Compliance with referenced codes and standards: required, not optional

Blog Post created by ncomeau Employee on Jun 8, 2018


A lot of people know what referenced standards are but lack the detailed understanding of their impact on almost every job they do and the role they play in keeping buildings, occupants, and contents safe. Whether you’re an architect, a contractor, an AHJ, or a facility manager, referenced standards are very likely something you need to be aware of and comply with.


Once an NFPA or ICC code is adopted by an AHJ, the referenced standards within that code are a legally enforceable part of it, and complying with them is not optional. You must know what each reference is looking for, how it is to be applied, and who has the responsibility for ensuring compliance.

Many NFPA and ICC codes reference standards from other documents (even documents produced by other organizations). NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, NFPA 1, Fire Code, the International Building Code®, (IBC®), and the International Fire Code® (IFC®) all have a chapter dedicated to listing referenced standards by organization, document title, and edition year. The International Building Code® (IBC®) alone references 400 documents!

This new fact sheet describes referenced standards in detail and discusses the roles and responsibilities AHJs and others play in following and enforcing them. It's designed to provide the information you need to increase the chance that your work will be done in a code-compliant manner, the first time around. Additionally, we have a number of classes that provide detailed training on some of these referenced standards; many of them are conveniently offered online.


I encourage you to reach out to the NFPA with any questions, and to work with others in your community to ensure that everyone has a better understanding of how these referenced standards apply locally.

It’s a big world. Let’s protect it together.™