ERCES BDA Building Survey

ERCES BDA building survey- New Public Safety requirements for Florida building owners.   

Florida contractors and owners frequently disregard the BDA Building Survey until permit-required upgrades prompt attention, often due to unawareness of the prerequisites. Across the state of Florida, compliance with NFPA and FFPC for ERCES/ERRCS standards is obligatory, necessitating that a Florida ERCES BDA building survey be submitted to the city. The central infrastructure, encompassing BDA, Public Safety, ERCES, ERRCS, and public safety DAS, essentially refer to the same system, but often used interchangeable by region, and all require a bda building survey no matter what you call it.

To ensure your Florida ERCES BDA building surveyr eport is in compliance with NFPA and state fire code standards, along with local Florida AHJ requirements, it’s imperative to hire a contractor with Florida experience in the field.  As of July 2023, if your building falls under the new code, it must undergo an initial ERCES BDA building survey grid test, in which needs to be done by a licensed tech. This confirms whether BDA public safety frequencies are adequately received within the building. It's imperative that the grid test is conducted using the appropriate tools to guarantee accuracy, otherwise you may need to redo the grid test. As a Florida ERCES BDA building survey contractor with experience, we empathize with the challenges faced by local property owners. Therefore, we strive to alleviate their concerns by refusing to settle for anything less than excellence. A close fail in signal strength may seem discouraging, but a few additional measurements could make all the difference to the overall pass/fail. Given the unpredictable nature of RF signals, investing time in meticulous grid analysis could prevent unnecessary expenses.

Every municipality has embraced its unique set of governing regulations, interpretations, and augmentations overlaying the standards. However, with the introduction of the new Florida ERCES fire code, local municipalities are now being scrutinized for these practices and are subject to a more stringent set of rules, hopefully clarifying and streamlining the requirements.   

Engaging an experienced expert for your BDA testing needs is essential for accurate results meeting requirements. Certain BDA test equipment can only conduct single-frequency readings in coverage mapping mode. When multiple frequencies are needed or a grid test is required, technicians must manually input the additional frequencies and perform RF measurements multiple times, consuming significant time. Moreover, to account for signal fade, several captures with 20-second intervals between readings are necessary, prolonging time on-site. This process may lead to skewed results and unnecessary expenditure for coverage that might not be required. 

In Florida, Florida, and throughout the state, NDC uses the right equipment and suitable tools for the task. Our spectrum analyzers range from compact testers to those tailored for specific systems like ERRCS / ERCES Public Safety DAS. When we deliver results, rest assured they're precise, indicating coverage gaps with comprehensive tests.

NDC’s Florida ERCES BDA building survey Testing procedures:

  1. Preparation: Before conducting the testing, we meticulously analyze your building's floor plan and collect essential pre-testing data, including control channels, frequencies, current code requirements, and Google Earth views. Subsequently, we integrate the floor plans into the scanner for seamless execution of the testing process.
  2. Frequency Configuration: The spectrum analyzer is then configured to scan the specific frequencies used for emergency communication, threshold settings, grids, and other relevant details are applied.
  3. Measurement: Our technician conducts measurements at each grid location to assess the signal strength, quality, and reliability of the ERCES by recording data points, noting any areas of weak or no coverage, as well as potential sources of interference. We follow a predefined grid pattern to ensure thorough coverage assessment throughout the building. This systematic approach helps identify coverage gaps and areas needing improvement.
  4. Data Analysis: Once all measurements are complete, the collected data is analyzed to evaluate the performance of the ERCES. This includes assessing signal levels, identifying potential sources of interference, and determining overall effectiveness.
  5. Report Generation: A detailed report is generated summarizing the findings of the ERCES signal grid test. This report includes maps indicating signal strength levels, pass or fail details, floors and grids scanned, critical and non-critical pass/fail, area size etc.
  6. Review and Action: The test report is furnished to the building owner, general contractor, or the party that engaged NDC for testing. It is then incumbent upon the recipient to either include it in their permitting package or furnish a copy to the AHJ, as per their preference.

If the test results indicate that the building does not meet current codes, NDC possesses the expertise to offer a design and quotation for installation. This ensures that the building can be brought into compliance with regulatory requirements.