National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

Monday, March 26, 2018


Re: CQD answer published Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - NEC Language

1) Charlie: You perform a great service for the electrical industry, thank you! As a former member of Code Making Panel 10 (now called Technical Committees), I assure you that we always tried to keep it simple. However, in addition to Charlie’s great answer, the words have to be succinct enough to stand up in court. The placement of a comma, semicolon, etc. really mattered and we never took it lightly when crafting a sentence. We have had several proposals (now called Public Input) to insert, remove, or move just a single comma. The panel members today (OK, Committee Members) have the same task before them to make the words as plain as possible while making the Code suitable for adoption and for standing up in legal proceedings. Take Care, Charlie Eldridge | Consultant

2) I have to respond to Code Question of the Day March 12, 2018 response from Bill. I have been an electrician since 1976 working my way through the channels to being licensed as an Electrical Contractor. Bill makes a comment that most electricians are just trying to do a good job and the planner understands the NEC. That sounds way off, to carry the title of "electrician" means you do follow and understand the NEC. That is why we start as apprentices and work up to journeyman and higher if desired. Engineers and planners do lay out a job (in some cases) but as "electricians" we have to be sure it is installed properly. What do we do when we go to install electrical wiring in a building that is a small job and the "electrician has to lay it out? I agree you have to really read the NEC sometimes to get the intent, but each Article at .1 has the scope of what that section pertains to. Keep up the good work, Randy Anderson



Hey Charlie and Randy thanks for your comments and the compliments. You are both correct, there is a lot of work done to improve the NEC every three years and it takes a lot of work to follow and understand all of the applicable changes. Sometimes it takes more than one NEC cycle to get the words clear enough. It is also interesting that even though the NEC is adopted and used in legal matters the attorneys generally rely on "experts" to support their case. Many of those experts are individuals that have considerable experience and knowledge of the NEC but not necessarily a college or university degree.

ABOUT CQD: NECA’s Code Question of the Day (CQD) is a leading National Electrical Code® forum for NECA and the industry. The CQD generates a lively dialogue and relative practical and Code-based responses to an ever-increasing and interactive audience.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: All answers are based on the latest edition of the National Electrical Code®, unless the question requests a response based on a specific edition. This correspondence is not a formal interpretation of the NEC®. Any responses expressed to the questions are opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of NECA, NFPA, or any technical committee. In addition, this correspondence is neither intended, nor should it be relied upon, to provide professional consultation or services.

ABOUT CHARLIE: Charles M. Trout, better known as Charlie, was a nationally known NEC® expert and author. He served on several NEC® technical committees and is past chairman of CMP-12. In 2006 Charlie was awarded the prestigious Coggeshall Award for outstanding contributions to the electrical contracting industry, codes and standards development, and technical training. Charlie was also a member of NECA’s Academy of Electrical Contracting. Charlie’s experienced team of industry experts keep the CQD dialogue and discussions active and informative in the spirit of the man himself, as he wanted.

NECA STANDARDS: NECA publishes the National Electrical Installation Standards™ (NEIS™), a series of ANSI-approved performance and quality standards for electrical construction. Visit for more information. NEISÔ can be purchased in three formats: as paper books, on CD, or as electronic downloads.

NECA SAFETY PRODUCTS: NECA publishes valuable electrical safety books and CDs for the industry. Visit to view or purchase NECA safety products.

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