Big Win for Electrical Safety

Big Win for Electrical Safety

This piece was originally published in the March 2017 issue of electroindustry.

Don Iverson, Midwest Field Representative, NEMA

The Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC), a committee under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is responsible for maintaining and updating Document 3280, the standard to which manufactured homes are built.

NEMA Midwest Field Representative Don Iverson represented NEMA on a task group of this committee since January 2016. The group was responsible for reviewing and updating Document 3280 Subpart I—Electrical Systems of the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards, which is currently based on the 2005 National Electrical Code (NEC). The task group voted to adopt the 2014 NEC, which includes provisions for tamper-resistant receptacles (TRRs), as well as expanded ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) and arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) requirements.

The main MHCC body, however, voted it down following a long debate. Later that same day, a committee member who had voted against the proposal re-opened the discussion. After further deliberation and some modification of the proposal, the MHCC voted unanimously to move forward with the 2014 NEC.

In the compromise, unfortunately, the MHCC approved two amendments. The first removes the requirement for AFCIs in kitchens and laundry rooms. The second removes the requirement for AFCI protection on dedicated smoke alarm circuits.

The committee action will be re-balloted and is expected to pass. Once that occurs, HUD will decide whether to accept the recommendation or not. If HUD accepts the MHCC proposal, the updated standard will move through the federal rulemaking process before it officially becomes a part of the HUD 3280 requirements, which is not likely before 2019.

NEMA staff will continue to track the 3280 document as it goes through the process and will be ready to provide assistance as needed.

According to CFED, an organization dedicated to alleviating poverty, “between 2011 and 2015, there was about one new manufactured home shipment for every 10 new single-family home starts.” The recent work of the MHCC task force represents a big win for electrical safety.

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