Volume 5, Issue Number 4 November 1, 2000

IESNA Named ‘NECA Industry Partner’ for Work on Installation Standards

The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) has received NECA’s Industry Partner Award.

The New York-based professional organization received the award in recognition of its close involvement in the National Electrical Installation Standards (NEIS)™ program. Each year, NECA honors an industry organization or major corporation that has made a significant major contribution toward the success of the electrical construction industry.

The 2000 Industry Partner Award was presented at NECA’s annual meeting and trade show held recently in Seattle, Washington. IESNA president Martyn Timmings was on hand to accept the award. “I think it’s important to recognize that there’s equity in this partnership,” Timmings observed in his acceptance remarks. “Developing joint standards with NECA increases our exposure to the electrical contractors who install lighting. It also reinforces IESNA’s position as ‘the lighting authority’.”
National Electrical Installation Standards are the first quality standards for electrical construction. NECA has been publishing them since 1997. Whenever possible, the contractors’ group develops NEIS in cooperation with other industry associations and professional organizations. IESNA, the professional society for lighting engineers and designers, was the first partner organization in the NEIS program, and has consistently been the most active one. To date there are three ANSI-approved NEIS lighting standards, with a fourth currently being developed. The standards are:

• NECA/IESNA 500-1998, Recommended Practice for Installing Indoor Commercial Lighting Systems (ANSI)
• NECA/IESNA 501-2000, Recommended Practice for Installing Exterior Lighting Systems (ANSI)
• NECA/IESNA 502-1999, Recommended Practice for Installing Industrial Lighting Systems (ANSI)
• NECA/IESNA 503-2xxx, Recommended Practice for Retrofitting Lighting Systems for Energy Conservation Purposes (in progress)
“Developing standards jointly with other expert groups is an important strategy for making them the best they can be, and insuring that NEIS standards are widely accepted by architects, engineers, and others in the building industry,” stated NECA president Rod Borden, at the award ceremony in Seattle on September 22.

“The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, through its commitment to, and active participation in, the National Electrical Installation Standards program, has played an important role in helping to achieve the aims of the electrical construction industry. For this, we are proud to name them our first NECA Industry Partner of the new millennium.” IESNA is itself an ANSI-accredited standards developer. The society publishes a number of technical handbooks and standards dealing with the design and performance of lighting systems. President Martyn Timmings commented that working with NECA on joint installation standards was consistent with “IESNA’s mission statement of increasing and diffusing knowledge of the lighted environment.” He also revealed that his son is an electrical contractor, an admission that drew appreciative laughter from the audience in Seattle.

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Update on 2002 NEC Revision Process

The deadline for submitting public comments on proposals to revise the National Electrical Code was Friday, October 27, 2000. All twenty Code-Making Panels meet next month in Phoenix to review the approximately 3500 comments received.

The schedule for the rest of the NEC revision is as follows:

December 4-16, 2000 Code-Making Panels meet to act on Comments
March 5-9, 2000 Technical Correlating Committee meets
April 16, 2001 Report on Comments (ROC) mailed
May 13-17, 2001 NFPA Annual Meeting
July 22, 2001 Standards Council approval

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NECA Publishes Third Lighting Standard

NECA recently published the newest addition to its National Electrical Installation Standards™ series of publications. NECA/ IESNA 501-2000, Recommended Practice for Installing Exterior Lighting Systems (ANSI) is the third lighting standard jointly developed by NECA and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America.

It describes installation procedures for lighting commonly used outdoors, including pole-mounted floodlights and spotlights, wall bracket fixtures, illuminated bollards, and landscape lighting and is approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

NECA/IESNA 501 costs $25, with NECA-member and quantity discounts available. Contact the NECA Order Desk at (301)215-4504 tel, (301) 215-4500 fax, or Provide your name, company, mailing address and NECA member number (where applicable). All non-member orders must be prepaid by check or credit card.

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NEIS Website Improved, Expanded has received a major overhaul and re-design. The site is geared toward electrical industry professionals who need to stay informed about National Electrical Installation Standards (NEIS) and other codes and standards programs.

Highlights of this improved and streamlined technical resource include:

• Online catalog of NEIS and other technical publications.
• “Standards in Progress” lets you check the status of NEIS under development, or join a technical subcommittee.
• “Code Question of the Day” lets you test your National Electrical Code knowledge online.
• “Newsletters” lets you subscribe to NECA’s two codes-and-standards quarterlies, or check out back issues in the online archive.
• Downloadable fact sheets give visitors instantaneous access to information about the National Electrical Installation Standards (NEIS) program.
Check out NECA Codes and Standards’ new site at

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Many Installed GFCIs Don’t Work, Leviton Study Reveals

A high percentage of ground-fault circuit-interrupters (GFCIs) installed in homes don’t work when tested and might not protect people from electrical shocks. A new research study from the Leviton Institute in Little Neck, NY is based on information collected by members of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).

