A code is a code, not a design manual, says Wayne Moore, vice-president at the fire protection engineering firm of Jensen Hughes. In this case, the code is NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, which contains the minimum requirements necessary to install a reliable fire alarm system. However, it does not include all of the information a fire alarm systems design engineer must know and use.
“A qualified fire alarm systems design engineer should know the code’s requirements and alternatives, know and understand basic acoustical principles, and apply common sense,” says Moore. “The code provides guidance, but no one intended it to serve as a design manual.”
Generally, the NFPA technical committees that develop NFPA’s codes and standards try to address most of the situations that those in the field will encounter, but they cannot address every issue that may arise. Rather, they expect that qualifieds individual will design the appropriate systems the codes cover and define the qualifications of both the system designer and the installer.
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