Free Online NFPA, IBC, and ADA Codes and Standards

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Nov 29, 2016

Finding applicable codes for security work can be a costly task, with printed books and pdf downloads costing hundreds or thousands. However, a number of widely referenced codes are avavailable free online if you know the right places to search.

This post provides link to a number of free code resources common to security including:

  • NFPA 70
  • NFPA 72
  • NFPA 80
  • NFPA 101
  • International Building Codes (IBC)
  • ADA 

NFPA Online Free

The NFPA provides the standards used as code basis for multiple aspects of security integration, including the National Electrical Code, authoritative Life-Safety guidelines for access control, and multiple related standards for Fire Alarms, Firewalls, and Fire Doors.

The NFPA provides free online reference access to all ther latest versions of all standards after free registration is completed. The most relevant NFPA standards used in security include:

NFPA 70: NEC, The National Electrical Code

In most of North America, the most comprehensive guide is NFPA 70, most commonly called the 'NEC' or National Electrical Code. While the scope of the codes mainly apply to high-voltage electrical work of more than 100 Volts, security work and devices like PoE or small gauge cabled hardware using less voltage are also given prime attention.  We examine NEC in detail in our Low Voltage Codes and Video Surveillance note, but the source code can be accessed here:

NFPA 101: Life Safety

One of the most important guidelines of electronic access is NFPA 101, the foundation behind how to install access and still preserve safe egress. We examine those elements closely in our Codes Behind Access Control post, but free access is available here:

NFPA 80: Fire Door Modifications

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

Because fire doors have important functions to prevent the spread of fire and to withstand direct flames for some time, modifying them for electronic access use is limited. In most cases, NFPA 80 describes the extent and size of cutouts or holes allowed in a fire door, or the acceptable behavior of that hardware given the location of the door. The link below offers direct access to the section:

International Building Code

Taking central importance in legal building design, and retrofit systems like access, IBC is often cited by local jurisdictions as the authority on how to construct systems safely. As we cover in Building Occupancy Codes and Access Control Tutorial and our Codes Behind Access Control notes, the actual version that is adopted can vary by year, with verbiage and citations change between them. Below are the most common versions cited today:

Accessibility Codes

Finally, codes that govern how to implement access controls, intercoms, and even workstation design can be found in the Americans with Disabilities Act, that we cover in Disability Laws, ADA and Access Control note.  The most recent versions of those guidelines and mandates can be accessed here:

Fair Use Copyright Applies Here

In general, free online code resources are read-only and users are not able to download, notate, or print copies for offline circulation. If users want this, then standards and codes are available for purchase, often at prices ranging from ~$100 for a single standard to upwards of $5000 for a full set of comprehensive codes. For example, NFPA explains:

"These online documents are "read-only" - they cannot be downloaded or printed, because NFPA relies on the revenues from individuals who purchase copies of these documents to fund our mission. But these "read only" documents are available to anyone who wants to familiarize themselves with a code or check a requirement."

Under terms of 'Fair Use', citation and republishing of excerpts for public commentary or criticism is allowed, but wholesale republishing of the codes or standards can only be done under conditions given by the authoring agency.

Comments (8): PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Vulnerability Directory For Access Control Cards on Aug 14, 2017
Knowing which access credentials are insecure can be unclear, especially because most look and feel the same. Even the most insecure 125 kHz types...
Competing Against G4S on Aug 09, 2017
G4S Secure Solutions is a global company, operating in multiple countries and offering a suite of products and services from guards to their AMAG...
ONVIF Releases Profile A for Access on Aug 08, 2017
ONVIF has struggled so far in access control. In 2014, ONVIF released Profile C for access control, but in the 3 years since, only 2 companies...
Access Control Commissioning / Install Checklist on Aug 03, 2017
This 80+ point checklist helps end users, integrators and consultants verify that access control installation is complete. It covers the following...
IR Surveillance Guide on Jul 31, 2017
Infrared (IR) has become an increasing core component to video surveillance systems. In particular, the expansion of integrated IR cameras that...
Bosch G-Series Intrusion Tested on Jul 26, 2017
Bosch is one of the biggest names in intrusion, and the company's G-Series panels are their most advanced commercial and high-security panels. But...
Smartcard Copier Tested (13.56MHz) on Jul 05, 2017
Copying 125kHz cards is certainly easy, as our test results showed, but how about 13.56MHz smart cards? Are they more secure? IPVM focused on the...
Biometrics Pros and Cons For Electronic Access Control on Jun 26, 2017
Biometrics has been long sought as an alternative to the security risks of cards, pins and passwords. While biometrics has improved somewhat over...
Access Control Course Winter 2018 on Jun 11, 2017
The Winter 2018 IPVM Access Control Course is now open; save $50 on early registration. IPVM offers the most comprehensive access control course...
RMR Integrator Importance Statistics on Jun 08, 2017
How do integrators feel about offering RMR / recurring revenue services? For many, their business revolves around RMR, while others see no...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Dahua 4K IR PTZ Tested on Aug 21, 2017
4K has made its way to IR PTZs. In this report, we examine the Dahua 6AE830VNI, a 4K PTZ with 30x optical zoom, 200m (~650') integrated IR, and...
Top Used License Plate Capture Cameras on Aug 21, 2017
Capturing license plates is a common video surveillance application. But what cameras do integrators mostly commonly used? Special purpose LPC...
VLAN For Video Surveillance Usage Statistics on Aug 21, 2017
VLANs (see our tutorial) are an option for networks using video surveillance, but how often are they actually used? 125+ integrators told us how...
Avigilon CEO Attacks Asian Companies Cyber Insecurity on Aug 18, 2017
Avigilon CEO is taking aim at their Asian competitors. And he is going directly after these company's cyber security issues. In this note, we...
Sony Next Gen HD Dome Camera Tested (SNC-EM642R) on Aug 18, 2017
Sony has released their latest generation, claiming improved WDR and low light, increased IR range, and more. We tested the SNC-EM642R outdoor IR...
IP Networking Course September 2017 on Aug 17, 2017
This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals plus it includes live training, personal help and...
Knightscope Raises $10 Million With $3,320 Average Per Investor on Aug 17, 2017
Congrats to Knightscope. And condolences to their legion of little investors. Knightscope has disclosed they have raised $10+ million from their...
Axis and Arecont Legal Conflict Over Multi-Imager Cameras on Aug 17, 2017
Arecont threatened Axis. Axis has responded by moving to invalidate an Arecont patent. It is an important contest. Multi-imagers are Arecont's...
Directory Of Consumer Security Cameras on Aug 16, 2017
The consumer camera segment continues to grow, with new startups and models from existing players released seemingly every month. In this report we...
Cat 5e vs Cat 6 vs Cat 6a Network Cable Usage Statistics on Aug 16, 2017
Cat 5e? Cat 6? Cat 6a? What do integrators use in practice, today? 140+ integrators told IPVM. Here are the results: For those who want to...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact