Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fire Alarm Requirements for Group M Occupancy

Group M: (Mercantile)

Systems required to be monitored per the 2015 IFC section 907.6.6.

A manual fire alarm system (pull stations) that activates the occupant notification system (horns, strobes, sounders, speakers, chimes, mass notification, etc.) shall be installed where ONE of the following conditions exist.

The combined occupant load of the entire Group M facility is 500 or more persons.

The occupant load is more than 100 persons above or below the lowest level of exit discharge.


Manual pull stations are not required to be provided in open mall buildings complying with Section 402 of the IBC International Building Code

If the facility is provided with an approved automatic sprinkler system in which the Waterflow activates the occupant notification system a minimum of one manual pull station is required to be provided in an area approved by the local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction)

Note: Emergency voice/alarm communications systems shall be provided for high rise applications.  High rise buildings are classified by the International Building Code as a structure that has occupied floors located more than 75 feet above the lowest level of fire department vehicle access.

UL 268 Automatic Smoke Detection Requirements:

System smoke detectors shall be provided for all of the following applications:  (Group M if 500 + persons or there are 100 + persons above or below the lowest level of exit discharge.

Above control panels and power supplies
For the purpose of elevator capture
On all HVAC units over 2,000 CFM (Duct Detector)
For releasing service
Fire Smoke Dampers
Delayed egress locks

Fire Alarm Notification Requirements:

Public Mode Audibility: You must have 15 dB above average ambient sound level or 5 dB above the maximum sound level for at least 60 seconds whichever is greater.


  1. Wish you would just say - notification required

    1. TP, thank you for taking the time to read the post and comment. To answer your response, I cannot simply say that notification is required in a group M occupancy as it depends on the number of occupants. IF the M occupancy has more than 500 persons total, notification IS required. IF there are more than 100 persons on a level above or below the level of exit discharge, than occupant notification IS required. Any occupant loads below these numbers, than occupant notification IS NOT required.

    2. is the load only for the store or the whole mall? reason I ask is I have a store going into a mall that has a voice exac system. the store has a load of group m 37, group b 9. I am reading the code two ways and this will help

    3. Hello and thank you for reaching out. The IFC code section relates to the occupant load of the entire facility. For example, if you had a strip mall (M occupancy) with 501 persons, each space would require notification associated with a fire alarm system as opposed to a dedicated function sprinkler monitoring system. I hope this helps. Make sure to join our Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/firealarmsonline