Volume 4, Issue Number 3 September 1, 1999

2002 National Electrical Code Process Kicks Off

Sometimes it seems we've barely gotten used to a new National Electrical Code before it's time to start thinking about the next future edition! In fact, since the NEC is updated and reissued every three years, while the revision process itself takes nearly two, that isn't far wrong.

The deadline for submitting revision proposals for the 1999 National Electrical Code (to help turn it into the 2002 edition) is Friday, November 5, 1999. The beginning of the 2002 Code process is a good time to take a closer look at the regulatory standard that is the "bible" of the electrical construction industry, explain how the revision process works, and - most important - explain how every Code user has the opportunity to participate.

A schedule of the 2002 Code revision process and instructions for submitting proposals appear at the end of this article. NEC Committee Structure The National Electrical Code is the foundation of the electrical construction business, and the basis for wiring safety rules in most states and municipalities nationwide. To keep it up to date with current products and construction methods, the NEC is revised and re-published every three years. With more than 600 pages and 125 separate Articles on different subjects, the National Electrical Code is so large that no single technical committee would have the expertise - or time - to write or revise the entire publication.

Instead, the NEC is revised by 20 different subcommittees called Code-Making Panels. Panel members are chosen for their technical expertise in particular areas. For example, CMP-2 writes Code rules for branch circuits and feeders; CMP-5 is responsible for grounding; CMP-8 oversees raceways; and CMP-16 handles special systems in Chapters 6, 7, 8 and 9. Panel members are experts in their fields who also represent major electrical organizations such as the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL), International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), and Edison Electric Institute (EEI). The National Electrical Code Technical Correlating Committee, which reports to the NFPA Standards Council, supervises the work of the 20 CMPs and manages the overall Code process.

The NEC-TCC makes policy, approves appointments to Code-Making Panels, and reviews the actions taken by all Panels on proposed revisions to insure consistency throughout the NEC. Creating Consensus Revising the National Electrical Code is a two-stage process that gives all interests a chance to participate and have their views considered. First, change proposals are accepted, and later public comments. The Code process can be summarized as follows:

1.Proposals - Anybody may propose a Code change, and a great many Code users do. More than 4000 proposals were submitted to revise the 1996 NEC. They ranged from minor editorial suggestions to whole new Articles covering new technologies such as network-powered broadband communications systems (see Article 830).

2.First panel meetings - All 20 Code-Making Panels meet to review the change proposals for their parts of the Code, voting to accept or reject each one.

3.NEC-TCC meeting - The NEC Technical Correlating Committee meets to review the Panel actions on proposals.

4.Report on Proposals - The Panel actions to accept or reject proposals, along with the reasons for those actions, are published for public review in a telephone-book-sized volume called the ROP. (The ROP is also available in CD-ROM format and online at

5.Public comments - In the second stage of the revision process, anyone is free to submit public comments. Frequently these comments ask Panels to reconsider their original actions on change proposals, based on additional technical information or other reasons.

6.Second panel meetings - The 20 Panels meet a second time, to discuss and vote on public comments.

7.NEC-TCC meeting - The NEC Technical Correlating Committee meets to review the Panel actions on public comments.

8.Report on Comments - Panel actions are published for public review in a second publication called the ROC (available in paper book, CD-ROM, and online format).

9.Annual Meeting - The 2002 National Electrical Code (and other NFPA standards as well) will be voted upon again at the 2001 National Fire Protection Association annual meeting in San Diego, by the association membership.

In all likelihood there will a number of appeals called "floor actions" at this NFPA meeting, seeking last-minute changes in the final text of the 2002 NEC. 10.Standards Council issuance - The NFPA Standards Council meets to review the record of the entire 2002 NEC revision process and floor actions (if any). If the Council is satisfied that the Code revision process complies with National Fire Protection Association procedures, it approves and issues the Code. Schedule for the 2002 NEC November 5, 1999 Proposal deadline January 10-22, 2000 Code-Making Panels meet to act on Proposals (Hilton Head, GA) July 14, 2000 Report on Proposals (ROP) mailed October 27, 2000 Public Comment deadline December 4-16, 2000 Code-Making Panels meet to act on Comments (Phoenix, AZ) April 16, 2001 Report on Comments (ROC) mailed May 20-24, 2001 NFPA Annual Meeting (San Diego, CA) July 22, 2001 Standards Council issuance August 2001 2002 National Electrical Code published

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NECA 100 Approved as an American National Standard

ENCORE! Another NEISTM has been approved as an American National Standard. ANSI/NECA 100-1999, Symbols for Electrical Construction Drawings, is the fourth NEISTM to be completed and the second to be approved as an American National Standard.

The first ANSI-approved publication was NECA/IESNA 500-1998, Recommended Practice for Installing Indoor Commercial Lighting Systems. Approval by the American National Standards Institute represents a "higher" level of approval for standards developed by industry associations like NECA.

