Fire codes and standards are very specific and complicated, so they are difficult to understand and easy to misinterpret. The approach to fire protection code consulting is not unlike other aspects of law consultation. If you were to find yourself in a sticky legal situation, you would likely go to an attorney’s office to discuss your what the attorney can do to resolve the problem you have presented. He or she will then review the law and search for specific statutes and precedents to support your case, develop a plan for court, then execute the plan before the judge.
When it comes to fire protection code, fire protection code consultants follow a very similar three-step process.
The first step in code consulting is reviewing the proposed designs for the project. Based on the review and analysis of the designs, the consultant will determine if the existing design is code compliant with NFPA codes. However, code consultants do not simply approve or deny designs, they will also explain the code and why it is not compliant. Code consultants are not an authority that approves or denies designs; they are a resource that will explain the code in-depth to help the client better understand the code and its implications. During this step, the consultant will also discuss the functional and aesthetic goals of the building to understand what the clients need from the building and how the future inhabitants of the building will use it.
Find Code Equivalencies
Code equivalencies are not about “getting around the code”, it is finding a solution that fulfills the needs of all parties involved. Code equivalencies go by many names including performance-based designs and code variances, to name a couple. This part of the code consulting process requires extensive understanding of government and NFPA regulations because not only does the consultant have to know the code, he or she also needs to know the implications of the law and have the technical expertise to find common ground between the two. In this step, the code consultant will take his knowledge on the code and what he has learned from his conversation with the architect or engineer to find a way to satisfy the requirements of the code as well as the architect’s needs.
Fire Protection System Design
After analyzing the code and finding code equivalencies, the last step is to design a fire protection system that is fire code compliant and fulfills the needs the architect has defined. The fire protection engineer will then bring all of the information found during this process together to develop a fire protection system that will safely protect the building and all of the people inside.
RAN Fire Protection Engineering has the knowledge of building codes as well as the technical know-how to be great code consultants. Our team members have years of experience and are experts in fire codes and standards. The combination of expertise in fire code and technical skills enable us to provide effective fire code consultation and fire protection designs in a timely manner.
To learn more about what we do in code consulting, click here to visit our Code Consulting Services page.