Massachusetts on Track to Lead on NEC

Massachusetts on Track to Lead on NEC

This piece was originally published in the January/February 2020 issue of electroindustry.

Jack Lyons, Northeast Field Representative, NEMA

It is the start of the 2020 National Electrical Code® (NEC) adoption season, and Massachusetts is on track to kick off with a January 1, 2020, adoption date. The Board of Fire Prevention Regulations (BFPR) will have met December 5, 2019, to promulgate the 2020 NEC as the electrical installation regulation for the commonwealth. If the process goes as planned and the amendments that the Electric Advisory Board are accepted by the board, Massachusetts will continue to be the first state in the nation to adopt the 2020 NEC.

The advisory committee worked over the past  six months, even before the technical session at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) conference occurred, to look at the changes and the effects these changes have on existing state amendments. There were many amendments that were able to be deleted due to the changes in the NEC.

Some of the highlighted amendments advised moving forward with full arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) expansion in a dwelling, deleting an amendment to now require available fault current marking on service equipment, and identify NFPA 1® as the recently adopted fire code for the state. The advisory committee modified the measurement rule for ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) coverage around sinks, keeping the doorway language in the rule in 210.8 but requiring the cabinet sink base receptacle to be GFCI protected.

There is also some ambiguity of NEC printed versions. Massachusetts does not automatically adopt tentative interim amendments (TIAs) that are approved by the NFPA Standards Council during the cycle of the current code. Therefore, the only version that will be adopted on January 1, 2020, will be the first printing. This will lead to some confusion, as all future NFPA approved TIAs will be printed in subsequent printings and will not be enforceable unless they go through the promulgating process of the BFPR. Authorities having jurisdiction and contractors will have to be sure what book is being referred to while planning or inspecting a job and what TIAs have been accepted in Massachusetts.

As we prepare and advocate to adopt all revised codes for the sake of safety, resilience, and efficiency, let us hope for a successful year. ei

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