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

Glass Doors and Access Control Tutorial on Feb 22, 2017
The biggest challenge for many access control systems are glass doors. Here's what happens when a maglock is improperly installed to an existing...
Customized Access Control Cans (Altronix Trove) on Feb 14, 2017
Access control installs typically require hanging at least two or three different enclosure cans, each holding individual parts.  Open wall space...
Lenel Favorability Results 2017 on Feb 09, 2017
At this point, it is not surprising that Lenel is one of the most disliked security manufacturers. From stories like Lenel Partners Angry, Lenel...
VPNs for Video Surveillance on Feb 07, 2017
Remote access in surveillance networks is a key cyber security and usability issue. With cyber attacks rising, how can users ensure their systems...
Scathing Honeywell Favorability Results on Jan 24, 2017
Honeywell is one of the biggest brands in security, with offerings for intrusion, fire, wire, video surveillance, access control, plus they own one...
Paxton Hosted Access - Disruptive Low Dealer Pricing on Jan 19, 2017
Paxton is entering the hosted access game, with BLU, at a cost that is a fraction of key competitors. The different approach could be very...
Cut in Half, Everfocus Shifts Strategies on Jan 17, 2017
The race to the bottom impact continues. Now, Everfocus, who used to be one of the larger budget providers, is shifting strategies after years of...
Genetec Favorability Results on Jan 16, 2017
In the race to the bottom and flight to 'solutions', Genetec has taken a contrary path. The company remains independent, focusing up market,...
ONVIF Favorability Results on Jan 11, 2017
ONVIF has been one of the most debated aspects of the video surveillance industry. On the one hand, its aim to increase interoperability has been...
Introduction To Burglar Alarm Systems on Jan 04, 2017
While alarm systems are popular, balancing between the right level of protection, the appropriate components and an acceptable price can be very...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Hikvision Pyronix Releases 'Huge' New Panel on Feb 27, 2017
Hikvision's 2016 acquisition Pyronix has been touting their 'huge' new large system panel. Indeed, the new Euro 280 claims features that are better...
Bosch Favorability Results on Feb 27, 2017
Bosch is one of the most well known brands in the industry and they have combined recently with Sony in video surveillance. But how has Bosch...
ADT CEO: My Daughters Better At Installs Than Most 20 Year Techs on Feb 27, 2017
Times have changed. At the Barnes Buchanan conference, ADT's CEO Tim Whall made an interesting and, surely to some, controversial observation....
Avigilon Favorability Results on Feb 27, 2017
One of the fastest growing companies has turned into one of the rockiest, as cooling growth, management turnover and a roller coaster stock price...
Honeywell Sues Alarm.com For Violating Anti-Trust Laws on Feb 24, 2017
Is Alarm.com about to dominate the smart home software market? That is what Honeywell alleges in its new lawsuit, first reported by...
Axis: "Everything is IP" - False on Feb 24, 2017
Axis is congratulating itself, with executive Fredrick Nilsson declaring: "Now the conversion is all done and everything is IP and analog is...
Advertising Like Avigilon at the ISC West Airport on Feb 24, 2017
Avigilon has grabbed a lot of attention over the last few years advertising at the Las Vegas airport when attendees fly in. But how does that...
Artificial Intelligence Robot Assistant (ACTi) on Feb 23, 2017
Has artificial intelligence come to the video surveillance industry? ACTi has released 'SARA' which it bills as an 'AI assistant that brings...
Cutting Costs 70% Using Milestone With HD Analog on Feb 23, 2017
HD analog and enterprise VMSes are often thought of as being on opposite sides of the spectrum, with HD analog best for small jobs due to its low...
Dahua 4K HD Analog Cameras Announced on Feb 23, 2017
HD analog has been gaining popularity (even if Axis hopes otherwise). Last year, HD analog's max resolution doubled from 1080p to 4MP (see our 4MP...

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