By Grant Lobdell, General Manager
Most, if not all, of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards contain the terms listed or approved.
NFPA defines the term listed as:Equipment, materials, or services included in a list published by an organization that is acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction and concerned with evaluation of products or services, that maintains periodic inspection of production of listed equipment or materials or periodic evaluation of services, and whose listing states that either the equipment, material, or service meets appropriate designated standards or has been tested and found suitable for a specified purpose.
Simplified, something that is listed is something that has been evaluated by a third party against an established set of requirements to ensure it will perform as designed. The following are just a few examples of where the term listed appears in various NFPA standards:
- The current, 2022 edition of NFPA 10 Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers, under chapter 4 General Requirements, states “portable fire extinguishers used to comply with this standard shall be listed…” (4.1.1)
- The current, 2021 edition of NFPA 11 Standard for Low-, Medium-, and High-Expansion Foam, under Chapter 4 System Components and System Types, states “all Components shall be listed for their intended use” (4.1.1) and “foam concentrate shall be listed for use with the proportioning equipment and discharge device.” (4.1.2).
- The current, 2022 edition of NFPA 13 Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, under Chapter 7 Requirements for System Components and Hardware, states “…all materials and devices essential to successful system operation shall be listed.” (184.108.40.206)
- The current, 2020 edition of NFPA 25 Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, under Chapter 5 Sprinkler Systems, states “except as permitted by [systems installed prior to September 30, 2012, until September 30, 2022,] all antifreeze systems shall utilize listed antifreeze solutions.” (220.127.116.11)
Listing organizations, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and Factory Mutual (FM) Approvals, maintain databases of listed products and services that not only help you identify which products and services are listed, but also provide you important information on how the products and services can and can’t be used.
The term approved is defined as something acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ). NFPA defines an AHJ as “an organization, office or individual responsible for enforcing the requirements of a code or standard, or for approving equipment, materials, an installation or a procedure.” Examples of AHJ’s include, but are not limited to, fire marshals, electrical inspectors, and insurance company representatives. In some cases, even the building owner or their designated representative may be asked to assume the role of an AHJ. The following are just a few examples of where the term approved appears in various NFPA standards:
- The current, 2021 edition of NFPA 11 Standard for Low-, Medium-, and High-Expansion Foam, under Chapter 4 System Components and System Types, states “Where listings for components do not exist, components shall be approved.” (4.1.3)
- The current, 2020 edition of NFPA 25 Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, under Chapter 4 General Requirements, states “corrections shall be approved.” (18.104.22.168)
Note that NFPA does not approve, certify or inspect any service or product directly. Therefore, the AHJ has to base approval on, but not limited to, compliance with applicable standards, such as those produced by NFPA, and information from listing organizations. The AHJ can also require evidence of proper installation, procedure, or use to determine acceptance.
If you have any questions regarding this article, please contact Dyne Fire Protection Labs at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 632-2304.