National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

Monday, May 21, 2018


The CQD answer was not published on Tuesday May 15, 2018 so we are trying again.

Good Morning, We are currently wiring several new Hospitals that were permitted in 2016 when the 2014 NEC was in effect. Because these buildings are taller than 75 feet we have made sure to have the feeders for the life safety panels protected by either sprinklers or 2hr rated chase, But in some areas this was not feasible so we elected to run 2hr fire rated Draka cable to those Panels. I recently noticed in 2015 NFPA 99 that fire protection of emergency feeders in 700.10(D)1-3 does not apply to Hospitals. Which code overrules which, 2014 NFPA 70 or 2015 NFPA 99?

Secondly, we are starting another Hospital where the 2017 NFPA 70 & 2015 NFPA 99 are in effect. In the 2017 NEC It specifically states that Healthcare Facilities where persons are not capable of self-preservation are to have the fire Protection of Life Safety feeders. Which is still in direct conflict with the 2015 NFPA 99. Which code prevails?

Thanks, Kelly Wofford


Hey Kelly thanks for your question. The NFPA Standards Council has determined that NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code, has the performance requirements of health care facilities and the NEC (NFPA 70) has the installation rules. There have been efforts to work out the conflicts but it that is not completely done yet. Only the life safety branch of the essential electrical system needs to comply with Article 700 - except as amended by article 517 as stated in 517.26.

The entity or entities that adopt codes will need to determine what needs to be done in the event of conflicts or differences. It can be complicated because different codes can be adopted by multiple jurisdictions. For example, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has adopted the 2012 NFPA 101 Life Safety Code and 2012 NFPA 99 Health Care Facilities Code. Various States have adopted different editions and amendments to the NEC.

At this point in the process First Revision 8713 to the 2020 NEC has been created to modify 517.26 to indicate that 700.10(D)(1) through (D)(3) shall not apply.

The best solution in your case is probably to get representatives from the entities that adopt the NEC, NFPA 99, the Governing Body (517.2) of the hospital and any other applicable authorities together and have them determine the answer.

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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.

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