Monthly Archives: October 2014

Three Things Every Dealer Should Know About BIM

In the fire and life-safety industry, equipment dealers must have a solid understanding of emerging next-generation processes like building information modeling (BIM)—an intelligent 3-D model-based solution for building planning, design, construction and management—to stay competitive. BIM is a quickly growing movement, making it one that dealers should particularly keep an eye on.BIM

“It’s a train pulling out of the station. Either you’re on the train or you’re chasing it down the tracks or you’re completely left behind,” says CAD/BIM specialist for Honeywell FSG Services John Koehler. If you want to maintain a competitive edge, you’ve got to jump on.

Here are three things dealers should know about BIM to enhance and improve business:

  1. BIM helps you land more jobs: With more building owners understanding the value that a BIM platform offers, and thus requesting the technology, those dealers that understand the ins and outs of BIM will be able to effectively meet expectations and broaden their job portfolios. As a result, they will be able to gain more market share, increase their competitiveness and better cater to business needs, says Koehler.
  1. BIM enables you to handle field issues prior to construction: To succeed in today’s industry, you have to be forward-thinking, says Koehler. That means you must be able to assess quickly when the process flow of a project will change. BIM offers dealers the ability to handle field issues prior to construction, supporting stronger field coordination and providing better insight into how a project flow might vary from established plans. For example, you’ll be able to determine in real time how much flexibility you’ll need regarding space requirements. Or, you’ll be able to determine where equipment is needed in certain areas (how the equipment is located determines how the systems will be circuited). Resolving these small but impactful details prior to construction makes all the difference in customer satisfaction and productivity.
  1. BIM secures future expansion: Buildings are constantly undergoing change and expansion—something that BIM easily supports thanks to predictive capabilities and real-time data management. Koehler cites the example of a hospital, which tends to rapidly evolve and change. Because a BIM platform makes accurate documentation immediately available, dealers can begin strategizing for renovations, upgrades and more as soon as they take the building. “Continued updating and processing by facility management and owners allow for a current up-to-date project model to be available for future design, expansion, renovation or even demolition of the facility if its useful life has been reached,” says Koehler. “It is a true building lifecycle process—from blueprint to bulldoze to boom.”

What else do you think dealers need to know about building information modeling to improve business? Let us know in the comments section below!


About the Author
John Koehler has over 20 years experience leading teams on integrating new BIM and CAD platforms. John koehler John’s experience includes large scale (structural) projects in the aerospace, nuclear, and military markets.  John is currently a CAD/BIM Specialist for Honeywell FSG Services where he currently sits on multiple construction coordination teams to ensure quality construction using BIM and 3D modeling techniques.  John has been instrumental in creating technical standards paving the way for the implementation of BIM both at Honeywell and throughout the fire alarm industry.

CO Fact #4 – What are the Effects of Carbon Monoxide?

The health effects of carbon monoxide (CO) depend on a number of variables, such as your health, activity level, how long you’ve been exposed and the concentration of CO. Children, the elderly and people with pre-existing physical conditions might be more susceptible to the effects of CO than a healthy adult.

People exposed to CO often report having flu-like symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, feeling sick to the stomach or dizziness. CO poisoning can result from prolonged exposure to low levels of CO, or shorter exposures to higher concentrations.

This table shows CO Symptoms chartthe relationship between CO volume, length of exposure, and the resulting symptoms. The level of CO concentration is measured in parts per million (ppm). For example, 100 ppm means that for every 1,000,000 molecules of air, 100 of those molecules are CO. A healthy adult should have no adverse effect if they are exposed to 50ppm over an 8 hour period. However if a healthy adult is exposed to 800ppm for 45 minutes they may experience a headache, nausea or dizziness and could be unconsciousness after 2 hours of exposure.

Richard Roberts is Industry Affairs Manager at Honeywell Fire Safety with over 30 years in the fire alarm and carbon monoxide market. His experience spans the installation, sales, and product development of code-compliant products and systems. Currently, Mr. Roberts is a member of eight NFPA Technical Committees and he serves on the Board of Directors for the Automatic Fire Alarm Association (AFAA) and Chair of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Smoke & CO Committee and Building Codes Committee. 

Do You Understand the Division Between Engineers and Designers?

Why is fire protection engineering so important? Why is it essential that the life-safety systems are designed, installed and tested by qualified people who truly know and understand the code? For Jack Poole, principal at Poole Fire Protection, Inc., the answers lay in the numbers.

“With more than 3,000 people dying, more than 18,000 people injured and $10 billion in property damage each year from fires, that’s what [fire protection] is all about,” Poole said during a Sept. 16 Silent Knight webinar titled “Role and Responsibility of the Engineer vs. the Designer.” “We’re in this business to save lives and protect property, and there are lots of ways we do that.”

