Fire load, smoke load .... Humbug!
IMO, the HVAC condensate pump is a perfect example of where the NEC is simply wrong. Call it extremist, draconian, or misguided.
I disagree with the entire assumption that there can NEVER be a legitimate use of a cord above a suspended ceiling.
Oh, just hard-wire. Yea, right ... even if it were possible to replace the cordset with an MC whip, there'd be howls about 'voiding the listing.'
The HVAC needs a condensate pump. The HVAC is above the ceiling. Is this a back-door attempt to move ban the HVAC from the ceiling void?
An aside ...
Now that Ideal has a funky screwdriver for use on those multi-head screws we see so often, I fully expect some code genius to insist that you can ONLY use the funky driver on the funky heads.
That's where you wind up when you micro-manage.