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(a) Scope. This section sets forth requirements for the design, installation, operation and maintenance of in-building auxiliary radio communication systems. In-building radio communication systems that were approved for installation by the Department of Buildings and/or the Department prior to December 31, 2014, and that were designed to enhance Department communications in a manner similar to an in-building auxiliary radio communication system, shall be subject to the requirements of this section to the extent set forth in R511-01(j).
(b) Definitions. The following terms shall, for purposes of this section and as used elsewhere in the rules, have the meanings shown herein:
Appendix Q. Section 24.5.2 of Appendix Q to the Building Code, as codified in Department of Buildings rule 1 RCNY § 3616-04. Appendix Q amends NFPA Standard 72, a Referenced Standard to the Building Code and Fire Code.
ARC system. An in-building auxiliary radio communication system.
Base station. A transceiver that receives radio signals from an antenna system and retransmits them through the antenna system in an amplified and/or otherwise enhanced manner.
Critical areas. Areas of a building within which radio communication is critical for emergency response operations.
FCC. United States Federal Communications Commission.
General areas. All areas of a building within which radio communication is to be made available for emergency response operations, excluding critical areas.
In-building auxiliary radio communication system. A wireless two-way building communication system dedicated for Department use and designed in accordance with Appendix Q to propagate Department wireless radio frequencies within a building. Such a system typically consists of a radio console, base station, cabling, amplifiers and antenna system.
Technical criteria. Technical specifications and standards for the design and operation of ARC systems established pursuant to Section 22.214.171.124 of Appendix Q. Technical criteria include but are not limited to operating frequencies; maximum time domain interference; unit ID and emergency alert signaling; dedicated radio console and other installation specifications; and testing equipment specifications.
Testable area. Locations within a building in which an ARC system commissioning test can be conducted, including all areas designed for human occupancy. Mechanical rooms and other utility areas are testable areas if, and to the extent that, they are accessible.
(c) Permit. Pursuant to FC 105.6, a permit shall be obtained from the Department to maintain or operate an ARC system. Application for a permit shall be made in accordance with R511-01(d)(3).
(d) General Provisions.
(1) General. ARC systems, whether required by Sections 403 or 917 of the Building Code or installed voluntarily, shall be designed, installed, operated and maintained in compliance with FCC regulations, FC 511, Section 917 of the Building Code, NFPA Standard 72 as amended by Appendix Q, this section and applicable technical criteria. Any potential conflicts among these requirements shall be promptly reported to the Technology Management Unit of the Bureau of Fire Prevention.
(2) Required frequencies. An ARC system shall be designed to operate on the simplex Department frequencies designated as Channels 1 through 10 and Channel 16, or the duplex Department frequencies designated as Channels 11 and 12, as set forth in the technical criteria. Pursuant to Section 126.96.36.199.2 of Appendix Q, ARC systems shall be designed to be upgraded to accommodate changes in Department frequencies. The design, installation, operation and maintenance requirements set forth in Appendix Q, the technical criteria and this section may not be applicable to other Department communications and the frequencies on which they are propagated. Any owner seeking to install and maintain an in-building radio communication system that operates on any Department frequency other than the channels specified in this section shall first obtain Department approval in such manner and subject to such terms and conditions as the Department may prescribe.
(3) Application and approval process. The following Department approvals shall be obtained to install and maintain an ARC system:
(A) Application for system design approval. An application shall be filed by or on behalf of the owner, and include design and installation documents prepared in accordance with FC 105.4 and R511-01(e) and detailing the design and intended operation of the ARC system; a written agreement executed by the owner, for use of Department frequencies, as set forth in R511-01(d)(4); and such other documentation as the Department may require.
(B) Plan approval. The Department will review the application for system design approval in accordance with FC 105.4 and, if it determines the application to be satisfactory, will approve the documents in accordance with FC 105.4.4.
(C) Commissioning test and application for system acceptance and permit issuance. Upon installation of an ARC system in accordance with the Department-approved documents, a commissioning test shall be conducted in accordance with FC 5188.8.131.52 and R511-01(f)(2). The test shall be performed by a person holding a certificate of fitness for ARC system professional, who is employed by a business holding a Department company certificate, as set forth in R115-01. Upon successful completion of the commissioning test, the owner shall file an application with the Department requesting an acceptance test of the system and issuance of a permit. The application shall include a detailed report of the results of the commissioning test, as set forth in R511-01(e)(2) and R511-01(f)(2), and such other information and documentation as the Department may require.
