During building or remodeling an existing building, the government has the power to stop construction dead in its tracks. If a building does not meet the local fire code, a building inspector, fire marshal, or other government official has authority over the fate of your building. To avoid these possible complications, Fire Protection Engineers manage the relationship between builders and authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ’s). When Fire Protection Engineers are brought on-board early in the design process, it is much less likely a project will encounter a snag with an AHJ saving you the headache, delayed time, and money it will take to solve a problem.

How Fire Protection Engineers Can Help

Code provisions aren’t meant to be a thorn in the side of your project, they exist for a reason. Codes help ensure the safety of the public and it’s the government’s responsibility to make sure the private sector has public safety in mind. History is full of fire disasters that could have easily been avoided had there been proper oversight. Yet, sometimes builders find themselves between budgetary constraint and government regulation. The difficulty in compliance is that every region has different codes and interpretations. Fire Protection Engineering firms, like Harrington Group, make sure that the interests of both parties are kept in mind. AHJ’s want to keep the public safe and so do Fire Protection Engineers. The difference is that a Fire Protection Engineer also has a builder’s interest in mind. While maintaining public safety, they can help decrease your costs of complying with codes.

Over years of experience dealing with AHJ’s, Harrington Group has developed good relationships all over the country. By starting the relationship with an AHJ early in the design process, Harrington Group has been able to avoid possible “stand-off” situations. Fire Protection Engineer’s special training allows them to educate AHJ’s on viable alternative fire protection solutions. Training in alternative fire protection solutions gives AHJ’s an understanding of complex designs that enable a greater degree of architectural freedom and innovation.

Fire Protection Engineer’s detailed knowledge of fire systems also provides value in design. They can interpret local fire codes and determine the most cost effective solution to achieve a code’s intent. Harrington Group will know if there is another system that can meet the code’s requirements and save money. Variance from the code does not mean there will be a compromise in safety. In fact, a cost effective alternative fire protection solution can be just as effective, or even more effective, than a code’s more expensive prescriptive solution.

Real World Scenarios – Negotiations Of Alternatives

Negotiating alternatives with AHJ’s is a common practice for us. Harrington Group’s expertise saved over $100,000 for a major tire manufacturer. We also helped a cabinet supplier who had sought help from two other fire protection engineering firms save $50,000 to $100,000 in unnecessary expenses. Even though we save client’s money very often, there is also much more we can do for businesses. Through educating prospective clients and AHJ’s, we are continually fostering relationships all over the country. Starting with fire safety as our foundation, Harrington Group is able to uphold public safety, meet fire codes, and save clients thousands of dollars every day.

By Jeff Harrington, CEO and Founder of Harrington Group, Inc.