EConnection
Volume 6, Issue Number 3 August 1, 2001

Industry Up In Arms Over Proposed Loosening of Type NM Cable Rules

The electrical industry is in an uproar over the NFPA Standards Council’s decision to permit the use of nonmetallic-sheathed cable in wood-frame buildings over three stories tall, in the 2002 National Electrical Code.

The July 12 ruling, upholding an appeal of Proposal 7-137, took Code experts by surprise. The change proposed by apartment-building interests to relax the historic ‘three-story limitation’ on Type NM cable had earlier been rejected by both CMP-7 and the NEC Technical Correlating Committee. “It appears that the Standards Council caved in to a prolonged lobbying effort and threats of legal action,” observed TCC member Michael Toman. “This proposal by the National Multihousing Council was rejected by a 12-to-2 vote in Code-Making Panel 7 because of the potential hazards involved in expanded use of this wiring method. The Technical Correlating Committee supported the panel action, disagreed with the appellant, and spoke out against the appeal.”

The ‘three-story limitation’ is a perennial and controversial subject in the NEC. Every three years when the Code comes up for revision, builders’ groups propose changes in Article 336 to allow expanded use of NM cable. These proposals have always rejected by CMP-7 on safety grounds, resulting in a chain of appeals all the way up to the NFPA Board of Directors. This Code cycle was no different — except for the NFPA Standards Council’s surprising decision to overrule the technical judgment of both CMP-7 and NEC-TCC experts. Now it’s electrical industry groups which are planning to mount an appeal. The following organizations have petitioned NFPA’s Board requesting that the Standards Council’s decision be overturned; a hearing date has not yet been scheduled.

The groups are:

• National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)
• National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC)
• National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)
• National Armored Cable Manufactur-ers Association (NACMA)
• Independent Electrical Contractors Association (IEC)
• Steel Tube Institute (STI)

read more…

Electrical Industry Demands Withdrawal of ICC Electrical Code

The Inspection Initiative, a coalition of electrical industry organizations, is calling for the International Code Council (ICC) to formally rescind its electrical code.

This action follows ICC’s June 6 announcement that the building officials’ group “sees no need for another electrical code” than the National Electrical Code. “Now it’s two months later, and our industry is calling on ICC to ‘close the loop’ by announcing that they will discontinue their so-called electrical code,” explained Brooke Stauffer, NECA director of codes and standards. “The National Electrical Code is already adopted for regulatory use all over the U.S., and we don’t want any confusion in the minds of state and local officials.”

The June press release stated that ICC “has no plans for the development of an electrical code that would duplicate the purpose and then compete with the National Electrical Code.” However, the announcement failed to explain what steps would be taken regarding a 25-page publication entitled ICC Electrical Code. This document is currently marketed as part of ICC’s family of building codes, though it isn’t a complete book of wiring rules. “Given the building officials’ apparent new support for our tried-and-true National Electrical Code, many people in the electrical community will be confused until ICC formally withdraws — and stops selling — the competing electrical code they have been pushing for more than a year,” said Stauffer. The Inspection Initiative also wants the ICC to formally notify all local, state, and federal jurisdictions of the decision to abandon its electrical code. “Many of them have been approached and asked to adopt ICC’s complete package of building codes,” said Stauffer. “These jurisdictions need to know that the organization is no longer willing to stand behind one of those documents.”

In addition to removing its electrical code from circulation, The Inspection Initiative wants ICC to cease the distribution of promotional materials, including draft ordinances, aimed at encouraging regulatory adoptions of the ICC Electrical Code. The Inspection Initiative is a coalition of electrical industry organizations that supports the National Electrical Code as the regulatory standard for safe wiring. It also encourages approval of electrical construction work by qualified electrical inspectors. For more information, contact Andy Green at NECA, (301) 657-3310, ext. 640 or arg@necanet.org.

read more…

Twelfth National Electrical Installation Standard (NEIS) Published

NECA 202-2001, Recommended Practice for Installing and Maintaining Industrial Heat Tracing Systems (ANSI) is now available for purchase.

It covers cable-type electric heaters used to wrap pipes and vessels in cold climates. This heats them sufficiently to prevent liquids from freezing, and keep them flowing freely. This publication was developed in conjunction with Tyco Thermal Controls, a major manufacturer of industrial heat tracing systems. They are used for many types of industrial applications including oil drilling on the North Slope of Alaska, petroleum refineries, and chemical manufacturing plants.

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

read more…

February 17 Deadline for Participating in Recall of In-wall Electric Heaters

Cadet Manufacturing Company of Vancouver, Washington, in response to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), has announced the recall of more than 1.9 million Cadet and Encore brand in-wall electric heaters.

Purchasers have until February 17, 2002 to register for replacements at significantly reduced prices or obtain partial refunds. The defective heaters were distributed mainly in California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

The recall includes all models and variants of Cadet and Encore Series FW, RW, FX, LX, TK, ZA, Z, RA, RK, RLX, RX, and ZC, regardless of purchase date. The brand and model are located on a label on the front of the heat box, behind the grill. Before removing the grill to check the identification label, installers or consumers must turn off the power supply at the circuit breaker to prevent electrocution and shock hazard.

