The Department of Buildings allows upgrades to fire alarm systems installed under the 2008 code and prior

Why should I upgrade my fire alarm system?

As time passes obsolete parts become harder to find and more expensive. Obsolete systems run the risk of impairment for extended periods of time which can lead to violations. Upgraded systems should have parts readily available preventing extended periods of impairment. In certain instances, obsolete systems prevent renovations due to lack of equipment and system capability. Upgraded systems provide easy expansion and modification capability as needed.  The latest technology is most likely more user friendly for staff to operate. 

What are my options?

New York City Dept of Buildings Bulletin 2015-025 allows certain fire alarm systems that were previously approved under an older code to be upgraded. Only previously approved systems with an existing letter of approval are eligible.

It’s important to understand the processes of a system upgrade.

  • Design drawings of the area of work are to be created by a New York Licensed P.E. In this case the areas of work would be where the panels and equipment are to be replaced. No field devices should be shown as part of the work.  The drawings are submitted to the FDNY for approval. 
  • Once your drawings are approved by the FDNY a New York City licensed electrical contractor along with your certified fire alarm vendor will install and program the new equipment. 
  • Now that your upgrade is complete a pretest of the entire fire alarm system must be performed by the fire alarm vendor and electrical contractor.
  • Your system has been installed and pre-tested now it’s time to request an inspection from the FDNY by submitting a B-45. The FDNY will come onsite to inspect your system and if found upgraded according to your design plans without defects a Letter of Approval will be issued.

How can Banksia help?

Proper planning of the upgrade is critical to maximize future capacity and capability while keeping the disruption to the building tenants at a minimum.  At Banksia, we assist you in completing your fire alarm upgrade from project initiation to gaining your final letter of approval. For more information on fire alarm upgrades and other fire alarm questions, please contact Peter Linden at

About Banksia:

Banksia is a fire protection and life safety consulting firm located in New York City. We work with clients in commercial real estate, energy, industrial, residential, science, and more to create spaces that meet their goals — and meet all compliance requirements.

Peter Linden

About Peter Linden

Peter brings over 20 years of experience in fire alarm design, installation, service, and consulting. He has many years of operations and construction management. Peter has managed installation projects in all sectors including institutional facilities, high rise commercial, and residential buildings. Peter is certified NICET Level 4 in fire alarm systems, project management professional (PMP), and licensed in the State of New York to service and install fire alarm systems.