The field study reviewed data from more than 13,000 building inspections and found that, on average, 15 percent of GFCIs were inoperative when tested. In parts of the country where lightning is prevalent, there was an even higher incidence of failure. As many as 58 percent of GFCIs in areas such as central Florida and the great plains were not working properly. “GFCIs don’t last forever,” said Steve Campolo, lead investigator in the study.

“Voltage surges from lightning, utility switching, and other sources all take their toll on the devices. That’s why Underwriters Laboratories requires that GFCIs be tested monthly.” The study’s findings suggest that many homeowners either aren’t testing their devices or are ignoring the results. Traditional receptacle and circuit breaker designs may compound the problem.

For example, most GFCIs will continue to deliver power even if ground-fault protection has been compromised. “It’s natural for users to assume that all is well if the GFCI is still delivering power,” Campolo commented. New lockout-type GFCI receptacles coming on the market will offer greater protection. Once tripped, they cannot be reset unless the GFCI mechanism is working properly.

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NFPA Releases Draft Building Code

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has released the first draft of its new building code for public review. The deadline for submitting change proposals to NFPA 5000 is November 9, 2000.

NFPA's building code is being developed using open, full-consensus procedures that allow participation by all segments of the construction industry and the general public. By contrast, other model code organizations permit only their members—inspectors and code officials—to vote on documents.

Other experts including contractors and consulting engineers are deliberately excluded. “We are committed to the time-tested and proven open consensus process,” said NFPA president George F. Miller. “True consensus is the cornerstone of our mission and is essential to public safety.” To download the public review draft of NFPA 5000, or for additional information, visit NFPA's Web site at

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The Need to License Electricians

Editor’s Note: The following guest editorial appeared recently in The Miami Herald and is reprinted here by permission. by Walter L. Bost The recent tragic and unnecessary death of yet another one of our children at play cannot be acceptable to any concerned person, local elected official, or Florida legislator.

Touching a light pole should not cause anyone’s death. We have witnessed too many deaths due apparently to faulty electrical work. State Rep. Carlos Lacasa (R-Miami), worked diligently on behalf of the Florida Home Builders Association to help pass legislation prohibiting Miami-Dade County from enforcing its electrician licensing requirements. Yet we continue to see cause for returning to these local laws that once required people who install electrical wiring be licensed and certified as “competent.” Training required The Florida Legislature has chosen not to license people who do electrical installations and has prohibited counties from imposing their own licensing requirements. Yet, the Florida Legislature does require people who do hair coloring, hair relaxing and permanent waving to be individually licensed. They obtain licenses only after a minimum of 1,200 hours of training and by passing an examination. Similarly, the Florida Legislature has determined that the public needs the protection offered by licensing from people who do electrolysis. They are required to complete 120 hours of training and to pass written examination. As of this writing, I have yet to hear of an individual death caused by improperly applied hair coloring or from the permanent removal of body or facial hair via electrolysis. Just in case legislators have to be informed: “Electricity kills.” For obvious safety reasons, licensing electrical workers is in the public’s best interest.

The National Electrical Contractors Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have long supported the licensing and certification of electrical workers. We once again urge Rep. Lacasa, members of the South Florida delegation and other members of the Florida Legislature to ensure that every person in Florida has the protection and peace of mind of knowing that the qualifications of people working on electrical installations in their homes, offices and recreation areas are subject to the same sort of scrutiny (training, examination and experience) as those of people who dye hair or remove unwanted hair. Walter L. Bost is executive manager for the South Florida chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).

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ANSI Approves NECA 1 Workmanship Standard

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has approved NECA 1-2000, Standard Practices for Good Workmanship in Electrical Construction.

Envisioned as the ‘centerpiece’ of the National Electrical Installation Standards series of publications, NECA 1 defines what is meant by installing equipment in a “neat and workmanlike manner” as required by the National Electrical Code, Section 110-12. Subjects covered include receiving, storing, and protecting construction materials on site, properly mounting and supporting electrical equipment, installing raceways and conductors, and Americans with Disability Act Guidelines (ADAG) for locating electrical devices.

NECA 1 is a revision and update of NECA’s 1988 Standard of Installation.It is the seventh NEIS to be approved as an American National Standard and will be available for purchase soon.