(D) Acceptance test. The owner shall request that the Department schedule an acceptance test. The certificate of fitness holder who conducted the commissioning test shall be present at the acceptance test and demonstrate operation of the ARC system in the presence of Department representatives. The Department representatives will not conduct a second commissioning test but perform a limited test of the ARC system to confirm its operational readiness for Department use.
(E) Permit issuance. Upon successful completion of the acceptance test, the Department will issue a permit to maintain and operate the ARC system.
(4) City agreement to operate on FCC-licensed radio frequencies. ARC systems operate on radio frequencies licensed by the FCC to the City of New York. The installation of an ARC system in accordance with Building Code and Fire Code requirements does not constitute legal authority to operate on such licensed radio frequencies. The owner, prior to operating an ARC system, must obtain the consent of the City of New York to operate on such licensed radio frequencies by executing a written agreement with the City of New York in a form approved by the Department and submitting it to the Department as set forth in R511-01(d)(3)(A). The City will grant temporary consent for purposes of system installation and commissioning testing at time of plan approval, and final consent upon permit issuance.
(5) Prevention of interference. An ARC system shall be designed, installed, operated and maintained in a manner that does not interfere with any other FCC-licensed radio frequency, including police department, fire department and other public safety agency radio communications. Immediate measures shall be taken to remedy any such interference, including interference intermodulation and spurious emissions, in accordance with FCC regulations (as set forth in 47 C.F.R. Part 90), this section and other applicable laws, rules and regulations. The owner, and its contractors and agents, shall cooperate with the Department in immediately addressing interference issues, and shall repair or replace any ARC system or system component causing interference.
(6) Supervision. Operation of the ARC system, other than by Department personnel, including inspection and testing for the commissioning test, annual certification and five-year recertification required by R511-01(f) and (g), shall be under the personal supervision of a person holding a certificate of fitness as ARC system professional and a General Radiotelephone Operator License issued by the FCC pursuant to 47 C.F.R. Part 90, who is employed by a company holding an ARC testing company certificate. The duties of such certificate of fitness holder include ensuring that:
(A) use of the ARC system is immediately discontinued if, upon testing, it is found to cause interference in violation of FCC regulations and/or other applicable laws, rules and regulations, or upon being directed to do so by a Department representative;
(B) the portable radios programmed with Department frequencies are used solely for purposes of ARC system testing, and for no other purpose; and
(C) notifications to the Department required by this section are made in accordance with this section.
(7) Sharing of system components. All ARC system components shall be dedicated for system use, except that system radio frequency (RF) cabling may be shared with other in-building radio communication systems if such sharing does not interfere with or otherwise impair the operation of the ARC system.
(8) Citywide standard key. Owners, impairment coordinators, and persons authorized to install or maintain ARC systems, may possess a citywide standard key.
(e) Design and Installation Requirements. An ARC system shall be designed and installed in accordance with Section 917 of the Building Code, the Electrical Code, FC 511, NFPA Standard 72 as amended by Appendix Q, this section and the technical criteria. ARC system design and installation documents shall set forth the information and documentation required by Section 917 of the Building Code and such other information and documentation as the Department may require, including the following documents:
(1) Application for system design approval. A riser diagram and floor plan showing the location of base stations, amplifiers, antennas and other ARC system components, formatted and submitted for Department review and approval in the same manner as fire alarm system installations, as set forth in R105-01(c)(1). Any sharing of system radio frequency (RF) cabling with other in-building radio communication systems shall be clearly indicated and accompanied by documentation demonstrating that such sharing will not interfere with or otherwise impair the operation of the ARC system.
(2) Application for system acceptance and permit issuance. A floor plan containing the information set forth in R511-01(f)(2), formatted to folio (11" x 17") size, with a copy of the plan in an approved electronic format on a compact disk.
(f) Commissioning and Acceptance Testing. Commissioning and acceptance testing shall be conducted in accordance with the following requirements, standards and procedures.
