Volume 7, Issue Number 4 October 1, 2002

New User’s Guide to National Electrical Code® is published

A new official reference book from the publisher of the NEC® has just been released. User’s Guide to the National Electrical Code® is a companion volume to NFPA’s National Electrical Code® Handbook.

But the two books are intended for somewhat different audiences. “User’s Guide is aimed at people who may just be learning about the National Electrical Code for the first time,” says the author, Brooke Stauffer. “It provides more background information about how the NEC is developed, how the Code book is organized and the best ways to use it, and about the general requirements of Chapters 1-4 that apply to all electrical installations.”

Stauffer is executive director for standards and safety with the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), and in addition to writing and lecturing widely on NEC-related topics, he has been a member of three Code-making panels of the NEC. Currently Stauffer serves on CMP-1, which is responsible for NEC Articles 80, 90, 100, and 100. Introduction to the NEC “We think that User’s Guide to the National Electrical Code will be an ideal textbook for technical-vocational school students, first-year electrical apprentices, first-year electrical engineering students, and anybody else who’s just being introduced to the NEC® for the first time,” explains Mark W. Earley, P.E., NFPA chief electrical engineer.

“You can almost think of it as ‘Code Textbook, Volume 1.’ The more comprehensive National Electrical Code Handbook then becomes Volume 2, for people with greater knowledge and experience of using the NEC. “The two books complement each other and are designed to be used together, but User’s Guide to the National Electrical Code comes first. It forms the foundation for building a body of Code knowledge that an electrician, engineer, or other technical person can use and improve on for a lifetime.”

“We decided to take a different approach with the User’s Guide,” adds Stauffer. “Where the Handbook explains Code requirements section-by-section, we thought the User’s Guide should explain the concepts underlying each Article.” User’s Guide to the National Electrical Code is 300 pages in length. Clear text and more than 200 full-color illustrations, along with actual Code tables and extracts, provide an in-depth introduction to and explanation of the world’s most widely adopted and used regulatory standard: the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70-2002).

Ordering Information. User’s Guide to the National Electrical Code is priced at $49.50. It can be ordered at 1-800-344-3555 or ISBN 0-87765-471-9; NFPA Item Code GDNEC02.

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Shell Game: ICC Plays Hide-and-Seek With Its “Electrical Code”

An attempt by the International Code Council’s board of directors to discontinue the ICC Electrical Code — but move the very same wiring rules into the International Building Code (IBC), was voted down at recent code-change hearings in Pittsburgh.

ICC has largely failed in attempts to gain widespread adoption of its electrical code, a 25-page booklet developed by its General and Occupancies Committee, whose membership includes no electrical experts. Only 11 percent of states and local jurisdictions that have adopted one or more ICC codes for regulatory use have accepted the slender book of wiring rules. Most have rejected it, continuing to adopt the National Electrical Code for regulatory use.

Industry united against ICC These widespread rejections are largely due to the work of The Electrical Coalition, a group of electrical industry organizations — NECA, NFPA, IBEW, UL, NEMA, EEI, and IEC — that works cooperatively around the country to defeat the ICC Electrical Code wherever it is proposed. And while these organizations opposed ICC’s most recent ploy on the general grounds of truth in advertising, coalition representatives observe that the building code organization’s strategy has the potential to backfire rather badly. “ICC appears to think that hiding its wiring rules in the International Building Code would make it harder for us to oppose them,” said Brooke Stauffer, executive director of standards and safety for the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). “What they don’t seem to understand is that then The Electrical Coalition would begin opposing regulatory adoption of all ICC codes. We don’t really care about the IBC today. But if it had wiring rules, we’d be against that one too.”

New building codes may tip balance The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), publisher of the NEC, recently issued its own complete set of building codes. The Comprehensive Consensus Codes, or C3 as they’re being called, are intended for regulatory use. (See related story, "NFPA Issues First Consensus Building Code.) Already many states, jurisdictions, and federal agencies around the country are showing interest. “Now there’s a viable alternative to ICC,” observes NECA’s Stauffer. “This could be the beginning of the end.”

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Two Latest NEIS® Cover Transformers, Busways

Now there are 18 quality standards for electrical construction in print.

