Q: Is Class ‘A’ wiring required in new construction for new fire alarm systems?
A: Per NFPA 72-2010, chapter 184.108.40.206, unless a class of wiring is determined by a local AHJ or the owner, it’s a design decision, based on an evaluation of site specific conditions and the needs of the facility. There’s nothing in NFPA 101, 72 or 70 that mandates a particular pathway class must be used in a particular occupancy for fire alarm systems. The only mandates are what devices go in (based on the LSC); where they go in (based on NFPA72) and the physical attributes of the conduit & conductors, along with their mounting methods (based on NFPA 70).
Many times healthcare notification circuits are subject to survivability requirements because they do not have general evacuation, but the intent of survivability is to provide continuity of service through physical protection of the conductors from attack by fire rather than to ensure continuity of service due to any circuit break. Some design engineers equate survivability with Class A wiring, but that’s a mistake. Class A wiring may be used in conjunction with other factors such as sprinkler coverage as a performance means of achieving survivability in lieu of the prescriptive method, but it’s not required.