One of the most powerful yet often underappreciated characters in all of physical security is the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).
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.
'Authority Having Jurisdiction' is an official designation used in many organizations, including governments, military, construction, and a variety of trades. The term identifies specific people or organizations responsible for ensuring all work is compliant.
The realm of 'compliance' varies according to who the authority represented. For access control, the AHJ is most often interested in confirming the system will not endanger life safety during an emergency. However, AHJs often represent other interests security installers do not typically consider - the cosmetic appearance of equipment, modification of landscape (ie: trimming trees), and if the security system somehow interferes with another building system.
Because individual 'jurisdictions' vary, the actual job titles of AHJs are diverse. However, without exception, AHJs represent the interests of overarching regulations, codes, or local influence. When AHJ direction is not recognized or ignored, the problems impacting projects can quickly drive costs and delays, as several members note in: Access Control AHJ Nightmares.