What steps can I take when a specification requires us to meet all applicable codes and standards – but doesn’t list what those are?

A: The risk involved with misinterpreting codes or standards can be devastating to a project. This is one of the reasons NSCA took its legislative agenda to membership in 2019 for approval.

Historically, integrators have relied upon manufacturers and vendor partners to interpret the intent of the specifier in the absence of clarity. Today, that responsibility is shifting to the integrator because multiple systems and/or applications are integrated and interconnected.

The code official (AHJ) is likely to be concerned only with the basic or core purpose for which a system is required or specified based upon specific occupancy. We often see AHJs asking for proof that basic systems meet code; they aren’t as concerned with ancillary or supplemental features as long as they don’t interfere with or alter the operation or integrity of the core system.

A: We push back. Our company never issues a price on a project without clarity on this. We would rather pass on a project than send out a bid we’re uncomfortable with. We also do what we can to educate the spec writers and consultants on what our AHJs will and won’t accept.

A: Our biggest problem is confusion between UL, ICC, and NFPA. We try to educate our team and adhere to the highest standards but feel like our competitors do what’s cheapest (and get away with it).


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