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Does a lightning protection system need to be re-certified for simply replacing the edge coping of a building?

Hi Jim,

Thank you for your question regarding recertification procedures for lightning protection systems.  The Underwriters Laboratory (UL) currently has the “Master Label” certification program for verifying the compliance of lightning protection systems to industry standards, primarily the NFPA 780.  Unfortunately the rules for this are fairly open ended, in that any modification to the exterior and/or roof of a building could compromise the integrity of the lightning protection system, and as such unverified changes could be seen as negating the certification.

Is the new coping made of the same material as the old?  If the old coping was wood or plastic and the new coping metal; this could cause a arc-flash issue for the lightning protection system.  This is one reason why the certification program wants a verification check whenever changes are made to the structures exterior.

That said, if you have made no material changes (wood to metal) and have not modified the lightning protection system in any way, it is obvious that the system will still be as functional as ever.  However, this does not mean that the insurance company will not insist on a verification inspection.  The company that provided the original certification should be very reasonable about recertification for minor structural maintenance.  After all, this is not the only commercial building to ever have a  new paint job or roof repairs.   You may find that a simple phone call with photos documenting the condition before and after is all that is required.

Bottom line, it is best to have the system re-verified.  It may add some costs for what seems like a silly inspection, but rest-assured that the buildings insurance company will happily take any reason to deny a claim.

Best regards,

The Engineering Team at E&S Grounding Solutions

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