In the ANSI full consensus process, a broad range of non-profit organizations, government agencies, and major corporations reviews and votes on draft standards. "ANSI/NECA 100-1999 is the first new, updated industry standard for electrical construction symbols published in decades," observes Brooke Stauffer, NECA director of codes and standards. "It replaces ANSI/IEEE Y32.9-1972 and the NECA Wiring Symbols Standard (1976), both of which were published more than 20 years ago and had not been updated since."

One of the most significant additions to the new standard are new methods for indicating raceway and conductor sizes. At present, North American industry practice for describing electrical raceways is shifting from inch sizes to trade size designations (i.e., from saying 2-inch conduit to Trade Size 2 conduit). At the same time, some construction drawings are beginning to use metric raceway sizes. NECA 100 presents both conventional and metric designations. NECA 100 reflects current North American practice for electrical construction drawing symbols.

It does not include symbols based on standards of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). However, IEC-style symbols for fire alarm systems, included in NFPA standard 170, are shown in an appendix.

ANSI/NECA 100-1999 is priced at $25.00 (NECA members $12.50). Quantity discounts are also available. Contact the NECA Order Desk at (301) 215-4504 tel, (301) 215-4500 fax or

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9000 Inspectors Receive Free NECA low-voltage Guides

NECA's new Guide to Low-Voltage and Limited-Energy Systems is a hit! This invaluable technical reference for understanding the National Electrical Code requirements for wiring systems such as telecommunications, computer networks, control, and audio-video, and closed- circuit television (CCTV) was published last April and has been flying off the shelves ever since.

Written by well-known Code authority Mike Holt and published by NECA, the "Guide to Low- Voltage and Limited-Energy Systems" is intended for installers, training programs, code officials, and designers. Clear, readable text and more than 60 full-color illustrations make it the easiest, most effective way to learn about Code requirements for non-power wiring systems.

In July, a free copy of NECA's Guide was sent to every code official member of the International Association of Electrical Inspectors - some 8000 inspectors in all! Since then, more than 1000 other free copies have been mailed to inspectors all over the country.

To purchase this publication, contact the NECA Order Desk at (301)215-4504 tel, (301) 215-4500 fax, or and request Index No. 5037. The cost is $12.50 and orders must be pre-paid; NECA-member and quantity discounts are available). Special Offer for Inspectors Only - Municipal building officials and electrical inspectors may obtain up to three free copies of NECA's "Guide to Low-Voltage and Limited-Energy Systems." Simply mail or fax a request on your official letterhead to NECA Codes and Standards at the address on the back of this newsletter. (Sorry, no free inspector orders can be accepted by phone or e-mail.)

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Hints for Writing Better Code Proposals

The deadline for submitting revision proposals for the 1999 National Electrical Code (to help turn it into the 2002 edition) is Friday, November 5, 1999. You can either photocopy the official proposal form on the last page of your 1999 Code book, or download forms from the National Fire Protection Association's website at Code proposals may be submitted by mail, fax, or online.

Of the more than 4000 proposed revisions submitted during the last 1999 Code cycle, only a small proportion were approved; the overwhelming majority were rejected. Why? The three most common reasons for Code-Making Panels to reject proposals is that aren't clear, they aren't specific, or they don't involve electrical safety.

Follow these guidelines to give your proposal a better chance of success. (Numbers refer to lines on the 2002 NEC proposal form.)

1.Section/Paragraph: Specify the exact NEC reference of the language you're proposing to change, such as 430-22(b). If you're proposing new language that doesn't yet exist in say, Article 820 on Communications Circuits, call it 820-xx (the Panel will assign a final number).

2.Proposal: Be specific about exactly what you want to change; vague proposals are nearly always rejected. WRONG: Clarify whether low-voltage wiring is allowed to be run on conduit and tubing. RIGHT: Revise text as follows: "Raceways shall be used for their intended purpose. Communications wires or cables shall not be strapped, taped, or attached by any means to a conduit or raceway as a means of support."

3.Statement of Problem and Substantiation for Proposal: Again, be specific. State what the problem with the current Code language (or lack of it) is; and then explain how your proposal will correct this problem.

If you have a long substantiation, it's okay to write "See attached" and print it out on a separate sheet of paper. Safety first, last, and always . . . And here's the most important tip of all: Remember that the National Electrical Code is a safety standard and all rules in it are based on safety, which usually means preventing or minimizing shock and fire hazards due to the use of electricity. (Check out Section 90-1, the very first sentence in the NEC.) Code change proposals that deal with design of electrical systems, workmanship, etc. are normally rejected unless they can also be seen as contributing to safety. The very first question that Code panel members normally ask themselves when reviewing a new proposal is: What's the safety justification for this change? If there isn't one, nine out of ten times that proposal will be rejected.

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NEMA Publishes NEC/IEC Study

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has published a study comparing the National Electrical Code (NFPA standard 70) with the IEC 60364 series of standards, often known collectively as the "International Electrical Code." NFPA 70 is used by inspection authorities in the U.S., Latin America, and a growing number of other countries worldwide.