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Code Calendar

Upcoming meetings of interest to the codes & standards community:

Nov 1–2 ANSI Board of Standards Review, New York, NY
Nov 2–3 NFPA 99, Technical Correlating Committee on Health Care, Warwick, RI
Nov 6–10 NFPA 79, Electrical Equipment of Indistrial Machinery, Sarasota, FL
Nov 9–11 NFPA 780, Lightning Protection, Reno, NV
Nov 15–17 NFPA 70B, Electrical Equipment Maintenance, San Antonio, TX
Nov 28–Dec 7 NFPA 2000, Building Code, Tampa, FL
Dec 4–16 National Electrical Code-Making Panels, Phoenix, AZ
Jan 17–19 NFPA Standards Council, Key West, FL
Jan 22–27 NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code, San Antonio, TX
Feb 1–2 ANSI Board of Standards Review, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

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NEC web site debuts Now there’s a Web site devoted just to the National Electrical Code. features articles and information focused strictly on the NEC, without requiring users to navigate through the larger site maintained by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Features of particular interest for Code users include dwelling unit and motor circuit calculators; a database of the most frequently asked questions about the NEC; online communities for engineers, contractors, inspectors and others; plus NEC Direct Webzine filled with technical articles about how to apply National Electrical Code requirements correctly on the job. Check it all out at

Terry Lindsay receives Coggeshall Award W. Terry Lindsay was posthumously presented the 2000 Coggeshall Award at the recent NECA Annual Meeting. He died earlier this year without knowing that he had been selected for this important honor, created to recognize outstanding contributions to the technical and training goals of the electrical contracting industry. His wife Greta was present in Seattle to receive the award on his behalf. Terry Lindsay was a former member of NECA’s Codes and Standards Committee, served on the National Electrical Code Technical Correlating Committee, and was chairman of the National Electrical Installation Standards Technical Subcommittee on Wiring Methods.

Paul Duks honored by ANSI
The American National Standards Institute, which administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standards system, honored Paul Duks at the recent ANSI Annual Meeting and celebration of World Standard Week in Washington, DC. Duks, who retired from Underwriters Laboratories Inc. in 1998, received ANSI’s Meritorious Service Award at a banquet held October 17 in the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. During his long career at UL, he made significant contributions to the cause of electrical standardization, and was a long-time member of the National Electrical Code Technical Correlating Committee. Most recently, Paul Duks authored an important study comparing the NEC with the IEC 60364 series of publications, collectively known as “Electrical Installations of Buildings.”

TIAs proposed for National Fire Alarm Code
A group of six Tentative Interim Amendments has been proposed for the National Fire Alarm Code, NFPA 72-1999. They deal with fire warning equipment (alarms), hearing impairment, and standby power sources for fire alarm systems. A TIA is tentative because it has not been processed through the entire NFPA standards-making procedure, and interim because it is effective only between editions of the document. For the complete text of NFPA 72 TIA Log Nos. 644-649, go to The closing date for public comments is November 7, 2000. Newly-published book explains AFCIs The new 2000 edition of Overcurrents and Undercurrents, published by Reptec, is the first book to explain the technology behind arc-fault circuit-interrupters (AFCIs). AFCIs protect against arcing faults whose characteristics that may not cause conventional circuit breakers or ground-fault circuit-interrupters (GFCIs) to trip. Overcurrents and Undercurrents also covers GFCIs and ground-fault protection for equipment. Its author is Earl W. Roberts, long-time chairman of N.E. Code-making Panel 2. The book costs $25 including shipping and handling, and can be ordered directly from Reptec at (860) 536-4496 or

NFPA lightning protection standard gets reprieve
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards Council, at its October 4-6 meeting, voted to keep NFPA 780-1997, Installation of Lightning Protection Systems, in print for another year rather than approve the proposed new edition, NFPA 780-2000. The Standards Council had been expected to withdraw the publication and disband the Technical Committee on Lightning Protection, due to a long-running dispute about the scientific basis for lightning protection standards. The one-year extension of the current edition is intended to provide more time to resolve the scientific issues, while keeping an important regulatory document available for users.

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Articles by and about NECA Codes and Standards have appeared recently in the following publications:

Electrical Contracting & Engineering News (EC&EN),
“VDV Product Evolution: User Needs Drive New Standards,” October 2000 T.E.D. (The Electrical Distributor),
“Back to Basics: Understanding Network Cabling,” September 2000 Electrical Contractor,
“Two New NECA Standards to be Published This Fall,” September 2000 EC&EN,
“Small Form Factor Connectors — At Last,” August 2000 T.E.D.,
“Davids and Goliaths?” August 2000 T.E.D.,
“Surprise! Copper is Alive and Well,” July 2000

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