The latest two additions to the ANSI-approved National Electrical Installation Standards (NEIS)® series of publications are:

• NECA 408-2002, Recommended Practice for Installing and Maintaining Busways (ANSI)
• NECA 409-2002, Recommended Practice for Installing and Maintaining Dry-Type Transformers (ANSI)
Ordering information. NEIS are priced at $25, with NECA-member and quantity discounts available. Contact the NECA Order Desk at (301) 215-4504 tel, (301) 215-4500 fax, or orderdesk NEIS are also available in downloadable, PDF format from

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Industry Protests Exclusion at CSI MasterFormat Symposium

At an August 2 MasterFormat stakeholders’ symposium, sponsored by the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) in its hometown of Alexandria, Virginia,

CSI attempted to defend the poorly-executed update of its model specification system against a growing chorus of construction industry organizations (read: stakeholders) protesting these changes and the closed, exclusive, manner in which they have been accomplished.

• Tom Williams, president-elect of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), charged that a “disconnect existed” in how proposed revisions to the 1995 edition of MasterFormat edition were developed, in closed proceedings with an atmosphere of secrecy.
• Eli Howard of the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association (SMACNA) recommended that MasterFormat be revised through consensus approval procedures like those used for developing ANSI standards.
• Representatives from the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors National Association (PHCCNA), Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC), and National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) also spoke out against the proposed MasterFormat revisions.

No sense of proportion Since 1964, the MasterFormat system has divided construction specifications into 16 divisions, and other tools such as estimating software and bid repositories are also organized that way. The new edition of MasterFormat proposed for release in 2004 scraps that familiar framework and replaces it with a much more complicated system of 43 divisions. Stakeholder attendees observed that while mechanical and electrical systems account for 35 percent of the cost of a typical large building, nobody from those construction sectors had been permitted to participate in the work of CSI’s Expansion Task Team.

Fear of the future? In addition to these objections, companies that develop product catalogs and spec-writing software based on 16 divisions raised worries about acceptance of the new MasterFormat. ARCOM Master Systems’ director of engineering expressed concern over the “process of transition. How do we get from the old system to the new?” A representative of Builder’s FirstSource, the nation’s largest building product supply chain, stated that it might cost her company “millions to revamp our whole system, and then what if the users reject it?”

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NFPA Issues First Consensus Building Code

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has issued NFPA 5000-2002, Building Construction and Safety Code.

It is the first building code developed through an open, consensus-based process that complies with the procedures of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), coordinating body for the U.S. standards system. The new document is available for free review online by the public at NFPA 5000 is the cornerstone of an integrated set of publications to be known as the Comprehensive Consensus Codes (C3).

Other volumes in the C3 series include:

• NFPA 70, National Electrical Code
• NFPA 101, Life Safety Code
• NFPA 1, Uniform Fire Code
• NFPA 54, National Fuel Gas Code
• Uniform Mechanical Code
• Uniform Plumbing Code
True industry standards The Comprehensive Consensus Codes (C3) are being developed through a partnership involving NFPA, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), the Western Fire Chiefs Association (WFCA), and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating & Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). “NECA supports this industry-wide effort to improve and professionalize building codes,” observed Brooke Stauffer, executive director of standards and safety for the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).

“We are 100 percent behind the National Electrical Code, which forms the centerpiece of the C3 set of regulatory documents.” Unlike older building codes published by other groups, all C3 publications will be ANSI-approved. This fact will insure their widespread adoption by states for regulatory use. NFPA and IAPMO also plan to provide free training and code books to code enforcers in states that adopt elements of the C3 set.

“The Comprehensive Consensus Codes will allow state governments to select a quality, coordinated set of codes that will strengthen public safety while allowing states to most efficiently manage resources,” said James M. Shannon, NFPA president and chief executive officer. “Issuing building codes developed through NFPA’s ANSI-accredited process is a historic step in enhancing public safety.”

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Faulty Greenlee Test Meters Recalled

Greenlee-Textron Inc. of Rockford, IL, is voluntarily recalling about 650 electrical testing meters, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

A problem in the battery compartment can cause meters to provide inaccurate voltage and current readings. CPSC and Greenlee have not received reports of injuries or property damage. The recall is being conducted to prevent the possibility of injuries. Meters that inaccurately indicate zero voltage or current create the potential for shock or electrocution when users work on supposedly “safe” electrical wiring and equipment. This recall involves certain CM-700 and CM-750 electrical meters.

