NFPA Fire Code Changes: BDA System May Be Required in California Commercial Buildings
The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) made changes in fire codes for buildings, and developers and contractors need to know how this affects their properties. By 2022, a two-way radio communication enhancement/signal booster system may be required in California commercial buildings.
The communication system is known as a BDA system (bi-directional amplifier system) or public safety DAS (PSDAS) and is installed into a structure to enhance radio bands that are used by public safety personnel. Our distinct installation is called I-BAND.
It works with amplifiers and antennas to amplify radio signals and rebroadcast them throughout the building, especially in areas that would be “dead zones” for public safety professionals, such as parking garages or stairwells. So, why are they so important?
We Know When Lives Are On The Line, Every Second Counts.
Our mission is to provide the highest quality DAS Wireless Signal Amplification Systems so that public servants in California are protected as well as the citizens they work so hard to protect. Ensure your building is equipped for critical communications with a Berk-Tel Communications BDA DAS system solution.
Contact us today to update your current BDA Public Safety DAS or install a new system and ensure you are up to date, fully functional, and compliant with current codes.
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Why a BDA System is Essential for Public Safety Communications
Many of us can understand frustration stemming from technology failures or weak cell signals, Wi-Fi, or fuzzy radio channels. However, a poor radio signal can be hazardous or deadly for firefighters, police officers, and other emergency responders. People responsible for the lives of others also risk their own lives regularly, and communication is essential for their job functions. What the NFPA is now recognizing is that a BDA system like I-BAND saves lives and is just as important as smoke/fire detectors and sprinkler systems in buildings.
What is I-BAND?
Our I-BAND solution for public safety radio systems takes the good signal from outside the building, amplifies it, and redistributes it indoors so that two-way radios or other safety devices will have a consistent signal. Even in radio “dead zones” communication with both incoming and outgoing signals will be reliable.
Does the Code Change Affect My Building?
If your building has “dead zones” for public safety radio signal, then installing a BDA system or PSDAS like I-BAND is required. The systems are so important that they require ongoing monitoring and annual testing. Our I-BAND interior public safety band enhancement solutions meet or exceed all aspects of the new code requirements.
The new code will require buildings to be verified as in compliance by 2022, with some apartment buildings receiving an extension until 2025.
How Do the New Requirements Affect My Building Now?
It’s recommended to add a BDA system to all constructions and developments now because retrofitting your building later will be expensive. Although you won’t be required to comply with the code change until 2022, please understand how essential the BDA system is for the safety of your residents, employees, and for public safety individuals who we regard as heroes. Meeting the code requirements now will increase construction costs, although not by much, and expenses will be significantly lower than retrofit installations.
Getting a Certificate of Occupancy
Certificates of Occupancy that have already been issued for commercial buildings will not be affected by the code change until 2022, and some apartment buildings will also not be affected potentially until 2025. However, a new Certificate of Occupancy will not be issued until the new fire code requirements are met.
A popular hotel chain in California recently saw a four-month delay from a costly retrofit installation when their developer failed to include a BDA system in their building design. The Certificate of Occupancy could not be issued until they were found to be in compliance.
If you have not received a Certificate of Occupancy, the certificate will not be issued until you meet the new requirements.
How a BDA System Can Be Good for Business
A BDA system can be an asset to your building, protecting you from liabilities and increasing a sense of security and innovation that is alluring to potential occupants. Some of Berk-Tel Communications’ amplification systems can also be modified to improve cellular signal. Many property developers are investing in BDA and DAS systems for the convenience of their occupants and as a selling point.
Testing Your Building to Determine if it Needs a BDA System
To determine whether your building needs a BDA system, the code requires that the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) in your area (San Francisco Codes Enforcement, for example) make the judgment. We can test your structure as well.
Contact Us for BDA System Installation in California
With nearly two decades of experience with engineering, design, and installation of our innovative I-BAND public safety band enhancement solution, we’re one of the few commercial contractors that are experienced with the technical aspects of this new building code. Our goal is to be your trusted partner for installations in new constructions or retrofit projects while keeping costs down and delays at a minimum. We’ve created designs that meet AHJ and NFPA code requirements for new and retrofit installations.