Other parts of the globe, including major portions of Europe, have wiring rules based on the IEC 60364 documents published by the Geneva-based International Electrotechnical Commission. Some IEC practices, such as metric dimensions and the Zone system of classifying hazardous locations, have begun to appear in the National Electrical Code. While the format of NFPA 70 and IEC 60364 is considerably different, those familiar with both have long felt that much of the technical content is similar. And according to Ken Gettman, NEMA manager of international standards, the new report "highlights more similarities than differences, especially in basic safety concepts."

The study can be accessed by visiting the NEMA website at, or purchased in printed form from Global Engineering Documents at (800) 854-7179.

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Upcoming meetings of interest to the codes and standards community. All meetings are open to the public, but some may require payment of a registration fee:

Sep 29-Oct 1 NFPA Standards Council, Anchorage, AK

Oct 3-6 IAEI Eastern Section Meeting, Ellenville, NY

Oct 10-13 IAEI Southern Section Meeting, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Oct 18-20 NFPA Technical Committee on Electrical Equipment Maintenance (70E), Sparks, NY

Sep 19-22 IAEI Western Section Meeting, Wichita, KS

Nov 8-9 NFPA Technical Committee on Electrical Systems of Health Care Facilities (NFPA 99), Quincy, MA

Nov 15-17 NFPA Fall Meeting, New Orleans, LA

Dec 6 Technical Committee on Manufactured Homes-Electrical, San Diego, CA

Jan 10-22 N.E. Code-Making Panels, Hilton Head, SC

Jan 12-15 NFPA Standards Council, Key West, FL

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In Brief

ANSI Names New President Mark W. Hurwitz, Ed.D., CAE has been elected new president and chief executive officer of the American National Standards Institutes. ANSI, based in New York City, is a private, non-profit organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standards systems and represents the United States in international standards organizations. Dr. Hurwitz was previously CEO and executive vice-president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and has also held top posts at the Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA) and the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents. He succeeds Sergio Mazza, president of ANSI for the last seven years, who recently left the organization to pursue a career in the business sector.

World Standards Day Celebrated in Washington, DC The U.S. celebration of World Standards Day took place September 22, 1999 at the Wyndham City Centre Hotel in Washington, DC. This year's theme was "Building on Standards - Concentrating on Buildings, Infrastructures, and Services." The World Standards Day event was organized as part of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) annual meeting. NEC tentative interim amendment NFPA has issued, for public review, a proposed Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) to the 1999 National Electrical Code.

Telcordia Technologies (formerly Bellcore) has proposed the deletion of Section 800-11(c) with its Exception and Fine Print Note. TIAs are revisions of an emergency nature requiring processing before the next scheduled edition of a standard. Under NFPA procedures, an approved TIA automatically becomes a change proposal for the next edition of the standard.

To request a free copy of the amendment (TIA Log No. 608), call the National Fire Protection Association at (617) 770-3000 and ask for Standards Administration. Or you can download a copy from

NEMA publishes Category 6-7 standard The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has published the first North American standard for the next level of communications cables. NEMA WC 66-1999, Performance Standard for Category 6 and 7 100 Ohm Shielded and Unshielded Twisted Pair Cables, defines the construction characteristics and physical-electrical performance of Cat 6 UTP and Cat 7 STP cables used in voice-data-video networking systems. (Performance of Cat 6 and 7 communications channels, and associated hardware, will be defined by the Telecommunications Industry Association, which is currently working on updates and revisions to its flagship TIA/EIA 568-A standard for structured cabling systems.) NEMA is also working on a revision of its WC 63.1-1996 standard defining Category 5 communications cables, to include new Cat 5e performance requirements.

For more information, contact Dan Strachan at NEMA, (703) 841- 3287. To purchase NEMA standards, call Global Engineering Documents at (800) 854-7179. NESC preprint available The "preprint" containing all 2002 revision proposals for the 1997 National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) has been issued by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). It includes a form for submitting public comments by the deadline of May 1, 2000. The 447-page preprint is available in softbound book format only and costs $70 (IEEE member discount available).

To order the NESC preprint, call (800) 678-4333 and request publication SH94783. Online electrical newsletter available Mike Holt's Electrical Newsletter is a weekly (and sometimes more frequent) online feature of interest to those in the electrical industry. Each newsletter is a "white paper" covering a different technical subject-ranging from voltage drop to power quality to grounding to solving audio hum problems-of practical use to engineers, contractors, etc. Subscribing to the newsletter is simple, after which it will automatically arrive at your e-mail address every week.

To subscribe, go to and click on "E-Mail Newsletter."

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In Print

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

T.E.D. (The Electrical Distributor), September 1999,

"Category 5 Swan Song?" EC&EN (Electrical Construction & Engineering News), September 1999, "

1999 Code Requirements for Low-Voltage Systems" EC (Electrical Contractor), August 1999,

"NECA Continues to Raise the Standard" T.E.D., August 1999,

"Telecommunications Glossary" EC, August 1999,

"When Neutral Conductors Aren´t Neutral" EC&EN, August 1999, "

1999 Code Requirements for Low-Voltage Systems" T.E.D., July 1999,

"Convergence: State of Mind" EC, July 1999, "

ANSI Approves NECA´s Newly Published Lighting Standard"

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