Volume 7, Issue Number 2 April 1, 2002

NECA Member Named to head NYC Code Panel

Richard E. Sobel has been appointed chairman of Panel E of the New York City Electrical Code Revision and Interpretation Committee.

New York recently adopted the 1999 NEC, and five technical panels were formed to write amendments bridging the gap between New York’s special circumstances and the National Electrical Code. Panel E is responsible for Articles 770 through 830 which include fiber optics, communications, CATV, and networking systems.

“For many years we have worked toward the goal of bringing New York’s code in line with the more comprehensive NEC,” observes Sobel. “Nevertheless, the nature and density of our city requires special considerations to insure safety and usability.” Richard Sobel, PE, is a member of NECA’s Codes and Standards Committee and serves on the National Electrical Code Committee, as a member of CMP-13. He is a principal of Quantum Electric Corporation based in Long Island City, NY.

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Code Calendar

Upcoming meetings of interest to the codes & standards community:

Apr 18–19: NFPA Standards Council, Charleston, SC
May 2–3: ANSI Board of Standards Review (BSR), New York, NY
May 19–23: NFPA World Safety Congress and Exposition, Minneapolis, MN
May 29–30: ANSI Executive Standards Council, Quincy, MA
Aug 1–2: ANSI Board of Standards Review (BSR), New York, NY
Sep 8–12: IAEI Northwestern Section, Bellevue, WA
Sep 15–18: IAEI Western Section, Kearney, NE
Oct 6–9: IAEI Eastern Section, Lancaster, PA
Oct 13–16: IAEI Southern Section, Nashville, TN
Oct 20–24: IAEI Southwestern Section, Honolulu, HI

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CSI MasterFormat Spec System Evolving

The Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) has voted to scrap its familiar 16-division format, reorganizing and expanding the widely-used MasterFormat organizational system for writing construction specifications.

The new version is expected to be ready for publication late in 2003. The current MasterFormat system divides building materials into sixteen divisions, a framework established in 1963. Division 16 covers most electrical, electronics, and communications systems. Fire alarm systems are currently in Division 13, HVAC and building automation controls in Division 15. CSI’s executive committee voted earlier this year to expand the MasterFormat system to forty divisions, renumbering most existing divisions and creating several new ones. Initially, about half of the forty divisions will be active, with the remaining ones reserved for future use.

The future of M-E-P Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) divisions will be grouped in the 20-series. The previous Division 15 has been divided into two new divisions for mechanical and plumbing. Those of primary interest to electrical contractors are:

• Division 21 - Life Safety and Facility Protection
• Division 24 - Electrical
• Division 25 - Communications
“I think the revised MasterFormat framework pretty much preserves the status quo,” observes Brooke Stauffer, executive director for standards and safety at the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). “The technologies our industry is most concerned with used to be scattered among several divisions, and under the new framework they still are. But the numbers have changed, and there’s definitely going to be a learning curve and phase-in period while specifiers and installers both get accustomed to the new MasterFormat.”

Although the overall shape of next-generation MasterFormat has now been decided, numerous details remain to be worked out before the expanded model specification system is ready for commercial release. CSI is forming advisory groups to expedite this work, and NECA will serve on the special task group for the 20-series (MEP) divisions. In addition, CSI will be sponsoring public forums to educate MasterFormat users about the upcoming 2003 version. The first one is scheduled to be held April 26 in Denver. Tom Glavinich, PE, director of architectural engineering at the University of Kansas, is a well known construction industry expert who advises several industry association on specification-related issues.

“I think the updates to CSI’s MasterFormat represent an expansion of opportunities for electrical contractors,” says Glavinich. “It’s going to make it easier for them to bid on a broader range of work.” “The details that we finally come up with are going to govern how electrical contractors bid power, control, and communications jobs for a long time to come,” observes Stauffer. “So we’re taking this project very seriously, and devoting the resources necessary to do a good, thorough job.”

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NECA’s 2002 Code Changes Book is a Winner

Get your copy of the NECA Guide to Changes in the 2002 National Electrical Code today.

Clear text and more than 70 full-color illustrations explain nearly 150 of the most significant new and revised requirements in the 2002 NEC. It’s the perfect educational tool for individuals, NECA chapters, Code instructors, vocational-technical schools, and everyone concerned with understanding the 2002 National Electrical Code. NECA Guide to Changes in the 2002 National Electrical Code is priced at $14.95, with a NECA-member discount.

