How To File For an ARC System

Many modern buildings of New York City are required by law to have an ARC system (auxiliary radio communication system) to support fire responders in an emergency. The filing procedures for in-building auxiliary communication system can be a time-consuming process, but is necessary to ensure the future of public safety. 

How To File For an ARC System

Filing for an ARC System can be one of the most tedious administrative tasks for engineers, electrical contractors, and the Fire Department of New York alike. TowerIQ's Channel Support member Kayla Harripersaud details the process of filing for an ARC System approval and what can be expected.

The First Filing: FDNY ARCS Requirements and Plan Approval
The first step in submitting for ARCS approval is using an RF engineering team to create computer-aided designs of your building’s life safety network infrastructure. This can be rendered through drawings or iBWave modeling. TowerIQ provides pre-sale support and complimentary drawings to engineers and contractors throughout the ARCs approval process. After the initial drawings have been created, the hired engineer or contractor must have a Professional Engineer (P.E.) give a stamp of approval so the drawings and forms can be sent to the FDNY for approval. For the first filing, the following documents must be sent to the FDNY:

  • 1. Printed ARCS Designs in sizes 11" x 17" and 24”x 36” 
  • 2.TM-1 Form  
  • 3. A filing fee sent to the FDNY for $585.00
  • 4. The original owner’s agreement, or ARCs agreement, that is signed and notarized
  • 5. The TM-1 has to be signed by ownership before sent to FDNY

The Second Filing: Installation and Radio Testing
The first filing process takes from 4 to 6 weeks, and if an objection is made, the process could cost engineers another four to six weeks in time. The installation can begin once the first filing is approved. After the antenna and cable are installed inside the building, a line sweep (or line check) is conducted by one of our technicians. Once our technician has approved, the component installation is completed and the coverage testing with FDNY can now be scheduled. This can be a lengthy process as twenty points, or locations are tested per floor. These recordings are sent to our RF Engineering team to be processed into files for us and submittal to FDNY. As-built drawings are made from the results of the radio testing, and detail every antenna, cable, and device location. For the second filing, the following documents must be sent to the FDNY:

  • 1. Plan review filing check to FDNY of $585.00
  • 2. Professional Engineer’ office receives original drawings to take to FDNY
  • 3. TM-1 for Fire Department of New York
  • 4. The test result recordings on a CD
  • 5. Visual and Functional Testing Form (TM-ARCS-2) 

Objections are made for various reasons including not enough detail regarding equipment, what is in the RAU, the RAU location, what antennas are used, and if the as-built drawings differ from the initial drawings. This can also occur when equipment has moved floors or when there are changes to the infrastructure of the building. In some cases, a PAA, or Post Approval Amendment may need to be submitted to both the FDNY. This review process can typically take between 3 to 4 weeks.

The Final Stages: FDNY Approval
Now that the building has been approved, the FDNY will make the appointment for an inspection in one or two weeks from the filing. The appointment will generally occur two months from that date. During an inspection, the FDNY will test the communications in-building and the radio system. The FDNY will issue a report and TowerIQ will pass it on to the Professional Engineer. Once the Letter of Approval is received, the project is considered completed. The following forms will need to be sent in order to receive an inspection date:

  • A4-33 sgned and sealed by Electrical Contractor
  • As-built riser and sealed by Electrical Contractor

Managing Expectations and TowerIQ Recommendations
There are many misconceptions when filing for an ARC System, including timing, tediousness, and the amount of administrative overlay. There are no existing guidelines to what will be approved every filing, and any post-approval amendments only add extra time to the process. TowerIQ recommends that one year is allotted for the process, given all filing requirements  are submitted on time. The typical ARCS filing timeframe is:

              • Drawing Generation By TowerIQ: 1 week
              • First Filing Review By FDNY: 4 - 6 weeks
              • Second Filing Review By FDNY: 6 - 8 weeks
              • To Schedule FDNY Inspection: 2 weeks
              • FDNY Inspection: 8 weeks

TowerIQ provides complimentary drawings for architects and engineers needing a life-safety wireless network. Just fill in our contact form below and one of our representatives will be in touch.

Recommended Reading

UPDATE: Filing Procedures for ARCS Applications Have Changed

What is an FDNY ARC System? 

Tactical Series by TowerIQ 

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