(1) Radio coverage performance standards. ARC systems shall be designed to achieve, and in operation shall achieve, the radio coverage performance standards set forth in Sections 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11 of Appendix Q, as measured in the manner set forth in this section.
(A) Required minimum signal strength and delivered audio quality. The minimum signal strength of inbound ARC system radio signals (as received by a Department portable radio at a location remote from the dedicated radio console) and outbound ARC system radio signals (as received by the dedicated radio console from a Department portable radio) and the average delivered audio quality shall be as set forth in Sections 18.104.22.168.3 and 22.214.171.124 of Appendix Q.
(B) Signal strength measurements. The signal strength of radio signals received or retransmitted by the ARC system shall be measured in the following manner:
(1) Measurements shall be taken using:
(a) two (2) portable radios, lawfully programmed to transmit on Department frequencies pursuant to R115-01(d)(4), one to transmit a radio communication to the ARC system and one to receive the retransmission from the ARC system;
(b) a calibrated spectrum analyzer or a calibrated automatic signal level measurement recording system;
(c) a receiving antenna with a gain equal to the antenna on a Department portable radio; and
(d) a resolution bandwidth nearest the bandwidth of the channel being tested.
(2) Signal strength measurements shall be taken as close as possible to the center of each grid cell.
(3) Signal strength measurements shall be taken with the antenna held in a vertical position with a center-line between three (3) and four (4) feet above the floor.
(4) The delivered audio quality readings shall be assessed and documented on the floor plans.
(5) The gain values of any and all amplifiers shall be measured and documented.
(C) Critical area radio coverage. The radio coverage performance standard set forth in Appendix Q of 100 percent of floor area shall be met in the critical areas designated in Section 126.96.36.199.1 of Appendix Q, including sprinkler system control valves and standpipe system hose connections, and any other area of a building designated by the Department as a critical area based on the Department's review of the design and installation documents submitted for an ARC system in a particular building.
(D) General area radio coverage. The radio coverage performance standard set forth in Appendix Q of 95 percent of floor area shall be met or exceeded in all general areas.
(2) Commissioning test. Upon installation of an ARC system, a commissioning test of the ARC system, including a radio coverage survey and an inspection and testing of system components, shall be conducted, and the results reported to the Department, as follows:
(A) Radio coverage survey. The commissioning test shall be conducted in accordance with Annex O of NFPA Standard 1, this section and the technical criteria, and shall be considered successful if it confirms that the ARC system meets or exceeds the following radio coverage performance standards:
(1) On each floor, radio coverage meets or exceeds the standards set forth in R511-01(f)(1).
(2) There shall not be a failure of radio coverage in the same grid area on consecutive floors, such as a consistent failure to achieve the required radio coverage in vertically corresponding grids on multiple consecutive floors of a building.
(3) The dedicated radio console is functioning properly and monitoring all system components in accordance with Appendix Q.
(B) Inspection and testing of system components. ARC system components, including those listed on Table 1 of this section, shall be inspected and tested to confirm that the system components are in good working order and are operating as designed.
(C) Retesting. Any floor of a building that initially fails to meet or exceed the radio coverage standards shall be retested. The resolution of the floor grid size used for testing purposes shall be decreased by reducing the size of each grid area by at least 50 percent to facilitate precise identification of the building areas in which radio coverage is lacking. A commissioning test that fails to confirm radio coverage requirements meeting or exceeding the standards set forth in R511-01(f)(1) shall be treated as unsuccessful and shall result in a redesign of the ARC system on the floor or floors found to have failed the commissioning test.
(D) Submission of commissioning test results. The results of the radio coverage survey and inspection and testing of system components shall be signed by the certificate of fitness holder who personally supervised the test and submitted by the ARC system testing company that employs the certificate holder to the Department for review and acceptance. The commissioning test results shall be submitted in the form prescribed by the Department and shall include the following information and documentation, and such other information and documentation as the Department may require:
(1) An audio recording of delivered audio quality at each grid location, with an audio description of the floor designation, marker location and the time of recording.
(2) A table setting forth the following information for each test location:
(a) Marker location;
(b) Received signal strength;
(c) Radio frequency used for test;
(d) The average delivered audio quality value; and
(e) Date of last calibration of spectrum analyzer test equipment used to conduct test.
