The original intent for permitting the installation of a Mini Class 'E' communication and alarm system was to allow for voice communication in certain buildings where an approved interior fire alarm system existed. A number of buildings now have a Mini Class 'E' system, which is strictly a voice communication system and not meeting the intent. The Department of Buildings, Fire Department, real estate professionals, engineers and architects agree that voice communication systems alone do not provide for the proper protection of life and public safety.
In lieu of installation of a Mini Class 'E' system, which requires a Fire Safety Director in buildings less than 75 feet in height classified in Occupancy Group 'E' may be provided with a zone annunciated temporal '3' evacuation tone interior fire alarm system in accordance with Reference Standard RS17-3 and RS17-5 of the New York City Building Code with connection to a Fire Department approved central station, when:
- Building height is greater than or equal to 3 stories above or below the street level, or
- Building occupant load is greater than or equal to 100 persons above or below the street level, or
- There is an occupant load of 500 persons or more in the entire building, or
- Entire building area is 50,000 square feet or greater.
The Interior Fire Alarm System which is designed for total evacuation of the building may be accepted as meeting the intent of the Code, provided that conditions on the system reports to a Fire Department approved central station in accordance with §17-01 of the Fire Department Rules. A Certificate of Fitness holder, satisfying the requirements of the NYC Fire Prevention Code, is still required; however the need for a Fire Safety Director would be negated.