National Fire Protection Association’s proposed new documents, NFPA 730, the “Guide for Electronic Premises Security,” and 731, the “Standard for the Installation of Electronic Premises Security Systems,” are currently out for public review.

“These are two distinct and different draft documents that have been released by the NFPA’s Technical Committee on Premises Security for public review and comment, which the NFPA calls ‘public proposals,’” says Mark Visbal, associate director of standards and technology, Security Industry Association (SIA), Alexandria, Va.

This phase in the documents’ development follows a storied history of the proposals marked by what Visbal calls a pitched battle between the proponents of the “installation standard” versus the proponents of the “electronic security code.”

According to Visbal, a disagreement within the Technical Committee of code versus standard led to a split within the committee into two task groups: the NFPA 730 “code” group and the NFPA 731 “installation standard” group.

Visbal says that pressure from various interest groups led to the 730 being voted down to a “guide.”

“NFPA 730 is the first document in the industry that addresses premises security for many different types of occupancies. It does require the user to conduct a threat assessment and then follow the guidance for their particular occupancy. At this stage the document is being put forward as a guide, which means it is a combination of recommendations and information,” says Richard P. Bielen, PE, chief systems and applications engineer, NFPA.

Bielen says that NFPA 731 is a standard similar to NFPA 72, and will address installation requirements for electronic security systems. Installers of fire alarm systems will see parallel requirements with security systems.

Both documents are presently in the ROP stage, which means the technical committee will be reviewing all public proposals at its February 18-20, 2004 meeting in Tempe, Ariz. The documents are in the May 2005 cycle and are scheduled to be published around August 2005.

To download the draft documents, go to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) web site at, use the navigation bar at the top of the page, select “Codes and Standards,” and choose “Drafts of proposed documents” from the subsequent page.