Fire Alarm Panels

Hi, I am fairly new to the FA topic so most probably my question is really obvious and basic for the majority of the members.

So lets suppose that we need to install a FA system in a big building e.g. offices complex. Around this building there are a number of supporting buildings e.g. store, pump house etc.

Is it allowed by the Code not to install a FA control panel to all these buildings but only to install it in the main building e.g. offices complex and then wire the FA devices in the rest of the supporting buildings using FA junction boxes?

Thank you in advance for your help

A single system can be installed that serves several buildings that are reasonably close together. This type of system can also be installed using several small systems in the remote buildings that are linked to the large main system. I have installed systems both ways. Usually these decisions are made by the electrical engineer designing and specifying how the system should be installed. These decisions are also made with input from the fire marshal’s office.

One very important issue to be aware of is running copper wire outside between buildings. It amounts to a lightning antenna that can repeatedly cause damage to the systems. Another issue is linked buildings that have their own power distribution feeds and therefore are on different grounding systems. A lightning strike even a mile away can cause a momentary voltage spike between the buildings of 10’s of thousands of volts. Way too much for suppressors to handle. Go to the Duke Energy web site and read tech tips 8 and 15. Both deal with issues of grounding and lightning damage. While they do not directly mention fire alarm systems the same rules apply.

<LINK_TEXT text=“ … /tech-tips”>Tech Tips - Duke Energy</LINK_TEXT>

In your example my suggestion is to install a system in each building. If it is necessary to link the remote buildings to the main building use a system that has the capability to be networked together using fiber optic cables. This results in a system which is the most survivable in a thunderstorm situation.

Your AHJ would need to approve it, but typically yes. Especially for a small nearby building like a pump house that would only have a handful of devices in it to begin with, even garages or maintenance/storage sheds are fine to cover this way.

Lightning is definitely an issue, I’d try to avoid aerial cables and put suppression on both ends.