Volume 5, Issue Number 3 August 1, 2000

NECA Comments Oppose ICC Electrical Code

NECA has filed public comments opposing the inclusion of technical wiring requirements in a new electrical code being developed by the International Code Council (ICC), a coalition of model building code groups. (For more complete background information on this matter, see the May 2000 issue of Contractors’ Code Letter.)

The ICC Electrical Code is intended to be an administrative document that describes procedures for adopting and enforcing an electrical code. However, four proposals for actual wiring rules were accepted at a hearing held April 12 in Birmingham, Alabama.

Three of the proposed rules concern the use of Type NM cable, while the fourth deals with cutting, notching and boring of framing members. All four proposed rules differ from existing National Electrical Code requirements on the same subjects.

Not true consensus Although the ICC’s code process lacks the ‘true consensus’ safeguards of the National Fire Protection Association’s code development procedures, it loosely resembles the NEC process. A 2000 Report of Public Hearings was published in late May with a deadline of July 3 for receiving public comments. NECA submitted comments as an organization, and members of NECA’s Codes and Standards Committee also submitted public comments.

They included the following:

1. The ICC Electrical Code (ICC EC) is intended as an administrative document that specifies procedures for adopting and enforcing an electrical code. It should not contain technical requirements. (We also note that a new Article 80 on administrative procedures has been proposed for the 2002 National Electrical Code.)
2. It is inappropriate to use the ICC EC as a method for trying to amend the NEC by circumventing that code’s normal consensus procedures.
3. The original proposal to permit enforcement of the “International Residential Code, NFPA 70 or CSA C22.1, Part 1 as applicable” was unworkable and contrary to the International Code Council’s stated intention to come up with a single package of closely integrated codes.
4. Having incompatible requirements in the NEC and ICC EC will create confusion for specifiers, installers, inspectors, and owners/users of electrical products and systems. Electrician apprenticeship programs, and other electrical regulatory standards, are based on the requirements of the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70).
5. Due to the complexity and voluminous content of the National Electrical Code, promoting a competing code would put citizens in jeopardy.
6. As the largest North American organization for electrical construction firms, we object to the committee’s statement that “Electrical contractors welcome the freedom to choose Type NM cable as an option.” NECA supports uniform nationwide adoption of the National Electrical Code as the regulatory standard for safe wiring practices.
7. The present electrical code has provisions for changes and additions for safety improvements, new technology, and other items that merit review and acceptance.
8. What will be accomplished by having two or more electrical codes? Who will bear the cost of complying?

Lack of expertise NECA and other electrical industry segments are also concerned that the International Code Council has not established an electrical code committee. At present, the ICC Electrical Code comes under the jurisdiction of the organization’s General/Occupancies Committee. This group is made up of building officials and architects and does not include electrical inspectors or any other members with specialized electrical expertise.

The next step in this process is that public comments on the ICC Electrical Code and all other ICC documents will be discussed at the upcoming annual meetings of the three constituent organizations: Building Officials and Code Administrators International (BOCA), International Council of Building Officials (ICBO), and Southern Building Code Council International (SBCCI). See "Code Calendar" for more information about these meetings.

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NECA Publishes New Generator Standard

NECA recently released its seventh installation standard. NECA/EGSA 404-2000, Recommended Practice for Installing Generator Sets (ANSI) covers the installation of generators used for on-site power production in commercial or institutional buildings, including emergency applications.

NECA joined efforts with the Electrical Generating Systems Association, the industry organization of generator equipment manufacturers, to develop this new technical publication.

NECA/EGSA 404-2000 is the seventh in NECA’s series of National Electrical Installation Standards™, and the fifth to be approved by the American National Standards Institute. NECA’s newest NEIS™ publication can be thought of as complementing another ANSI-approved standard, NFPA 110 on emergency and standby power systems. “NECA 404 tells you how to size the feeder for a generator set, how to ground the unit properly, and how to install the exhaust and fuel systems,” commented Brooke Stauffer, NECA director of codes and standards.

“NFPA 110 defines the performance requirements of generators used for legally-required emergency purposes, after they’ve been installed.” National Electrical Installation Standards are the first quality and reliability standards for electrical construction. They establish requirements for installing electrical products and systems that go beyond the minimum safety rules of the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70). NECA/EGSA 404-2000 costs $25 with NECA-member and quantity discounts available.

To order, contact the NECA Order Desk at (301) 215-4504 tel, (301) 215-4500 fax, or Provide your name, company, and mailing address (and NECA member number, where applicable). All nonmember orders must be pre-paid by check or credit card.