(3) A floor plan for each floor, showing the building's floor area on a series of grids. Each grid shall be a maximum of five (5) percent of the total square footage of testable area on each floor, but not more than 1,600 square feet. If an irregular shaped floor plate makes this grid criteria unsatisfactory for testing purposes, an alternative testing grid may be used, subject to Department approval. The floor plan shall set forth the following information for each test location:
(a) Marker location, correlated with the tabular submission;
(b) Grid size(s);
(c) Critical areas;
(d) General areas; and
(e) Areas that are not testable areas, with an explanation as to why such areas are not testable areas.
(4) A description of the inspection and testing conducted of each of the system components.
(5) A summary and conclusions section. The report shall clearly summarize the test results, and shall include a statement as to whether the test results confirm that the ARC system meets or exceeds the standards required by this section, or if not, in what respects it is deficient.
(g) Operational and Maintenance Requirements. An ARC system shall be operated and maintained in accordance with FC 511, this section and the technical criteria.
(1) General. An ARC system shall be maintained in good working order.
(2) Daily inspection. The dedicated radio console shall be inspected daily to confirm that the ARC system is operational and that there is no indication of a system malfunction. Daily inspection may, with Department approval, be conducted by means of remote monitoring.
(3) Annual certification. An ARC system shall be inspected and tested not less than once every 12 months to confirm that the system is in good working order, except that every fifth year a five-year recertification pursuant to R511-01(g)(4) shall be conducted in lieu of the annual certification. The inspection and testing of the ARC system shall include the system components listed in Table 1, except that a radio coverage survey is not required. Certification of such inspection and testing and satisfactory system performance shall be submitted to the Department in connection with the application for permit renewal in such form and manner as the Department may prescribe.
(4) Five-year recertification. An ARC system shall be recertified as properly functioning not less than once every five (5) years in the following manner.
(A) A radio coverage survey of the ARC system shall be conducted in the same manner as the commissioning test, and the radio coverage performance standards set forth in R511-01(f) shall apply.
(B) The Department shall be given reasonable advance notice of the date of each five-year certification test, which shall be conducted within a continuous 72-hour period. The Department reserves the right to require that such test be conducted in the presence of Department representatives, and to conduct its own operational readiness testing.
(C) The recertification test shall compare the results with those of the original commissioning test to determine whether there has been any degradation in system performance. If the ARC system fails to meet or exceed the applicable radio coverage performance standards, the system shall be repaired or upgraded to achieve such standards.
(D) ARC system components, including each of the components listed on Table 1, shall be inspected and tested to confirm that the system components are in good working order and are continuing to operate as designed. Any system component impairing ARC system operation or reliability shall be repaired or replaced prior to submission of recertification results.
(E) Successful recertification test results shall be submitted to the Department in connection with the application for permit renewal in such form and manner as the Department may prescribe.
(5) Department-ordered testing and demonstrations. Upon reasonable notice to the owner, the Department may order a test of an ARC system to confirm that it is in good working order or to familiarize Department personnel with use of such system.
(h) Out-of-service systems. The following actions shall be taken to mitigate the consequences of any ARC system that is not fully functional, whether as a result of planned removal from service for maintenance, repair or construction, or an unplanned malfunction affecting system operation.
(1) Impairment coordinator. The owner shall designate an impairment coordinator to take the actions required by this section when an ARC system is out of service. In the absence of a specific designee, the owner will be considered the impairment coordinator.
(2) Planned removal from service. The impairment coordinator shall be made aware in advance of any planned removal from service of an ARC system for maintenance, repair or construction. The impairment coordinator shall authorize the removal of the ARC system from service. Before authorizing removal of the system from service, the impairment coordinator shall:
(A) determine the extent and expected duration of the out-of-service condition;
(B) maintain the system in service until the maintenance, repair or construction work is ready to begin;
(C) place an impairment tag indicating the nature of the out-of-service condition at the dedicated radio console, fire command center or other approved location indicating that the ARC system is out of service; and
(D) notify the Department as set forth in R511-01(h)(4).
(3) Unplanned out-of-service condition. Any person who becomes aware that an ARC system is out of service for any reason other than a planned removal from service must, upon becoming aware of the out-of-service condition, notify the owner, the impairment coordinator or, if such persons are not known or not available, any person in charge of the premises of such condition. The owner or impairment coordinator shall promptly act to address the out-of-service condition in accordance with the procedures set forth in R511-01(h)(2)(A), (C) and (D).
