The Three Predominant National Lightning Standards

The Three Predominant National Lightning Standards

Our engineers, installers and manufacturers are well versed in national standards, codes and regulations. They can seem similar, difficult to differentiate and complicated, so we’ve simplified the three leading lightning system design, installation and inspection documents referred to in the US.

National Fire Protection Association 

NFPA 780  

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a “global self-funded nonprofit organization, established in 1896, devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards.” 

The NFPA’s Lightning Protection Standard is the NFPA 780, which provides requirements for lightning protection system installations intended to protect people and property from fire risk and related hazards associated with lightning exposure. 

NFPA 780 covers traditional lightning protection system installation requirements for structures including: 

• Ordinary structures 

• Miscellaneous structures and special occupancies 

• Heavy-duty stacks 

• Structures containing flammable vapors, flammable gases or liquids that can give off flammable vapors 

• Structures housing explosive materials 

• Wind turbines 

• Watercraft 

• Airfield lighting circuits 

• Solar arrays 

Underwriters Laboratories 

UL 96 

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is “the global safety science leader, UL provides the expertise, insights and services necessary to solve critical business challenges.” UL examines lightning protection system components and completed installations for compliance with UL’s internationally recognized standards for lightning protection systems and recognized national standards. 

The standard for installation requirements for lightning protection systems is UL96A, which addresses the minimum requirements for installation of air terminals, cable conductors, fittings, connectors and fasteners used in quality lightning protection systems. UL 96 covers above ground lightning protection components, including:  

• Air termination components (air terminals and bases) 

• Conductors 

• Connector fittings (conductor clips, clamps, bimetallic connectors and bonding plates etc.) 

Lightning Protection Institute 

LPI 175 

The Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) designs and develops information resources on complete lightning protection systems for consumers and specifiers. The focus is to develop the total market for lightning protection through promotion of National Standards with supporting loss data, experience from past design, and new information from research. The Standard of Practice for the Design, Installation and Inspection of Lightning Protection Systems is LPI 175, which provides “nationally recognized methods for the proper design, installation and inspection of lightning protection systems and is used to study for LPI certification tests.” LPI 175 is different from NFPA 780 and UL 96A in that it's comprised of a more concise checklist for LPI designers, installers and inspectors certified to easily reference while working on lightning protection systems. 

 LAGPRO follows and complies with NFPA 780, UL 96 and LPI 175 to ensure the safest and most comprehensive lightning protection programs and systems. To learn more, visit


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