The 2022 California Building Standards Code (Cal. Code Regs., Title 24) was published in July of 2022 and became effective on January 1, 2023. Part 9 pertains to the California Fire Code. The new code brings changes to the requirements for Emergency Responder Communication Coverage (ERCC). Section 510 defines the requirements as it did in previous code requirements.

When constructing a new building or making renovations to an existing building the minimum level of safety established by codes and standards that have been adopted by the jurisdiction where the building exists must be met. Often the requirements between new and existing buildings vary and can be complicated. Which parts of an existing building need to be brought up to current code, and which do not? The answer often depends on the local codes in place as well as the type of occupancy.

When is relates to Emergency Responder Communication Coverage Section 510.1 states, “Approved in-building two-way emergency responder communication coverage for emergency responders shall be provided in all new buildings”. Section 510.2 then states, “Existing buildings shall be provided with approved in-building, two-way emergency responder communication coverage for emergency responders as required in Chapter 11”. Chapter 11 is what defines what type of existing building must meet these coverage requirements.

Other changes in technical or performance requirements from the previous code exist. These changes include but are not limited to the following:

  • Two-way emergency responder communication coverage shall be listed in accordance with UL 2524.
  • The inbound signal level shall be a minimum of -95dBm with sufficient signal to noise ratio to provide a Delivered Audio Quality (DAQ) not less than 3.0.
  • Active RF-emitting devices shall have built-in oscillation detection and control circuitry.
    • System monitoring adds an additional supervisory alarm point to indicate oscillation of an active RF-emitting device(s).
    • Rooftop donor antennas mounted to a movable sled must be clearly visible sign stating, “MOVEMENT OR REPOSITIONING OF THIS ANTENNA IS PROHIBITED WITHOUT APPROVAL FROM THE FIRE CODE OFFICIAL”.
    • System testing requires the use of two portable radios simultaneously conducting voice quality checks with one radio positioned not greater than 10 feet from an indoor antenna while the other radio is positioned at a distance that represents the farthest distance from any indoor antenna.

Codes and standards are constantly evolving and adapting to new technology to address gaps in safety.

The adopted code is often a suite of different codes and standards. These may include building, fire, life safety and other codes. All these codes work together to set the minimum level of safety for all buildings in the jurisdiction. It is always important to check with the local jurisdiction for any amendments or local requirements they may have. Being aware of the requirements can ensure the building will meet the expectations set forth from the beginning.