If you’re a contractor that primarily focuses on constructing buildings in the educational or commercial arena, you’ll already be well aware of the various stipulations required to have a building passed for those all-important documents, such as the Certificate of Occupancy
Many buildings are constructed without an Emergency Responder Distributed Antenna System (DAS) in place, which leads to inspection failures for jurisdictions where reliable radio frequency transmission throughout the building is required by law. Rather than an afterthought, here’s why you need to be thinking about installing a DAS system within your building from the start of your next project.
Why You Need an Emergency Responder DAS System for Your Building?
As mentioned, local authorities and municipalities across the nation have ramped up the communications requirements in the wake of disasters such as 9/11 to ensure that first responders can carry out reliable and potentially life-saving communications using UHF, VHF, and 700 Mhz/800Mhz frequencies. If your construction fails to meet those requirements, you may need to implement DAS systems to ensure coverage.
Emergency Responder DAS works by amplifying radio frequencies throughout your building or property, providing excellent service to every square inch of the property. The system works by distributing the available outside radio signals from a donor antenna over a network of interior antennas installed in the building. These interior antennas disperse that radio frequencies throughout the building to provide perfect coverage throughout.
Building materials and functional design will impact the RF signal propagation through your building.. Materials such as concrete, metal, and low-E glass impact or impede radio frequency signals. Thus, it makes sense to think about where you might use those materials and how they can be positioned to minimize the impact on radio frequencies.
Traditionally weak signal areas such as stairwells, elevators, underground parking garages, and basements are all places you’re likely to need the help of an Emergency Responder DAS system to be certified by the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ), regardless of how you construct your next project.
We’ve already helped several general contractors that work in the education segment with their DAS requirements.
San Jacinto College – An NCS Case Study
NCS helped to ensure the $60 million Center for Petrochemical Energy and Technology at San Jacinto College was able to meet national and local building regulations. During the facility’s final walkthrough, the fire marshal discovered he could not communicate with dispatch in specific areas of the building; therefore, the City of Pasadena was unable to sign off on the Certificate of Occupancy.
NCS quickly mobilized to install an Emergency Responder Distributed Antenna System (DAS) to meet the National Fire Alarm and Signaling (NFPA) 72 Code for emergency management systems.
During pre-install, benchmark testing procedures, and coverage analysis, it was determined that the average signal strength was well below the requirements outlined in NFPA 72. Post-installation testing confirmed that this was a successful installation with average signal strength well above NCPA 72 requirements. The completed DAS system was comprised of rooftop donor antennas, surge protection, bi-directional amplifiers, battery back-up systems, ½” coaxial cabling, directional couplers, and omnidirectional indoor antennas.
But installing a DAS doesn’t just help you secure a Certificate of Occupancy. Cellular DAS systems can provide many other benefits that will increase the value of your building.
Advantages of Installing a Comprehensive DAS System
In addition to an Emergency Responder DAS, it makes sense to install a Cellular Distributed Antenna System. Sometimes referred to as an “in-building cellular enhancement system,” it’s an ideal solution to combat poor cellular reception inside a building.
As the contractor on a building, you can increase its value by guaranteeing high performance for LTE devices, improved call quality, and enhanced data coverage for cellular devices, regardless of the number of users. On a speculative commercial build, the installation of a multifaceted DAS (cellular and emergency responder) can make all the difference in attracting buyers or leasers and increasing its overall value.
Save Both Time and Money with Early Involvement from NCS on Your Next Construction Project
As a general contractor, leaving a DAS until the last moment can prove expensive, especially if the building hasn’t been designed with radio frequencies or cellular signals in mind. Therefore, it makes sense to bring NCS on board to provide insights that will save you both time and money by determining DAS requirements before trying to wrap up the project .
We can undertake pre-installation benchmark radio-frequency surveys, alerting you early in the process to any areas that are likely to need the help of a DAS to meet regulatory requirements or commercial specifications. In addition to benchmark testing, we can provide a comprehensive package of test results and deliver grid analysis on floor plans with recommendations to keep DAS investments within budget.
Whether you are pre- or post-build, for a more detailed breakdown of our DAS services, contact a member of our team to discuss your building’s requirements.