This last note is of particular importance. In B44, only fire detectors are allowed to initiate the homing functions. In many older buildings, a common “alarm” relay provided the trigger to the elevator controller. In the 2007 version of this Code, modern building fire alarms have been constrained to provide detection and response to only a very localized group of automatic fire detectors.
Amendment “B” to the Code clarifies the referenced note in Sentence 22.214.171.124.2:
"NOTE (126.96.36.199.2): Smoke and heat detectors (fire alarm initiating devices) are referred to as fire detectors in the NBCC . Pull stations are not deemed to be fire detectors."
Note also, that the Code very specifically states that SMOKE DETECTORS are to be utilized in “each elevator lobby”, and in “the machine room”. You can still use a heat detector in the elevator shaft and this may, in fact, be advisable on taller buildings where high-speed elevators tend to “push” large volumes of air as they move up and down the shaft (in this instance, air movement through a standard spot-type ceiling smoke detector could easily exceed its rated capacity).
It should be noted that there is NO REQUIREMENT for automatic fire detectors in the elevator pit area in either B44, NBCC, or CAN/ULC-S524-06.
Moving right along (pun intended), we come to Sentence 188.8.131.52
“Phase I Emergency Recall Operation by Fire Alarm Initiating Devices. Fire alarm initiating devices shall be installed at each floor served by the elevator, and in the associated machine room, control space, or control room, and elevator hoistway, in compliance with the requirements in NFPA 72 or NBCC, whichever is applicable (see Part 9). In jurisdictions enforcing the NBCC, compliance with 184.108.40.206 is not required where the NBCC specifies manual Emergency Recall operations only.”
The section goes on to describe how the visual indicator inside the cab and at the lobby level call points should operate. These indicators are in the shape of a small Firefighter’s hat. It’s supposed to work like this:
A Phase I Recall initiated from the elevator machine (or service) room, or the hoistway will “flash” the hat inside the elevator cab intermittently. The “hat” symbol at the lobby level call point illuminates steadily. (The flashing hat is supposed to alert anyone contemplating the use of the elevator through the fire department “over-ride” feature that the shaft or machine space is compromised and that use is “at their own risk”.)
A Phase I Recall initiated from a smoke detector on any floor immediately next to the elevator doors will illuminate both hats steadily.
The hats stay “on” until the elevator recall switch is “reset” (the fire detector which initiated the alarm has to be “reset” first and restored to its normal supervisory state before you can “reset” the elevator controller).
The physical recall functions of the elevator cabs are also identified here, as well as their homing levels and what happens to them when they reach their programmed floor. Technically speaking the fire alarm Verifier (and the technician performing the annual test) don’t get involved too much in this aspect of the project. Programming the physical functioning of the elevator is really beyond your scope. You must, at the very least however, ensure the fire alarm system (or the Dedicated Detection & Recall Controller) provides the proper outputs (at the elevator controller) required to achieve compliance with the Code. Not-with-standing, a life safety professional should be making sure that everything works, regardless.
DEDICATED DETECTION AND RECALL CONTROLLER (DDRC)
In an effort to ensure that a degree of compliance with B44 can be achieved in older buildings that may have been constructed with no fire alarm system (or which employ a fire alarm system with limited capabilities) many jurisdictions have allowed the use of a separate fire alarm control panel that’s dedicated to providing the various Emergency Recall functions: e.g. general, alternate floor, hoistway, and machine room fire detection responses and homing. While not specifically referenced in NBCC, the DDRC is a viable alternative solution first suggested in NFPA 72 (2002) which has gained wide acceptance in many Canadian jurisdictions. A DDRC has several advantages over the requirements to install a fire alarm system (particularly in tall buildings). For one thing, you can run your field wiring through the elevator shaft (as it’s considered to be part of the elevator controls) thus obviating the need for extensive (and expensive) modifications that might involve asbestos abatement protocols, and construction of fire rated compartments and cable risers.
It is extremely important that you check with your local building official before embarking on any sort of elevator modernization and make darn sure you’re also working from the same page as the authority enforcing B44 in your jurisdiction.
I happen to work in the Lower Mainland. In Vancouver for instance, you’re required to pull both a building and an electrical permit, submit engineer’s drawings, along with your special Alternative Solution DDRC Proposal. In Burnaby, you’re quite simply SOL as a building owner. The building department here wants an interconnection to a fire alarm system and won’t accept an alternative involving a DDRC.
NOTE: There are a couple of additional requirements that most jurisdictions which allow you to incorporate a DDRC into an existing building will insist on. The two most important being that ALL devices have to be installed to CAN/ULC-S524-06 (Standard for Installation of Fire Alarm Systems) and Verified to CAN/ULC-S537-04 (Standard for Verification of Fire Alarm Systems) even though, technically, it’s NOT a fire alarm system.
ADDITIONAL READING & RESOURCES
Take a look at our Elevator FAQ.
Here’s the BC Safety Authority’s Bulletin B-L4 110513 2.
Ken Baird’s CFAA Technical Seminar Presentation
Dean McLellan’s CFAA Technical Seminar Presentation
Questions? Contact Us!
Special thanks to Michael Zukov, P. Eng. and Calvin Vander Leest, P. Eng. for providing the amendment information to B44-07.