Changes proposed for the 2016 edition of NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code will continue to revise and clarify many of the new provisions that were added during the major revision that occurred between the 2007 and the 2010 editions. The proposed changes are intended to improve the 2013 edition of the code.
Why should you be concerned about what will be in the 2016 edition of NFPA 72, when you may not even be applying the 2010 edition yet? The 2010 edition is being applied in many jurisdictions as they adopt the 2012 edition of the International Building Code. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also has announced that it will be moving from the 2000 edition of NFPA 101: Life Safety Code to the 2012 edition of NFPA 101. The 2012 edition of NFPA 101 adopts the 2010 NFPA 72 by reference. Also, some federal government agencies such as the Dept. of Defense and U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) want the most current codes and standards applied to their projects. If you are working on federal projects, it is important to identify not only the applicable codes, but also the edition of the codes and standards that will be applied to the project.
While the 2016 edition won’t be applied on most projects for some time, there are a number of proposals that will clarify current requirements and can often be used to inform a current design. In some cases, it may be prudent to pursue use of new code requirements even if the new code has not been adopted. If new code requirements are used, the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) should be consulted to confirm that it will accept the new provisions. New code requirements could be accepted under the equivalency provisions of the code.
If you are a fire alarm product manufacturer or installer, knowing what is coming down the road can also help you prepare for implementing the new code requirements that can impact product design or help you develop training material for your staff that design and install systems.
Some of the more significant potential changes are identified in this article. The Technical Committees met in June to review comments to the first draft report of the technical committees. The result of the meetings will be the Second Draft Report of the Technical Committees, which will be subject to public review before the code goes before the membership for approval at the June 2015 Annual Meeting.