News

December 18, 2018

BFAAM invited the Michigan House of Representatives Local Government Chairman, Jim Lower, to it’s 2018 Annual Conference to discuss the work of the committee and provide a legislative update. It was also an opportunity for attendees to hear his vision for the committee and share with the chairman concerns that we face as an industry.

“It’s time for us as a state to take a serious look at the way we organize, fund, and structure local government,” Lower said. “Our basic design of local government was laid nearly two centuries ago. The leaders of the past would expect us to bring our system of government into the 21st century. I consider it an honor, a privilege, and a huge responsibility to help ensure our local governments are successful as we move into the future.”

Representative Lower said one of his main goals as the committee chairman was the need for consistency from municipality to municipality in its regulatory structure. “My hope is that we can get municipalities to agree that there need to be some consistency in how they govern businesses. “We all know that each community is unique but there needs to be a guiding set of rules that are clear to our businesses in order them to prosper,” said Lower. “As a believer in small government, I want to see a favorable regulatory environment that doesn’t pick winners and losers and treats all residents and businesses fairly,” Lower added.

Lower also discussed the minimum wage proposal and mandatory paid sick leave proposals recently adopted by the legislature.  For those who are unfamiliar, the Michigan Legislature adopted two citizen proposals that were set to be on the November ballot.  These proposals will increase the minimum wage, eliminate the “tipped” employees minimum wage bringing them inline with all other Michigan employees and create a mandatory paid sick leave proposal statewide.

“These proposals were adopted with the intent to amend them and make them more palatable to the business community,” said Lower.  While it’s unclear what the final product will look like, there’s no doubt they’ll be the biggest legislative items considered prior to 2019 and will impact all businesses across our state.”

December 18, 2018

Are you struggling to find and keep good talent at your business? You’re not alone.  With an unemployment rate hovering around 4.3 percent in Michigan and decades of eliminating skilled trades classes in high schools and trying to convince EVERY student that they need to go to college for a four-year degree, employers across the state are feeling the pinch when it comes to a quality workforce.

 Our industry is no different which is why BFAAM focused a lot of the 2018 Annual Conference on workforce development and helping our member find the talent they need to run their businesses.

Ed Koledo, the Senior Deputy for Talent Development in Michigan’s Talent Investment Agency (TIA) spoke at length about Michigan’s “Marshall Plan” which is Gov. Snyder’s $100 million investment in the skilled trades. The Marshall Plan this is a revolutionary partnership between educators, employers and other stakeholders to transform Michigan’s talent pipeline and redesign the ways Michigan invests, develops and attracts talent in our state. Michigan currently has over 100,00 unfilled job openings and matching the necessary skills of job seekers to these openings is a challenge.

The pillars of the Marshall Plan are to 1) Increase career exploration, 2) evolve to competency-based learning (i.e. provide skills that are needed in the marketplace), 3) foster business and education collaboration and 4) create multiple pathways for job seekers and employers.

The Marshall Plan will promote Competency-Based Education (CBE) in the schools so that students are getting the skills necessary for the job openings of today and in the future.  Workshops are being hosted at K-12 Schools, non-profit organizations, Career Technical Education (CTE) centers, economic development organizations, post-secondary institutions, businesses and Intermediate School Districts for employers and job seekers. Over 1,500 individuals have participated in these workshops.

Koledo also encouraged employers to look at existing resources for talent. “If you’re looking for “talent Development,” an employee pipeline, please remember to look into existing opportunities that may already exist of could be formed through organizations like local school districts, intermediate school districts, MiWorks! Offices, local economic-growth associations, state (Going Pro) and federal apprentice programs, Michigan’s Workforce Development Agency (under the Talent Investment Agency), and the Talent and Economic Development (Ted) Department.  All are great resources and are working towards more collaboration in building our talent needs of today and the future,” said Koledo.

BFAAM is encouraging its members seeking employees to contact our office so we can get you connected with the correct individuals overseeing the Marshall Plan. If you’re interested in learning more about the Marshall Plan and how it can benefit your business, please visit www.michigan.gov/ted or contact BFAAM.

