‘Tis the Season to Change the Codes

‘Tis the Season to Change the Codes

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

Jack Lyons, Northeast Field Representative, NEMA


The 2017 National Electrical Code® (NEC) has been published, seminars have been held to discuss the changes, and regulatory agencies have begun their work reviewing these changes and promulgating adoption of the 2017 NEC.

Connecticut and New York recently adopted the 2014 NEC. Regulatory agencies are ready to start the review of the 2015 International Code Council Codes (I-Codes) in Connecticut and the 2018 I-Codes in New York. Both states will move forward to the 2017 NEC as part of their processes. Connecticut is one step ahead of building code version related to the NEC.

Delaware has a state Fire Prevention Code which references the 2014 NEC. This code is not enforced on one- and two-family dwellings, and counties are given the option to adopt their own codes.

The District of Columbia is reviewing the 2015 I-Codes and the 2014 NEC. The district submitted a notice early in 2016 to begin the process, and the technical committees made recommendations to the Construction Codes Coordinating Board.

In Maine, the Electricians’ Examining Board will begin the rulemaking process within the next few months. If the timeframe is consistent with past actions, adoption will occur in mid-2017. The state has very few amendments. Regulations pertaining to generators and color identification vary slightly from the NEC.

Maryland has a county adoption process; the most populous counties will start their review in 2017. The Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal oversees the state’s electrical code used for state projects.

In Massachusetts, the Board of Fire Prevention Regulators (BFPR) assigned the task of reviewing the 2017 NEC to the Massachusetts Electrical Code Advisory Committee. The committee completed the review, and at the December 2016 meeting of the BFPR a vote is anticipated to promulgate adoption of the 2017 NEC as the basis of the Massachusetts Electrical Code, effective January 1, 2017.

Massachusetts amends specific parts of the NEC, but the number of amendments has dropped over the years, as some state rules, which were submitted as public inputs, are now part of the NEC. Several amendments were eliminated completely, some due to product reliability and correct product standard references.

In October, the New Hampshire Building Code Review Board voted to create a committee to participate in the review process of the 2017 NEC as part of the regulatory responsibility of the board. New Hampshire will adopt the 2017 NEC on January 1, 2018, giving all licensed electricians a full year to meet a professional development requirement for renewals that directs personnel to be trained on the newest version of the NEC.

Pennsylvania is the only state in the northeast that has not moved beyond the 2008 NEC. The legislature recently dismissed a house bill that was to revise the adoption process. It would allow the Review and Advisory Committee (RAC) more time to review new codes, allow for modifications, and allow the RAC to reexamine older version that were not adopted into the Uniform Construction Code of Pennsylvania. The RAC will begin the process to review the 2018 I-Codes without clear direction of how to look at previous versions that were not adopted or allow for modifications.

Rhode Island’s Electrical Code Review Committee is expected to give its final recommendations to the Rhode Island Building Code Standards Committee for possible mid-2017 adoption of the NEC. Rhode Island has a few amendments, mostly related to services.

Vermont will start discussion and prepare for final rulemaking sometime in mid-2017.


Sign up for code alerts at www.nema.org/technical/code-alerts for up-to-date information on code adoption prepared by all four NEMA field representatives.

Read the December 2016 issue of electroindustry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.