Access Control AHJ Nightmares

By Brian Rhodes, Published on Jun 01, 2017

For access control jobs, a single person can be the difference between finishing a job, costing thousands in extra dollars, and being profitable and safe for all. That person carries the title 'Authority Having Jurisdiction', commonly just 'AHJ' (see our tutorial).

In IPVM's Access Control courses, students share real world situations where the AHJ has significantly bottled up job progress due to oversight, lack of communication, or just plain confusion. Over the span of multiple courses, three common trouble areas emerged:

  • Safe Egress Concerns
  • Use of Conduit For Cabling
  • Fire-Rated Door Concerns

Several members also shared their best tips for preventing AHJ issues and how to avoid costly changes that ruin job profitability. We examine those points inside.

Authority ****** ************ *** ****** *******

**** *** ******* ***** of '***' *** ****** projects *** **** ** site, *** ***** *** be ******** ****** *** claim *** ***********. *** access *******, *** **** typical *** *** ********** work *** **** ******** and ******** **** **********, although ** **** ***** the *********/******** ** ****** Manager *** **** ** a ******.

*******, *** ***** ******** on ******** *****, ******** Infrastructure ******, ******** **********, or *********, *** **** influential ****** *** ******** be ******** ******, *** getting ******** ** ***** on *** ***** **** and ****** *** ** a *** ********.

IPVM ****** ********

** *** ***-********** ******** *****************, ** *** *** following ********:

"*** **** ****** ******* integrators, '**********' ***** *** they *** ******** **** ** *** ********* **** ****** ** system ****** ** ******* is ******.  ** *** have *** ******** ** share?"

**** ***** ******** *** their *** ********** ** evaluate **** ****** *** remedy. ****** ****** ******** of ******** ******** *** AHJ ************ *** **** recognition *** ***** *******. The ******** ***** ****** some ****** ****** **** responses **** *** ******** from *** **** **** years ** *******.

Safe ****** ******* *****

*** **** ****** ********* of **** *********** ****** is *********** **** ****** that ***** **** ****** *****.  ** ** * big **************, ******* * lapse ** ********* ** a **************** *** **** to ****** ** ******* injuries.  ** **** *****, the *** '**** ** the **** ** *******' and ***** *** ********* accepted ******** ** ******* due ** *****, *****************, or ********:

  • "* ******** ** ******** in * ******* ******, where ** **** ******** to *** *** **** devices ** ***** **** already *** ********** *** and ********** ***** ****. This **** **** ***** to **, ** ***** time * ***** ****** past *** *****, **** unlocked."
  • "** ********* ********** **** AHJ *** **** ***** not ***** ** ** wire ** *** ****** batteries *** ****-**** ******** even **** ** *** the **** ***** ******** wired ** **** ***** system ** ******* ** case ** ********* *** had *** *** ********* hardware *** **** ******..."
  • "** ****** * *** contact ****** ******** **** the **** ***** ** be **** ** ****** with *** ******* ***** source. ** ********* *** fact **** *** ****** addressable **** ***** ****** including *** *********** ****** (pull ********, ***** *********, and ***** *********** ******* also ****** ** *** same **** ***** ***** logic ** ** *********** as ****. ** *** not *** ** **** way *** *** ***** on **** **** ***** relay *****. ** ***** up ***** ** *** way."
  • "** ********* * ******** Fog ****** ** ********, B.C. ** *** ******* the *** ** ********* and *********** ***** - all **** **** **** the ************ ** * security *** ******, ** checked **** *** **** Marshall ** ******** (*** AHJ) *** '** *******.' Two **** ***** *** installation, ** ******** * call **** ******** **-*** officer ******* ** **** remove *** ******** *** system ***********, ** ** subject ** * **** of **** $***.** *** day. **** *** *** to * **-*** ********* prohibiting ******** *** ******* in ********."

** *******, *********** *** clarify ********* ** ***************** with **** ** ***** well-versed ** ******** ********* ***** *** **** ****** ***** ** **** **** *** able ** ******* ******* and ******** ** ****** in ******** *** ******** terms. 

******** ** **** '****' and *** '*******' **** an *********** *** ** explain ***** *** ******* at * ***** ***** is ***** * ******** and ******* ****.

Conduit ***********

*** ***** ***********, *** understanding *** **** / preference ** *** ****** cables ** ****** ** conduit ******* ** ***********, and ***** ****-****** ********* changes:

  • "**** ** [*** **********'*] wiring *** ********* ** placed **** ******* *** the ********** ********. **** had ** **-*** *** the ****** ***** ********** the ******* *** **** also *** ** ******** all *** ***** ******* some ***** *** *** allowed ** ** *** in *** **** ******* as ****** *** ******** reasons. ****** *******: ******* the ******** ****** ** early ** ******** *** projects."
  • "*** *** ***** ** mine ***** ** ********** a ** ****** ******* and ********* *** **** day ** *** **** all ** "* ***" hangers *** **** ***** all ****** ** *** AHJ."
  • "*** ********** ***, ***** all *** ******** *** installed, *****(* ******** ***** ********) refused ** ****-*** ** our ****** ***** *** network ******* *** *** inside *******. ** *** to **** ********** *** of ******* *** *****, and ***** ****** ***, hard ******** *******. ** was * *** ****** at *** **** ******, and *** ***'* ****** evaporated."

******* *** ****** ** often ********* ** *********, if *** ********* ******** by ****.  *************, *** using **, ******* **, or ***** ******** ******* improperly ** ******** *** cost thousands ** ******* *** make last-minute *********** ******* ****** the *********** *** **** previously *********.

