By Rafael Aquino

Published April 10, 2019  


The ELSS topic is a very sticky issue. Why?  Board Members and members alike believed that if they took the necessary steps to vote down (opt-out) the installation of an “automatic fire sprinkler system” then they need not worry.  The truth of the matter is that this is not the case.   As per the Florida Fire Prevention Code, buildings that are classified as a High-Rise would need to have either an automatic fire sprinkler system or an Engineering Life Safety System (ELSS) by December 31, 2019


So, what’s the difference between the two?  An automatic fire sprinkler system means the entire building, including the interior of units and all common areas, would need to have automatic sprinklers.  An Engineering Life Safety System (ELSS) is an alternative form of protection.  An ELSS is comprised of some or all of the following:


1.    Partial Automatic fire sprinkler – Example, the installation of sprinklers in commons areas and a sprinkler in front of each unit instead of inside the units.

2.    Integrated smoke detection with an alarm system.

3.    Compartmentation

4.    Alternatively, other approved systems

The real issue is that your local fire officials can tell your condominium to install an ELSS system even if they voted to opt-out of an automatic fire sprinkler system. 


For those associations that opted out and haven't received advice from your legal counsel and local fire safety officials, that have jurisdiction for your property, you better pick up that phone today.


I do believe more clarity is needed; however, some can argue that the issue has been going on for several years now and the fire code has been the fire code.  


What do you think? Should your local fire official have such authority or should a blanket policy be applied across the state?   

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As the Co-Founder and CEO of Affinity Management Services, Rafael P. Aquino leads his team to redefine excellence. They serve community   associations   efficiently

and effectively with dedication and passion. Rafael’s energy and positive spirit is the foundation of Affinity Management Services’ company culture, which instills enthusiasm and excitement when providing expert advice to its board members and relieving the day-to-day burdens of running a community association.


Since 2007, Rafael has developed a work culture that values responsive and high-quality services. He has led his team by following a proactive vs reactive philosophy. The same approach Rafael instills in the day to day operations of each association. Today, Affinity Management Services maintains its success and benefits as a result of the foundation Rafael has built and continues to foster by providing educational seminars, continuing education classes for association managers and board members alike.

Rafael and his team help condominium and homeowners’ associations save money and improve their communities. His calm, personable, and service-oriented nature helps him to establish strong relationships with ease. Rafael is known as a sincere and honest leader who looks out for the best interests of his clients and communities, and he strongly advocates for their needs. His role requires coordination and communication, as such he takes logical and intelligent steps to approach challenges head-on.

As a graduate of Florida International University’s electrical engineering program and a licensed community association manager, Rafael’s education and skills equip him with unique insights to tackle complex problems through critical thinking. He understands how each component within a system works together in order to effectively arrive at solutions, techniques, and conclusions. Therefore, as he manages the multiple challenges of running a community association management company, he understands how each property is its own unique system and tailors’ specific services to assure that all their needs are met.

For more information about Rafael P. Aquino and Affinity Management Services please visit www.ManagedByAffinity.com or call 1-800-977-6279

Doral Office: 8200 NW 41st ST

Suite 200

Doral, FL 33166

Broward Office: 150 S Pine Island RD Suite 300

Plantation, FL 33324

O: 800-977-6279 ● F: 305-325-4053

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