Northeast Florida State Hospital Fire Alarm Replacement

Dell Consulting was hired to a complete fire alarm replacement for 54 campus buildings, totaling over 600,000 square feet.  The existing fire alarm system serving these buildings consisted of obsolete, decentralized fire alarm control panels that were no longer supported by the fire alarm system vendor.


    • Location:  MacClenny, FL
    • Project Size: 600,000 SF
    • Cost:  $4,600,000
    • Facility Type: Government
    • Owner: Florida Department of Children and Families
    • Services:  Electrical , Fire Alarm and Mechanical Engineer

Because Northeast Florida State Hospital is a mental health institution, 26 of the campus buildings fall under Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) jurisdiction. The project was divided into two bid packages to facilitate AHCA review. Package A included the 26 buildings under AHCA jurisdiction with Package B containing the remaining 28 buildings.

The fire alarm replacement consists of a new, dedicated, fire alarm control panel for each building, new fault-tolerant Class X signal line circuits (SLC) and devices, and notification appliance circuit (NAC) wiring and devices. Each fire alarm control panel is networked together via a new single-mode fiber optic backbone dedicated to the fire alarm system. All system alarm, trouble, and supervisory signals are aggregated and report to a central fire management system located in the facility’s security office. The central fire management system displays the entire campus through a graphical user interface. In the event of an alarm, the security staff can display the alarmed building’s floor plan and identify the exact device that is in alarm. The new central fire management system is also integrated into the facility’s existing CCTV camera system consisting of over 450 cameras to allow security staff to view the camera feed nearest to the alarmed device.

Due to construction budget concerns, the design was divided into base bid and additive alternate plans. The base bid plans design a one-for-one device replacement of the existing fire alarm system. The additive alternate plans provide a fire alarm design that meets current code requirements. This approach ensured the maximum value for the allocated construction budget.

To accurately document the fire alarm system requirements and to comply with AHCA’s submission requirements, Dell Consulting provided updated Life Safety Plans and generated current mechanical as-built drawings for each building within the scope of work. These plans documented the location of existing smoke compartments, rated walls, and life safety devices including fire dampers and smoke dampers.

At DCF’s request, Dell Consulting also conducted a life safety assessment and mechanical system conditions assessment for each of the buildings within the project scope. These reports identified existing building deficiencies, prepared recommendations to address the deficiencies, and developed rough-order-of-magnitude (ROM) costs to address each deficiency.

Dell Consulting served as the Prime Consultant for this work.  We managed the project architect, civil engineer, and surveyor.

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