This piece was originally published in the August 2016 issue of electroindustry.
Jack Lyons, Northeast Field Representative, NEMA
While participating in the 2016 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Technical Meeting in Las Vegas last month, I imagined similar discussions occurring elsewhere. NEMA field representatives build relationships with code committees and code councils in every state. The information we receive from the NFPA Technical Meeting is just one tool we have to help states adopt current building and electrical codes.
As the northeastern states prepare to adopt the 2017 version of NFPA 70 National Electrical Code® (NEC), individual states may make specific modifications.
Massachusetts started the process of reviewing proposed changes in the 2017 NEC even before the NFPA concluded the technical conference in Las Vegas. Anticipating the results and preparing proposals are just a few ways the Massachusetts Electrical Code Advisory Committee can meet the goal of a January 1, 2017, adoption date. Massachusetts was the first state to adopt the NEC at the beginning of its publication year. The Massachusetts Board of Fire Prevention Regulators oversees this committee and is dedicated to the adoption process.
Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont
These states will start their review shortly after the NFPA Standards Council meets in August to formally accept the 2017 edition and publish the book. Maine, Vermont, and Rhode Island generally finish reviewing and adopt the code midway through the year of publication (i.e., 2017). New Hampshire holds its review at the same time, but the Building Code Council will delay adoption of the 2017 NEC until January 2018. This is significant because it allows the state licensing board to enforce mandatory professional development during 2017 by requiring all journeyman license holders in the state to attend an approved course related to the changes in the 2017 NEC before renewal of licenses.
Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey
These states may take until sometime in 2017 to start their review and, as in the past, will likely adopt within one to two years after publication.
Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania
These states tie their electrical code adoption to the International Code Council family of building codes (I-Codes). New York State adopted the 2014 NEC for all electrical installations excluding one- and two-family dwellings, which is covered in Part 8 of the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC). Connecticut announced that it will adopt the 2014 NEC in the fall of 2016. They will modify Part 8 of the 2009 IRC to reflect current provisions in the 2014 NEC, with a few modifications. With the publication of new versions of the I-Codes and 2017 NEC, these states will likely restart the review process over the next two years to keep adoption current.
Pennsylvania is working on legislative changes to amend current statutes that leave the state in a difficult position to review and adopt current codes. The anticipated amendments will require the Uniform Construction Code Review and Advisory Council to reexamine and adopt the 2015 I-Codes and the 2014 NEC. Pennsylvania currently uses the 2009 I-Codes and the 2008 NEC.