One of the biggest gripes overheard from architects, builders and contractors is how frustrating it can be to unearth all the local code information required to have design plans approved by AHJs (authorities having jurisdiction). The code conundrum is not restricted to those in the built environment. Code enforcers, more often than not, receive plans that have to be corrected by the designers and resubmitted via the very same crowded review funnel because they do not reflect local codes, standards, and reference documents. It’s a well-known, vicious circle—and a challenge that NFPA is addressing with a new, web-based tool called CodeFinder™.
NFPA’s new CodeFinder tool helps authorities and practitioners keep informed about the fire, building, and life safety regulations in effect in any given state or county. The interactive online resource identifies NFPA codes and standards, as well as the NFPA codes referenced within International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and International Code Council (ICC) documents. Referenced standards are considered part of those codes, and should be enforced for complete compliance and optimal safety. The new desktop resource identifies codes and standards being used in U.S. cities with at least a quarter of a million in population and counties with over one million residents. It provides information on provinces and territories in Canada, as well as data for Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and several countries in Central and South America.
With new hazards surfacing, technologies emerging, best practices being introduced, safety measures changing, and projects taking shape in all corners of the world, finding relevant code details is an important but time-consuming responsibility. CodeFinder uses mapping technology and allows the user to conveniently search by top codes, specific documents, and key terms.
The crowdsourcing “Share your Knowledge” feature is a critical component of the tool that allows designers, architects, and enforcers to add local codes and standards. Anyone can submit jurisdictional information. In particular, designers, engineers and the enforcement community are ideally suited to enhance CodeFinder given the work that they do. Professionals in these spaces are encouraged to add the local code references within their design plans to CodeFinder or the codes that were missing from red-tagged submissions to help create better efficiencies for all. This collaborative aspect of CodeFinder improves plan design/approval dynamics by reducing the backlogs that have traditionally marred the building industry.
Help NFPA, help YOU, and your peers by using and populating CodeFinder today.
Contributing Author: Diana Jones, NFPA Segment Director, Architects/Engineers/Contractors