Guide to the Canadian Electrical Code, Part I: Section 32

EIN Bill Burr Code 400

Apr 13, 2021

By William (Bill) Burr

Section 32 – Fire Alarm Systems, Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms, and Fire Pumps, as outlined in Rule 32-000 Scope, is a supplementary or amendatory section of the code and provides additional and specific requirements for the location, installation, wiring, and protection, of

• local fire alarm systems

• permanently connected smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

• fire pumps required by the National Building Code of Canada as referenced in Appendix G

For further information, reference should also be made to Canadian Standard CAN/ULC – S524 Standard for the Installation of Fire Alarm Systems published by https://canada.ul.com/. Appendix B contains important additional helpful notes and the CEC Handbook also contains helpful information.

Fire alarm systems

Rule 32-100 specifies the requirements for insulated conductors and cables in fire alarm systems which include:

• copper material

• ampacity

• use of optical fiber cables

• use of stranded conductors

• insulation rated at 300 volts

• determining wire size for raceways or integral assemblies

• selection in accordance with rules 12-102(3) or 12-122(1)

Rule 32-102 outlines wiring methods for installation of insulated conductors:

• either in metal, non-metallic raceway, or having a metal armour or sheath

• where installed in buildings of combustible construction, conductors must be installed in accordance with Section 12

• conductors need to be installed independent of any other wiring except for point of supply, signal, ancillary device, or communication circuits and must be insulated for the highest voltage rated conductor

• communication circuits must conform to Section 60

Rule 32-104 requires that all exposed non-current-carrying parts of electrical equipment must be bonded to ground in accordance with Section 10, and that non-metallic fire alarm wiring systems must incorporate a bonding conductor. sized in accordance with Rule 10-616.

Rule 32-106 denotes that for electrical supervision, each circuit conductor terminal shall be independently terminated.

Rule 32-108 specifies that the fire alarm system power supply, except for included additional control units or transponders, be on a separate circuit and that the overcurrent devices and disconnecting means be permanently identified as a fire alarm system, be coloured red, and lockable in the on position.

Rule 32-200 provides installation requirements for permanently connected smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms in dwelling units that are required by the National Building Code of Canada (see Appendix G). The rule requires that

• smoke and carbon monoxide alarms be supplied from a circuit, such as a lighting only or mixed lighting and receptacle circuit

• that will provide an indication if shut off

• have no disconnect between the alarms and the branch circuit overcurrent device

• have no GFCI or AFCI device between the alarms and the branch circuit overcurrent device, except where a smoke, carbon monoxide or a combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarm has an integral battery as a secondary supply source

As an exception to the requirements of Rules 32-100 and 32-102, where a smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alarm and associated equipment circuit utilizes a Class 2 power supply for interconnection, Class 2 wiring methods may be used for buildings of combustible construction, in accordance with Rules 12-506 to 12-524.

Fire pumps

Rule 32-300 requires that insulated conductors for the supply of a fire pump supplied from the emergency power source have an ampacity not less than 125% of the full load current rating of the motor or sum of multiple motors and auxiliary motors, and be protected from fire exposure to provide continuing operation during a fire as required by the National Building Code of Canada (see Appendix G).

Rule 32-302 outlines the requirements for insulated conductors of fire pumps to be installed in metal raceways, in armour or metal sheathed cable, selected in accordance with Rule 12-102 (3) in rigid non-metallic conduit embedded in concrete, or electrical non-metallic tubing embedded in concrete.

Rule 32-304 provides that a separate service box for a fire pump and equipment may be installed in conformance with rule 32-306 below and, notwithstanding rule 6-102(2), may be located remote from other service boxes.

Rule 32-306 requires that no disconnecting means, overcurrent protection or device capable of interrupting the fire pump circuit may be placed between the service box from the normal power supply and the fire pump transfer switch or controller:

• except a circuit breaker that is permanently labeled identifying it as a fire pump disconnect.

• In addition, the circuit breaker must be lockable in the closed position and may be in the separate service box as in Rule 32-304 above.

• In the case where this circuit breaker is installed in an emergency power supply circuit between the emergency power source and the fire pump transfer switch, the rating of the circuit breaker shall be

◦ as per rule 28-200

◦ be set or rated to not less than the rating of the overcurrent protection provided integral with the fire pump transfer switch

◦ indefinitely carry the locked rotor current of the fire pump

◦ where it is installed in a normal supply circuit be rated not less than the overcurrent protection of the fire pump controller

• where the circuit breaker is installed in an emergency supply feeder between the emergency generator and the fire pump transfer switch, the feeder must bypass the generator main circuit breaker and be connected directly to the emergency generator.

Rule 32-308 requires that where an on-site electrical transfer switch is used to provide emergency power supply to a fire pump, it must be provided solely for the fire pump, located in a barriered or separate compartment or enclosure, permanently labeled as the fire pump power transfer switch, and suitable and marked for fire pump service. Where more than one fire pump is provided, a transfer switch is required for each fire pump.

