What is an “Authority Having Jurisdiction”?

An Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) is 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. For the sign industry, AHJs are the electrical inspectors, building code officials, and zoning administrators who authorize permits, conduct inspections, and issue final approvals required for sign installations. Most AHJs are government employees, though some communities may contract with private firms (e.g., Technical Safety BC) or may defer to staff of publicly-owned utilities (e.g., Manitoba Hydro, SaskPower).

AHJs are granted significant discretion (under the CEC and provincial/municipal laws) in the manner which they enforce the provisions of the Canadian Electrical Code. The codes recognize that many signs and other electrical equipment will be installed on existing buildings and in other locations connecting to wiring that may have been designed to meet earlier editions of the CEC. Due to the non-standardized nature of electric sign installation, AHJs often provide advice and collaborative suggestions for how a sign contractor can best achieve a code-compliant and safe electric sign installation.

For many years, SAC (and its US-affiliate International Sign Association) have worked with electrical inspectors and their professional organizations. SAC strongly believes in the value of face-to-face discussion and debate on code proposals and interpretations. SAC and ISA attend and exhibit at many section meetings of the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI) throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Each year at the International Sign Expo, ISA hosts the largest, most comprehensive discussion of electric sign standards. ISA code experts are joined by experts from Underwriters Laboratories and representatives from the International Association of Electrical Inspectors to review new standards requirements, analyze their interpretation and application in sign manufacturing and installation, and advocate the sign industry position on irregular practices.