Contact the NECA Order Desk at (301) 215-4504 tel, (301) 215-4500 fax, or orderdesk@ and request Index No. EC 6000. 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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Updated “Safety Expert” Software Now Available

NECA has just released an upgrade to its best-selling Safety Expert System software. Version 2.1 incorporates a new module that helps users comply with recent injury and illness recordkeeping requirements implemented by OSHA (U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It simplifies maintenance of records at a central location, while meeting OSHA privacy protection requirements. This latest software release also includes new material dealing with OSHA training requirements for forklifts and powered industrial trucks, plus an update to “Preparing for Emergencies,” which addresses terrorism concerns arising from the events of September 11. NECA’s Safety Expert System software is a comprehensive tool and reference that helps construction companies develop their own corporate safety programs in compliance with applicable OSHA regulations. It covers topics ranging from basic safety to fall protection to vehicle safety. For more information, visit Ordering information.

The updated NECA Safety Expert System 2.1 is available for $299; and the Recordkeeping Module is available as a stand-alone product for only $79. (Purchasers of the earlier version 2.0 will automatically receive the new upgrade, free of charge.)

To order, 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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“Code Question of the Day” Author Publishes Important New Textbook

Delmar/Thomson Learning has just published a new textbook by Charles M. Trout, author of NECA’s popular online feature “Code Question of the Day.”

Clear text and more than 400 color illustrations explain 2002 National Electrical Code rules. Electrical Installation and Inspection covers basic requirements for installing electrical products and systems in commercial, residential, and industrial buildings. Major subject areas include load calculations; circuit design and layout; elevators; the special requirements of escalators and lifts; cranes and hoists; wiring systems for information technology rooms; and electrical installations in hazardous (classified) locations.

According to the author, his new textbook is “modeled after my workbook for Code enforcement classes which I taught at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois. It covers subjects not found in any other book of its kind. Using everyday, understandable language to describe installation and inspection procedures keeps students and other readers at a higher level of understanding.” In addition to being the mind behind NECA’s online Code Question of the Day, Charlie Trout has written about National Electrical Code issues for Electrical Contractor magazine. He is a member of NECA’s Codes and Standards Committee and serves as chairman of N.E. Code-Making Panel 12. Electrical Installation and Inspection costs $56 plus shipping.

To order, contact Delmar/Thomson at (800) 998-7498 or Electrical Installation and Inspection is also available from

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New NEIS Fire Alarm Standard

The latest National Electrical Installation Standard (NEIS) is NECA 305-2001, Standard for Fire Alarm System Job Practices (ANSI).

This publication describes procedures for installing, testing, and maintaining fire alarm systems. It is the fifteenth NEIS published and the thirteenth to gain approval from the prestigious American National Standards Institute. ANSI-approved technical publications are generally regarded as being the official U.S. standards on any given subject. Ordering information. NECA 305 is priced is $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. National Electrical Installation Standards are also available in downloadable .pdf format at

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ICC Still Stonewalling on Electrical Code

The International Code Council (ICC), a membership organization of non-electrical building officials, voted at its April 10-12 hearings in Pittsburgh not to withdraw the so-called ICC Electrical Code from publication.

The electrical industry turned out in force, to testify in favor of a proposal that had been submitted to discontinue the slim booklet of wiring rules. Electrical organizations have lobbied against the ICC Electrical Code around the country, since its original publication in 1999. “We’ve been very successful in blocking adoptions at the state and local levels,” observes Brooke Stauffer, executive director for standards and safety at National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).

“But our ultimate goal is to get rid of the book entirely.” ICC (previously CABO, the Council of American Building Officials) publishes a series of building codes covering structures, plumbing, mechanical equipment, sewage disposal, etc. However, for many years, the National Electrical Code (NEC), published by the National Fire Protection Association, was the only nationwide electrical building code. That changed in 1999 when ICC first published its own “electrical code” — an incomplete 25-page booklet that mixes administrative procedures and technical requirements.

