UL 1981, Central-Station Automation Systems

Effective January 31, 2018

Standard Information
Standard Number:
UL 1981
Standard Name:
Central-Station Automation Systems
Standard Edition and Issue Date:
3rd Edition Dated October 29, 2014
Date of Previous Revisions to Standard:
2nd Edition Revised June 19, 2012
Effective Date of New/Revised Requirements

Effective Date (see Schedule below): January 31, 2018

Impact, Overview, Fees and Action Required

Impact Statement: A review of all Listing Reports is necessary to determine which products comply with new/revised requirements and which products will require re-evaluation. NOTE: Effective immediately, this revised standard will be exclusively used for evaluation of new products unless the Applicant requests in writing that current requirements be used along with their understanding that their listings will be withdrawn on Effective Date noted above, unless the product is found to comply with new/revised requirements.

Overview of Changes:

When UL 1981 was first developed, UL 827 did not contain those special needs of an automation monitoring system, thus the original UL 1981 up until today’s version contains the housing, supporting, power requirements, and other “hardware” expectations. The decision has been made to separate out of UL 1981, those requirements that rightly belong in UL 827.

This is two-pronged project; 1) reduce UL 1981 to only those elements concerning the performance of the software and bring it up to date, and 2) incorporate all the other needs of an automation monitoring system within UL 827. Thus, these two efforts are progressing along in tandem.

Specific details of new/revised requirements are found in table below.

The content in this SUN is based on UL’s Summary of Requirements dated May 1, 2015.

If the applicable requirements noted in the table are not described in your report(s), these requirements will need to be confirmed as met and added to your report(s) such as markings, instructions, test results, etc. (as required).

Client Action Required:

Information – To assist our Engineer with review of your Listing Reports, please submit technical information in response to the new/revised paragraphs noted in the attached or explain why these new/revised requirements do not apply to your product (s).

Current Listings Not Active? – Please immediately identify any current Listing Reports or products that are no longer active and should be removed from our records. We will do this at no charge as long as Intertek is notified in writing prior to the review of your reports.

Description of New/Revised Technical Requirements
Section 1 Scope

has been rewritten to more accurately depict the new version of UL 1981 and its new single purpose to only cover the expectations for a monitoring automation system.
Section 5 Glossary

has had several terms added, several modified to add clarity, and many removed since this standard will no longer cover the housing and support structure needed at the central-station.
Section 6 Automation Access Security

has replaced “Construction, 5. General” & section “24 Program Access and Control” and completely covers the modern day needs of controlling who and how someone accesses the automation system, what is recorded in history, the specifics of sign-on user name and password expectations, the levels of sign-on’s, and the expectations of logging specifics. All references to the central-station construction have been removed. The current sections 6. Power Supply Sources, 7. Electrical Transient Protection, 8. Environmental Controls, 9. Central-Station Staffing, 10. Power Conditioners, 11. Uninterruptible Power Supplies, 12. Printer-less Environment, 13. Back-up Components, 14. Spare Parts – Maintenance and Service, 15. Alarm Receiving Equipment, 16. Back-up Media, 17. Remote Connections, 18. Compliance Verification Chart, 19. Performance, General, 20. Normal Operation Test, Alternate Path, 22. Operational Test – Degraded-Mode, Alternate Path, 23. System Response Time, 25. Electrical Supervision Test, 26. Receiver Compatibility Test, have all been removed and the areas they cover is now contained within UL 827.
Section 7 Redundancy

This section now covers the need to support “redundancy, and how it will be “supervised” to ensure its availability. The specifics of implementation have all been placed within UL 827.
Section  8 Processing Signals from Monitored Systems

References sections on how signals are to be processed found in NFPA-72 and UL- 827
Section 9 Equipment

Describes fundamental hardware expectations.
Section 10 Report and Records

This section now contains the details of what records are required, and what they are to contain. Most are not new, just a greater amount of detail.
Section 11 Human Interface

This section now covers how the operator’s station and signal handling shall look and function. Much is not new, and most just adds clarity to existing requirements.
Section 12 Human Interface

is a replacement for previous section 17, Remote Connections. It covers how connection to the automation system shall be secured in all cases and the functions that may be performed in a remote location.
Section 13 Hardware Receiver Requirements

now indicates how the automation systems provider shall indicate which receivers are compatible with its software.
Section 14 System Performance

now instructs the reader to sections that cover performance requirements and chart Appendix A to evaluate the automations system performance. 14.3 contains the required time from receiver hand-off to automation, until made available to an operator. This is a modified section 23.
Section 15 Normal Operation Test

now points the reader to a Check Sheet, Appendix B, which references the various sections within this document (UL 1981) and the chart provides a method for documenting the results.
Section 16 Operational Test-Degraded Mode

previously section 21, now instructs the reader on how a automation system should perform in various types of “degraded modes.” Appendix A; updated references to UL standards. Appendix B; An example of a Check Sheet to be used when evaluating an automation system with references to the performance sections throughout UL 1981.
Section 17  Installation Instructions

has been modified to more accurately delineate the specific requirements of a
automation system’s needs, so that when installed at a central-station, it can be
thoroughly evaluated to be complaint with the manufacturer’s specifications. All of the
language covering the housing and support structure needed at the central-station
has been removed.
Appendix BInfois an example of a Check Sheet to be used when evaluating an automation system with references to the performance sections throughout UL 1981.

CUSTOMERS PLEASE NOTE: This Table and column "Verdict" can be used in determining how your current or future production is or will be in compliance with new/revised requirements.