Proper Verifying Parties.

Discussion of verification issues and procedures.

Proper Verifying Parties.

Postby sparky » Mon Sep 06, 2010 2:21

I have the understanding that some companies have created a division inside there company by name or what have you that provides it's verifications for the Parent Company. Is this not against the requirements of ULC. Requiring a separate organization from the installer and designer? Is this how the Manufacturers are doing there VI's? Or manufacture's distributors?
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Re: Proper Verifying Parties.

Postby FIRETEK » Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:35

I don't think you can call the manufacturers "installers". They're providing the equipment and (in most cases) a licensed electrical contractor pulls the wire and mounts all the devices. I have (on occasion) assisted the contractor in performing terminations in the common control (some manufacturers provide this service as well), and most manufacturer's techs are called in to program the panel (if it's addressable) and then Verify the system to the Standard.

Installation companies/contractors that form separate divisions to deal with Verifications are stepping over the line. Alberta is the only jurisdiction that I know of where they insist the design engineer sign off on the Verification (a clear violation of the intent of the Standard), but they get away with it because they're the Government.

You have to understand that the Standards are mandated by the Building Code. The NBC is adopted in it's broadest form and then amendments and additions are added by each Province. Some Cities (like Vancouver) take the Provincial Code to an even higher level. A case in point is VBBL's (Vancouver Building By-Law) requirement for isolators on insuite buzzers to guard against "shorts" - something the BCBC doesn't take into consideration.

The wording and intent of the Verification Standard is pretty clear. I don't think a lot of AHJ's would take kindly to a company that was "messing around" as you suggest. Send me some information by email at tech@firetechs.net and I'll look into it.
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Re: Proper Verifying Parties.

Postby sparky » Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:56

Manufactures or Manufactures Rep's do service work on equipment now. This includes repairs as required. Also when a Manufacture replaces a faulty CPU and re-installs a program they are required to have that system re-verified. There is this feeling that they are above ULC and can circumvent it's requirements. I'd love to hear a response from CFAA regarding this.
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Re: Proper Verifying Parties.

Postby Fire-Works » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:19

I am not from the CFAA but in just shy of 20 years of downloading (for one manufacture) I have yet to find a problem that was caused by the download. Many many other issues to get it to download or to get it to clear after the download, but never a problem where I downloaded a working program into a new WORKING CPU that did not function the same. I did do the 10% thing for alarms at one time, then I would also upload the program after a download and spend hours if needed comparing the download with the upload to make sure they are the same.
Now when I replace a CPU I test what it does. If it has bells(Signals) run directly off the CPU board I test it, 232 functions if used and of course an input(minium) and at least 1 annunicator message if there are remote annunicators, and there are always a few troubles before your done. When you add them all up as working correctly I for one can go home and I can sleep at night, why CRC. Athough one time I did not trust it, it does work. CRC tested durning download and a CRC attached to the program for testing by the CPU after it is downloaded simply works. A little experince with such systems does not hurt either.
When you get into addressable systems, the size they can reach, it would be unreasonable to test every function of a system just because you replaced one of XX CPU`s.
In many respects older hardwired systems(No CPU`s ) are better but I don`t want to go there any more.
With that said, with some older programable system I do do more than I do with newer systems after a download just because of the checks that are done by newer systems.
So can CFAA anwser that question in a manner that is relavent for all systems manufactured in the last twenty years, possibly, but not any time soon I bet.
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Re: Proper Verifying Parties.

Postby sparky » Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:32

I can respect that your time in the field you have never seen a mistake from downloading / uploading to a control panel. I have worked with upgrading or replacing addressable CPU's for some time myself as well as being an electrician I have replaced countless conventional systems. I also have never had any issue with the zones being out of place or the program not working correctly. That being said our standard clearly directs us to our requirements. I must contract a completely different 'organization'. It doesn't state if I have 10 years of experience or 50 panel changes. It doesn't matter. We can't "be smarter" then the code.