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IAEI Central Illinois Division wins “Charlie Trout Plaque”

It had to happen — an award for excellence in NEC knowledge has been named after NECA’s own Charlie Trout.

Like the America’s Cup for world-class sailing, the ‘Charlie Trout Plaque’ is a traveling award that moves from place to place as different Illinois electrical inspector groups demonstrate their prowess at correctly identifying Code language. Why Charlie Trout? Charles M. Trout, chairman of Code-making Panel 12 and veteran member of NECA’s Codes and Standards Committee, has long been a well-known figure in the NEC world. Currently he is a monthly Code columnist for Electrical Contractor magazine and author of NECA’s popular e-mail feature, ‘Code Question of the Day.’ For the last 12 years, Trout has also presided over the Code breakfasts held at the spring and winter meetings of the Illinois Chapter of IAEI (International Association of Electrical Inspectors). In 1998, they were officially named the ‘Charlie Trout Code Breakfast’ and an award was established to celebrate excellence in NEC knowledge. How the contest works At each twice-yearly breakfast meeting, members of each IAEI division compete to correctly identify 30 excerpts from the National Electrical Code (i.e., to supply the Article, Section, subsection, exception, Fine Print Note, etc. that fits each excerpt). At the most recent spring meeting held in Rockford, Illinois, the Central Illinois Division triumphed. It beat out all other state divisions in NEC knowledge and took home the coveted ‘Charlie Trout Plaque’ to hang in a place of honor till the next Chapter meeting in the fall. The award’s namesake observed that “it is very gratifying that the Illinois Chapter members, many of whom were my students in my code classes at Harper College years ago, have honored me by establishing the ‘Charlie Trout Plaque’.”

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ANSI Approves Third NEIS Lighting Standard

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has approved NECA/ IESNA 501-2000, Recommended Practice for Installing Exterior Lighting Systems.

It is the third lighting standard developed by NECA in cooperation with the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), the professional society for lighting designers and engineers. The previous two are NECA/IESNA 500-1998 on commercial lighting and NECA/IESNA 502-1999 on industrial lighting. ANSI endorsement represents a ‘higher’ level of approval for standards developed by industry associations like NECA and IESNA.

Documents approved as American National Standards are recognized as representing the official U.S. position on a given technical subject. They can be adopted for regulatory use by state and local governments, and referenced in specifications for electrical construction projects.

All three National Electrical Installation Standards jointly developed by NECA and IESNA have now been ANSI-approved. NECA/IESNA 501-2000, Recommended Practice for Installing Exterior Lighting Systems (ANSI) is expected to be available for purchase in September.

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Prices Slashed on NECA Code Resources

Prices have been dramatically reduced for NECA books and videos based on the 1999 National Electrical Code.

1999 National Electrical Code Changes video This 60-minute video training course combines expert commentary, outstanding graphics, and footage of actual installation situations to bring Code requirements to life right before your eyes, and provide the information contractors need to apply the NEC correctly on the job. Index# 5016V...Was $79...Now $15.00 1999 Illustrated Book of Code Changes

The perfect companion to NECA’s 1999 NEC Changes video, this book explains all major 1999 Code changes with the help of 150 illustrations. Index# 5016...Was $11.95...Now $5.00 1999 National Electrical Code Tables NECA’s most popular technical publication puts the information you use every day — conductor properties, raceway dimensions and capacities, motor code letters, overcurrent device settings, and more — in a compact package that’s handier to use in the field than the complete 650-page Code book. Index# 5036...Was $7.50...Now $4.00 State Electrical Regulations: NECA Guide to State Electrical Codes, Enforcement and Licensing

An invaluable reference for contractors, manufacturers and others who operate in multiple jurisdictions around the country, this book summarizes information about electrical codes, code enforcement, and contractor/ electrician licensing in every state plus the District of Columbia. Index# 5060...Was $20...Now $5.00

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NFPA Building Codes Project Gets Underway

The theme of NFPA’s 2000 World Fire Safety Congress, held May 14-18 in Denver, was Building True Consensus. The organization used that meeting to educate architects, engineers, fire marshals, contractors, and inspectors about its plans to develop a comprehensive, coordinated family of ANSI-approved building codes. <br/>

The new Consensus Codes will encompass existing NFPA documents such as the National Electrical Code, Life Safety Code, National Fuel Gas Code, and Fire Prevention Code. It will also include new plumbing and mechanical codes being developed in cooperation with the International Organization of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and a building code based on the EPCOT Building Code used for the last 30 yeas at Disney World in Florida.

‘True consensus’ means broad participation NFPA’s new Consensus Codes will be developed using open, transparent procedures with participation from many different segments of the building industry. When published in 2002, they will be the first building codes approved as American National Standards. By contrast, only members are permitted to vote on building codes developed by other building code organizations.

