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You may have noticed that we recently added some "Category" folders to the Code Enforcement Forum. Having Categories will help keep all of the great information you share here on Xchange organized, and easier to find. (You can see the categories listed on the left here.)

 

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We've started out with some Categories based on what we see you talking about here in Xchange. If you have a suggestion for a Category folder to add, please comment below!

A recent issue we've heard from our stakeholders in the inspection community is an increasing number of non-compliant installations of in-building radio systems under NFPA 72, and a seeming lack of awareness of installation companies regarding the requirements in the current edition (2016).  There also seem to be challenges with cabinets that have listing marks on them despite never being tested according to NEMA 4 or 4X requirements.

 

What are you seeing in your community, and how are you addressing it?

Pete Cutrer, one of our instructors who lives in Maine, drove down to NFPA a few weeks back to talk about our new 3-day classroom training program for the Certified Fire Plans Examiner (CFPE) certification.
 
Pete brings a wealth of experience to the classroom as he is a Certified Fire Plan Examiner himself. He is also an IAAI Certified Fire Investigator, is certified as a NFPA CFI-II, and a Certified Fire Protection Specialist (CFPS). Peter's focus is on energetic, progressive training in the fire prevention and investigation fields. His service included working full time as a Fire Marshal and Deputy Chief for two cities.
 
Q: Why is the CFPE certification so important?
A: Many AHJ’s are faced with plan review every day. Whether it is site plans that affect the emergency access, or building plans that affect egress and occupant loads, understanding plan review and the importance of doing it right can’t be understated.
 
Q: How will this training help you prepare for the certification exam?
A: The class takes you through the use of the codes, and how to identify the key areas of the codes. Because the test focuses on the student’s ability to find answers quickly in the code books, the books are definitely an important tool used in class. It’s a great way for the participants to get used to the content and how to find the answers they need quickly.
 
Q: Who are the people that will benefit the most from CFPE training? Is it just the fire service or are there others?
A: While the class is designed to educate fire inspectors, the class will benefit anyone who performs plan reviews, such as plant managers, loss prevention personnel, healthcare inspectors, and of course municipal fire officers.
 
Q: Why is this class different from other training programs?
A: This class specifically focuses on plan review, including fire alarm, sprinkler, building, and site plans.
 
Q: What are the top 3 takeaways attendees will leave this training event with?
A: Confidence in performing plan review, ability to use the code books pertaining to the plan they are reviewing, and an expanded knowledge base of the plan review process.
 
The first class will take place at NFPA headquarters in Quincy from July 10-12 with the exam on July 13. For more information, click here.

Code adoption activity in the southern region continues to progress through the remainder of this year and is expected to remain vibrant through 2017. Following is brief review of the code adoption activity in several states in the southern region.

 

The Louisiana State Uniform Construction Code Council unanimously adopted the 2014 NEC on July 26, 2016.  The updated edition was adopted as published, with no state or local amendments. Upon approval of the state legislature, the 2014 NEC is expected to go
into effect on July 1, 2017.  The 2015 I-Codes are also expected to go into effect on this date. 

 

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance held a rulemaking hearing to adopt the 2011 NEC on September 27, 2016.  The updated code is expected to go into effect on January 1, 2017. The update to the 2012 I-Codes went into effect on August 4, 2016. 

 

The Florida Building Commission has scheduled a rule development workshop on December 13, 2016 to complete the
final draft of the 6th Edition (2017) Florida Building Code.  The updated code includes the 2015 I-Codes and 2014 NEC.  The new code will go into effect on December 31, 2017.

 

The Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development held a code adoption hearing on September 19, 2016 to review the first draft of the 2015 Virginia Construction Code.  The updated code includes the 2015 I-Codes and 2014 NEC.  Several additional code
hearings will be held in 2017.  The current timeline indicates an effective date of March 1, 2018 for the new code.

 

Two additional states are expected to begin the code adoption process early next year to update to the 2017 NEC.  This includes the state of Texas and the state of Georgia.

 

For more up-to-date code adoption information in all 50-states, please subscribe to the NEMA Code Alerts email service at www.nema.org/Technical/Code-Alerts.  You can also view the most current NEC and Energy Code adoption maps along
with informational spreadsheets at
www.nema.org/Technical/FieldReps

Are you a facility manager or hospital administrator? Then you won't want to miss our FREE webinar, "CMS Adoption of the 2012 Edition of NFPA 101 and NFPA 99:  NFPA 101 and NFPA 99 - Changes from 2000 to 2012" on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 1:00 PM.

