Must industrial facilities submit plans to the AHJ before commencing work? The correct answer is no, but you must permit the AHJ to review the plans [Annex H, 80.21(A)]. So if you want to be legalistic, you comply with the NEC if you don't ban the AHJ from seeing your drawings. Technically correct is one thing, actually right is sometimes another.

In some cases, it's better to seek forgiveness than to ask permission. Electrical installations are never among those cases. For these installations, it's better to get design issues addressed before construction than to encounter the costs and delays of rework.

So, let's say the AHJ approves the plans. You do the work in compliance with the plans. Then the electrical inspector identifies a code violation that requires significant rework. But you stand on your AHJ-approved drawings as proof that you have an exception to the code requirement the AHJ is relying on. Who's right?

The inspector is right. It's up to you, not the AHJ, to ensure your drawings are correct [Annex H, 80.21(B)]. Furthermore, review and approval by the AHJ does not relieve you from the responsibility of complying with the NEC [Annex H, 80.21(C)].