This piece was originally published in the August 2017 issue of electroindustry.
NEMA field representatives monitor and report on the progress and successful adoption of electrical, fire, and building codes throughout the country.
Because code adoption gets very technical, regulators responsible for code review and promulgation often reach out to stakeholders for help. NEMA provides jurisdictions with technical information through its Field Representative Program. The field reps support the language and the process by which the National Electrical Code® (NEC) and other codes are developed. They also provide the proper rationale for a code change.
Safety, efficiency, and reliability of electrical and fire systems are what drive code changes. We face challenges, however, with entities that politicize the adoption process. Some organizations, for example, present misinformation in the last phase of the adoption cycle, i.e., the legislative phase. The approval process in some states has shrouded the adoption process with issues that do not address the technical safety aspects of each change. We have seen products attacked as ineffective, or costly, contrary to sound technical data.
The field reps monitor activities throughout their regions and work closely with the NEMA Code Adoption Task Force to counter inaccurate statements and behind-the-scenes activities.
Although New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont are on track for adopting the 2017 NEC prior to January 2, 2018, they are all in the rulemaking process. We will remain vigilant to be sure that last-minute changes do not occur. Maine and Rhode Island may have some delays as a result of administrative obstacles.
On a positive note, New York has a bill in the assembly to retain the three-year code adoption process, and Pennsylvania’s House and Senate were scheduled to have voted to repair its regulatory process.