“As the community continues to struggle with a number of firefighter deaths, fire protection engineers are involved in making buildings safer,” Poole added. “We’re here to protect the safety and the welfare of the public from fire hazards.”two solutions

While engineers play a critical role in the fire protection industry, designers also play a part when it comes to fire alarms and mass notification systems. Participants left the webinar with an enhanced understanding of the separate responsibilities of the two professions. For instance, fire protection engineers evaluate the broad range of hazards and protection schemes required to develop a workable, integrated solution to a fire safety problem, while designers prepare drawings and material submittals based on the engineer’s design.

“From a fire alarm perspective, the fire protection engineer sets the criteria for the fire detection system—whether the fire alarm will be a manual or automatic system, how to sound the speakers or horns, whether there will be strobe lights or laser beam detectors,” said Poole, PE, FSFPE. “Now once that criteria is set, then the designer can pick up the fire alarm criteria and do the shop drawings.”

Here’s a bit more on the distinct roles:

Design and Layout Stages: When setting the design parameters for the system, the engineer takes into account how fires spark and grow; how smoke moves throughout a building; how many exits there are in a building; and numerous other factors. After the engineer prepares the criteria documents, the designer develops the shop drawings according to the engineer’s design. The engineer will review the designer’s drawings and it’s the engineer’s responsibility to make sure the shop drawings are consistent with the initial design parameters for the system.

Installation and Testing Stages: Subsequently, the engineer will monitor the system’s installation to make sure the right types of materials are being utilized, ensuring installation is consistent with the design’s intent. Once the system is installed at the end of the job, the engineer needs to be present to witness final acceptance testing and commissioning of the system to make sure it truly works as designed and intended, according to Poole, who has served as project manager, project engineer and lead fire protection engineer on projects for public and private sector clients.

Liability Insurance Significance: Moreover, it’s critical that engineers understand the liability and responsibility in the fire protection industry. For instance, if a resident passes away in a fire because a smoke detector could not be located properly, the engineer would be held liable, which is why engineers must obtain professional liability insurance.

The webinar is now viewable on demand on the Silent Knight website. Click here to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of the engineer and designer.


About the Author
Beth Welch is the Manager of Public Relations and Social Engagement for Honeywell Fire Systems. For a decade, she has strived to raise awareness of new technologies, industry trends and information, for the benefit of engineers, integrators and end users.

CO Fact #3 – What Are the Sources of Carbon Monoxide (CO)?

CO can be found throughout any residential or commercial occupancy, including one- and two-family dwellings, apartment buildings, hotels, dormitories, schools, hospitals, restaurants and daycare centers. Some of the common sources of CO in buildings are:

  • Boilers, furnaces, hot water heaters or gagas stove burners ranges that are not correctly installed or properly maintained. For example if a furnace flue is improperly sized, blocked or disconnected it will result dangerous level
    s of CO in the building.
  • Gas power tools, portable generators and charcoal grills are also common sources
  • And vehicles left running in garages result in hundreds of people being poisoned every year

I hope you’re finding these facts interesting and useful. I would encourage fire alarm installers and service providers, as well as building owners and members of the fire service, to consider sharing these facts with your customers and tenants. It’s important they understand the dangers behind CO, as well as its effects – which I will be covering in my CO Fact #4 next week.

Richard Roberts is Industry Affairs Manager at Honeywell Fire Safety with over 30 years in the fire alarm and carbon monoxide market. His experience spans the installation, sales, and product development of code-compliant products and systems. Currently, Mr. Roberts is a member of eight NFPA Technical Committees and he serves on the Board of Directors for the Automatic Fire Alarm Association (AFAA) and Chair of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Smoke & CO Committee and Building Codes Committee.

Training Gives Dealers Competitive Advantage

I see training as a very important tool that companies need to take advantage of with their field technicians. More often than not, technology advances faster than we can keep up with it. New products are coming out every day as well as revisions to existing core products.SK Train 1

In every class that I instruct, I learn something new about the industry; and that improves my training skills and quality of the programs. This is also true for the students, as the training improves their skills and gives you (the installing contractor) a competitive advantage. A well-trained technician offers faster and higher quality installations and service calls. That translates into reduced risk in going over budget and allows you to close out projects faster.

In the spirit of promoting training, we offer an intense 3 day, hands-on course with Silent Knight products. This course is called Tech-Ed Knight School and includes the 5820XL-EVS fire alarm / Emergency Communication Systems (ECS) panel and the software to name a few exciting elements of what is covered.

In my own career, I valued training as a way I could stay ahead of the competition and understand the new products that are available and coming out soon. I encourage you to do the same by going to our online training site on to find a city and date that is convenient to take advantage of this offer. Sign up today!

About the Author
Brian Brownell has worked within the fire alarm industry for 30 years and joined Silent Knight three years ago as technical trainer.