DESCRIPTION OF PROBLEM: According to CPSC, flames, sparks or molten particles can spew through the front grill cover of the heaters into the living area of a residence. The Commission has received more than 320 reports of malfunctioning heaters. These incidents have allegedly resulted in three deaths, two serious burn injuries, and property damage claims exceeding $1.2 million, which include five house fires.

DESCRIPTION OF REMEDY: Because Cadet recently emerged from bankruptcy, the company is not providing free replacements or full reimbursements, as is normally required by CPSC. Instead, Cadet is offering replacement heaters for between $25 and $57, depending on the model. Installers who removed and replaced the recalled units on or after October 23, 1997 but prior to February 17, 2000, and who provide Cadet with written verification of your removal and replacement of the heaters with a list of the recalled models replaced, may receive a refund of up to $25 per replaced unit, subject to availability of funds.

For more information, call Cadet at 1-800-567-2613 or visit www.cadetco.com/recallprogram.html. Cadet urges all installers to contact customers for whom they installed the recalled heaters immediately.

(NOTE: This recall is separate from Cadet’s 1997 recall program in which the company offered to provide new overtemperature limit control switches for replacement in certain heaters. The present recall involves the removal and replacement of the entire heatbox, not including any fittings, fixtures, wall cans, grills or thermostats in most cases.)

read more…

D. Harold Ware Honored by NFPA

D. Harold Ware, chairman of the NEC Technical Correlating Committee for nearly a decade, was awarded the prestigious NFPA Standards Medal at the National Fire Protection Association’s annual meeting in Anaheim, CA.

Ware has long represented NECA in National Electrical Code. He was first appointed to Code-Making Panel 2 in 1965 and served as chair of CMP-16 from 1981 to 1993. In 1993 he was named chair of the NEC-TCC, the supervising body for the whole National Electrical Code process.

Man of many honors. In addition to the prestigious Standards Medal, which recognizes outstanding achievements and is awarded only rarely, Harold Ware was presented with a special plaque of appreciation from NFPA’s Electrical Department staff. In 1998, he received NFPA’s Committee Service Award in recognition of his 35 years of service to the NEC. The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) recognized Harold Ware’s contributions to the industry as early as 1977, when he was honored with the coveted Coggeshall Award. Besides his active involvement with the National Electrical Code and NECA, Ware is a member of IAEI and past president of the Oklahoma Electrical League. He is president of Libra Electric Company in Oklahoma City.

read more…

Inspector Magazine Showcases NEIS

The May-June 2001 issue of “IAEI News” featured a major article describing how National Electrical Installation Standards can be used as enforcement tools by inspectors on job sites.

“The way NEIS become enforceable is through the plan review process,” according to Atlanta chief electrical inspector Leon Dover. “When engineers reference these standards in project specifications, that definitely makes them enforceable by code officials.” The International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI) is a professional society for municipal code officials in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. To read the complete text of this article in “IAEI News,” go to www.neca-neis.org/newsroom/magazine/ enforcement.htm

read more…

NECA Proposal to Update, Improve CSI MasterFormat

The National Electrical Contractors Association has submitted its official proposal to add a new Integrated Building Systems (IBS-16) division to the MasterFormat system published by the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI).

NECA’s proposed revisions would accomplish three things:

• Update Division 16 (power, communications, and control) to reflect current technology.
• Expand Division 16 by adding electrical/electronic systems that presently are located in other MasterFormat divisions.
• Change the name of Division 16 to Integrated Building Systems to reflect its expanded content and purpose.
CSI’s MasterFormat specification system is used by consulting engineers to prepare contract documents for large commercial-industrial building construction projects. “It’s the perfect time to make this change,” observes Brooke Stauffer, NECA director of codes and standards. “Different kinds of power, communications, and control systems are morphing together. They’re all based on PCs, there are lots of connections between them, and increasingly they’re being put in by the same installers. That’s why integrating them together in the industry’s leading specification system makes so much sense now.”

Enlisting the experts The MasterFormat system is revised at intervals to reflect new construction materials, methods, and technologies. The current version dates from 1995. Earlier this year, CSI established an Expansion Task Team to develop the next edition of MasterFormat, scheduled for release during 2002. NECA’s comprehensive IBS-16 proposal was developed by Thomas E. Glavinich, D.E., P.E., chair of the architectural engineering department at the University of Kansas. A nationally-recognized expert in all aspects of building design and construction, Dr. Glavinich writes and lectures widely and has conducted research projects on new technologies for The Electrical Contracting Foundation.

