BCAB #1343 - Special Outlet Boxes for Visual Fire Alarm Devices, Sentence &

April 18, 1994

BCAB #1343

Re: Special Outlet Boxes for Visual Fire Alarm Devices, Sentence &

Project Description

The project in question is an apartment building intended for seniors and equipped with a fire alarm system.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence requires each dwelling unit in an apartment building designed as a senior citizen's residence to be equipped with "special outlet boxes and cover plates as described in Sentence". Sentence requires these outlet boxes to allow the installation of visual alarm devices (strobe lights) conforming to Sentence

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that standard outlet boxes, into which the strobe light units can be hard wired when necessary, meet the intent of this requirement. The wiring housed inside the boxes for the strobe lights makes the outlet boxes "special" because the boxes can only be used for the strobe lights. With reference to appeal #1012 which also dealt with this issue the appellant notes that the control unit for the strobe is part of the strobe light unit and not the outlet box so a control unit would not make the outlet box "special".

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that "special outlet boxes" means receptacles that the strobe lights can be plugged into rather than having to be hard wired. The building official refers to appeal #1012 which ruled that something more than standard outlet boxes was required. The building official is also concerned that hard wiring these units after the alarm system has been verified constitutes a modification of the system and could void the verification.

Appeal Board Decision #1343

It is the determination of the Board that the "special outlet boxes" required by Sentence do not necessarily require receptacles which permit the strobe light to be plugged in. The Board considers the special strobe light wiring and installation requirements make the outlet boxes "special" and either hard wired or plug-in strobe lights are acceptable.

George R. Humphrey, Chair