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Technical Policy And Procedure Notice #1/07



February 12, 2007


Voluntarily Installed Emergency Generators




Article 11 of Subchapter 6 of the New York City Building Code, Department Rule 1 RCNY §12-01 and TPPN 1/96 (in regards to the use of natural gas).


The blackout of 2003 as well as the events of September 11, 2001 caused many existing building owners to consider the addition of emergency generators.  Most of the generators are intended to support emergency lighting, fire alarm systems (which offered communications to all floors via the fire command station) and usually an elevator.  There are also instances when the primary goal of a generator installation in an existing building is to support occupants' optional equipment such as data centers and trading and related technology support.

Article 11 of Subchapter 6 and 1 RCNY §12-01 describes the applicability of mandatory emergency power systems and required life safety devices to be connected to such power system. The only permissible fuel supply to such mandatory emergency power is oil fuel. However, there is no mention of what, if any, of the loads identified are to be connected to a generator that is voluntarily installed in new or existing buildings of occupancies other than those listed in the code.

The prior department interpretation regarding the installation of voluntary emergency generators required full compliance with the requirement of Article 11 of Subchapter 6 and Department Rule 1 RCNY §12-01, often causing the cost for the installation to be excessive due to the ancillary costs associated with connecting the fire pump and all the elevators for selective operation. 


Recognizing that the installation of emergency generators can be very beneficial to the building and in order to encourage voluntary installations, only the following life safety loads shall be required to be connected to such generators:

  1. Emergency lighting (unless supported by battery packs of adequate capacity), including stairway lighting.

  2. Fire alarm system.
  3. One elevator serving all floors of the building.

Occupants' optional loads are permitted to be connected to the voluntarily installed generator. Such generator shall be increased in capacity to supply the required equipment at full design load and occupants' optional loads.

Fuel supply may be one of the following:

  1. Fuel oil in compliance with Article 17 of Subchapter 14 of the NYC Building Code with tank capacity sufficient to supply the total emergency power load for a period of at least three (3) hours.

  2. Dedicated gas line in compliance with Subchapter 16 and Reference Standard RS 16. The outside gas cut-off required by RS 16 §P115.5 shall be installed prior to gas authorization.

All other applicable code requirements for emergency power (generator) installation shall be complied with.