AHJ – the Paul Blart of Fire Protection
As Paul Blart says, “Safety never takes a holiday.” And your facility’s Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) abides by that same standard. This organization is designed to enforce the NFPA standards and codes on your building. Their mission is to keep both you and your building safe from harm and ensure all of your systems are up to code in case an emergency occurs.
Let’s dive into what the AHJ is, and why they’re important.
What is AHJ?
AHJ stands for authority having jurisdiction. It’s not a singular entity, rather, it is the authority having jurisdiction for whoever visits the premises to inspect your fire, life and electrical safety programs to meet code standards.
This could be:
- A fire marshal
- Fire Chief
- Labor department
- Building official
- And more
According to the NFPA, AHJ includes, “an organization, office, or individual responsible for enforcing the requirements of a code or standard, or for approving equipment, materials, and installation or a procedure.”
Members of AHJ can come from various places, including federal or state government or private sectors. They are a collective force rather than a specific person. Among this group, you’ll see:
- Fire chief
- Fire marshal
- Chief of a fire prevention bureau
- Labor department member
- Health department member
- Building official
- Electrical inspector
- Insurance company representative
- Others having statutory authority
Why Should you Proactively Work With AHJ?
Proactivity is always beneficial when thwarting fire damage. By working with your AHJ before a fire occurs, you increase the odds of protecting your building and, more importantly, your people during an emergency.
If you’re in the beginning stages of building or renovating your commercial property, consulting an AHJ can help ensure all your systems are meeting strict code regulations. This prevents potential fines and issues with compliance that might arise if you are found not up to code.
These fire safety codes and standards are strict because you are dealing with people’s lives. The members of AHJ strive to ensure your building is meeting code requirements during the design, construction, and functioning phases.
It’s important to remember that each district has different codes and regulations.
While following OSHA’s fire safety codes are important, you may find that your local code has additional standards that you must meet in order to remain in compliance.
When was your last fire inspection and maintenance? Our team at VFS supports our clients with regular inspection and testing on their fire protection systems. How much do you know about your fire inspection? Take our quiz to see if you’re smarter than a fire inspector here.