(4) Notification of Department. Pursuant to FC 107.1, ARC systems shall be continuously maintained in good working order. Notification shall be made to the Department of any condition impairing the operational readiness of the ARC system, including complete or partial system failure or loss of radio coverage in one or more areas of the building, when the system is not restored to service within 48 hours. Such notification shall be made by calling the telephone number set forth in FC 401.2.2 for the borough in which the ARC system is located, and shall include the information set forth in FC 901.7.5.3 as it relates to the out-of-service condition affecting the ARC system. Notification shall not be made for conditions that do not presently affect the operational readiness of the system, such as warning signals of the need for future servicing.
(5) Restoring system to service. When the ARC system has been repaired and restored to service, the impairment coordinator shall:
(A) verify that all inspections and tests required by law, rule, regulation or Referenced Standard, including Annex O of NFPA Standard 1, have been conducted to confirm that the system has been restored to good working order;
(B) if notification was required to be made to the Department pursuant to R511-01(h)(4), notify the Department that the system has been restored to good working order; and
(C) remove impairment tags.
(i) Recordkeeping. A logbook or other approved form of recordkeeping for the maintenance of the ARC system shall be maintained for a period of six (6) years, together with a complete copy of test results and other documentation of ARC system maintenance. The logbook shall include entries for the following maintenance requirements:
(1) Commissioning test results, as required by R511-01(f)(2);
(2) Daily inspection of the system status, as required by R511-01(g)(2);
(3) Annual certification test results, as required by R511-01(g)(3);
(4) Five-year recertification test results, as required by R511-01(g)(4);
(5) Planned removals from service for maintenance, repair or alteration of the ARC system, including the extent and duration of any removal and related notifications to the Department; and
(6) Unplanned out-of-service conditions, including a description, extent and duration of any system malfunction, corrective actions taken, and related notifications to the Department.
(j) Lawfully Existing In-Building Radio Communication Systems. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the operation of an in-building radio communication system that was approved for installation by the Department of Buildings and/or the Department prior to December 31, 2014, and that was designed to enhance Department communications in a manner similar to an ARC system, may be continued under the following circumstances and subject to the following requirements:
(1) Prior approval. Such system must have been approved for installation by the Department of Buildings and/or the Department prior to January 1, 2015.
(2) Applicable standards. Such system shall be operated and maintained in compliance with the design and installation documents and standards under which such system was approved, and the following requirements:
(A) Permit. A permit shall be obtained for such system.
(B) Use of City frequencies and compliance with FCC regulations. A written agreement with the City of New York for use of Department frequencies shall be executed and such system shall be operated and maintained in compliance with R511-01(d)(1), (2), (4), (5) and (6).
(C) Supervision. Operation of such system shall be supervised in accordance with R511-01(d)(6).
(D) Radio coverage. A commissioning test shall be conducted in accordance with Section R511-01(f)(2) within one (1) year from [EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION], and an ARC system company certificate holder shall submit such results to the Department. Any such system that fails to meet or exceed the radio coverage performance standards set forth in R511-01(f)(1) shall be upgraded to meet or exceed such standards, or an application made to the Department for approval of appropriate mitigation measures to address gaps or other deficiencies in radio coverage. Such measures may include signage in building lobbies and/or in areas of the building in which such gaps exist.
(E) Operational and maintenance requirements. Such systems shall be operated and maintained in accordance with R511-01(g), (h) and (i).
Commissioning Test and Periodic Maintenance Requirements for In-Building Auxiliary Radio Communication Systems
ARC System Component/System Malfunction
Dedicated Radio Console
Lamps and LEDs
Radio ID pass-through
Emergency alert pass-through
Base Station Failure Monitoring
Low transmit power
High voltage standing wave ratio
Loss of alternating current (AC) or primary power source on the base station
Low battery capacity
Primary (main) power supply
Secondary (standby) power supply
Uninterrupted power supply (UPS)
Primary battery performance test
Secondary battery/batteries performance test
(Added City Record 12/1/2015, eff. 1/1/2016)