84 ELECTRICALCONTRACTOR | OCT. 15 | WWW.ECMAG.COM
BY WAYNE D. MOORE
IN MY EVERYDAY WORK WITH CONTRACTORS installing fire alarm systems, I do not find many people who
can honestly say they have read NFPA 72 2013, National
Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, at least once. I understand
that the code may not be as entertaining as a Robert
Ludlum or David Baldacci novel, but we read those for
enjoyment. The code is a key component of our livelihood.
It amazes me when a professional contractor waits to get caught on
a code-noncompliance issue on an installation that will inevitably cost
him or her profits and reputation. It also astonishes me that professional
contractors do not require their technicians to read and understand the
code. And, while I’m suggesting a critical reading list, let me add NFPA
70, National Electrical Code (NEC). In fact, why not include a copy of the
NEC and NFPA 72 2013 in every service truck?
My point is you shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking it is too much
work to read and understand the code requirements prior to an installa-
tion. It should become a part of your preplan for an installation.
Professionals like yourself often plan the raceway layout and a color
code for the wiring installation. You often plan the notification-appliance
layout to minimize voltage drops, and you will use the right gauge of
wire to do the job to prevent overspending on cable. You figure out the
allocation of labor resources and choose the best technician to efficiently
complete the installation in a timely manner. In fact, the care with which
you plan helps determine your profit on every installation.
You can actually enhance profits by carefully reading and understand-
ing the code requirements. Once you achieve this, you will find ways to
save money on every installation and discover many opportunities where
your code knowledge gives you a competitive edge.
For example, knowing that the code allows for a modification of
smoke-detector spacing under certain conditions, or knowing what the
code requires when installing smoke detectors on a waffle ceiling, could
actually win you the project because you can reduce costs and, thereby,
outsmart your competition.
FOCUS | FIRE
Is the National Fire Alarm
and Signaling Code
neglected because it’s
too much work?
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