Local Law 191 and Proposed FDNY Certification of Correction of Defects in Fire Alarm System Installations.

If you have ever spent hours reading and re-reading city council legislation or proposed new rule changes and ended up being more confused after, please know you are not alone. They are written in a way to confuse! We are here to help you navigate the new laws and help prepare you for proposed new rule changes, so if/when they do pass, you are well-positioned to comply. We wanted to update you on Local Law 191 set for a compliance deadline of January 1, 2021, and a new proposed FDNY law from this week’s FDNY hearing.

Local Law 191

Local Law 191 requires amendments to DOB’s rules regarding carbon monoxide (the ‘silent killer’) detectors. Buildings with assembly (Group A-1, A-2, A-3), business, and mercantile occupancies are expected to comply with LL191 by January 1, 2021. It adds requirements for carbon monoxide detectors: how they must be installed following NFPA 720, how they need to be developed by a New York State Registered Design professional, and how alarms and detectors must be listed under UL 2034 and Ul 2075.  The law also provides additional occupancy types and creates retroactive requirements for existing buildings, including Group B business occupancies containing fuel-burning appliances. It is important to note that office buildings with semi-enclosed spaces pose the highest risk to occupants. 

So, where is CO detection required? 

  1. Any room that contains CO-producing equipment, except kitchens (this includes boiler rooms where an auto fan shutdown is needed)
  2. Any corridor where a carbon monoxide-producing equipment unit is located, as well as one story above and one story below
  3. Any corridor on the story where enclosed parking or a loading dock is located, as well as one story above and one story below
  4. Any parking attendants office or booth located within an enclosed garage or loading dock

Certification of Corrected Defects in Fire Alarm System Installations

On Tuesday, the FDNY proposed a new rule “to establish a certification program by which licensed professionals may certify corrections of certain fire alarm system defects and eliminate the need for FDNY re-inspections of these conditions.” The new rule (Section 104-04 of Title 3 of the Rules of the City of New York (RCNY)) is proposed to reduce the backlog of fire alarm inspection defects. There is no procedure for accepting certification of the correct of minor defects by licensed professionals, as is done for Fire Code violations. Due to New York City’s “construction boom,” the number of requests for FDNY inspections of fire alarm system installations is increasing and leading to substantial delays. [Note: This went into effect Nov. 6th, 2020. You can read more here]

Although this is just a proposed rule change, we wanted to make sure you received some notes from the hearing pertaining to you: 

What is the timeline for this? While the public hearing and comment deadline was on Tuesday, the FDNY has yet to provide a concrete timeline for their decision-making. We are following the rule closely, as we would be qualified to certify corrections, and will update you as we learn more. 

Who is considered a licensed professional? NYFAA permits New York State licensed electricians and alarm companies to certify the functionality. Licensed professionals would also have to hold a Fire Department Certificate of Fitness according to Fire Code Section 113 and be a principal or employee of a company holding a Company Certificate under Fire Code Section 115.  However, trade unions representing electricians are concerned that this may result in a conflict of interest and liability issues for individuals certifying the corrections. 

So I only need one licensed professional? No. At least two licensed professionals would be required to certify correction of the fire alarm system defects: the professional who corrected the defect and a licensed professional who verifies that the system functions based on an in-person functionality test. 

Will licensed professionals be able to certify all fire alarm system defects? No. Defects considered to be more serious, and minor defects, if too numerous, would remain subject to Fire Department re-inspection. 

Do I have to use a new licensed professional, or can I keep going through the FDNY?  The proposed program is opt-in, so companies with licensed professionals who are deemed qualified to certify corrections can opt-in if they choose. As an owner/operator with LODs to correct, should the rule pass, you should be able to find numerous companies throughout NYC who have opted into the program. This would allow you the opportunity to have a qualified professional remedy a LOD and certify the correction should you be in a time crunch. 

Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions, including if you are unsure which spaces in your buildings require CO detectors, how to ensure all your fire alarms are working correctly, or if you have questions about anything else. We will do our best to stay proactive and educate you on what’s coming down the pipeline as soon as we know about them. Our job is to ensure you are up to date, so your buildings are safe.