August 3, 2018

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The BFAAM is excited to announce that they have moved their headquarters as of October of 2017.  Kindsvatter, Dalling and Associates (KDA) purchased and renovated Fire Station No. 3 in Lansing to serve as the new home of BFAAM.

 

Vacant for the previous seven years, KDA President and CEO decided to make a considerable investment to serve as the future of the firm.  The building opened in 1953 and was open to the City of Lansing firefighters for nearly six decades before closing.

 

The staff at BFAAM welcomes members to use one of our two large conference rooms to catch-up on work when you’re in town or just say hello. We promise that you’ll be impressed with the new location. The address is 629 West Hillsdale in Lansing, MI.

 

August 3, 2018

After thirty years on the BFAAM Board of Directors, eighteen of them as President, the BFAAM Board of Directors regretfully accepted Dean Belisle’s resignation at the May board meeting.

Mr. Belisle has taken a position at Honeywell that will no longer allow him to serve on the board or as President. “I’ve greatly enjoyed working on behalf of this entire industry over the past three decades. But what I’ll miss the most is the friends I’ve gained for life,” said Belisle.

Having served on the board since the 1980’s, Belisle has been instrumental in building the membership of BFAAM, establishing and protecting licensure for its members, putting the association on strong financial footing and working with state government and legislators on behalf of the industry.

Mr. Belisle was also a mainstay at political events and functions advocating on behalf of BFAAM. His efforts paid off in 2016 when Governor Snyder signed into law legislation to protect BFAAM members from overburdensome and costly regulations from local governments. “Dean has been a pleasure to work with during my thirteen plus years in the legislature,” said State Senator, Rick Jones. “He was always an honest guy to deal with and brought great prospective to the legislature about his industry.  All trade associations across this state would be lucky to have a guy like Dean in its membership ranks,” Jones continued.

Dean started in the alarm industry in 1976 working at ActNow Alarm for his father Phil.  He became a partner in the company in the mid-nineties and became the majority share holder in 2015. The family sold the company in 2017.  Prior to accepting a position with Honeywell, Dean was employed at Guardian Alarm in Southfield.

“Dean was a tireless advocate on behalf of our association,” said BFAAM Secretary John Romano. “He and the other board members have been in many battles together on behalf of BFAAM over the years. If there was something happening that affected our profession, Dean was there,” Romano continued.

BFAAM Vice-President Tom Kramer will now take over to fill the rest of Belisle’s term.  The BFAAM Board of Directors did appoint Belisle to the open liaison position within the board that is a non-voting position. This allows Belisle to assist the board on its functions.

August 3, 2018

For the second straight year, John Campau of Comtronics in Jackson has been BFAAM’s biggest PAC contributor and for that we owe him a debt of gratitude.  At back-to-back Annual Conferences Campau personally matched all of the donations made to the BFAAM PAC. This makes him by far the biggest contributor to our advocacy efforts.

“John’s generosity and leadership on our political advocacy efforts has been outstanding,” said BFAAM Government Affairs Chairman, Den Belisle. “His contributions to our PAC have allowed us to have a voice in Lansing,” Belisle continued.

Campau alone has contributed over $7,000 to the PAC the past two years.

August 3, 2018

BFAAM is excited to announce that it has added a “Job Bank” link to its website. This site is intended to help member companies fill job openings.

Job postings are available to BFAAM member companies only.  Job postings should include the job title, geographic area of work, phone and email contact.  BFAAM will link the posting to your company website if you like.  Wage details will not be permitted.  If you have a job or posting you would like to post, please contact BFAAM at BFAAM@kdafirm.com

You can view the site at http://www.bfaam.org/job-bank   

March 26, 2018

BFAAM Conference Offered Opportunities to Learn About Future of the Industry, Communities

When planning our 2017 conference, the BFAAM Board of Directors decided on Detroit to be the best. It’s known as “the Comeback City” by many across the country and it gave us a glimpse of what the future of our industry will look like, how best to work with local communities and where the demand is headed for our membership.

