So far, every aspect of this morning has “Blue Monday” written all over it. From traffic snarls slowing me down to that sinking feeling that I’m late for my first appointment of the day, the one with the Fire Marshall. And now here’s a text from my assistant that he’s arrived early. That’s just great.
The ERRCS in my Building is Inadequate?
A Tale of the Day I Discovered the Team at SignalBoosters.com
“I could use a coffee,” is my greeting to everyone in the lobby, as I push through the glass doors of the multi-story office building I’m proud to manage near the Galleria. “One for you as well, sir?”
“I’m good, ma’am. Already had my morning two cups. Ready to walk your building?”
With coffee in hand, I set out with the Inspector from the Houston Fire Department to walk the building and garage. In an hour or so, we’re back in the lobby.
“So, how’d we do?”
“Your good news is that I’ve been able to check off most of the boxes with no issues. Your less than good news is that your building is out of compliance with newer regulations in place for Emergency Responder Radio Communications. You’ve got spotty radio coverage. Two way radio signal coverage on each floor of the building and garage needs to be a minimum of 95%. And it has to be strong and consistent across the property. Yours isn’t. It’s all here in the inspection report.”
Two way radio signal coverage on each floor of the building and garage needs to be a minimum of 95%
“I understand,” I say. We discuss the window of time for compliance spelled out in the City of Houston Fire Code, shake hands, and the Inspector hands me the report.
While my mind races with how to tackle this problem and solve it, I find more coffee and remember something about a tech team I’d heard about at SignalBoosters.com. It was at that last property managers’ association meeting. And I could have so easily gone straight home that Thursday night. Turns out that meeting and the 3-speaker panel had been no waste of time.
Somewhere in my desk are those business cards. The best of the speakers is particularly knowledgeable. He’s the guy I’m looking for. The one from SignalBoosters.com.
Before lunch, I’m introducing myself to him on the phone. Turns out he remembers me from the association meeting. I’d asked him a few questions from the floor that night. I was the one, he recalled, who had some confusion about how to determine which AHJ governs compliance for these newer ERRCS regulations in my area.
Well, I’ve learned the simple answer to that. In the Houston Metropolitan area, the answer is simply not simple. The “Authority Having Jurisdiction” (AHJ) over your commercial property is the governing body that administers and enforces the local fire code, specific to your building’s location. So, are you located in The City of Houston? Or in one of the dozens of surrounding smaller cities, towns, or municipalities? Or in an unincorporated portion of the Greater Houston area that falls under the jurisdiction of Harris County? Think of the AHJ for your commercial property as the gatekeeper for local fire code policy and enforcement, particularly as that policy relates to creating and maintaining a fully compliant Emergency Responder Radio Communication System.
Another thing to keep in mind. If your career in property development and building management may hold moves around the country in your future, you’ll find that there is no one single ERRCS standard now in place across the United States. Each state, and every municipality in each state, has the opportunity to adopt, adapt, and amend that portion of the International Fire Code as it pertains to emergency responder radio communications systems. Think “States Rights” from your high school government classes. Fire codes and the provisions to enforce them vary to meet the standards and requirements of each city, county, or municipality across the nation, as long as the key provisions of the code and its enforcement remain intact.
Each state, and every municipality in each state, has the opportunity to adopt, adapt, and amend that portion of the International Fire Code as it pertains to emergency responder radio communications systems.
“Well, my story is a bit more complicated now,” I say, launching into the reason for my call. “I’m clear on who my Authority Having Jurisdiction is. It’s the Houston Fire Department and they’re administering The City of Houston’s Amendments to the 2012 International Fire Code. What I need now is solid information. Is there some type of testing that you can do for my property to find out if any part of my present system will work in better ways? I need recommendations and costings now. We’re out of compliance here and I’m on a deadline to get this radio signal strength where it needs to be. Where do I start?”
There’s little that’s more soothing to me as a business woman than the sound of professional “news that I can use.”
“Let’s start’, he said, “by testing the system you have in place now for International Fire Code compliance. You’re managing an existing commercial property. You met requirements at the outset to get your Certificate of Occupancy and commence leasing space. We know you’re under the Houston Fire Department as your Authority Having Jurisdiction. So, we can go straight to work under current City of Houston Fire Code to test your site’s signal and determine your options.”
“Options? I have options?”
“Yes, you have options. It could be a maintenance issue. You may need only a partial upgrade to bring you into compliance. Or you may have bigger issues. Sometimes a re-design and installation gets you great signal coverage that’s more affordable to maintain than what you have now. Let’s take a look. How’s next Monday afternoon for you?”
“Two PM is good.”
“By the way, your Houston Fire Department Inspector is correct: Your building requires a minimum signal strength of -95 dBm in 95% of the building. Your site’s ERRCS must be capable also of amplifying required x and y frequencies. These frequencies are typically 700/800 megahertz. And while it’s infrequent, these frequencies may be VHF (very high frequency) or UHF (ultra high frequency).”
Your site’s ERRCS must be capable also of amplifying required x and y frequencies. These frequencies are typically 700/800 megahertz.
“Okay, we’re set for testing. I’ll need your email estimate by tomorrow on the cost for testing and what that covers.”“No worries. Our team here at SignalBoosters.com will perform signal testing on a 20x20 grid of each floor of your building. We take time to get it right. Harvard Sentences are our standard for clarity.” “Well, I’m like every property manager you deal with. I have budget constraints managing this property and new problems to solve every day. How can you work with me on stretching my budget?” “Let’s assess your signal first. If it’s possible to upgrade your current system to meet your AHJ’s standard for performance, we can work with you to achieve this. Our name says it all: We’re Signal Boosters. We work with a number of industry leaders in cellular and radio signal boosting equipment systems. The right combination of equipment, installation and service is readily available. You’ll guide us on your needs and budget. We’ll make it happen for you.
Our team here at SignalBoosters.com will perform signal testing on a 20x20 grid of each floor of your building. We take time to get it right. Harvard Sentences are our standard for clarity.
Plus, we can construct NEMA 4 enclosures to protect the active components of your system. Built for either indoor or outdoor use. Type 4 enclosures make sense. First, they give a degree of protection to personnel against contact with hazardous parts. Their solid construction protects signal boosting equipment inside the enclosure from falling dirt, windblown dust, and other solid foreign objects which might interfere with the system’s performance. Plus they provide a degree of protection from what water can do to signaling equipment: rain, sleet, snow, splashing water and hose-directed water. Radio signal boosting equipment in a Type 4 enclosure is further protected from ice formation. Not our most pressing problem in Houston; but we do have a few hard freezes most seasons. It only takes one hard freeze on unprotected equipment to cause damage.”
Hanging up the phone, I’ve got such a good feeling that this problem is on the way to a good solution. Strong, reliable and consistent cellular performance is what every property manager wants to be able to deliver to tenants. All of our businesses live or die these days on connectivity. I’ve got to have signal, Hoss, to make equipment link up like it’s actually capable of doing.
But truth be told: The most important goal of my day, every day, is keeping everyone safe who sets foot on any property I manage. Tenants, and their clients, customers and visitors, must always have access to a strong, dependable cellular signal in case of an emergency and the need to call 911. Equally important, our local emergency responders must have ever-present strong radio signal to do their jobs around the clock to protect lives and property.
Hey, my Blue Monday is turning around.
I think I’ve found my source: SignalBoosters.com.
Glad I made sure I had the right company. To reach the pros . . . the ones with the knowledge . . . the teams that deliver, call SignalBoosters.com.