*** ****** ** *****: make **** *** ******* of ******* *** ****** is ********* ****** ***-*** or ***-***** **********. ***** to *** ******* ***** *** *********** ** *** and ***** ******** **** in ******** ****.

Fire-Rated *****

*******, ******* ****** ***** are ***************** *** ******** about *** **** ***** are ******** ** ****** control *******.

  • "*** ** ** ********* had ** ***** **** a *** **** **** one ** *** ********* remove *** ****** **** a **** ***** **** to ***** *** *** if *** ********* *** into *** ***** **** that ******* **** *** door *****. **** ****** the ********* *** ** fact *** **** *** sheet **** ** *** door ***** ** *** rated ****. *** *** result, *** *** ******** the ********* ** ****** the **** *** **** an ******** *** **** and ***** ********* ** the *********'* *** ********'* cost."
  • "** *** ** *** that **** ** **** we ***** *** *** our ********* **-***** ******* on *********.  ** ****** out **+ *******  *** had ** ******* **** with *** **** ** preferred."
  • "*** **** ** ******** work ****** ***** *** AHJs *******, *** ** typically **** ** ******* and **** **** ******* the ****** *** ********* we ******* ******** ***** before **** *** *****."

******* *** ******** ** an ******** **** ** a ********, *** **** of ************ ** ****** can ****** ** *** performance *******, ********* ******* to **** ** ***** fire **** ********* ** a ********.  **** **** boring ***** ******* ********* *** ****** ***** ******** attention, **** *** ***** intensely ********* ***** *** scope *** **** ** changes ***** **** *** access ** **** ***** doors *** ******.

*** **** ******** *** an ********** ******* **** an *** **** ** patient *************, * *********** to ******* *** **** ratings *** ***** *********, and ***** ********* ******** with *** ****** ** modifications ******* ******* **.

********** ***** **** ** AHJ ** *********** *** a ********'* **** ****** even **** *** ****** installer ** ****-****, **** particular ***** ** *** to ******* ** ****** before **** ******.

********: ******* **** *****, **** *****

*** *** *********** *** resigned ** ******** **** AHJs ** * ********* basis.  ** ****, ******* noted **** ******** *** to **** *****, *********** all ******* ********, *** demonstrating * ***** ************* of ******** ***** *** greatly ********** *** *** the ************ ** * positive ********** **** *** start:

  • "** ** ** ** you ** *** **********, Designer, **********, ********* ** know *** ******** ***** of *** **** *** are *******. *** ****** cheaper ** ******* **** the *** **** **** expect. **** ** *** a *** ****** *** the ******** ******* *** specification ** *** **** want ** ********* **. conduit & ***** ********, fire ******** ***."
  • "****** *******: ******* *** security ****** ** ***** as ******** *** ********."
  • "******* *** * ******* Government ****** **** * number ** ********** ******** AHJ ****** **** *** mix ** *** ** the **** ******* ********* such ** **** ******** and ******** **********. ********* on *** ****** ** the ******* * **** had ** *** ***** and ************ ** ** security ******** *** **** buy ** ** **** as *********** *** *********** Security ********** ** *** project *** * **** or ********** *********** ********** site."
  • "****** ** ******* *** levels ** ******** *** safety ************ *** ** quite *** ******** *** and ******** *** **** incredibly **** ********* *** escalated ************ ****."

****** ***: *** **** is ** *** ****** integrator ** ******** *******, communicate, *** ******** **** channels **** *** ********* parties.  ***** ** *** eliminate ****-****** ********* *** minimize *********/*********** **********. ******** the ************ **** ** authoritative ************* ** ***** conveys **** *** ****** being ********* ** ****, and *** ******** *** worries ** *** ******* progresses.

AHJ ***** ******-**** ** ********

******* ******** **** ****** how **** ****** ** otherwise ***** **** ******* caused ** **** ** making ***** **-***** ***** costs **** ** ****** on ** *** ********.

  • "** ****** *** ********** to *** ******** **** states *** ******* *********** by *** *** **** be ****** ** * change ** *** ********. As **** ** *** customer ** **** ***** that ** *** "**** practices" *** *** *** has *** ***** ******** it ** ****** * problem *** ****** ******."
  • "** *** ******** *** not ****** ******* *******, etc., **** ** ** up ** **** ** foot *** *****."

***** ********** **** **-***** can ** *********** *******, it ******* ******* *** presents *** ***** *** discussion ****** **** ******. The ********** *** *** client *** **** **** to ******* *** ** responsible *** ************* *******, and *********** ****-*** *********** problems ****** **** *****.

Comments (1)

One thing to remember when the AHJ is a municipal/state/government entity- code officials cannot simply make up their own rules. It's mentioned in the report of an instance where an AHJ preferred a certain type/brand of electric strike. If a standard (I.E. Life Safety Code) is adopted by force of law then the AHJ cannot create rules where none exist regardless of his/her hobbies and beliefs. One thing I've had success with is to ask respectfully to have the AHJ show me where in the code it says to do what they are requiring. I frame it as a way for me to learn so I won't make the mistake again. Of course, many times the extra cost is borne by the customer so what you really want to do is to guide the customer to ask the question. When forced to justify their requirements, often they see the error of their ways and back down. Keep in mind that AHJ's have significant leeway due to code language but the fact remains that they can't simply make up their own rules. They do this because past experience has taught them that they can as they are rarely challenged because no one wants to be on their bad side but there are ways to reason it out and not just buckle under their 'authority'.

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