Design professionals in NYC can help streamline fire alarm inspections

The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) adopted a rule effective December 1, 2020, which allows licensed professionals to certify correction of certain fire alarm system defects. The certification program eliminates the need for FDNY re-inspection in specific instances, and is intended to reduce delays.

The FDNY is responsible for approving the installation of fire alarm systems, including inspecting and witnessing an acceptance test of such systems. Upon such inspection and testing, if fire department personnel find that the fire alarm installation is not in compliance with the New York City Building Code, New York City Fire Code, NFPA Standard 72, or other applicable laws, rules, regulations or approvals, a notice of defect (currently referred to as a “letter of defect”) is issued to the owner and applicant setting forth such defects.

Often, the defects identified by the FDNY during initial inspection are minor and can be easily corrected by a fire alarm system installer or electrician. Prior to December 1, 2020, city regulations did not allow certification of corrections by licensed design professionals, and the backlog of FDNY re-inspection requests has only increased during the ongoing pandemic. To alleviate these issues, the FDNY adopted the new rule to establish a certification program that allows licensed or certified professionals to certify correction of specific fire alarm system defects. The certifications will be filed with and reviewed by the FDNY, and if accepted, will eliminate the need for re-inspection and expedite issuance of a “Letter of Approval.”

More details about the process as well as limitations and protections are available. Prudent risk management requires that design professionals who decide to provide this inspection service take the proper training and follow the rules for certification.

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