Skip to Top Main Navigation Skip to Left Navigation Skip to Content Area Skip to Footer
Texas Department of Insurance
Topics:   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z All

Subchapter F. Fire Alarm Rules

28 TAC §34.607

The Texas Department of Insurance proposes amendments to §34.607, concerning fire alarm rules. Section 34.607, which adopts by reference minimum standards and recommendations of the National Fire Protection Association and Underwriters Laboratories, is proposed to be amended by replacing the existing standards and recommendations for the Code for Safety to Life from Fire in Buildings and Structures (Life Safety Code) issued in 1997 with the most recently published version of those standards and recommendations issued in 2000 and additions to the acceptable alternative model code sets. The adoption of the most recent Life Safety Code is necessary as it is the minimum standards for the municipalities that have adopted the most recently published international standards. The changes to the Life Safety Code standards were made to clarify existing requirements, eliminate redundant language, restructure the document for ease in use, mandate existing current installation practices, encourage competent system design, adapt existing requirements to current state-of-the-art equipment, and add installation requirements to provide a greater level of safety to the public that rely on the performance of fire alarm and detection systems. The proposed amendments also expand the list of acceptable alternate model code sets to include the International Building Code (2000 and later editions) and International Fire Code (2000 and later editions); the International Residential Code® for One and Two Family Dwellings (2000 and later editions); and NFPA 5000™, Building Construction and Safety Code™ (2003 and later editions) and NFPA 1 Fire Prevention Code (2000 and later editions). These code sets are first editions which some cities are adopting in lieu of the older existing models as the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO), the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) and the Building Officials Code Administrators (BOCA) will eventually be replaced by the newly published codes . Expanding the alternate model code sets to include the news codes will allow installers to comply with their city’s code.

G. Mike Davis, state fire marshal, has determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed amendments are in effect, there will be no fiscal impact to state government. There will be no fiscal implications for local government as a result of enforcing or administering the new standards, and no effect on the local economy or local employment.

Mr. Davis also has determined that for each year the proposed amendments are in effect, the anticipated public benefit from enforcing and administering these sections is improved continuity of effective and efficient regulation of fire alarm and detection devices. Additionally, the public will be better protected by improved fire detection and notification as a result of the adoption and enforcement of the most current nationally recognized standards applicable to fire alarm and detection devices. The adoption of building standards by a city is optional.It is not mandatory for a city to utilize the newly published standards. When a city chooses to adopt a building standard they may select the standard of their choice. Some cities have currently adopted one of the new proposed standards. Where a city chooses to adopt the new standards, the cost to purchase all the updated standards will not be more than $500 which will be the same cost for all persons and companies, including small and large businesses, who purchase the updated standards. The cost to a fire alarm firm or person in the fire alarm industry qualifying as a small business under the Government Code §2006.001 will be the same as the cost to the largest business because the cost is not dependent upon the size of the business but rather is the same cost all purchasers incur when buying the newly published model set. It is neither legal nor feasible to waive the proposed amendments for small or micro businesses because minimum standards of Life and Safety must be applied consistently to large, small and micro businesses.

To be considered, written comments on the proposal must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on August 4, 2003 to Gene C. Jarmon, General Counsel and Chief Clerk, Mail Code 113-2A, Texas Department of Insurance, P. Box 149104, Austin, Texas 78714-9104. An additional copy of the comments must be simultaneously submitted to G. Mike Davis, State Fire Marshal, Mail Code 112-FM, Texas Department of Insurance, P.O. Box 149104, Austin, Texas 78714-9104. Requests for a public hearing should be submitted separately to the Office of the Chief Clerk.

The amendments are proposed pursuant to the Insurance Code Article 5.43-2 and §36.001. Section 6 of Article 5.43-2 provides that the Commissioner of Insurance may adopt rules necessary to the administration of this article. Section 6 provides that the commissioner shall adopt standards applicable to any fire alarm device, equipment, or system regulated by the article. Section 36.001 authorizes the Commissioner of Insurance to adopt rules necessary and appropriate to implement the duties and powers of the Texas Department of Insurance.

The following statute is affected by the proposed section: Insurance Code Article 5.43-2

(a) The commissioner adopts by reference those sections of the following copyrighted minimum standards, recommendations, and appendices concerning fire alarm, fire detection, or supervisory services or systems, except to the extent they are at variance to sections of this chapter, the Texas Insurance Code, Article 5.43-2, or other state statutes. The standards are published by and are available from the National Fire Protection Association, Quincy,Massachusetts.

(1) ­ (15) (No change.)

(16) NFPA 101® - 2000[101 -1997], and later editions, Code for Safety to Life from Fire in Buildings and Structures (Life Safety Code) ® , or a local jurisdiction may adopt one set of the model codes listed in subsection (b) of this section in lieu of NFPA 101.

(17) (No change.)

(b) The acceptable alternative model code sets are:

(1) ­ (3) (No change.)

(4)the International Building Code ­2000 and later editions, and the International Fire Code ­ 2000 and later editions; or

(5) the International Residential Code® for One- and Two-Family Dwellings ­ 2000 and later editions; or

(6) NFPA 5000™, Building Construction and Safety Code™ - 2003 and later editions, and NFPA 1 Fire Prevention Code ­ 2000 and later editions.

For more information, contact: