In the case of a strip mall or multi tenant building, can each tenant have their own separate fire system or should it be "one building, one system" This question should apply to a mall with multiple tenants.
So do you want the strip mall answer
A true mall answer?
OHHH I am not an engineer, so you can discount my reply if you want
Both answers please
A strip center can go a few ways,
Normally if small lease spaces, there is one riser that feeds them all.
If there is a large brand name store attached directly to the strip, normally it has its own riser.
The common area is a separate system than the tenant spaces.
Normally there will be a number of tenant spaces served by one riser
The anchor stores will have their own riser.
I am going to simply say yes without prejudice.
Clearly both are possible if you follow the applicable code sections. That said, one should consider the expectation if an alarm or sprinkler system activates? In the single system, the whole building alarms and must everyone evacuate. With multiple systems where proper separation and exiting exists, only the area "in alarm" must evacuate.
We see this constantly as a problem (FD) when tenants are leasing spaces and are very unhappy to have to evacuate because there's a "bad" tenant where the alarm always seems to accidentally activate the system. Some businesses are very quick to count the dollars lost for every minute their registers are not operating. On the other side, when areas that appear to be in the same building are not having the alarms activate while a nearby space does, it can cause confusion and a lack of trust in the system. Most lay people don't understand the concepts of using fire rated barriers to effectively make separate buildings when it all looks like one structure.
We have one strip mall with anchor stores on either end and four distinctly different systems, though a few areas overlap from tenant fit outs done long after the original stores, thus two separate alarms systems that share one sprinkler and one water flow actuation device and a few smoke alarms that are on the "wrong side of the fire wall". Needless to say alarms are a sore subject leading to the owner of the overall property to get a lot of heat when this occurs (2-3 times a year between three stores in this one wing).
Lastly, I would say you may want to ask the responding FD how they handle activated alarms. My FD is pretty small, thus our first arriving units are limited by the reduced crew size. We cannot effectively ensure the safety of all occupants, survey the whole structure and investigate the cause very quickly, so we prioritize and do those things that guarantee the safety of the greatest numbers first. It helps when everyone cooperates and follows established protocols, but alas, that's sadly rare. Larger urban FD''s often have better staffed companies and more companies arriving quickly, so getting the issue resolved quickly is maybe a little less of an issue. The more area under one system, the longer investigating the cause can take. Of course new addressable alarms systems are much better than past zone system, but alas, not everything works as designed and the more devices on a system, the more potential for the system to have device issues.
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