Midwest States Overcome Adoption Challenges

Midwest States Overcome Adoption Challenges

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

Don Iverson, Midwest Field Representative, NEMA

Many states have initiated adoption of the next edition of the National Electrical Code® (NEC). To date, 24 are in the process of adopting the 2017 NEC. Twelve are located in the Midwest.

Earlier this year, Kentucky’s electrical board voted to adopt the 2017 NEC as amended. Shortly after the committee’s action, however, the governor removed all the trade boards and appointed one committee to oversee all building codes in the state. During this time, the Homebuilders Association of Kentucky began to pressure the Department of Housing, Building, and Construction to amend inclusion of arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) in the 2017 NEC adoption. Kentucky’s electrical industry coalesced to keep this fire and electrical technology in the adoption. As a result, the state’s committee voted to keep arc-fault technology as written in the 2017 NEC adoption.

The Michigan Department of Construction Code Electrical Division is reviewing the 2017 NEC for commercial buildings in the state, with no effective date yet announced.

In April, the Ohio Board of Building Standards (OBBS) held a public hearing on adoption of the 2017 NEC for commercial buildings. As a result of testimony, the OBBS voted to move forward with adoption with an effective date of September 1 for the commercial code. The Residential Code Advisory Committee will convene in the fall to review 2017 NEC adoption for one-, two- and three-family dwellings.

In May, the South Dakota State Electrical Commission held a public hearing to hear testimony on the adoption of the 2017 NEC. During that hearing, the National Association of Homebuilders and its local representatives spoke against including AFCIs in the code, citing fire statistics that don’t support keeping them in the code. NEMA, the National Fire Protection Association, and local electrical industry partners spoke in support of keeping AFCIs in the code. After a vigorous discussion between opponents, proponents, and committee members, the commission saw the value of these safety devices in residential structures in the state and voted to keep AFCIs in the code adoption without amendments.

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