The 8-inch meters are dark green with bright yellow features. The model number and the words “Greenlee Test Instruments” are printed across the front of the meter. A silver plate on the back of the meter displays the serial number (S/N). Serial numbers being recalled range from 0203540001 through 0203540650. CM-700 and CM-750 meters with other serial numbers outside this range are not included in this recall. Home Depot (model CM-750 only) and electrical supply stores sold the meters nationwide during April 2002. The CM-700 model sold for about $100 and the CM-750 for about $140.

Users whose test meters have serial numbers within the range above should stop using the recalled units immediately and contact Greenlee for a replacement. For more information, call toll-free to 1-800-435-0786, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (central time).

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In Memoriam: Sad Loss of IAEI President

The International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI) announced the passing of Anthony J. Montuori, 2002 international president and chairman of IAEI’s board of directors, on September 15.

He had suffered from lung cancer. Tony had long been an active figure within IAEI and the larger electrical code community. He is remembered by many industry colleagues as a cheerful team player who always went out of his way to encourage and motivate others. He was employed by the New York Board of Fire Underwriters, and since 1996 had represented IAEI on National Electrical Code-Making Panel 9. First vice president Raymond E. Weber will complete Tony Montuori’s unfinished term and become the organization’s 2003 international president. “Honesty and faithfulness to IAEI were Tony’s hallmarks,” said Weber. “We shall all miss him greatly.”

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Articles by and about NECA Standards & Safety have appeared recently in the following publications:, “Quality Assured: How to Require Quality Electrical Installations,” October 2002
Electrical Contractor, “Industry Protests Exclusion at CSI MasterFormat Symposium,” September 2002
Electrical Contractor, “OSHA Withdraws Fast-Track Road Rules Proposal,” September 2002
Electrical Contractor, “Court Ruling Threatens Standards Developers,” August 2002
Electrical Contractor, “NECA, NEMA Partner on Cable Tray Standard,” August 2002

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IAEI chooses new executive director James W. Carpenter is the new executive director and CEO of the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Formerly chief engineer and state electrical inspector for the North Carolina Department of Insurance, Carpenter is also the long-time chairman of N.E. Code-making Panel 2. He succeeds Philip H. Cox, who retired on June 1 following a decade as IAEI executive director.

Cote named NFPA executive VP Arthur E. Cote, PE, has been promoted to the position of executive vice president for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). He had been senior vice president of operations and chief engineer. In his new position, Cote will continue to oversee technical and standards operations while assuming responsibility for NFPA international programs. Art Cote, who holds a degree in fire protection engineering and is a registered professional engineer, joined NFPA in 1977.

Nebraska deletion of AFCI rule sparks public debate Nebraska’s State Electrical Board voted eliminate the requirement for arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) protecting bedroom branch-circuits in new home construction. State Fire Marshal Ken Winters then wrote the electrical board endorsing the use of AFCI technology, which he said would significantly reduce the loss of life and property from electrical fires. He was supported by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, United States Fire Administration, National Electrical Contractors Association, and Underwriter’s Laboratories Inc. The electrical board’s deletion of AFCIs is currently under review by the Nebraska attorney general’s office.

Jack Wells honored for work with GFCIs Jack Wells, vice president of corporate development for Pass & Seymour/Legrand, recently received the prestigious Underwriters Laboratories “President’s Award” to honor his long-standing commitment to improving public safety. P&S is a major manufacturer of wiring devices headquartered in Syracuse, NY, and Wells was the original product manager for the first ground-fault circuit interrupter, developed more than three decades ago. He is also a long-time member of N.E. Code-making Panel 2, which writes the Code rules for branch circuits, including those requiring GFCI protection.

TIA publishes Category 6 standard The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) has published its standard for Category 6 data cabling systems, after five years of development. TIA/EIA-568-B.2-1 establishes performance requirements for twisted-pair copper cables, connecting hardware and patch panels, and describes field testing procedures for installers. CAT 6 cable offers approximately twice the bandwidth of Category 5e and improved signal-to-noise margins.

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