Conference attendees had the opportunity to tour the Detroit Public Safety Headquarters in the morning.  A lot of the discussion centered on the “Project Green Light” in Detroit. The less than two-year-old program showed the city’s focus on revitalizing the downtown area by adding 24-hour video surveillance to participating businesses within the city.

In our morning program we heard from the City of Detroit Fire Marshal, Gregory Turner, the City of Detroit Chief-of-Police, Todd Bettison, and the City of Novi Assistant Chief-of-Police, Jerrod Hart. These three administrators touched on how their departments are evolving with changing technologies and how BFAAM members can be valuable partners.  With Little Caesars Arena opening in downtown Detroit this fall and many other large companies looking to move to Detroit, all three were excited about the direction the Detroit-Metro area is headed in.  


L – R, City of Detroit Fire Marshal, Gregory Turner, City of Detroit Chief-of-Police, Todd Bettison, BFAAM President, Dean Belisle, City of Novi Assistant Chief-of-Police, Jerrod Hart at the BFAAM 2017 Annual Conference

John Campau of Comtronics in Jackson, MI offered the audience some recommendations on how he uses metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) at his office to increase productivity and accountability with his employees.   He was able to show just how effective these tools have been in helping his business grow and profit in these times. John also spoke about emerging video verification at his business and in the industry that’s helping to reduce alarms and keep his customers happy. 


John Wells and John Campau of Comtronics in Jackson, MI discussed how to build your business by using metrics for your employees at the BFAAM 2017 Annual Confernce

The final presentation of the day came from BFAAM’s Vice-President, Tom Kramer, of Riverside Integrated Systems, Inc in Grand Rapids.  Tom spoke about what everyone needs to know about fire alarm safety in the State of Michigan.  The over-arching theme of Tom’s talk was to “know your codes!”

Our association prides itself on striving for the good of our industry.  We always welcome more participation and feedback from membership.  If there is a topic or issue that you are facing that you feel BFAAM needs to address at its conference or otherwise, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Sen. Steve Bieda joined the BFAAM Board of Directors for their meeting prior to the 2017 Annual Conference

Thank you to our 2017 Annual Conference Sponsors!

ADI

El Dorado Insurance Agency Inc

Emergency24

Honeywell

InPro Insurance Group

Michigan Wealth and Risk Management

Reitman Consulting Group

August 9, 2017

The City of Troy has reversed its decision to make amendments the 2012 International Fire Code in conflict with the Michigan Building Code (MBC) after BFAAM filed a complaint in October of last year. In response to the complaint, the City of Troy repealed all but one of the amendments that precipitated the complaint.

Because of the Bureau of Construction Codes (BCC) review, the following amendments have been repealed by the City of Troy;

  • Amendment 903.4.2 requiring audible-visual devices connected to every automatic sprinkler system, provided on the interior and exterior of the building (a more stringent requirement than the 2012 MBC required).
  • Amendment 904.3.5 adding a requirement for remote monitoring for systems installed in buildings that do not have a building fire alarm system (something that is not required by the 2012 MBC).
  • Amendment 907.6.3.1.1 requiring that visible appliances to remain active when the alarm is silenced (the MBC requires the visible appliances to be deactivated when the alarm is silenced while the NFPA 72-2010 states that, “When an alarm signal deactivation means is actuated, both audible and visible notification appliances shall be simultaneously deactivated). 
  • Amendment 907.6.2.1 1 requiring fire alarm systems to provide power for anticipated future expansion to the system, and references a guide of “10 amps per 10,000 square feet,” (adds unnecessary ambiguity and arbitrary requirements that are not found anywhere in the 2012 MBC).

BFAAM is pleased with the decision by the City of Troy to reverse course on these amendments and acknowledges the work done on behalf of the BCC to resolve this issue. BFAAM will continue striving to protect its membership from regulations and municipalities that overreach their duties and creates burdensome and harmful policies that contradict the Michigan Building Code. 

