Building Safety Takes a Community

Building Safety Takes a Community

This piece was originally published in the November 2016 issue of electroindustry.

Don Iverson, Midwest Field Representative, NEMA



How do you know when a state values building safety? That’s simple: you see a pattern of consistent adoption and implementation of current building and electrical codes.

Value unfolds as early code adopters begin initiating their state or regulatory processes or when local communities support electrical safety after a flooding event. Multiple instances of states or communities embracing electrical safety are listed below.

In September, I co-presented the 2017 National Electrical Code® (NEC) changes to a wide spectrum of electrical and building professionals during the Western Section International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI) meeting in Des Moines, Iowa.

During the IAEI meeting, I received feedback from folks in the states on what paths they will take toward initiating their code adoption processes. The urgency of electrical safety is demonstrated by the states that will begin to update the NEC in the coming year.

There are several states that have begun or will begin updating their building and electrical codes.

Michigan:  The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Bureau of Construction Codes is closing in on adopting Part 10a of the Michigan Energy Code rules, which will adopt the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code® (IECC) with amendments, deletions, and additions deemed necessary for use in Michigan. Adoption date has not been determined.

North Dakota: The state initiated its process to update the state wiring standards earlier this year. The leadership of the North Dakota State Electrical Board should be credited with demonstrating electrical safety as their first priority by being one of the states that will adopt in the coming year.

Wisconsin: Currently, the state is nearing the end of its process to adopt the 2015 IECC, with a projected adoption date of January 1, 2017. The state also is in the process of updating the 2011 NEC to the 2017 edition. Wisconsin has a lengthy step-by-step process to navigate once the Department of Public Safety’s review committee finishes its work. The 2017 NEC adoption date is targeted for September 2017.

Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming have started to schedule activities that move toward adoption and implementation of the 2017 NEC.

As 2017 NEC adoption activity gains momentum, we all need to engage as an industry by encouraging states to look to the future and not fall behind in electrical safety. It does take a community, to enhance electrical safety. It is a great community of which to be a part. Engage with your state and local officials to promote building safety throughout the country in the coming year.

Read the November 2016 issue of electroindustry.

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