Evading consensus “Basically, ICC published its own wiring rules from issues of revenue and control,” Stauffer explains. “They looked at the NEC, which is the world’s top-selling regulatory code, and wanted a chunk of that money. Also, the building officials want to be able to impose electrical code requirements without going through NFPA’s demanding procedures.” Unlike the NEC, which is developed by more than 400 electrical experts under consensus procedures that allow broad public review and participation, ICC’s documents are written through a closed process.

There are no electrical inspectors, contractors, engineers, or electricians on the ICC committee responsible for wiring rules, and only building officials are permitted to vote. The National Electrical Code, like most other NFPA technical documents, is approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). However, ICC’s codes aren’t eligible for ANSI recognition because of their restrictive development procedures. Acceptance is low To date, only 11 percent of the jurisdictions that have adopted one or more ICC building codes have adopted its slender electrical code.

Go to and click on “Jurisdiction Chart” at the middle of the page.

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TIA industrial networking standard The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) has formed a new 42.9 Task Group to develop a standard for network systems in harsh industrial environments characterized by vibration, electromagnetic interference (EMI), contaminants, moisture, and extreme temperatures. The new standard is expected to include screened twisted-pair (ScTP) cable, a heavy-duty Category 5E cable that is insulation resistant to oil and sunlight, and a twist lock connector that is compatible with conventional 8-position modular telecom connectors.

NFPA names new president The NFPA Board of Directors has selected James M. Shannon as the organization’s next president and chief executive officer, effective June 1, 2002. He succeeds George D. Miller, who is retiring after ten years. Shannon has been NFPA senior vice president and general counsel since 1991. Previously he served as Massachusetts Attorney General, and from 1979 to 1985 represented the state in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Practical Electrical Wiring’s 18th edition published Practical Electrical Wiring, a comprehensive reference guide to commercial, industrial, and residential electrical installations, has just been updated and re-issued to bring it in line with the 2002 National Electrical Code. First published more than half a century ago by Herbert P. Richter, PEW is now in its 18th edition, with updated technical information and more illustrations than ever. The book sells for $59.95 plus shipping, with quantity discounts available. To order, contact Park Publishing at (800) 841-0383.

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

Electrical Contracting & Engineering News, “NEC or ICC? An Argument for Retaining the NEC Code,” April 2002 Engineering Times,
“NECA Says Rival Electrical Code Not Attracting State Endorsements,” April 2002 Electrical Contractor (EC),
“CSI Master-Format Evolving,” April 2001 EC,
“Alabama Adopts National Electrical Installation Standards for Regulatory Use,” February 2001 EC,
“States Reject ICC Electrical Code, Adopt NEC,” January 2002 Construction Tech Magazine Online News,
“National Electrical Installation Standards Approved for Regulatory Purposes,” Vol. 4, No. 1

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N.E. Code-Making Panel No. 3:
Ronald E. Massen (principal), Lemberg Electric Company Inc., Wauwatosa, WI.

N.E. Code-Making Panel No. 9:
Robert J. Kaemmerlen (principal), Kaemmerlen Electric Company, St. Louis, MO.

N.E. Code-Making Panel No. 9:
Monte Szendre (alternate), Wilson Construction Company, Canby, OR.

N.E. Code-Making Panel No. 11:
Wayne Brinkmeyer (chairman), Biddle Electric Corporation, Houston, TX.

N.E. Code-Making Panel No. 12:
Scott Cline (alternate), McMurtrey Electric Inc., Monterey Park, CA.

N.E. Code-Making Panel No. 13:
Tom Wood (chairman), Cecil B. Wood Inc., Rockford, IL.

N.E. Code-Making Panel No. 14:
Troy Beall, B&D Electric Company Inc., Albuquerque, NM.

N.E. Code-Making Panel No. 15:
James W. Hillebrand (principal), Byron Electric Company, Louisville, KY.

N.E. Code-Making Panel No. 15:
Stanley Kahn (alternate), Tri-City Electric Company Inc., Aptos, CA.

N.E. Code-Making Panel No. 16:
W. Douglas Pirkle (alternate), Pirkle Electric Company Inc., Atlanta, GA.

N.E. Code-Making Panel No. 17:
Don Jhonson (chairman), Interior Electric Inc., North Miami, FL

N.E. Code-Making Panel No. 18:
Michael W. Smith (principal), Guarantee Electrical Company, St. Louis, MO.

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