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How Much Does a Commercial Fire Alarm System Cost?

Commercial fire alarm system cost depends on number of factors. Learn the basic price factors in our fire alarm pricing guide.

How Much Does a Commercial Fire Alarm System Cost?

When a fire occurs, it can engulf an entire building in just minutes. When you own a business that you’ve worked for your entire life, is this a chance you’re willing to take? A commercial fire alarm will alert you in case of a devastating fire and it will protect your assets. The cost of a fire alarm system and installation must be compared to how much it would cost you to lose it all if you don’t have one.

How Much Does a Fire Alarm System Cost?

Many factors will influence the bottom line cost of fire alarm systems such as whether it is a residential or commercial fire alarm. Typically commercial fire alarm systems will be more costly. The cost will vary depending on the size of the building, the fire requirements, and local codes, and the type of equipment needed. The older the building the installation cost will be more expensive than a newer structure due to the complexity of the project. A traditional fire alarm system will cost from $1 to $5 per square foot, however, a more complex system such as a sprinkler system can bring up the cost to up to $40 per square foot. It is important to also consider the fees that come from monitoring services, which can average around $55 a month. 

Commercial Fire Alarm System Cost per Square Foot

Component Estimated Cost
Design (according to facility requirements) $2,000.00 to $8,000.00
Control Panel $2,000.00 to $5,000.00
Initiating devices $100.00 to $200.00/unit
Notification appliances $100.00 to $200.00/unit
Suppression devices $1.00 to $2.00 per square foot

Average Cost of Components of Commercial Fire Alarm Systems

Building Size
(Sq. Ft.)
Cost Estimate (Avg.) Cost Estimate (Min.) Cost Estimate (Max.)
3,000 $9,000 $3,000 $36,000
5,000 $15,000 $5,000 $60,000
10,000 $30,000 $10,000 $100,000+
15,000 $45,000 $15,000 $100,000+

What Determines the Cost of a Commercial Fire Alarm System?

Every business owner must understand the costs involved in each purchase to operate a successful enterprise. So, what determines how much a fire alarm costs? Numerous factors can affect the price tag of your commercial fire alarm system. But is it worth it? If you ask anyone who has had the misfortune of dealing with a fire they will respond with a loud and resounding “yes!” The cost of a commercial fire alarm system will depend on the size of the building, the local building codes, the installation requirements for your building, the type of fire alarm system, and what features you will need.

1. The Building's Size and Complexity

  • Size and age of the building: Fire alarms for a commercial building are influenced by the size of the building. A smaller building’s fire alarm installation cost will be far smaller than the costs for a larger facility. In addition, the cost of installation of a commercial fire alarm system will be less expensive for more modern buildings. However, complex structures will cause the installation cost to increase.  
  • Facility requirements: Local building codes and fire department requirements play a key role when it comes to determining the cost of a commercial fire alarm system. The codes tend to be more rigid when it comes to fire safety for commercial properties. In general security systems are required to be more sophisticated for commercial properties in general. 
  • Cost for retrofitting: A business owner may also choose to connect a fire alarm system to other security solutions such a system will need to be retrofitted. Popularly, a security camera, HVAC system, and even access control systems can be linked to a commercial fire alarm system. 

Building design and future plans: To protect physical property, many business owners choose to put provisions in place for future expansions. This will add additional costs but at the time of the expansion, it may greatly reduce installation costs.

2. The Type of Equipment Needed

A lot of factors will affect the cost of the commercial fire alarm system but in addition to that, many components are needed to ensure that your building gets the best protection possible. Your commercial fire alarm system cost will be determined by the following:

  • Heat detector: It is often used in commercial buildings where the focus is on the building itself, such as warehouses. In those buildings, the goal is to protect the contents of these buildings and the structure itself. The cost can range from $15 to $160.
  • Smoke detector: It is a vital part of any commercial fire alarm system and the cost ranges from $15 to $70, depending on the brand and the model of the detector.
  • Carbon monoxide detector: It helps to monitor the air quality and is often used in commercial buildings that always have people inside like hotels, hospitals, stores, and factories. The price of a carbon detector can range from $15 to $170.
  • Flame detector: It is mainly used in places that are highly sensitive to flames to prevent explosions. This includes factories, oil refineries, and warehouses that store highly flammable products. The price for a flame detector can range from $2500 to $3100.
  • Biomimetic detector: Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, odorless, and invisible gas. Biomimetic sensor technology reproduces CO's effects on hemoglobin in the blood and its sensor detects the CO and causes a gel to change color. This prompts another sensor to detect the color change which then sounds the alarm. Biomimetic detectors save lives at a cost of $15 to $50 per device.  
  • Electrochemical detector: An electrochemical detector works in tandem with the biomimetic sensor to trigger the alarm once the system has detected CO on the premises. It uses platinum electrodes and acid inside the detectors to trigger the alarm using an electric current. This type of device averages between $50 to $130 per device. 

An overview of the prices of detectors in a table

Type Description Average Cost
Carbon monoxide detector Monitors carbon monoxide levels in the air $15 to $150
Smoke detector Installed on the ceiling with batteries to detect smoke $10 to $65
Heat detector Usually installed by heat sources and used to protect physical property or stored merchandise $11 to $150
Flame detector Alerts when there is a large-scale fire or explosion $2,800 to $3,000
Biomimetic detector Uses synthetic hemoglobin with Infrared light to detect carbon monoxide $15 to $50
Electrochemical detector Uses a combination of a platinum electrode and acid inside the detector to detect carbon monoxide $50 to $130

3. Design of Fire Alarm System

Designing a fire alarm system in an existing building requires professionalism and experience. The fire alarm system must reflect the business’s needs and the fire department’s requirements and it must be installed properly.

Addressable Panel System

An addressable panel system sends signals digitally using a binary code which differs from the traditional fire alarm system panel which uses electrical currents. This type of panel system functions by having every means of detection and notification connected. 

Four-Zone Commercial Fire Alarm System

Fire alarm system companies these days find great importance in a 4-zone commercial fire alarm system because it can cover a larger area than a one or two-zone system. This type of system enhances safety codes and is designed specifically for commercial buildings. 

4. The Monthly Monitoring Fees

Commercial fire alarm system cost depends on the installation fees which are linked to the fire alarm equipment being used, these costs are connected to whether it is new construction or not, multiple floors buildings and many other factors. Monthly monitoring costs will depend on the type of monitoring your business requires, the size of the building, and the number of sensors required. The monthly fire alarm system average ranges between $50 to $100 per month. These monthly monitoring costs typically include yearly inspections to make sure that the equipment is fully functioning. Monitoring fees are contract-based so you can always find the right deals that will best suit your business needs. Commercial fire alarm monitoring is a vital component of your commercial fire alarm system.

Ready to Install a Commercial Fire Alarm System in Chicago?

Fire alarm systems are the beating heart of your business. A large-scale fire can destroy a business’s entire infrastructure which is costly to repair. Fire doors can save the lives of your employees and stored merchandise. Please contact the most reliable and professional commercial fire alarm installers in Chicago to arm your business with top-of-the-line systems such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, heat detectors, emergency elevator recall systems and so much more. Contact our experts at Forbel and we will make sure your assets are protected. 


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Dzmitry Beliayeu
Dzmitry Beliayeu

Dzmitry Beliayeu is a commercial building security expert, technology consultant, and licensed alarm contractor

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