Is my older Commercial Fire Alarm System "grandfathered" in or do I need to upgrade it?

There are many circumstances which can trigger a required upgrade to a Commercial Fire Alarm Systems. They are completely at the discretion of the local Fire Marshal and/or Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).

Some typical events that may request in a required Commercial Fire Alarm upgrade include:

  • Change of use of the property (e.g., from a Church to a School)
  • General inspection or visit by the Fire Marshal or AHJ; the local authority or the fire marshal may inspect the property for any (or no) reason. At their discretion they may feel it necessary for you to upgrade the system. Common reasons to upgrade include horns or bells that are not audible at in sleeping areas, inadequate smoke detection, etc)
  • Renovation of a property that would impact the areas of the property where current code requires commercial fire alarm system upgrades (e.g., renovation of an elevator, modification of egress flow)

Key to consider is that no property is legally "entitled" to no meeting current code and it is the discretion of the local authority as it if and when you m just comply with current codes. It can be more cost effective to upgrade the system on your timeline rather then when you are being compelled to do so potentially under a tight (and expensive) timeline.