Rule 32-310 provides that overload and overheating protection for branch circuit, control or equipment conductors shall not be required but shall be protected by the motor branch circuit overcurrent device.

Rule 32-210 specifies that ground fault protection shall not be installed in a fire pump circuit.

In the next installment, we will be discussing Section 34 – Signs and Outline Lighting.

William (Bill) Burr is the former Chair of the Canadian Advisory Council on Electrical Safety (CACES), former Director of Electrical and Elevator Safety for the Province of BC, and former Director of Electrical and Gas Standards Development and former Director of Conformity Assessment at CSA Group. Bill can be reached at Burr and Associates Consulting billburr@gmail.com.

* Source: CSA C22.1:21, Canadian Electrical Code, Part 1 – Safety Standard for Electrical Installations. © 2021 Canadian Standards Association. Please visit store.csagroup.org. With the permission of CSA Group, material is reproduced from CSA Group standard CSA C22.1:21, Canadian Electrical Code, Part 1 – Safety Standard for Electrical Installations. This material is not the complete and official position of CSA Group on the referenced subject, which is represented solely by the Standard in its entirety. While use of the material has been authorized, CSA Group is not responsible for the manner in which the data are presented, nor for any representations and interpretations. No further reproduction is permitted. For more information or to purchase standard(s) from CSA Group, please visit store.csagroup.org or call 1-800-463-6727.

Related Articles


Latest Articles

  • Video: LEDVANCE Lightpoint Learning Facility

    Video: LEDVANCE Lightpoint Learning Facility

    February 23, 2024 LIGHTPOINT Studio & Showroom, the brand-new corporate classroom training facility, located at their national customer service and sales center (NCSSC) in Westfield, IN. Go HERE for more information Read More…

  • How Effective Communication Reduces Plant Hazards

    How Effective Communication Reduces Plant Hazards

    February 23, 2024 By Rick Farrell, President, PlantTours In plant operations, the margin for error is notoriously slim. The smallest oversight, a single misinterpreted instruction, or an unnoticed alert can be the difference between smooth operations and catastrophic failures. While advanced technologies and protocols play an undeniable part in ensuring safety, the bedrock upon which… Read More…

  • A Guide To The Most Essential Hand Tools for Electricians

    A Guide To The Most Essential Hand Tools for Electricians

    February 22, 2024 By Jonard Tools It is currently a great time to be an electrician- however, you’ll need the right hand tools for the job. In this article Jonard Tools highlight the most essential hand tools for electrical work, as well as dive into the specifics of how they are utilized and why they’re… Read More…

  • New Research on Smart Home Technology and Market Trends

    New Research on Smart Home Technology and Market Trends

    February 22, 2024 AI-driven features in home energy management and security systems excite more than half of the current smart home users, concludes new research exploring the perceptions, preferences, and reservations of residential renters and owners regarding the adoption and usage of smart home technologies. However, the survey also highlights data privacy concerns and high… Read More…


Changing Scene

  • LEDVANCE Canada Welcomes Cristiano Konofal as National Account Manager

    LEDVANCE Canada Welcomes Cristiano Konofal as National Account Manager

    February 26, 2024 LEDVANCE Canada has introduced Cristiano Konofal as their National Account Manager. “I am thrilled to announce the return of Cristiano Konofal as a National Account Manager. Cristiano has extensive experience working with our customer base and has technical skills that will be an asset to our team. We look forward to seeing… Read More…

  • Government of Canada Invests in TDG Transit Design Group

    Government of Canada Invests in TDG Transit Design Group

    February 23, 2024 The Governemnt of Canada has announced a FedDev Ontario investment of over $1.6 million for TDG Transit Design Group, a manufacturer and designer of made-in-Canada, energy-efficient LED lighting systems for the global rail transit industry. Through this investment, TDG Transit Design Group will adopt new equipment at its newly expanded 10,000-square-foot facility… Read More…

  • Alberta to Invest in Apprenticeship Seats Through 2024 Budget

    Alberta to Invest in Apprenticeship Seats Through 2024 Budget

    February 23, 2024 Through their Budget 2024, Alberta’s government would invest an additional $24 million per year over the next three years to create 3,200 apprenticeship seats at 11 post-secondary institutions across the province. The new investment would bring the total funding through the Apprenticeship Learning Grant for the 2024-25 academic year to $78 million…. Read More…

  • PataBid and City Electric Supply Introduce Estimating Software Promotion

    PataBid and City Electric Supply Introduce Estimating Software Promotion

    February 23, 2024  City Electric Supply Corporation CA and PataBid have joined forces to offer our mutual customers an exclusive discount on Quantify electrical estimating software.  Sign up for a free trial and link your CES account to your PataBid Quantify account to unlock this special offer. If you’re not registered with CES yet, drop by… Read More…