Construction Law

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Emergency and Standby Power Systems

Generators play an important role in providing electric power when access to the local supply (via the utility company) has been compromised. Depending on the project in question, a generator may be viewed as a luxury or a necessity with legal implications. Many contractors are tasked with incorporating emergency and standby power systems into the design plans and ensuring that these systems are in working order in the event that power is lost and reserves are required to keep important building components functional.

In this brief article, a Fort Lauderdale construction lawyer will discuss everything contractors need to know about emergency and standby power systems. Utilizing the 2017 Florida Building Code as a reference, we will cover several important considerations related to this topic, including installation, stationary generators, load transfer, load duration, uninterruptible power sources, interchangeability, and more. For legal assistance with code compliance and other important matters, rely on the Fort Lauderdale construction lawyers from Cotney Attorneys & Consultants.

Are You Up to Code?

If primary power is lost, an emergency power system should be able to provide secondary power within ten seconds. With standby power systems, it should take no longer than a minute to automatically provide secondary power if primary power is lost. The load duration of emergency power systems and standby power systems should be at least two hours before refueling or recharging is required to continue operation. Furthermore, an uninterrupted source of power should be available. Although there are marked distinctions between emergency power systems and standby power systems, an emergency power system should operate a suitable alternative for structures that require standby power systems.

Related: The Value of Building Codes

Providing the Required Power

Emergency alarm systems should be backed by emergency power to ensure full functionality if power is compromised. Standby power must be available for elevators and platform lifts, too. The same is true for emergency responder radio coverage systems, which must be operable for no less than 24 hours if power is lost. Contractors and engineers must also be certain that emergency power is available for emergency voice/alarm communication systems. If this power source can’t support this system for more than 24 hours, it should be replaced. Illuminated exit signs must have access to enough emergency power to power them for 90 minutes. Other receivers of emergency or standby power include:

  • Power-operated doors and locks
  • Occupancies with hazardous materials
  • High-rise buildings
  • Horizontal sliding doors
  • Means of egress illumination
  • Membrane structures
  • Occupancies with silane gas
  • Semiconductor fabrication facilities
  • Smoke control systems
  • Underground buildings

There’s no shame in being a completionist when working as a contractor. Ensuring that every single inch of your finished project falls in line with the design specifications is essential, and that includes the emergency and standby power systems. After all, you don’t want to be the one taking the blame when power fails and the secondary power supply is nowhere to be seen.

If you would like to speak with one of our Fort Lauderdale construction lawyers, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.