Deciphering the Code Changes

When NFPA makes adjustments to the code books, they document each change by issuing the following types of statements: Errata, Technical Interim Amendments (TIA’s), and Formal Interpretations (FI’s).


What do these statements mean?


A list of errors or corrections issued to an NFPA document. They are published in NFPA News*, the National Fire Codes Subscription Service (NFCSS), and included in any further distribution of the document.

*NFPA News is a monthly e-newsletter providing detailed information on NFPA codes and standards activities.


Tentative Interim Amendments (TIA’s)

TIA’s are amendments to an NFPA document or code book

TIA’s do not go through the entire standards development process of being published in a First Draft Report’s and Second Draft Report’s for review and commentary. TIA’s are effective only between editions of the document. A TIA automatically becomes a public input for the next edition of the document, and is then subject to all of the procedures of the standards development process.  TIA’s are published in NFPA News, NFCSS, and any further distribution of the document after being issued by the Standards Council.

TIA’s are processed in accordance with Section 5 of the Regulations Governing the Development of NFPA Standards.


Formal Interpretations (FI’s)

FI’s are detailed explanations of the meaning or intent of the Technical Committee on any specific provision(s) of an NFPA document.

FI’s are processed in accordance with Section 6 of the Regulations Governing the Development of NFPA Standards.


Annex materials

An asterisk means you can look in the Appendix to references real world examples and obtain more in-depth explanations pertaining to that section of code. The wording of NFPA documents can be confusing, as written by engineering lawyers, and that is why there is a large appendix, to help clarify and understand the written codes.


Shall Vs. Should

You may think you know the definitions, BUT you may not know according to NFPA.


NFPA defines “should” as a recommendation which is advised but not required.


NFPA indicates “shall” as a mandatory requirement. Shall means you have to do It; it is not an option!


Be Proactive!

The only way you can get into trouble is when you have an accident, and you didn’t follow the current code. Depending on the scope of the incident, several parties can get involved; from the insurance companies, to judges and lawyers followed by fines issued by OSHA.


All documents are archived on

Each NFPA code has a webpage that lists all of

the TIA’s, Errata’s, FI’s, as well as the code.

You can read any code online for free in read only mode.


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