 

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The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published its final rule that requires health care facilities to migrate from using the 2000 edition of NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code® (LSC) to the 2012 edition; and mandates direct compliance with the 2012 edition of NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code, for the first time. Health care providers that participate in federal reimbursement programs are required to meet the CMS COP expectations. This 1-hour online event will broaden your knowledge about the major changes you need to comply with, so you can raise awareness in your department or organization.        

 

NFPA's Jonathon Hart, Senior Fire Protection Engineer, will host the webinar and cover key updates including NFPA 101 - 2012 Edition and NFPA 99 - 2012 Edition. Jonathan currently serves as staff liaison to NFPA 99, Heath Care Facilities Code, working with the seven technical committees and the correlating committee responsible for the development of the document, and is a co-developer and instructor of the two-day NFPA 99 Seminar.

 

Won't you join us? Learn more about the webinar and register today to participate in this one-of-a-kind event.

The ultimate goal of a code or standard is to provide a clear set of instructions for the construction, installation, and use of an electrical or alarm product.  These instructions come in two different forms; prescriptive rules and performance rules.  The results of these rules ensure a safe installation free of any hazards to a person or property from the use of electricity.

 

 

Prescriptive rules are more prevalent in the installation standards such as the National Electrical Code or the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.  Prescriptive requirements provide the what, where, when and how rules for the installation of electrical and alarm products.  These rules can be both permissive and prohibitive as discussed in Part 1 of this series.  While compliance with the prescriptive rules will result in expected performance outcomes, it may not always be intuitive for the user of the code.  In other words, the user of the code doesn’t necessarily need to know why the rule exists in order to comply with the rule. 

 

 

Performance rules are typically used in the development of a product standard.  Performance rules identify the permitted and prohibitive limits on the construction and operation of an electrical or alarm product.  The result of product’s performance is typically achieved by testing and is fully measurable.  In other words, the rules identify why the criteria is being required in lieu of a certain list of actions or behaviors.  As long as the electrical or alarm product meets the performance based criteria outlined in the code or standard, a prescriptive rule of the product is not needed.  The product manufacturer or design professional has the responsibility to determine what, where, when, and how the product is constructed and operates in order to meet the performance criteria.   

 

 

In some cases, a code or standard allows the user to select the method used to achieve compliance.  An example of this would be the International Energy Conservation Code.  Users can meet all of the mandatory compliance methods which are prescribed throughout the code or they can choose to meet the total building performance method which allows the user to fully design the building’s energy consumption that is equal to or less than a standard reference design.

 

In other cases, a code or standard may identify a performance goal that is ultimately achieved by a list of prescriptive requirements.  An example of this would be the National Electrical Code.  For instance, section 680.26(A) states; "The equipment bonding required by this section shall be installed to reduce voltage gradients in the pool area".  This is clearly a performance goal. 680.26(B) and (C) go on to provide the prescriptive requirements for equipotential bonding that should result in compliance with 680.26(A).  Similar performance and prescriptive criteria can be found throughout the NEC.

 

 

There should be no doubt that both prescriptive rules and performance rules provide the necessary instructions to ensure every electrical and alarm product is adequately constructed and will operate in a safe and effective manner when installed and used in accordance with the applicable code or standard.  When dealing with codes and standards, make sure you have the correct perspective.   

     NFPA will be represented next week at ASHRAE’s 2016 Winter Conference at the Orlando Hilton, Orlando and the Orange County Convention Center, FL by Allan Fraser, CBI, CPCA, NFPA's Senior Building Code Specialist. He sits on SSPC 90.1, SSPC 90.2 and several sub-committees of each as well as the Code Interaction subcommittee of the Standards Committee.

 

     Both of those ASHRAE documents are referenced in NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code whose requirements are under the jurisdiction of the Building Systems Technical committee that Mr. Fraser staffs. This collaboration helps to assure that the documents of ASHRAE and NFPA function smoothly together.  

 

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NFPA's new Guide for Safe Confined Space Entry and Work, NFPA 350, is out for second draft balloting as you read this blog post!   If all goes according to plans, the document will be published this coming November, 2015!  Strangely enough, confined space entry is one of my favorite topics and working on this document has been one of the most rewarding opportunities in my career as a health and safety professional.   Confined spaces still kill approximately 100 workers a year.  The new NFPA 350  (www.nfpa.org/350) provides additional guidance for confined space entry practices and addresses gaps that are not covered in existing regulations and standards.    Come hear about this soon to be released document this morning at 9:30 AM in room S404bc.   See you there!