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Tech-News & Views

January 2019

“With a fascist the problem is never how best
to present the truth to the public but how best
to use the news to deceive the public into giving
the fascist and his group more money or more power.”
-- Henry A. Wallace
 

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Vancouver,B.C. - Here’s wishing all our readers, an incredible 2019!!

 

HEADS UP!  NEW SMOKE ALARM VERIFICATION AND TESTING REQUIREMENTS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA!

Vancouver, British Columbia - With the adoption of the 2015 National Building Code as the British Columbia Building Code 2018, some major changes are going to affect smoke alarm installations.  The Canadian Standard that’s referenced is CAN/ULC-S553:2014 (Standard for Installation of Smoke Alarms).  The most significant change to the Standard is Clause 4.2.1:

    “The installation required by this Standard shall be documented in a report similar to that shown in Appendix C, Smoke Alarm Installation and Verification Report.  A copy shall be given to the owner or the owner’s representative for the building and be kept available on site and retained for the life of the system.

    Note:  The requirement stated in Clause 4.2.1 is not intended to apply to single family dwellings.”

Of course, along with British Columbia’s new Building Code, we also have a new Fire Code, and it’s based on the 2015 National Fire Code.  BCFC 2018 has also adopted some MAJOR changes on the smoke alarm front that also happens to include an Appendix C Annual Inspection Report form in CAN/ULC-S552:2014 (Standard for Inspection and Testing of Smoke Alarms).

Who’s going to Verify these installations?  Who’s going to test them?  What are the building owner’s responsibilities?

UPDATE! - January 20, 2019 - You can now download our version of the CAN/ULC-S552-14 Appendix “C” Smoke Alarm Inspection, Test, and Maintenance Report from our FORMS page!  Please read the disclaimer on the page as it identifies some minor additions to the original Report published in the Standard, which will assist you in performing this service.

 

BRITISH COLUMBIA BUILDING CODE 2018 CHANGES EMERGENCY POWER REQUIREMENTS!

Vancouver, British Columbia - Two significant changes to the way technicians are going to be performing annual testing of fire alarm systems and emergency lighting systems in buildings of combustible construction up to six (6) storeys in height:

1.  Sentence 3.2.7.4 now requires these buildings to have ONE HOUR of emergency power for emergency lighting; and

2.  Sentence 3.2.7.8 has “upped” the requirement for a fire alarm system to operate in FULL LOAD alarm power for ONE HOUR (from the previous thirty minutes).  The stand-by “supervisory” requirement of twenty-four (24) hours hasn’t changed.  This will require some additional battery capacity.

For anyone interested, here’s a convenient link to the British Columbia Government website:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/construction-industry/building-codes-standards/forms-resources/technical-bulletins

 

BRITISH COLUMBIA FIRE CODE ADOPTS NFPA 25 (2014) - INSPECTION, TESTING AND MAINTENANCE OF WATER-BASED FIRE PROTECTION SYSTEMS!

Vancouver, British Columbia - Significant changes in NFPA 25 (2014) are going to affect the way technicians test backflow preventers on fire sprinkler systems.  These changes will require a number of local Jurisdictional Authorities to formulate an appropriate set of procedures.  The relevant Clauses are:

13.6.2.1, which reads:

    “All backflow preventers installed in fire protection system piping shall be exercised annually by conducting a forward flow test at the minimum flow rate of the system demand.”

And 13.6.2.2:

    “Where hydrants or inside hose stations are located downstream of the backflow preventer, the forward flow test shall include hose stream demand.”

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In Memoriam
G. Richard (Rich) Morris
Celebrating a truly
remarkable life!

CFAA’s Tribute
SCC’s Tribute

In Memoriam
David Sylvester
CFAA Legend, Educator,
and Friend!

CFAA’s Tribute

 

 

Smoke Detector Cross Listing Information:
ULC Smoke Detector Compatibility Index
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But the MAJOR addition to the Standard is featured in Clause 13.6.1.4, and reads:

    “Backflow prevention assemblies shall be inspected internally every 5 years to verify that all components operate correctly, move freely, and are in good condition.”

This last clause brings up some important questions:

If the building undergoing the annual test is older than five years, will the backflow preventer require an internal examination at the next annual inspection?  Or, does the “clock” start from December 10, 2018 on existing backflow preventer installations?  When does the “clock” actually start?

Are test headers going to be incorporated in new building construction (particularly now that we have a number of six storey combustible structures where the sprinkler system MUST continue to meet the initial design performance criteria)?  How do we perform the forward flow test on systems that don’t have test headers?  What’s an acceptable solution that guarantees the backflow preventer’s proper operation in a emergency?

 

AMENDED PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE GUIDELINE (2019) PROVIDES PROACTIVE OVERSIGHT OF CERTIFIED BACKFLOW PREVENTER TESTERS!

Vancouver, British Columbia - Building Life Safety System Technologists maintaining membership through the Fire Technicians Network Certification Programme are now required to provide us with their BackFlow Preventer Certification information.  This will be imprinted on the member’s identification card and your membership will be pro-rated (no additional fee) to the month AFTER your Cross Connection Control membership expires.  This will enable us to track your requalification and could extend your membership renewal period by a few months this year (BONUS!).  Members certified under a Cross Connection Control programme will be subject to having their technical proficiency reviewed during either their Professional Practice Evaluation (PPE) (performed when they first apply), or their Professional Practice Review (PPR).  For more information visit our Certification Programme page!  You can download a copy of the 2019 Professional Practice Guideline from our Programmes and Services page (if you’ve recently downloaded it, don’t forget to REFRESH the page in your Browser).

 

UPDATED BUILDING ANNUAL INSPECTION REPORT FORMS!

Vancouver, British Columbia - We’ve introduced a number of key changes in the reporting format we provide to more closely align with the referenced Standards in the National Fire Code of Canada (2015 published edition).  Key changes are described on our FORMS! page.

Please ensure you clear the use of the form with your local jurisdictional authority!  We should point out that if a technician has been performing functional testing of smoke alarms as a courtesy service in the past, you should also clear the continued use of the CAN/ULC-S536-13 Appendix C3.2 Device Record form in documenting the required testing in accordance with CAN/ULC-S552-14 (which now has its own Appendix C Report form).

 

QUICK LINKS!

AHJ Training Courses are being offered by two (2) Canadian national associations:

  • The Canadian Fire Alarm Association (CFAA) - Please visit their website (link below) for information on one being held in your area.
  • The Fire Technicians Network (FTN) - Feel free to visit our Training Centre for available dates and cities!  To make arrangements for us to present our two day Course Programme in YOUR municipality, please Contact Us for details!

Canadian Fire Alarm Technician Certification:

Fire Protection Equipment Technicians (Extinguisher Service):

Fire Protection Equipment Technicians (British Columbia):

 

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