In Ohio Two Electrical Codes are Better Than One!

In Ohio Two Electrical Codes are Better Than One!

After a long and protracted debate, the Ohio Board of Building Standards (OBBS) voted to approve rules to extend Governor Ted Strickland’s emergency order to adopt the 2005 National Electrical Code® for all 1, 2, & 3 family dwellings instead of the 2008 edition of the NEC, which had been previously adopted by the OBBS.  The implementation date for this rule is June 24, 2008, which means that when the Governor's original emergency order expires on June 29, 2008, the 2005 NEC will be permanently in effect immediately thereafter.


One interesting note is that there was no discussion by any of the OBBS members at their June 13th meeting regarding the rule to go back to the 2005 NEC.   This was surprising after overwhelming testimony in support of the 2008 NEC was presented at the May 2, 2008 public hearing, followed by similar testimony presented at the Ohio Joint Committee on Agency Rules Review (JCARR) hearing on June 2, 2008.  This alone should have prompted the OBBS to have at least acknowledged the industry support for the 2008 NEC on the record and further to provide an explanation on why they voted for reverting to the 2005 NEC, contrary to the testimony that was provided.  The only positive thing the OBBS did was to accept a 165 page report from the Ohio Chapter of IAEI outlining their support for the 2008 National Electrical Code®. 

All of this means the State of Ohio has adopted the 2008 NEC for all industrial, commercial, multi-family (4 or more dwelling units) and other similar electrical installations while utilizing the 2005 NEC for all 1, 2, and 3 family dwelling units.  The reason for including 1, 2, and 3 family units is that Ohio has amended the normal 1 & 2 Family unit building code used by other states into a 1, 2, and 3 family building code.  This use of dual editions of ANSI recognized codes to guide electrical installations in Ohio makes no technical or safety sense whatsoever and is strictly motivated by special interests within the state.  However, the ironic thing that has occurred during this muddled code adoption process is that multifamily dwellings will be far safer with the new safety provisions included in the 2008 NEC than 1, 2, and 3 family dwellings under the 2005 NEC.  Maybe that is why the OBBS could not explain their vote to extend the governor’s emergency rule!

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