smoke detector placement

smoke detector placement requirements seem to be one of the things that varys the most between localities, but that's usually in regard to hallways and bedrooms as far as i've seen. my question is this:

short version: do localities base their building codes on the nec or the nfac??

long version: i was finishing a rough-in today on a house and had just finished wiring up the smoke detectors. there was a 25' long hallway that i placed 2 smoke detectors in on the ceiling about 5' from each end of the hall, and 6" off the wall. shortly after our lead electrician comes behind me and rips the boxes off the ceiling and yelling saying "according to code smoke detectors have to be at least

12in off the wall." i told him he was full of it because the national fire alarm code clearly states that ceiling mounted smoke detectors must be no closer than 4in off the wall so my location was just fine. at that point he claimed that he had failed inspections before for mounting them less than 12in. he also yelled at me for the one that i placed in the living room. according to the nfac wall mounted smoke detectors must be within 12in of the ceiling but no closer than 4in. he told me that i put it "unnecessarily high" and asked me why i didn't mount it much lower (it was about an 18ft ceiling). he also yelled saying that "we don't follow the nfac because we're not installing a fair alarm system, just smoke detectors. we follow the nec." now i may have missed a section of the nec, but the only section i can find that pertains to smoke detectors is article 760. and in article 760 fpn no. 1 clearly says that the nec only covers the wiring and refers to the nfac for everything else regarding them. i assume that its referring to 11.8.3 - smoke detectors and smoke alarms in the nfac.

i'm just really sick of getting chewed out for doing things that im almost positive are correct. am i wrong here?? if anyone can give me a definite answer i would greatly appreciate it. thanks in advance!

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Your lead sparky is an asshole, for starters. That being said, I see that every local department thinks they are engineers, and have to put their own stamp on things, much like a dog and a fire hydrant. They like to screw around with what wiring is covered by AFCIs and GFCIs also. Here is an example for you on local code tweaking: The town my mother lives in is about

8' below mean sea level and smack up against a river, and has flooded before. The local code now says that all wall receptacles must be located at least 18 inches off the floor on the ground floor of any dwelling. This is to keep the water out of them in case it floods. Note that it is still O.K. to put a j-box anywhere you want, and that the average house would barely have a roof showing during a flood, even in summer months. But it gives people "the warm fuzzies" to think about how this stuff is there to protect them, so on it goes.
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Long Ranger

Different types of detectors need to be installed in differing locations. ION type do poorly near vents or returns. HEAT type, higher the better.

Have you ever read the directions for the units your installing?

Ya I agree with the other poster, lead sparky is an ass. Showing someone how and why, is preferred to yelling and correcting.

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Yes. Forget the technical right/wrong issue. The "wrong" is that you aren't making your supervisor (acting supervisor?) happy with the work you are doing. You're stuck with dealing with him - you need to figure out how.


if anyone can give me a

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