AHJ / Authority Having Jurisdiction Tutorial

By Brian Rhodes, Published Aug 06, 2020, 09:22am EDT (Info+)

One of the most powerful yet often underappreciated characters in all physical security is the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).

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Often, these authorities get involved only when problems arise, and they frequently leave a flood of delays, redesigns, and cost increases in their wake.

Inside we examine:

  • Who AHJs Are
  • What Job Titles They Typically Hold
  • What Qualifications They Have
  • Why Video Surveillance Does Not Typically Concern AHJs
  • But Why Access Control Systems Typically Do
  • Why Initiating Contact With AHJs Is Prudent

This tutorial will help security installers improve their AHJ interactions in security projects.

AHJs *******

'********* ****** ************' ** ** ******** designation **** ** **** *************, ********* governments, ********, ************, *** * ******* of ******. *** **** ********** ******** people ** ************* *********** *** ******** all **** ** *********.

*** ***** ** '**********' ****** ********* to *** *** ********* ***********. *** access *******, *** *** ** **** often ********** ** ********** *** ****** will *** ******** **** ****** ****** an *********.

*******, **** ***** ********* ***** ********* security ********** ** *** ********* ******** - *** ******** ********** ** *** equipment, ************ ** ********* (**: ******** trees), *** ** *** ******** ****** somehow ********** **** ******* ******** ******.

******* ********** '*************' ****, *** ****** job ****** ** **** *** *******. However, ******* *********, **** ********* *** interests ** *********** ***********, *****, ** local *********. **** *** ********* ** not ********** ** *******, *** ******** impacting ******** *** ******* ***** ***** and ******, ** ******* ******* **** in****** ******* *** **********.

Who *** ****?

*** **** ***** ****** ********* ** the **** ** **** *** *** performing, *** *** **** ********* ***** and ****** ******* ****, **** *** found ** *** ***** ***********:

**** ********:**** ****** *** '**** *********', **** office ** ****** **** ********* **** codes. *** ***** ** *********** ******** field ******* ** ************ ****, *** may **** ******* ******* **** ********* approval.

******** **********:**** ********* ******* **** *** **** is ********* ****** *** *********** ** written ******** *****. *** **** *** they ****** **** ************ ******** *****, but **** **** *** ***** ********** and *******.

***** **** ******, *** *********** ***********, organizations **** **** **** *** ***** in:

  • ****** ***********
  • *********/**********
  • ****** **********
  • ******* *********
  • ******** ************ **********
  • ********* *********

** *******, *** **** ****** ** identifying *** **** *** * ******* is ** ***** ** ****** *** owner's ************** *** *** ***** **** Chief *** ******* ***** ** *** area ** **** ****. *** **** of ****** *** ******* **** ***** lead ** ************ ** *** ****** or ******* *** ***** ** *********** are *** ** ****. ** **** areas, ***** ***** ** * ****** AHJ ** *** ******** ****, ***** there *** ** * ********** ****** of **** ** ***** *****.

**********, ******* *** ***** *********** ***, and *** *********** **** *** ******** your **** ****, ******* ** ********** part ** ******* **** *** **** right, ** ****, *** ****** ******.

Why **** ******

***** ** *****, **** **** * huge **** ** *** ******* ** security ********. *** *********** *** ***** authority ** **** **** ***** ** their *********, *** **** ***** **** authority *****. ***** **** **** ********* come ****, *** *** ** **** have **?

  • **** *** ********:***** **** *** *** ** ********* experts ** ***** ****** ** **** access ******* ******, **** **** ********* knowledge ** ******** ***** ** *********** that ********* ******** ****. **** ****** will ******* * **** *******, *** instead, **** ******** **** ******** ** laws **** ********* ** * **** element.
  • **** *** ***********: **** *** ***** ******** ** their ********* ***** ***** ** ******-*****, in-the-trenches **********. **** **** ** ***** a ****** *******, ** ** ********** tempered ** '****** **** ** ******'. Most **** **** *** ******* ******* from ***** ******* ******** *** ***** them *******.
  • *** *** ****, **** ** *** Reward: *****, ** ** *** * matter ** ******** ** *********** **** their *****, ******* ***** ************* ** final. **** *** ***** ** ***** decisions ** *****, ****, *** ******* liabilities. **** * ****** ** **** or *********, ** *** '****' ** going ***********, *** **** **** * disaster ****** **** **** **** **** be **********.

AHJs ** ***** ************

***** ********* ** ******** **********, **** video ************ ******* **** ******* *** oversight ** ****. ******* ***** **** not ********* ** ****** **** ****** for **********, *** *** ** *** subject ** *** **** *********** ** fire ****** *** ****** ******* *******.

*******, ** **** *** ******** ** video, ** ** ** ******* *** UL *********** ** ******* *** ******* methods ** **** ******** ************** *** not ***********. *** ********** ** ******* vary, *** ****** **** *** ***** are:

  • ********** *****: ** *** **** ****** *** cameras, *** ******* ** *** ******* safety (**: ***-**************)
  • ********** ****: ******* **** ****** ******** *** voltage *********

AHJs ** ****** *******

*******, *** ***********, ********, *** ******* for ****** ******* ** * *** concern. ***** **** ****** *** ***** injury, ****, *** **** ***** ** building ********* ** ********* **********, **** typically ******** ***** ********* *** ********** of *** ******* * **** **************.

