Local Authority Having Jurisdiction (LAHJ or AHJ)
It can be difficult at times to identify who this is. Thankfully, the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) publishes standards to help provide some direction.
From 2013 NFPA Standards Directory 22.214.171.124
Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ): 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. NOTE: The phrase “authority having jurisdiction,” or its acronym AHJ, is used in NFPA Standards in a broad manner because jurisdictions and approval agencies vary, as do their responsibilities. Where public safety is primary, the authority having jurisdiction may be a federal, state, local, or other regional department or individual such as a fire chief; fire marshal; chief of a fire prevention bureau, labor department, or health department; building official; electrical inspector; or others having statutory authority. For insurance purposes, an insurance inspection department, rating bureau, or other insurance company representative may be the authority having jurisdiction. In many circumstances, the property owner or his or her designated agent assumes the role of the authority having jurisdiction; at government installations, the commanding officer or departmental official may be the authority having jurisdiction.