In the country, almost all newly-constructed commercial buildings in major cities and many rural municipalities should comply with the International Fire Code (IFC) 510 building code. It involves a test performed by a certified and qualified technician. In most cases, a “Letter of Certification” must be submitted to the local fire officials by these professional testers before the local government will issue a “Certificate of Occupancy.”
Your contractor must be aware of the latest IFC 510 requirements to avoid expensive and embarrassing project delays, penalties, and possible loss of future business.
What Is IFC 510 Building Code?
The IFC Chapter 5, Section 10 states, “All new buildings shall have approved radio coverage for emergency responders within the building.” This requirement allows first responders to have more effective and reliable building communications within the building.
So, how would you know if your building meets the IFC 510 requirements?
In North Carolina, including the city of Greenville, new commercial and multi-resident-residential buildings need to provide radio coverage for emergency services personnel. Trained and certified technicians will inspect your building, utilizing modern and specialized equipment to measure the Radio Frequency signals transferred from the local Digital Trunked Radio System.
If your building fails this mandatory radio signal test, you will be required by your local authorities to install an Emergency Responder Radio System (ERRS). This is an independent, public-safety antenna booster system, which ensures that signals penetrate all problem areas of your building. Also, it must include a secondary power source capable of operating the ERRS for at least 24 hours.
Who Tests and Certifies Buildings for the IFC 510 Building Code?
Any experienced and certified professionals, including Radio Frequency engineers and test technicians, like Diversified Electronics, can perform IFC 510 testing, utilizing state of the art industry-standard and calibrated test equipment. These individuals work closely with local fire officials to ensure that their testing services meet their current requirements. In other words, they will be the one to provide to the local fire officials a “Letter of Certification,” saying that your building has passed the testing so that you can acquire a “Certification of Occupancy.”
Maintaining an ERRS
As a building owner, your responsibility doesn’t end after occupying your establishment because you passed the IFC 510 test. According to the building code, “The emergency responder radio system must be inspected and tested every year or whenever structural changes occur including additions or remodels that could materially change the original field performance tests.”
Meaning, your building should be checked by experts annually to ensure that your equipment is operating correctly according to the IFC 510 requirements. Diversified Electronics offers maintenance contracts and annual inspection services. Their highly-trained engineering department can also design a new ERRS if you decide to remodel or renovate your building. In addition to this, they also provide education communication solutions to keep schools connected.
Who Pays for the IFC 510 Building Code Test?
As the building owner, you are responsible for the arrangement and all the expenses of performing these tests. What’s important is you work with a company that will ensure you comply with the IFC 510 building code. Most of these companies will help you plan to install an ERRS so that all the needed equipment, including access panels, conduit, and rooftop access for an antenna system, will be included in your construction budget and plans. In addition, they can also assist you in pre-installing components during the construction of your building to simplify the installation of ERRS.