New IBS-16 website NECA has established a new website explaining this issue of major importance to the whole electrical construction industry. Go to www.integratedbuildingsystems.org for more information about the benefits of expanding Division 16 to cover all electrical power, control, and communications systems. The new IBS-16 website also includes an e-mail link that allows MasterFormat users you to provide feedback on this issue directly to CSI.

read more…

CodeCalendar

Upcoming meetings of interest to the codes & standards community:

Sep 9–13 - IAEI Northwestern Section, Portland, OR
Sep 16–19 - IAEI Western Section, Jackson Hole, WY Oct 4–5 - NFPA Standards Council, Santa Fe, NM
Oct 7–10 - IAEI Eastern Section, Sturbridge, MA
Oct 14–17 - IAEI Southern Section, New Orleans, LA
Oct 21–25 - IAEI Southwestern Section, Tempe, AZ
Oct 29–31 - NFPA 70E, Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces, Indialantic, FL
Nov 1–2 - ANSI Board of Standards Review (BSR), New York, NY
Nov 4–9 - NFPA Building Code, Irving, TX
Nov 10–14 - NFPA Fall Meeting, Dallas, TX

read more…

InBRIEF

TIA proposed for NFPA 70E-2000

A Tentative Interim Amendment, TIA Log No. 663, has been proposed for the Standard on Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces. The proposed revision to 3-3.9.7.1, 3-3.9.8, and Table 3-3.8, is intended to require that all protective clothing worn by workers while servicing electrical equipment complies with ASTM 1506, Standard Specifications for Protective Wearing Apparel for Use by Electrical Workers When Exposed to Momentary Electric Arc and Related Thermal Hazards, 2000. For a complete copy of the proposed TIA and submitter’s substantiation, visit www.nfpa.org or contact NFPA Standards Administration at P.O. Box 9101, Quincy, MA 02269-9101. 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 standard. TIAs automatically become proposals for the next edition of the document.
TIA proposed for NFPA 72-1999
A Tentative Interim Amendment, TIA Log No. 664, has been proposed for the National Fire Alarm Code. Add the following exception to 5-5.4.11:
Exception: If an order of signal priority cannot be assured, then the maximum duration between the initiation of an alarm signal at the protected premises, transmission of the signal, and subsequent display and recording of the alarm signal at the supervising system shall not exceed 90 seconds.
To see the submitter’s substantiation, visit www.nfpa.org or contact NFPA Standards Administration at P.O. Box 9101, Quincy, MA 02269-9101.
NFPA evaluating lightning protection project
The NFPA Standard Council will hold a hearing at its October 4-5, 2001 meeting to determine whether the Technical Committee on Lightning Protection should be continued. The Council voted in October 2000 to extend NFPA 780-1997, Installation of Lightning Protection Systems, for an extra year rather than approve a proposed new edition, due to a long-running dispute about the scientific basis for lightning protection standards. Public input received since that time has generally favored continuation of the T.C. The report of the Federal Interagency Lightning Protection User Group and other submissions in response to Standards Council Decision Number 00-30 can be viewed and downloaded from www.nfpa.org or obtained from NFPA Standards Administration at P.O. Box 9101, Quincy, MA 02269-9101.
State regulations guide available online
State Electrical Regulations: NECA Guide to State Electrical Codes, Enforcement and Licensing (2001) is now available – free – online at www.neca-neis.org. A valuable reference for all who operate in multiple jurisdictions around the country, SER summarizes information about electrical codes, code enforcement, and contractor/ electrician licensing in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. It also provides contact information for state agencies that regulate electrical construction. To download this recently-updated publication, go to www.neca-neis.org and select “Online Catalog.” Scroll down to State Electrical Regulations and follow the instructions to view online or download the .pdf file.

read more…

InPRINT

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

Electrical Contractor, “NECA Submits Proposal to CSI,” August 2001 American Consulting Engineer,
“What Are Electrical Installation Standards?” July/August 2001 St. Louis Business Record,
“NECA Backs Integrated Building Systems,” July 13, 2001 ENR (Engineering News-Record),
“CSI Members Spar Over Specs But Seek Ways to Go Global,” July 2, 2001 Minnesota Contractor,
“NFPA vs. ICC: “Up to Code...But Which One?” July 2001 Electrical Contractor,
“2002 National Electrical Code Approved,” June 2001 T.E.D. (The Electrical Distributor),
“Raceways in Residences,” May 2001

read more…

PASSAGES

Art Buxbaum Arthur Buxbaum passed away on July 15, 2001.

He was a long-time member of the International Association of Electrical Inspectors who represented IAEI on CMP-7 and had held many important jobs within the organization. A vice president at the time of his death, he had been expected to become International President in 2004. Buxbaum worked 27 years for the City of Los Angeles as electrical inspector, fire and life safety inspector, and senior electrical inspector. Following his ‘retirement,’ he moved to San Diego as Chief Combination Inspector in a newly-formed division devoted to one- and two-family housing. Art Buxbaum had fought cancer for five years and continued working up until the week before his death.

read more…

NECA-NEIS Home

Back to Contractors Code Letter Archive