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  1. #1
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    Stairwell Pressurization Controller Replacement - UL 864 UUKL Rated?

    I have a potential controls retrofit job that we are bidding on that has a Siemens control system at the building. I was reviewing the control drawings, and I found that they are controlling the stairwell pressurization fans for smoke management. When it comes to controllers for stairwell pressurization, do they need to carry a UL 864/ UUKL rating? The controller is basically controlling some dampers, enabling some fans, and monitoring the stairwell pressure in 2 areas. If the controller does need to carry a UUKL rating, then does everything connected to it also need to carry this rating? For instance, do I need to have special ratings on all of the HVAC field controllers and JACEs as well? I would assume that solely having the rating on the smoke management controller should suffice, but I want to make sure.

    Any feedback would be appreciated.
    J. King

  2. #2
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    Hot Potato

    Let's see who wants to touch this one. There are many "interpretations" to your situation. I would suggest that you collect some of the literature on UUKL installations from major manufacturers (Example JCI Code No. LIT-12011252) to see exactly what you're getting yourself into. Obviously, the potential liability is high and the literature reflects that.

    Be aware that there is more involved than simply using a UUKL controller. In order to get the listing a manufacturer has to generate detailed UUKL specific installation instructions that must be followed to get a UUKL installation.

    Be mindful of the AHJ. In a metropolitan area you may find a knowledgeable inspector who can be your best friend or worst enemy.

    If a system needs more than one controller and some piece of hardware is required to connect them they're going to have to be UUKL as well. You may find that the UUKL version of a simple switch or router now costs 10 times what you're accustomed to.

    Depending on what you're doing you might want to consider using the building fire alarm system to perform the actions you need. Fire alarm systems are good for almost any binary operation (dampers, fans, etc.) Fire alarm systems can also be very cost effective. It's a competitive, price driven business (although you are going to be locked into the existing vendor). Fire alarms can have very competitive installation costs. Addressable systems give new meaning to distributed IO.

  3. #3
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    Running into same issue. Engineer says that since smoke exhaust sequence (20 year old sequence) calls for AHU to run at 100% OA and VAV boxes to go 100% open in smoke exhaust mode that ALL controllers need to be UL 864 rated controllers. Having our distributor working on what we could use or if we should walk away. What VAV controllers carry a UL 864 rating?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechmike2 View Post
    Running into same issue. Engineer says that since smoke exhaust sequence (20 year old sequence) calls for AHU to run at 100% OA and VAV boxes to go 100% open in smoke exhaust mode that ALL controllers need to be UL 864 rated controllers. Having our distributor working on what we could use or if we should walk away. What VAV controllers carry a UL 864 rating?
    As an engineer I would tell you not to touch it with a ten foot pole unless the engineer specifies every component in the system and puts his/her stamp on the drawings, and includes a letter from the local AHJ saying his stamped drawings are approved.

    I am lucky to work for the government, my AHJ happens to be my bosses boss and he sits in the office next to mine so I don't have to deal with someone who wants to make you jump through hoops to show you they are in charge.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraftyNRingwise View Post
    Let's see who wants to touch this one. There are many "interpretations" to your situation. I would suggest that you collect some of the literature on UUKL installations from major manufacturers (Example JCI Code No. LIT-12011252) to see exactly what you're getting yourself into. Obviously, the potential liability is high and the literature reflects that.

    Be aware that there is more involved than simply using a UUKL controller. In order to get the listing a manufacturer has to generate detailed UUKL specific installation instructions that must be followed to get a UUKL installation.

    Be mindful of the AHJ. In a metropolitan area you may find a knowledgeable inspector who can be your best friend or worst enemy.

    If a system needs more than one controller and some piece of hardware is required to connect them they're going to have to be UUKL as well. You may find that the UUKL version of a simple switch or router now costs 10 times what you're accustomed to.

    Depending on what you're doing you might want to consider using the building fire alarm system to perform the actions you need. Fire alarm systems are good for almost any binary operation (dampers, fans, etc.) Fire alarm systems can also be very cost effective. It's a competitive, price driven business (although you are going to be locked into the existing vendor). Fire alarms can have very competitive installation costs. Addressable systems give new meaning to distributed IO.
    Using the fire alarm system is a smart idea if possible (is it a modern, still supported system, does the owner actually maintain it, etc).

    I did a bit of research on this lately and I would advise to follow the advise I gave mechmike2

    One thing to bring up to the engineer on the project is if the fans for the stairwell pressurization are run by a VFD it may be as simple as having the fire alarm send a binary signal to the VFD to operate in "fire mode". You would probably need to show the AHJ that the selected drive is UUKL rated though. I seem to remember running across a powerpoint on this very topic when researching it. I want to say it was from yokogawa? I'll see if I can dig it up somewhere.

  6. #6
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  7. #7
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    Thanks for the input I have never run into this before. Don't understand why it is such a big deal (Other than life safety). Input from fire alarm system causes system to go into a particular sequence, as long as it works. Not much different than a morning warmup sequence but with open OA damper. Not sure why VAV controllers need a special rating.

  8. #8
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    Well, there is that "life safety thing" and legal liability.
    Google up a copy of JCI Lit1201684 to see what is involved.
    This is a great document for those considering taking on such an install.

    There is a great dea l more to a UUKL system than the bits and pieces you use. The real challenge is in getting the installation end of things right. Each of the "bits and pieces" comes with detailed installation requirements to maintain compliance.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechmike2 View Post
    Don't understand why it is such a big deal (Other than life safety).
    That's the only big deal part of it. This holds big liability.

  10. #10
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    I've had the hair raising experience of being involved with this one time in my career, and it took years of my life I think. Mine was retrofitting 3 floors of an existing 38 story building. This involved floor pressurization, depressurization, and a very intense fireman's override panel. The fire alarm system was being upgraded at the time so they were involved on many levels also. The single biggest thing I could suggest if your company doesn't have an engineer on staff with a PE stamp, hire one for the project. We hired one to look over our design, assist with the city inspection process, and provide a PE stamp. Which means a very large insurance policy if something goes south. What amazed me was the state of the old system, it wasn't working on many levels. Once these system are installed if nobody test them, maintains them, our even looks at them for 30 years how safe are they? I felt proud that we left them with a fully functional safe system, that was tested to insanely high levels. That said, I never want to be part of that in my career again if possible.

  11. #11
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    If I could add one more thing. A good Fire Alarm company will have licensed PE on staff. Further, most people don't realize it, but their are different disciplines where you can earn you PE (for example, the most common is Civil Engineering, because they need stamped plans for things like houses, foundations, septic systems, etc). In this case you want to make sure the PE doing the work has a PE in Fire Protection, not mechanical, electrical, or civil. These are probably the rarest PE types in the country and typically only work for Fire Alarm companies or really big A/E firms.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechmike2 View Post
    What VAV controllers carry a UL 864 rating?
    I think most of the major controls vendors do offer a UL 864 products. I know most of the Delta stuff I work with is available in UL 864 versions. Of course for more $$$.

    https://dci.deltacontrols.com/produc.../smoke-control

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