“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.” NFPA veteran Gary Keith was promoted to assistant vice president to head up the building codes project. The organization is also recruiting new professional staff for this major effort; it has advertised for a senior architect, senior civil engineer, and regional manager.

The first meeting of the new Technical Correlating Committee to kick off NFPA’s building codes project was held June 12-16 in Cincinnati.

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Code Calendar

Upcoming meetings of interest to the codes & standards community:

Aug 14–15 Standards Engineering Society 2000 Annual Conference, Baltimore, MD
Aug 15–16 NFPA Electrical Equipment in Health Care Facilities, Baltimore, MD
Aug 17 NFPA Electrical Systems in Health Care Facilities, Baltimore, MD
Aug 18 NFPA Emergency Power Supplies, Baltimore, MD
Sep 5–9 ICBO Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA
Sep 10–14 IAEI Northwestern Section, Anchorage, AK
Sep 17–20 IAEI Western Section, Madison, WI
Sep 18–21 BOCA Annual Conference, Rochester, NY
Sep 25–29 IAEI Southwestern Section, Bakersfield, CA
Oct 1–4 IAEI Eastern Section, Burlington, VT
Oct 5–6 NFPA Standards Council, Dublin, Ireland
Oct 8–12 SBCCI Annual Conference, Nashville, TN
Oct 15–18 IAEI Southern Section, Atlanta, GA

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Multi-state reciprocity agreement The Minnesota Board of Electricity has joined a reciprocity agreement with a number of western states covering Class A journeyman licenses. Electricians who have become licensed through examination in a signatory state can become licensed in other states without being required to take an examination. The reciprocity agreement covers Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. For more information, contact the electrician licensing agency in each state.

NESF names new executive director The National Electrical Safety Foundation has named Walter H. Biddle as its new executive director. Biddle has more than 25 years’ experience in not-for-profit organizations, including work with two other foundations. Most recently he was executive director of the Career Training Foundation in Washington, DC. NESF operates consumer education and public awareness programs including “Electrical Safety Month” each May. NECA is a member organization of the foundation and NECA chief executive officer John Grau serves on its board of directors.

NFPA Electrical Section new officer Brooke Stauffer, NECA director of codes and standards, has been named vice-chairman of NFPA’s Electrical Section; he was previously a member of the section’s executive committee. NECA is a strong supporter of the Electrical Section’s educational mission, and sponsors its annual reception at the NFPA World Fire Congress and Exposition. This year’s Congress was held May 14-18 in Denver, Colorado.

NEC Tentative Interim Amendment issued The following Tentative Interim Amendment, TIA 99-2, is now in effect for the 1999 National Electrical Code. We recommend that you mark your Code book to reflect this change and maintain the complete approved text:

Delete Section 800-11(c), the Exception, and the Fine Print Note.
TIAs are revisions of an emergency nature between regularly scheduled editions of the NEC. They are tentative because they have not been proceed through the entire Code-revision procedure, and interim because they are in effect only between regularly scheduled editions of the NEC. A TIA automatically becomes a proposal for the next revision of the NEC. UL elects NECA’s CEO as corporate member The Board of Trustees of Underwriters Laboratories Inc. has elected John M. Grau, executive vice president and CEO of the National Electrical Contractors Association, as a Corporate Member for a term ending in 2003. Among the many types of products tested and listed (certified) by UL are electrical construction materials purchased and installed by electrical contractors. Grau was elected in the safety expert category, based on his leadership of North America’s largest organization for electrical construction firms. NECA-IBEW solar electricity training facility The IBEW-NECA Technical Institute (IN-TECH) in Alsip, Illinois has launched one of the country’s first training centers for installation of photovoltaic (PV) systems. The 5-kilowatt PV teaching system, located on the roof of IN-TECH’s building, provides power for computers installed in the Institute’s programmable controller laboratory. Increasingly sophisticated PV building materials are being developed that replace conventional glazing and roofing materials. Many industry observers expect that buildings of the near future will be increasingly important as electrical power generators.

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

Engineering Times, “Plan for Promoting Canadian Electrical Regulation Falls Short,” July 2000 IAEI News,
“South Florida Building Code Accepts NEIS,” May/June 2000 T.E.D. (The Electrical Distributor),
“Watch Out for Wireless,” June 2000 Electrical Contractor (E.C.),
“Major Reversal for ICC Electrical Code,” May 2000 Energy Decisions,
“Setting Standards,” April 2000 E.C.,
“Proposed ICC Electrical Code May Threaten Public Safety,” April 2000

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