In 2014 the New York City Building Code added a requirement that new buildings over 75 feet in height have an Auxiliary Radio Communications System (ARCS). ARCS enables FDNY personnel to communicate during emergencies on dedicated frequencies within a building. ARCS improve radio communications within high-rise buildings and increases the overall efficiency and safety of Fire Department operations during an emergency response.
Initially implemented through NYC Building Department Bulletin 2011-013, an ARCS consists of head-end radio equipment connected to antennas located throughout the building to support the radio coverage requirements. The head-end is also connected to a dedicated radio console located near the building’s fire command station, which enables command personnel to communicate with operating personnel on the fire ground via dedicated radio frequencies.
As a relatively new part of the code, ARCS requirements have challenged designers with technical and cost issues.
One of the requirements of ARCS is that all cables either have a two-hour fire rating or be protected in a two-hour fire rated pathway for all vertical and horizontal cabling (the only exception is for radiating horizontal cables). These requirements assure the survivability of the system during the period Fire Department personnel perform their duties in the building. Typically, vertical shafts inclusive of stairways are available to provide a two-hour protection. However, horizontal cables to antennas are not commercially available with a two-hour rating. While two-hour fire-rated horizontal pathways can be built, the space required is typically not available in current building plenum designs, creating a significant cost burden on owners/developers.
Recently, The Clarient Group received a ruling addressing these issues on a project in design for a new 72-story residential tower in New York City. TCG has developed a design that includes coverage redundancy with antennas installed on every floor to support continued system operation even in the case of horizontal antenna cable loss on a floor. This approach provides the coverage needed to address the ARCS requirements while providing the necessary survivability in the case of partial or complete failure or loss of antenna cabling on a specific floor. As a result of this ruling, building owners can now provide the required ARCS coverage for their buildings that is both flexible and cost-effective with system components that are easy to procure and install.
TCG’s team is well versed in the requirements of FDNY ARCS and other Public Safety Systems standards. We also understand and have extensive experience with the complexity of integrating regulations, technologies, and building designs into code-compliant systems. With our integrated approach to technology systems design and our team of Subject Matter Experts, we can provide a solution for your ARCS/Public Safety System and other radio communication needs that economically integrates into your whole building technology plan.
ABOUT THE CLARIENT GROUP
The Clarient Group is a full-service technology consulting and design services providing services from the technology master planning and technology systems integration to the planning and design of major building technology systems. The firm’s focus is on developing technology solutions that improve building operations, reduce capital costs, generate revenue, and enhance user experiences. The firm’s projects include, among others, The Time Warner Center, One World Trade Center, One Bryant Park (Bank of America Building), Columbia University’s Manhattanville campus, American Dream Meadowlands, and the new Coach USA headquarters at 10 Hudson Yards. For more information, visit www.theclarientgroup.com.
TCG Bulletin 17-0222
For further information, please contact
Michael McCann, FSMPS, CPSM
Business Development and Marketing Manager
The Clarient Group, LLC
630 Ninth Avenue, Suite 1012
New York, NY 10036