NFPA Gives Final Approval to 731, Rejects NBFAA Appeal


The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Standards Committee has given its final approval to NFPA 731 – Standard for Electronic Premises Security Systems – and rejected an appeal by the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) to return the standard to committee. The ruling clears the issuing of NFPA 731 but also opens up the process for last revisions to the standard that will roll back standby power standards and remove entirely a requirement for short-to-ground supervision.

NFPA 731 sets standards for the application, location, installation and performance of non-residential electronic security systems. Among other items, 731 contains cabling specifications, mandates training and urges verification of alarms.

In its Aug. 11 statement containing the ruling, the Standards Council was critical of NBFAA, saying it raised grievances late in the process.

“The NBFAA has had every opportunity to participate in that process. That it or others may not have availed themselves of those opportunities is not grounds for returning the document,” the Standards Committee statement reads. “There has been no evidence presented … to indicate that the Technical Committee did not have
an appropriate balance of interests in accordance with NFPA rules.”

Also in its ruling, the Standards Committee put the revision cycle for 731 on a fast track. Instead of the usual five-year cycle before a revision, a new edition of NFPA 731 will be issued in early 2008.

Shane Clary of Pacheco, Calif., contractor Bay Alarm, who chairs the NFPA 731 technical committee, said previously that he would submit two tentative interim amendments (TIAs) that would allow for immediate changes to 731 before the next revision cycle if NBFAA’s appeal was rejected.

One change would alter the number of hours of standby for systems on battery backup from 24 hours to four. Another would remove a requirement for detection circuits to have short-to-ground supervision.

Clary has also said that plans are afoot to add representatives from the NBFAA to the NFPA 731 committee.

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