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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
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Department of Housing and Community Development
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Board of Housing and Community Development
chapter
Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code [13 VAC 5 ‑ 63]
Action Update the Uniform Statewide Building Code
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ends 5/26/2017
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5/26/17  4:20 pm
Commenter: Peter E. Broadbent, Jr., Counsel for VCTA

Comments of the VCTA
 

Part 2

        C.        13 VAC 5-63-80 B.1.  Section108 Application for permit

                        Exemptions for Application for permit – Technology and Service Changes

            Section 108.2 repeats in subsection 1 the existing USBC exemption for installation of wiring and equipment, with only a new cross-reference.  However, with changes in communications technology and service models, additional clarification to this section is necessary.

            First, there is a reference in 13 VAC 5- 63-80.B.1 (ii) to “network powered broadband communications systems”.  While “network powered broadband communications systems” represented state of the art CLEC telephone technology in 2003 when the VCTA requested this exemption, in 2017 it is no longer the prevalent technology, with several different technical options available.  Striking “network powered”, and leaving “broadband communications systems”, would update this provision properly.

            Secondly, while equipment and wiring of communications systems are generally exempt, there is an exclusion for “a component” of nine categories of fire and smoke alarm and door control systems.

            The market reality is that today consumers want “whole house” control systems allowing them to remotely monitor and access a variety of functions in a home, including door controls, and with any fire alarm system connected to the whole house monitoring.  The language in the regulation that an exemption for wiring and equipment does not apply to “a component” of a fire monitoring system or door control system is less than clear.  If a new whole house monitoring system is connected to an existing fire alarm system, or a remote control door lock system is in the whole house monitoring system, that should not result in a loss of exemption for the entire system.

            The National Fire Code has requirements for telephone line monitoring of fire alarm systems (see NFPA 72 summary attached as Exhibit B), and that exception, and a clarification of “component” need to be added.

            13 VAC 5-63-80. B.1. should therefore be revised and updated as follows to reflect these points:

1.         Installation of wiring and equipment that (i) operates at less than 50 volts, (ii) is for network powered broadband communications systems, or (iii) is exempt under Section 102.3(1) or 102.3(2), except when any such installations are located in a plenum, penetrate fire rated or smoke protected construction or are a component of any of the following:

            1.1. Fire alarm system,

            1.2. Fire detection system,

            1.3. Fire suppression system,

            1.4. Smoke control system,

            1.5. Fire protection supervisory system,

            1.6. Elevator fire safety control system,

1.7. Access or egress control system or delayed egress locking or latching

       system,

            1.8. Fire damper,

            1.9. Door control system.

            Installation of wiring and equipment shall not be deemed to be a component of items 1.1-1.9 when it is i) compliant with NFPA 72 national requirements for telephone lines, as the same may be updated, or ii) is a part of a whole house or whole building monitoring system in which any of items 1.1-1.9 are one of multiple components monitored and controlled, or to which items 1.1-1.9 may be connected.

            The text of all suggested USBC changes is attached as Exhibit A.

 

IV.       CONCLUSION

            The VCTA urges the BHCD not to delay acting upon these suggestions until the next round of USBC rulemakings, but to modernize and clarify these provisions of the USBC now, to reflect current communications technology and regulatory framework, and to prevent unnecessary disputes between cable CLECs and other communications providers on the one hand, and local building inspection departments on the other hand.  The VCTA therefore requests that the BHCD incorporate the VCTA’s suggested changes in this round of its USBC rulemaking.

            The VCTA appreciates the opportunity to submit these comments and to help ensure that the Virginia USBC reflects current communications technology and practices.

                                                                        Respectfully submitted,

 

                                                                        VIRGINIA CABLE TELECOMMUNICATIONS

                                                                            ASSOCIATION

 

 

                                                                        By:  _s/s Peter E. Broadbent, Jr.,/

                                                                                    Peter E. Broadbent, Jr.

                                                                                    Counsel

                                                                                    May 26, 2017

 

 

Peter E. Broadbent, Jr.

Christian & Barton, L.L.P.

909 East Main Street

Richmond, Virginia 23219

(804) 697-4109

pbroadbent@cblaw.com

VSB No. 15962

EXHIBIT A

USBC CHANGES RECOMMENDED BY THE VCTA

            13 VAC 5-63-20.  Section 102

                        D.  Section 102.3 Exemptions.  The following are exempt from this code:

                        1.1  The equipment, wiring and supporting structures are owned or controlled by a provider of publicly regulated utility service or a franchised cable television operator or its affiliates.  In the case of communications facilities, only ownership or control of the external physical features or elements of any wiring or equipment by a provider of publicly regulated utility service or a franchised cable televisions operator or its affiliates shall be required.

 

            13 VAC5-63-20.  Section 102

            D.        Section 102.3 exemptions. The following are exempt from this code:

                        2.  Electrical equipment, transmission equipment, and related wiring used for wireless transmission of radio, broadcast, telecommunications or information service, and supporting structures in the form of traditional utility poles, in accordance with all of the following conditions:

                        2.1.      Buildings housing exempt equipment and wiring and structures (other than traditional utility poles) supporting exempt equipment and wiring shall be subject to the USBC.

 

13 VAC5-63-80 Section 108.2

            B.  Section 108.2 Exemptions from application for permit

1.         Installation of wiring and equipment that (i) operates at less than 50 volts, (ii) is for network powered broadband communications systems, or (iii) is exempt under Section 102.3(1) or 102.3(2), except when any such installations are located in a plenum, penetrate fire rated or smoke protected construction or are a component of any of the following:

            1.1. Fire alarm system,

            1.2. Fire detection system,

            1.3. Fire suppression system,

            1.4. Smoke control system,

            1.5. Fire protection supervisory system,

            1.6. Elevator fire safety control system,

1.7. Access or egress control system or delayed egress locking or latching

       system,

            1.8. Fire damper,

            1.9. Door control system.

            Installation of wiring and equipment shall not be deemed to be a component of items 1.1-1.9 when it is i) compliant with NFPA 72 national requirements for telephone lines, as the same may be updated, or ii) is a part of a whole house or whole building monitoring system in which any of items 1.1-1.9 are one of multiple components monitored and controlled, or to which items 1.1-1.9 may be connected.

 

 

 

 

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