Building Codes, Life Safety Codes, State or Federal Laws and in some cases insurance companies.
Unlike Fire alarms however, Electronic Premises Security Systems are generally mandated by insurance companies in order for businesses to secure insurance for their properties and contents. In most cases, this requirement is placed on medium to larger capital companies not smaller mercantile establishments.
The smaller mercantile establishments elect to have their systems installed to protect their persons, employees and businesses; they are not typically mandated by an insurance company to install a system.
Fire systems are classified as required and non-required or supplemental systems. Required systems must be installed in compliance with standards while non-required are permitted to have variances to the standards. The main reasons for variance are the occupancies, hazards and the size of the premises.
Insurance companies that mandate security systems do so based on the risk, contents, property and other factors.
NFPA 731 does not take into consideration the small mercantile establishment that is not mandated to have a system, nor allowing them variances from this standard that would reduce cost of installing elective systems.
NFPA 731 will increase costs significantly. With the increase in cost the elective systems will not be installed. This potentially will lead to a large amount of small mercantile establishments not installing systems leaving them as potential targets for criminal activity and will also lead to higher crime rates.
The members of NBFAA could see a significant loss of business in elective system installations with the increased cost of system compliance.
NFPA 731 also requires equipment to perform operations that can only be achieved by a few manufacturers or creates the need to add additional equipment to the systems.
Most low priced security equipment does not meet many of the UL specifications required by the standard. A majority of NFPA 731 requires the installation to comply with UL specifications (circuits, devices and connectors) which will result in additional costs.
Portions of NFPA 731 are vague and in conflict with other sections. This will lead to confusion between the AHJ and the installing companies.
Qualifications of individuals who design, install and service the systems should be consistent in the document. All qualifying individuals shall have proper training and certification.
The maintenance schedule is costly to the elective system owners.
It is for the reasons listed above that the NBFAA is encouraging all NBFAA members who are also NFPA members to attend the Technical Committee Report Session's scheduled for Wednesday, June 8, 2:00pm - 6:00pm, Thursday, June 9, 8:00am - 6:00pm, and Friday, June 10, 8:00am - 6:00pm, and vote in opposition of this proposed standard, and request that it be returned to the committee for additional proposals, comments and technical justification for the standard. In order to cast a vote you must be a NFPA member 190 days prior to the vote.
Comments on NFPA 731 from the NBFAA Standards Committee are available on the NBFAA website at http://www.alarm.org/infoCenter.html.