** ********* ** *********** ********* ***** *** ****** ******* Tutorial,*** ***** ****** ****** *******, ************* ****, *** *** ****** ************, *** **** ** *** *** is ********** **** ********** ** ***** requires ******** *** ********* ****** ******* participation.

Practical ********

*** ********** ** *********** *** ****** up * ******* ** **** ******** to ********** ****, *********:

  • **** *****:**** ****** ***** ****/****** ************** ** the ***** **** *******, *** ** some ***** ***** **** ** *** top-ranking ***** ******* ** *** '**** Chief'. *** ***** ** '****-**** **. ****-******' ** ******** ** **** ** these ************.
  • ********** ******* ** ******:*** **** ********, *** ****** **** is *** *** ** ********, *** any ********* **** ******* ****** ********** is ***********. *** *******, **** ***** often **** * **** *********** ** a ***** ** ********* ********* ****** than *', ******* ** ***** ********* with ******** ******** ** *** ****** line.
  • ******** ** ***********:***** ********* *********** **** ******** ***** in * ********. ******* '***-***' **** the **** ** *********** ***** **** others ** ****, ******* *** '***** AHJ' ********.
  • ******* *********:*** * ********* ******* ********, *** activity ********* *** ******* ** *********** (regardless ** *******) ******** ******** ******** from *** *********, *** ******** * defined **** **** ** ********* ******, laborer ********** ******, *** ****** ********* before ********** ****.
  • ********* ***** *********: **** *** **** *****, *** code ********* ***** ******** ************** ** signing *** ** ********* ******* ** part ** ***** ***. ******* *** local *********, *** ******* **** ************** in *** ****** ** ****** ************* can ***** ***** *** ************* ****** the ****** ** **** *************.

Take *** ***** ****

*** **** ******** ** ******* **** AHJs ** ** ** *** ***** to ***** *** *** ********.

**** *** ********** ********** ** *** volume ** **** **** ****** ** monitoring, *** **** *** *** ****** patient ** ************* **** **** *** indirectly ******** ** **** *******.

** *** ******** ** '****** *** permission, ****** **** ***********', ******** ********* and ********** *** *** *** *********** of ** *** ****** ********** ****, rather **** ******** *** ****** *** being '******' *****.

*** **** **** *** ***** ** the ************ ** '*********' ****** **** 'reactive', *** *** *** *** **** offer *********** ** ******** **** ******* the ********* ** ****** *******.

[****: **** **** *** ************* ******* in **** ***** *** ******** *********** in ****.]

Comments (10)

At some point in the not so distant future we will see the AHJ or LAHJ taking responsibility for NFPA-3000.

Agree
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Funny

So, here’s the AHJ joke of the day. I will state clearly I respect and work with them as I recommend anyone do.

Build the relationship.

“What’s the difference between an AHJ and God? One of them knows they are God, the other one acts like it.”

Agree
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Funny: 2

This joke has no expletives before 'AHJ' as I'd expect...

Agree: 3
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I always add to my notes...."...and to the satisfaction of the authority having jurisdiction."

Sometimes, even when code is followed to the letter, an AHJ may still be finicky.

Agree: 2
Disagree
Informative: 2
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Funny

Which goes back to “anyone can be the AHJ” on a commercial project. Is the end user insured by FM (Factory Mutual).

I did a job years ago for an automotive giant. Had to draw the riser diagram in 3D for an FM submittal, not required by FD AHJ.

Had to use all FM listed products, beyond the requirements of the FD AHJ.

Who thought to include the insurance company in a plain Jane sprinkler monitoring system? I did.

Agree
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Informative: 3
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Who thought to include the insurance company in a plain Jane sprinkler monitoring system? I did.

In my experience, this is especially true if the customer has filed a claim against the specific insurer/policy.

Insurance companies likely want to eliminate future payouts/claims, so they very often have some input to add on safety/security systems.

Agree
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Funny

Definitely higher cost involved with AHJ but worthwhile

Agree
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The best approach to working with AHJs is to be the first to reach out for approval.

I have told my employees and fellow industry professionals this about 1 zillion times in 35 years. No one ever listens. For some reason, they are afraid of the AHJ. If you include them upfront, you will have far fewer issues in life. I have never had an AHJ tell me no. We find ways to make it happen, within the code.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative: 2
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Funny

I have had an AHJ tell me no!

You are correct, work with them early. I trained the plan check desk locally for a few years on submittal review because the position was typically a 2 year track to promotion.

I had argued with an old school electrical engineer that his design he wanted bid for a church was no longer to code. He told be to go away or bid as designed. So I did.

I won the bid, did the submittal drawings and presented to the reviewer. He looked shocked when I told him to write “Failed” as large as he could and then I gave him the code sections to list of why it did. We had a good laugh

I then sent those back to the engineer, with a new estimate for the system and a cost for submitting plans that would not pass according to his specification.

Agree
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Oh I have had inspectors to tell me "you can't do that", but that is not "NO". If you get to them early, before you submit your plans for approval, you will save yourself a lot of headaches and time. After we have talked it through and I submit, I have never heard the word no. I have also never had an inspector to tell me no, submit it and let me look at it.

I have met a few that were as ornery as me for sure.

Agree: 1
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