What is an NFPA 241 Plan and Why Do I Need One?
Updated: Oct 27, 2021
NFPA 241 is the Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations. The fire code in five of the six New England states (MA, NH, VT, ME, RI) is based upon NFPA 1, Fire Code. NFPA 1 requires any structure undergoing construction, alteration, or demolition to comply with NFPA 241 and gives the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) the ability to require a documented plan for compliance be submitted.
NFPA 241 designates certain responsibilities to the owner as well as the construction team. These responsibilities are in force whenever the building is undergoing construction, alteration, or demolition. There are two types of NFPA 241 plans, both of which are required to ensure code compliance during construction:
Master NFPA 241 Program
Project-Specific NFPA 241 Plan
A master NFPA 241 program is developed by the Owner, often by a contracted fire protection consultant. The program fully addresses all owner responsibilities outlined in NFPA 241 and clearly identifies the roles and responsibilities of the Owner and the General Contractor as they relate to construction, alteration, and demolition. A master program ensures that complex impairment situations are addressed in a safe manner, including the integration of multiple General Contractors working in the same building.
A project-specific plan is typically developed by the General Contractor, oftentimes with minimal input from the Owner. The plan is specific to the concerns related to the project and does not fully address all aspects of NFPA 241. Depending on the complexity of the project, a fire protection consultant may be contracted by the General Contractor to develop the plan. Having a master NFPA 241 program in place helps ensure that owner interests are captured in the project-specific plan.
The owner is charged with the responsibility of maintaining a safe environment in his or her building at all times, including during construction. While not all jurisdictions require formally documented NFPA 241 plans, having a documented plan is the most practical way to ensure compliance with the standard and clearly designate responsibilities of all interested parties. By having a Master NFPA 241 Program, the owner can ensure legal responsibilities are met, delegate responsibilities to the General Contractor, limit hazardous work practices, and avoid last-minute permitting delays. Fitzemeyer & Tocci fire protection & life safety engineers work with owners and contractors to develop thoughtful and practical solutions to develop NFPA 241 master and project-level plans to ensure code compliance and safe conditions during construction. F&T can also develop supporting items such as hot work programs and impairment logs to ease the burden on owners and contractors.