by Andrew Getty
The use of carbon monoxide detection is not new; residential buildings have required it for many years now—not only in new houses, but existing ones too.
Recently New York State has mandated that ALL commercial buildings provide carbon monoxide detection.
This does not just apply to new construction or major remodeling; ALL new and existing commercial buildings shall install carbon monoxide detection by June 27, 2016.
First, what is a commercial building?
In the simplest way to understand, any building or structure that is not a residentially occupied building.
Examples of some include retail stores, professional offices, theaters, restaurants, municipal buildings, hair salons… anything that is not residential, but that people routinely occupy.
Why not residential?… It’s because carbon monoxide detection is already required for residential occupancies.
Again, by June 27, 2016 all commercial buildings shall have appropriate carbon monoxide detection.
Of course there are a number of requirements to comply with. It’s not as easy as buying a few battery operated detectors from the local hardware store and putting them up.
Here is a quick list of some of the basic installation requirements…
• Detectors shall be UL listed.
• The detectors shall be hard-wired from the building wiring system and have battery back-up.
• However, a detector having a certified 10-year battery is allowed in existing buildings, or buildings not having electrical power.
• Location of detectors is determined by “detection zones.” Any story of a building having a carbon monoxide producing device is a detection zone. (examples: water heater, gas stove, gas fireplace)
If no carbon monoxide producing device is present on a story BUT the building has a HVAC / heating system using ducts, detection is required on that story anyway.
• If an attached garage is adjacent to any detection zone or story detection is required.
• Combination smoke & carbon monoxide detections devices are generally NOT allowed. However, there are some exceptions depending on “detection zones” and fire/smoke detectors.
• The detectors shall be monitored by an off-premise signal transmission as per NFPA 720.
• Carbon monoxide detectors shall NOT activate a fire alarm signal to a fire alarm control panel. Carbon monoxide detection / alarm notification shall be a distinct and different alarm from fire / smoke.
• Detectors shall be located in a central area of the detection zone, so that there is no area more than 100 feet from a detector.
This law is retroactive on existing commercial buildings, different businesses, places where people gather which may include even gyms, libraries, art centers, workshops, wood and cabinet shops, offices, churches, stores, bars, etc.
Remember, the only buildings exempted are purely storage and utility type buildings similar to places where people would not normally gather or assemble.
Carbon monoxide detection is now the norm… just like smoke and fire detection.
However, there needs to be a distinction in the alarm notification.
Your local code enforcement department will continue to conduct normal fire safety inspections, but now carbon monoxide detection will be on the list.
Although the installation of carbon monoxide detection system does require a building permit, at least here in the Town of Webb, any permit fees for detection systems will be waived… It’s more important to get the detection system installed and inspected.
Please understand, the above criteria are NOT a cut and paste of the entire new law, but it does represent the basics.
For detailed information, please contact your local Code Enforcement Office.
This is a state wide mandate, and not just a local law. We understand, another unfunded mandate, but proven to save lives.