August 9, 2017

On January 4, 2017 Governor Snyder signed Senate Bill 1025, which amends the Electrical Administrative Act and the Skilled Trades Regulation Act (STRA) to allow Fire Alarm Specialty Technicians to design fire alarm shop drawings, instead of having to have the drawings stamped by an Architect or PE when applying for a permit to install a fire alarm system.

Prior to this legislation, some jurisdictions were requiring fire alarm contractors that were submitting fire alarm shop drawings with a permit application, to have the drawings sealed or stamped by an Architect or Professional Engineer.  This was based on the requirement in the Michigan Building Code, section 107.1, which requires construction documents be prepared by a registered design professional when required by PA 299 of 1980, also known as the Occupational Code.  The Occupational Code regulates 17 occupations, including Architects and Engineers.  Article 6 of the Act prohibits engaging in regulated occupations without a license, with exceptions noted in Section 601(10), which states “This act does not apply to a person engaging in or practicing the following:”, and subsection (c) states: “Any activity for which the person is licensed under the Electrical Administrative Act, PA 217 of 1956.”

Senate Bill 1025 and the Skilled Trades Regulation Act both changed the definition of a fire alarm specialty technician to include the design of fire alarm systems.  Consequently, the preparation of fire alarm shop drawings is an activity that fire alarm specialty technicians are licensed for under the Electrical Administration Act and the Skilled Trades Regulation Act, and are exempt from the requirements of PA 299 of 1980, which them removes the requirement that fire alarm shop drawings be prepared by a registered design professional.

Addressing and resolving this issue was a collaborative effort between the Burglar and Fire Alarm Association of Michigan, Licensing and Regulatory Affairs staff, and Bureau of Construction Codes staff.  The legislative changes were also supported by the architects and engineers state association.

 

August 9, 2017

There’s a common saying in sports that “you’re only as good as your last game.” If the last few months are considered BFAAM’s last “game”, then we’re headed to the Super Bowl…..and it’s something that all of the membership should be proud of.

In December of 2016 Governor Snyder signed into law our biggest legislative priority. This legislation codified into law that shop drawings for a fire alarm systems are not required to be stamped by a design professional. Our membership had been in disputes with some local governments for years on this issue arguing how there was no legal basis for this requirement.

The acknowledgment and respect for our industry from the legislature and governor was very clear throughout the process. Our legislation was introduced in the middle of June and signed into law at the end of December which is warp speed for an issue at the Capitol. It garnered a total of 141 “yes” votes to just 2 “no” votes from the legislature and BFAAM board members were invited to attend a bill signing ceremony at the capitol with Governor Snyder.

Last year was also a record year for attendance at the BFAAM Code Update courses held throughout the state.  We had 365 technicians and inspectors attend the five courses designed to facilitate the Michigan Electrical Administrative Act requirements for 15 hours of code update classes for Fire Alarm Specialty Technicians. In addition, the courses satisfied the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) recertification requirements for continuing professional development credits.

And in March of 2017 BFAAM received word back from the Bureau of Construction Codes (BCC) that the City of Troy was repealing several amendments they made to the 2012 International Fire Code that directly conflicted with the Michigan Building Code.  This was set in motion after BFAAM filed a complaint with BCC over these burdensome amendments that were creating headaches for our membership.

To all of our membership I say thank you for your participation in the association and I hope that you continue your membership with our organization.  The purpose of the association is to provide strength in numbers when we see issues arise within our industry and we cannot accomplish our goals without you.

I also ask that you continue to be involved with the association.  Our conferences provide valuable knowledge for your business. Get to know your legislator.  Our relationships have never been stronger with the legislature and we need to continue that for the sake of our industry.  Finally, I ask you to support the BFAAM PAC.  The PAC provides us a voice in Lansing and no donation is too small.

As we turn our focus to the new and never-ending issues surrounding our industry I again say thank you and please continue to be active.  We’re only as good as our last game.

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