AHJ's, Do They Get Their Authority From The Code Or Their Position?

I have been faced with AHJ's that wish to enforce their opinion yet when I request that they place it in writing they say they'll let it go this time. Some of the AHJ's do not even know what the code reads and they just try to enforce what they been told or their opinion.

This has been my experience as well. There are two AHJ in my area. The city (while in city limits) and the Province (while outside of the major city). The city hasn't been so bad, as their 6 or 7 inspectors cover a small area, but the province has 14 inspectors I think spread across a very vast difference, usually working alone.

The province is the one were we get people pushing their own opinions. At one point an inspector was telling us to use rubber coated clips to hold up our wire, and after months of pushing he finally came back to us with a specific part. Turns out the part he wanted us to use was only rated for automotive, not commercial. Once we pointed that out he dropped it.

I've found the best way is just keep asking for things in writing. Or better yet if you know the chief inspector, talk to him. What ever comes from him, can't be argued by the inspectors. But be reasonable about it. We used to use BX clips to hold up our wire because they were easy to use, and the inspectors were fine with it. But finally a couple of them started pointing out that the BX clips are meant for the armoured BX cable, and they could cause ripping of the jacket of our cable. They were right, we stopped using them. But rubber coated clips that aren't even rated for commericla use? Yeah, no way Jose.

Got to love the AHJ , Who doesnt !

Eco or Arrogance

Educated or Positioned

New or Experienced

Seasoned or Green

Should be always be a stepped apprenticeship and mandatory background in the field to be a AHJ

They have to have a basis and minimum standard to start from .


They Still have the final say and it s up to you to adhere to the minimum standard and know your discipline .

It is your responsibility to know the code , show the exact code , what , where , why , how to the ahj .

They are still in final authority or thier boss is .

AHJ's are supposed to follow the code but in my experience they can "interpret" the code (ie do whatever they want) to suit their needs. It varies from city to city and there can be drastic differences.

Then if you file some type of complaint it will just get worse for you. Thankfully I wasn't on the fire side of our business but I heard some horror stories of just off the wall stuff they required for whatever reason they could come up with.

There is a common dynamic of AHJs with 'Napoleon Complexes' in the sense that it is (only) them against the world (integrators, end users, construction companies, etc) in having work properly performed. Often the situation is awkward for them to manage effectively from the very start.

Some AHJs relish the authority, and get absurdly picky about nonsense. The worst examples I can think of are the AHJs who have very little experience in the systems they hold authority over. No construction or building experience, they only know what they've been told, and so on.

However, taking the proactive step to reach out the AHJ first is an important aspect most ignore. If I was an integrator, one of the first step I would take before hanging any equipment is introducing myself and my project to the AHJ(s). Even if they (AHJs) are total crankcases, it defuses the militant attitudes in the relationship to show your underbelly first.