Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fire Alarm Requirements for Group R-4 Occupancy

Group R-4: (Residential)

Systems required to be monitored per the 2021 IFC section 907.6.6.

A manual fire alarm system (pull stations) and automatic smoke detection system that activates the occupant notification system (horns, strobes, sounders, speakers, chimes, mass notification, etc.)

Manual Fire Alarm Box Requirements:

Manual fire alarm boxes at all exits.

Travel distance to any manual fire alarm box cannot exceed 200 feet.


Manual fire alarm boxes are not required if the facility is two stories or less in height and all individual sleeping units and contiguous attic and crawl spaces to the sleeping units are separated from one another and public/common spaces by a minimum of 1-hour partitions.  Each sleeping unit must also have a direct exit to a public way, egress court or yard.

Manual fire alarm boxes at exits in sleeping units shall not be required if manual pull boxes are located at all care providers’ stations or other approved staff locations.  Note: the pull stations must be visible/accessible and the travel distance to any pull box shall not exceed 200 feet.

manual fire alarm boxes are not required to be installed when ALL of the following conditions exist:

The Group R-2 facility is equipped with an automatic sprinkler system.

The occupant notification systems will activate upon sprinkler water flow.

A minimum of one manual fire alarm box shall be installed in an area approved by the local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction).

UL 268 Automatic Smoke Detection Requirements:

Smoke detection shall be provided for corridors, waiting areas open to corridors and habitable spaces other than sleeping units and kitchens.


If the building is protected by an automatic sprinkler system, smoke detection is not required in habitable spaces.

Smoke detection is not required in buildings without interior corridors serving the sleeping units.  This is predicated on the sleeping units having a means of egress door opening that leads directly to an exit.

UL 217 Smoke Alarm Requirements:

Single or multiple station smoke alarms shall be installed in all of the following areas:

On the ceiling or wall outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms.

In every room used for sleeping purposes.

On every level of the dwelling unit including the basement.  This does not include crawl spaces or uninhabitable attics.  If the dwelling unit has split levels without a separation door then a smoke alarm shall be installed on the upper level predicated on the distance between the split levels being less than one full story.

Notification Requirements:

520 Hz low frequency sounders shall be installed in all sleeping areas.  Horns can be provided in common areas including but not limited to corridors, public restrooms, elevator lobbies, etc.  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.

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.

Private Mode Audibility: You must have 10 dB above average ambient sound level or 5 dB above the maximum sound level for at least 60 seconds whichever is greater.


  1. "Note: R-4 occupancies are required to be pre-wired for future adaptability. This means you need to install either a conduit raceway or the necessary cable for the possibility that any room may convert to an accessible unit in the future."

    With regard to the above statement, exactly where does it specify this in the 2016 CFC?

    Thank You,

    1. Ron, I am sorry for the confusion. This is a typo and not a requirement of the CFC or IFC. I have revise the article. Thank you for bringing this to our attention!