We document and have everything verified. It is for our own peace of mind and is required. I just don't feel it's a level playing ground when a certain name on your shirt means you don't have to meet our standard.
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Re: Proper Verifying Parties.

Postby Joe » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:25

Hi

I don't think you can test entire building or section that the transponder looks after. Using compare reports and testing the functions the of the cpu should be good enough. Would your customers want to pay for another inspection if one was just completed. It just isn't manufactures, how about companies that sell a manufactures panel. I would like to review the ULC code. Does it say control unit?
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Re: Proper Verifying Parties.

Postby FIRETEK » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:49

Section 6 of CAN/ULC-S537-04 deals with a number of upgrade/replacement scenarios. In each case a physical verification/inspection is required that may (or may not depending on the what's been done) require wiring supervision tests (some only require "functional" testing). There is one exception and that's outlined in Section 6.11. Any software modifications SHALL be tested by either "Reverifying all system functions that could be affected by the modificaitons with the exception of wiring supervision;" or "A comparision of the 'before' and 'after' software utilizing mediums such as a printout or compare program."
Clearly, many so-called "factory trained" technicians don't understand (or haven't read) the relevant sections of either Standard as evidenced by some of the errors and outright stupidity I've witnessed recently. Lots more "Brickees" coming over the week-end. Keep watching! :cry:
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Re: Proper Verifying Parties.

Postby Centurion » Sun Feb 02, 2014 8:49

Reviving this old thread I'd like to had my two cents on this.

I've had arguments over this issue with some people in the field.

My interpretation of ULC537 is that a manufacturer that sends it's tech to program and verify an installation is violating the intent of 537.
If one manufacturer's tech comes and program an addressable panel and makes an error in programming he might not realise that error upon verification, or worse if he programs a certain function thinking it's in respect of the code and it is not, he's not going to address the issue.

From experience I've seen some manufacturer's tech interpret the codes wrongly and therefore, the whole verification process here is not considered valid but widely accepted by AHJs as they take the manufacturers word for granted.

I say a verification should always be done from a party that has no taking in the installation process, programming included.
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Re: Proper Verifying Parties.

Postby FIRETEK » Sun Feb 02, 2014 11:48

There are many examples of poor technician practice out there and they're not, unfortunately, limited to manufacturer trained and employed individuals. Appendix "A" of the Standard clearly places the acceptance criteria for technicians performing Verifications in the hands of the Authority Having Jurisdiction (the AHJ). I agree that blanket acceptance of a Verification Appendix "C" from an individual because he happens to be employed (or certified on the equipment) by the manufacturer isn't the way to go. And when someone tells me that one of the best reasons for employing a manufacturer's technicians is that their employer is "accepting responsibility for the installation", that's often another way of saying that they're using their own "version" of the Standard and not the one mandated by the Building Code.

In the absence of any really clear process of identifying competent individuals, we'll all have to remain vigilant against the incompetent ones and bring them to the attention of the local authority. I, for one, couldn't live with myself knowing something was wrong, not doing anything about it, only to find out later that someone got hurt or killed. We are, after all, in the business of LIFE SAFETY.

I advocate for much earlier involvement of the Verifier in the process. This comes from years of having witnessed electrical contractors install systems often without even cracking (and reading) the panel's installation instructions. So many of the errors I see could have been avoided if they had simply called and asked a few questions. Even if the answer is clearly published in the instructions, there are NO DUMB QUESTIONS. Call. Ask. Do it right the first time!

The individual doing the programming should be involved in the Verification. On the more complex systems where special correlations, etc. are often required, this individual is in the best position to ensure the programming is done correctly and follows any special sequence of operation the designer may have intended. He may not be the "lead tech" during the Verification, but his presence ensures that the ultimate success of the job.

I've participated in many manufacturer training courses. NOT ONE OF THEM ever covered any aspects of the Verification process, other than, on one occasion, introducing the forms and format that they use for the VI.

Three simple words sum up what it takes to be a Professional in this business: Vigilance. Knowledge. Integrity.

Look familiar?? :-)
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