CABA Information Series
(IS-2014-156) Effective Planning for Fire/Life Safety Upgrades
This white paper, published by Siemens, reports the findings of a survey asking questions to a wide variety of companies on the topic of fire and life safety systems. The survey found that phased modernization was more common than wholesale upgrading of the systems. The phased approach allowed companies to budget their money, keep up to date with upgrades and have shorter construction/installation times to allow business continuity and smaller disruptions to the normal operations of the company. The survey found that finding funding for upgrades was the hardest challenge for companies. A phased upgrade approach was much more feasible for most companies because they could budget over many years rather than spend an enormous amount of money replacing the whole system at once. Guidelines are given for when a facility should choose to use wholesale replacement, and when they should use the phased approach, along with some planning guidelines. The paper then outlines some of the problems with aging fire/life safety systems. As they age, the systems may no longer be up to date with the ever-changing fire and life safety code, the system itself may issue more false or nuisance alarms, and people may not recognize the alarms or be able to hear the safety voice messages. New systems are audio engineered so as to reach every possible location in the building with the necessary safety information. The older systems may require more frequent repairs, and replacement parts may be difficult to come across.