Safer Buildings Coalition WORK GROUP ROUNDUP - May 2020 

In this section we’ll bring you updates on the important work done by our Codes & Standards, Government Affairs, Advancement & Public Safety Technology Work Groups.

Our Work Groups are the vehicles by which:

  • Members’ voices are heard as SBC develops new public policy, codes, and standards (Government Affairs, Codes and Standards, Public Safety Technology) 

  • Members tell us how to improve the Coalition to better serve them and the mission (Advancement)

  • Members can hear first changes in the industry involving all of the above. Each Work Group is guided by a Chair and a Vice Chair. The reports below will provide monthly updates from the Chair of each Work Group.

  • Participation in Work Groups is one of the best ways to realize value form your Safer Buildings Coalition Membership. Work Group participation is open to all Members of every type.

If you are interested in participating in a Work Group, please contact the Chair of the group.

Work Group Updates:

Codes & Standards Work Group

Advancement Work Group

Gov't Affairs Work Group

Public Safety Technology Work Group

Codes & Standards Work Group Update

Codes and Standards Work Group

During its latest meeting, the Safer Buildings Coalition’s Codes & Standards work group covered the following:

  • NFPA process is in balloting phase of 1st draft hearings. Next up: The comment period will commence.

  • IFC 2024 process started. Conference calls defining process in COVID world are underway. When that process is defined further updates will be provided.

  • After a lengthy discussion in workgroup, Alan Perdue and Richard Roberts are recommending that SBC pull the NITMAM for the following reason: The intent of the SBC NITMAM is to accept Committee Comment 6553. If the motion to accept Committee Comment 6553 is successful during the NFPA Technical Session, it will then be balloted to the Technical Committee (TC) and the Correlating Committee (CC). If the ballots pass, the text returns to what was in the second revision prior to modification by the CC which is what we want. However, if one or both ballots fail, the text returns to previous (2018) edition. This is not what we want because the 2018 edition of NFPA 101 has nothing in there relating to BDA systems. We are not optimistic the ballot with the TC and the CC because we were unsuccessful in changing people minds during the SD ballot.

  • Workgroup is reviewing NFPA 780 on Lightning Protection and getting clarification on how it should be applied to ERCES systems – or if it should at all.  Chief Perdue is getting clarification, and a recommendation may be made to include in NFPA 1225 specifically.

  • Jeff Hall will lead a new subcommittee exploring definitions, testing of, and performance beyond continuity of fire-rated cable for ERCES systems. 

  • The workgroup responded to a request to provide some clarifying comments for a member on cable protection due to the State of Florida being expected to adopt the NFPA 1221 (2016) code at the end of this year and how it differs from NFPA 72 (2013).

  • Workgroup reviewed and provided feedback on NFPA 1225 First Draft (PUF-AAA) And recommended that: Voting is affirmative without comment.  And then provide comments during the public comment phase.

  • Work continues on the SBC website DAS and BDA directories. Changes and updates will roll out in the coming weeks and months.

Advancement Work Group Update

Advancement Work Group

The Safer Buildings Coalition Advancement group, working through the “Vertical Matrix” for the SBC members, is working on now the PIE chart data and value, breakdown by sector for responses and verticals, OEM. The next steps are to contact other verticals parallel to the existing verticals and breakdown to encourage membership or cross exchange with other organizations. Each member will be provided a list and elevator speech to reach out to others in their respective verticals.

Government Affairs Work Group Update

Government Affairs Work Group

The Government Affairs Working Group met via Zoom call on Friday May 15, 2020. Among the items discussed were:

  • Executive Director Chief Alan Perdue opened with an update on SBC activities. Most travel is postponed so many virtual meetings are taking place. Legislative activity is all but halted due to members of Congress and local policy makers focus on the COVID-19 response. 
  • Arson fires in 5G cellular towers. During the COVID-19 crisis, inappropriate comments and conspiracy theories claiming that 5G cell towers are responsible for the pandemic have circulated on the web. While this, naturally, is not factual there have been radical responses and outright vandalism incidents resulting in more than 50 arson fires in towers in the U.K alone. Consequently, we will be monitoring activity of reported arson fires in cellular towers and would like to know if any such acts have happened in the U.S.  
  • A question was raised regarding “How can we (SBC) lend our voice in support of legislation that will benefit our membership.” This was raised after a concern that many jurisdictions are laying off staff (AHJs), which will result in delays in job site reviews, inspections, etc. We agreed to look for “Calls to Action” from different constituent groups. This is primarily International Associations of Fire Chiefs, Police Chiefs and Sheriff’s Associations. It is suggested that all members be on watch for any call to action that could be of benefit to the membership. We will then assure these calls to action are published and request that members respond individually to any call as there is strength in numbers. 
  • Members engaged in a round table discussion to share activities associated with their respective organizations. Many members are affiliated with code promulgation and are staying busy with meetings related to that and some are still heavily engaged in new construction projects.
  • Next meeting is Friday June 19.

Public Safety Technology Work Group Update

PS Tech Work Group

The Public Safety Technology Group, our newest work group, is growing with new members from the SBC integrator and manufacturing community. We are still seeking more members that are actual licensee holders. 

We are still discussing some of the items that we can focus on but are continuing to have a robust discussion and develop a general discussion for better focus in the future. 

Two questions that the group is currently wrestling with are: Is ubiquitous coverage an end goal for emergency responder systems? and where is the line and synergies between fire code and FCC requirements for in-building coverage?