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Fire Alarm Systems

Working fire alarm systems reduce the spread of fire and help people escape faster. 

If you have applied for a building permit, fire alarm system requirements are typically reviewed by an inspector. 

However, if you are installing or modifying life safety or fire suppression systems, like fire alarms, sprinklers, standpipes, or fixed extinguishing systems, you will need a mechanical and fire protection permit through DASH. This includes activities such as replacing fire alarm panels, adding new zones, or installing fire link systems, electromagnetic locks, or door hold-open devices. 

Fire alarm systems and building permits

If you are an installer or property owner, learn in detail when you need a building permit and when you don't for fire alarm system construction activities. 

Installations must meet the requirements of the Ontario Building Code and you must get a compliance verification report for your work. The verification report must be maintained on site throughout the system's life.

  • New fire alarm system installation as per building code (required or voluntary)
  • Replacement of Fire Alarm Control Unit/Transponder
  • Changing a heat detector to a smoke detector or vice versa
  • Adding of devices to existing circuits
  • Adding new fire alarm control unit/transponder to existing network
  • Adding new circuits/zone to existing fire alarm control unit/transponder
  • Installation of ancillary devices
  • Central Station connection

Additional engineering requirements

When a building permit is required for a fire alarm system, you must also get a Commitment to General Review (CTG) from an engineer.

Additionally, an official engineer drawing (DWG) is required for the following activities:

  • new fire alarm system installation as per building code (required or voluntary)
  • adding of devices to existing circuits
  • adding new fire alarm control unit/transponder to existing network
  • adding new circuits/zone to existing fire alarm control unit/transponder
  • installation of ancillary devices
  • central Station connection 

  • Replacement of power supply
  • Replacement of like field devices, ULC listed for compatibility, with or without disconnecting wires
  • Modification to fire alarm control unit or transponder
  • Software modifications
  • Modification or altering of wiring, conventional circuits

Fire alarm systems guideline

The fire alarm systems guideline offers essential, active guidance for designing and installing fire alarm systems to ensure early fire detection and protect lives and property.

Please provide the following documentations and information:  

  1. Name of the person or engineering firm responsible for developing and implementing the Integrated Testing Plan, known as the Integrated Testing Coordinator. Also include a copy of the City’s Integrated Testing Coordinator verification form. 
  2. A copy of the draft site-specific Integrated Testing Plan, including: 
    1. A site-specific plan 
    2. Approved by all consultants involved with the design of the Fire systems i.e.: Sprinkler Engineer, Fire Alarm Engineer etc. 
    3. Provide specific requirements for testing of systems where occupancy of the building will be phased. 
    4. A list of all existing systems that are on the site and any testing that will be performed on those systems. 
    5. Provide the functional objectives of the systems integrations. 
    6. The sequence of operations of the integrated fire protection and life safety systems which: 
      • Describe operation under normal operating conditions. 
      • Describe operation under fire conditions. 
      • Test protocol and procedures for integrated fire protection and life safety systems. 
      • A procedure for notifying building occupants of the integrated systems testing. 
      • Alternate measures such as notifications and safety protocols for ensuring occupant safety during integrated systems testing. 

Provide the following documentation before occupancy for new buildings and existing projects applied for after January 1, 2020, but not yet occupied: 

  1. Completed Integrated Testing Report prepared by the Integrated Testing Coordinator stating the procedure and results of the Integrated Testing Plan. 
  2. All parties, including the installation contractors and consulting engineers where applicable, must verify the report. 
  3. Documentation for each phase of occupancy, in cases of phased building occupancy, must be provided. 
  4. Notify the Building Inspector to witness system testing. 
  5. Provide documentation for the Integrated Systems Testing Implementation Phase. 
  6. The Integrated Testing Coordinator must prepare a conformance letter indicating successful testing of fire protection and life safety systems. 
  7. Integrated Systems Testing, must be conducted by a separate independent entity from the one providing fire alarm verification services for the same building.

  • When you modify a single, non-interconnected fire protection system, you do not need a new integrated testing report; instead, you must conduct final consultant reviews as per the Ontario Building Codes. 
  • If there is an existing report, only test and document the affected fire systems in a new report.
  • If no existing report exists and you modify multiple systems, the Integrated Tester Coordinator must create a new Integrated Testing Plan.
  • Building Services may request compliance with specific articles based on the permit application, potentially affecting project timelines. 

The City of Kingston acknowledges that we are on the traditional homeland of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat, and thanks these nations for their care and stewardship over this shared land.

Today, the City is committed to working with Indigenous peoples and all residents to pursue a united path of reconciliation.

Learn more about the City's reconciliation initiatives.

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