With the advent of NSPIRE (National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate), significant changes have been introduced in the REAC scoring system, particularly concerning the ‘Call-For-Aid System’ in housing units. This shift indicates a stronger focus on the functionality and reliability of safety features within individual units.
Understanding the Impact on REAC Scoring
Previously under UPCS (Uniform Physical Condition Standards), a deficiency in the ‘Call-For-Aid System’ within a unit might have resulted in a minor deduction of around 0.10 points. However, under NSPIRE, this has substantially increased. For instance, in a property with 100 units, a single deficiency could lead to a loss of 2.4 points. This significant change underscores the heightened importance placed on these systems in ensuring resident safety.
Location and Accessibility of Pull Cords
Typically, pull cords are installed in bathrooms and occasionally in bedrooms. However, their absence in other parts of the apartment raises concerns about their effectiveness during medical emergencies that may occur elsewhere in the unit. Consequently, some properties are contemplating the removal of these systems altogether, weighing the practicality against the potential risks.
Guidelines for Removing the Call-For-Aid System
Under the NSPIRE standard, there is a notable shift in policy regarding the removal of ‘Call-For-Aid’ systems. Unlike UPCS, where complete removal of all components was necessary to avoid a deficiency citation, NSPIRE permits the removal of just the pull cords. This change acknowledges that the absence of user interface elements (like pull cords) signifies the system is no longer active. However, other components like lights, audible alarms, and annunciator panels can remain intact without affecting the property’s score.
Inspection and Documentation of the System
Another critical aspect under NSPIRE is the approach to inspecting these systems. If a property has had the ‘Call-For-Aid System’ inspected by a certified third party and possesses documentation proving that all parts of the system were inspected within the past 12 months, the REAC inspector is not mandated to test the pull stations. This provision allows for a more streamlined inspection process and can be a significant time-saver during the REAC assessment.
Action Steps for Property Managers and Owners
Evaluate the System: Assess the current state and placement of ‘Call-For-Aid’ systems in your property. Consider their practicality and necessity based on their locations within the units.
Consider System Removal: If contemplating removal, understand that under NSPIRE, you can remove just the pull cords without needing to dismantle other components of the system.
Ensure Proper Documentation: If you opt to keep the system, ensure it is inspected by a qualified third party annually and maintain thorough records of these inspections. This documentation will be crucial during REAC inspections.
Stay Informed: Continuously update your knowledge about NSPIRE standards and REAC scoring changes to ensure your property remains compliant and scores well.
The changes to the ‘Call-For-Aid System’ under NSPIRE reflect a broader shift towards ensuring the efficacy and relevance of safety systems in housing units. For property managers and owners, staying abreast of these changes and adapting accordingly is vital for maintaining high standards of resident safety and achieving favorable REAC scores. Contact us at The Inspection Group to learn more.