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How Much Do Commercial Fire Alarm Systems Cost in Canada? Fire Alarm Cost Factors Explained

The old adage that "you get what you pay for" may or may not ring true. However, before paying anything, a smart buyer does the due diligence necessary to determine the need before spending money. This holds true for a wide range of services, fire protection engineering services among them. The average cost of such consulting and design depends on the size, scope, and regulations relative to the project in question. Therefore, a commercial fire alarm system in Canada varies in price.

How Much Do Fire Alarms Cost in Canada?

Very general estimates that reveal common prices for selected parts may appear like this:

System Elements:

  • Design and permit acquisition - between $2,600 and $10,400 (CAD).
  • Control panel - between $2,600 and $6,500 (CAD).
  • Initiating devices - between $130 and $260 (CAD) per device.
  • Notifying components - between $130 and $260 (CAD) per device.
  • Suppression equipment - between $1.30 and $2.60 per square foot of coverage.

Total costs differ because provincial regulatory regimes differ over the service area of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. Even local ordinances diverge between cities like Calgary and Edmonton, for example. Yet Businesses pay between $2.60 and $4.00 (CAD) per square foot, typically, and between $5.20 and $8.00 (CAD) for more complex structures.

Fire Alarm System Designs and Permits

Since concrete figures are relative to the government and the nature of the system, businesses do well to consult with fire alarm system design services that can assist in acquiring the most effective system for a reasonable financial outlay. Such experts help clients circumvent unnecessary charges.

The Complexity and Size of Your Facility

fire alarm cost

Buildings served by MNA Quality Consulting come in a variety of sizes, configurations, and purposes. Government operations, correctional facilities, hospitals, apartment complexes, office buildings, and industrial facilities each have particular issues when it comes to function vs. safety. In some places, occupants are confined with little freedom to roam. Other locations house flammable materials and hazardous manufacturing equipment. Some are inhabited primarily by day, and others, by night. Because of these myriad considerations, fire alarm costs will fluctuate among them. Another deciding factor is building dimensions. As noted above, many prices are calculated on a square footage basis so larger edifices may naturally be more expensive to outfit.

Fire Alarm System Components

Alarm system prices reflect the cost of each element. Property owners and managers seek to balance excellent performance with overall affordability.

Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors employ either ionization or photoelectric technology to apprehend the presence of smoke. The former contains two electric plates between which ions are flowing. When the flow is interrupted by smoke, the alarm sounds.

Alternatively, photo-electric detectors utilize light sensors that react when smoke obstructs the light between the source and sensor. Smoke detector price varies per make and model. $13 is the cheapest, whereas they can cost up to $85 per unit.

Heat Sensors

Heat detectors work well in buildings that are not heavily or constantly populated, like storage warehouses. They respond when the inside temperature crosses a pre-set threshold. Generally, heat sensors run between $13 and $130.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Often looking like a smoke detector, a carbon monoxide (CO) detector discerns the presence of an odorless and invisible gas that is toxic, even deadly. Building fires frequently emit this gas. Detectors can cost anywhere between $20 and $200 (CAD).

Electrochemical Detector Components

Electrochemical detectors are highly sensitive to CO. Within its works are acid and a platinum electrode. When reacting to CO, they will generate an electrical impulse that activates the alarm. Electrochemical detectors, on average, cost between $65 and $170 (CAD).

Biomimetic Sensors

Biomimetic sensors contribute to the commercial fire alarm system by detecting carbon monoxide with changes in light. Filled with artificial hemoglobin, the sensor picks up on the darkening of the hemoglobin as CO enters in. Since light does not pass through the hemoglobin, the sensor activates the alarm. These cost up to $65 in Canadian dollars.

Metal Oxide Semiconductor Detectors

These devices use an electrically heated tin oxide semiconductor. When CO is present, the semiconductor adjusts its resistance thereby causing the alarm to sound. These are priced in the vicinity between $98 and $195 CAD.

Flame Detectors

Flames emit radiation. Detectors possess photo-electric components that measure the intensity of the radiation and send a corresponding signal to an internal microcomputer that activates the signal. Flame detectors can cost over $3,400 at their highest.

Sprinkler Systems

Pricier than these notification instruments are the suppression devices, namely the sprinkler system. This crucial element of a commercial fire alarm system in Canada helps to contain any outbreak from spreading while suffocating the blaze that is underway. Businesses can purchase these for a minimum of $3 up to $130 per square foot.

Fire Alarm Monitoring Fees

payment for services

Fire alarm system installation is not a one-and-done. For the safety of the residents and occupants, the system demands regular monitoring. Such auditing makes certain that the fire alarm standards in Canada are adhered to and that the system operates in good order.

Like the cost of a fire alarm system and installation, monitoring carries a financial value that is pegged to the installer as well as the magnitude of the system. With professional monitoring, the commercial fire alarm system is plugged directly into the local fire department. $65 to $95 per month is the going rate for this service.

Additional Factors that Affect the Fire Alarm System Costs in Canada

Other aspects of the building and code affect the fire alarm cost.

  • Type of structure and code specifications - different kinds of buildings are subject to different regulations. So, bringing a site up to code depends on, well, the site and the code.
  • Building prospects - a warehouse can change owners with the buyer planning to re-purpose the space several years down the road. The system may suit future intentions.
  • Added options - owners may wish to improve on an existing system with new features. For instance, containment and ventilation can seal off undamaged areas of a structure on fire while redirecting fumes away from escaping inhabitants.


It is quick and convenient to get a quote and run with it. Nevertheless, alarm systems for commercial buildings in Canada fluctuate in value according to the intricacy of design and rigor of the codes, not to mention the edifice that houses the system. These are significant variants among commercial properties.

MNA Quality Consulting is an Alberta fire alarm consulting company that advises and makes recommendations to property managers and landlords regarding fire alarm standards in Canada and system design options. Fire alarm verification is also available.

Connect with us today to get more information about your commercial fire alarm system in Canada.

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