The NFPA received more than 4,000 proposals for the 2002 NEC; the deadline for comment approaches.
Many proposed changes to the 2002 NEC were the result of the ongoing effort of the Usability Task Group to make the Code more "user-friendly." Many others were proposed by users of the Code. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) issued the National Electrical Code Committee Report on Proposals in July. This report covers the more than 4,000 proposals that were received for the 2002 NEC. It is available from NFPA in a book of almost 1,400 pages as well as in PDF format on NFPA's Web page at www.nfpa.org. The proposals are available for public comments until Oct. 27, 2000. Anyone can make a comment just as anyone could make a proposal.
None of these proposed changes are final, so readers should make comments if they see significant problems or ways of improving any of the proposals. Readers are encouraged to look at the proposals themselves to more fully understand the story and substantiation behind the proposals and the panel's decisions.
The changes accepted at this point may be changed by the Code panels after public comments. This summary only includes those changes that have been accepted. Some proposals rejected at this point may be accepted in some form after comments. Many more changes will be very important to some users, so this list is not comprehensive by any means.
Many editorial changes will be made to conform with the new National Electrical Code Style Manual. These changes were described in an earlier article, but some of the more obvious changes will include the following:
- Listing the metric conversions of dimensions and trade sizes first with the foot/pound English equivalent in parentheses.
- Changing the dash numbering to a dot so that a Section such as 90-4 will become 90.4. Changing the letter designation of parts to Roman numerals. For example, Parts A, B, and C of an Article will become Parts I, II, and III.
- Revising and standardizing the numbering or lettering of lists and subparagraphs.
- Changing the titles of the Appendices to Annexes.
- Numerous proposals were made and accepted to replace the terms "fixture," "fixtures" and similar terms with "luminaire" or "luminaires" throughout the Code. A definition of luminaire will be added to Article 100. The definition of luminaire includes the lamps, diffusers, reflectors, ballasts and similar parts of what have been commonly known as lighting fixtures.
Many articles have been rewritten or reorganized to improve usability and to conform to the new Style Manual. These articles include Article 333 - Type AC Cable; Article 334 - Type MC Cable; Article 336 - Types NM, NMC and NMS Cable; Article 338 - Types SE and USE Cable; Article 339 - Type UF Cable; 340 - Type TC Cable; Article 363 - Type FC Cable; Article 410 - Lighting Fixtures; Articles 500 through 516 covering Hazardous Locations; Article 555 - Marinas and Boatyards; Article 665 - Induction and Dielectric Heating and Article 680 - Swimming Pools, Fountains, and Similar Installations.
A new Article 80 will cover administration and enforcement of the Code. As with many building codes, this Article will not apply unless specifically adopted by a jurisdiction. Many jurisdictions have existing, and perhaps conflicting statutes, and this change will have no effect on those jurisdictions.
Section 90.4 will be clarified to specifically include signaling and communications systems in the scope of the Code.
Revisions to Section 110.14(c)(1) will clarify the requirements for selecting ampacities for equipment terminations. This will state that Table 310.16 is to be used as a basis for selecting the proper conductors to ensure that equipment terminations will not be overheated.
Section 110.26(c) will require "panic" or "crash" bars on doors from large equipment spaces (those that require two exits or expanded egress pathways) and require the doors to swing in the direction of exit travel.
Section 110.26(f) will dedicate the 6 ft space above panels and prohibit foreign systems and leak protection apparatus from these spaces. Suspended ceilings with removable panels are permitted in these spaces. In the 1996 Code, a leak protection system could be located and used in such a way as to effectively eliminate the dedicated space.
In Section 200.6 the term "natural gray" will be changed to "gray" so that gray is recognized as a separate color for grounded conductors. A warning in a Fine Print Note will be included to alert a user to the fact that gray may have been used as an ungrounded conductor, even though the more common practice has been to use gray as a grounded conductor. Also, since gray and white are now listed as two different colors that may be used to identify grounded conductors, gray may also be used in lieu of striped conductors to distinguish between grounded conductors of different systems. This has also been common practice, even though Panel 5 has previously refused to endorse the practice.
Section 210.12 was the object of many proposals to expand the requirements for AFCIs (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters). Most were rejected due to a lack of field experience with this technology. However, the AFCI requirement will be expanded to include all outlets in dwelling unit bedrooms, not just the receptacle outlets. The Code panels have been justifiably cautious in applying this technology. Applying these devices may easily cost $50 or more per circuit. This author has purchased these devices at wholesale for more than $40 each. Once the technology has been proven by field experience, the cost-benefit issue will be more easily analyzed.
Section 210.52(c)(5) will permit the installation of receptacles on the underside of a countertop in order to permit such receptacles to be located under countertops that extend more than 6 in. beyond the cabinet base. (This proposal is an excellent illustration of the open nature of the code process, as the proposal came from an interior design firm.)
Section 230.70 will require that the service disconnecting means be located on or within sight of a building. Where the service disconnect is not within sight of a building, an additional disconnecting means will have to be provided as a feeder disconnect in accordance with Part B of Article 225. The disconnecting means for a separate building as covered in the existing Sections 225-31 and 225-32 will also be required to be mounted on or within sight of the separate building unless one of the exceptions to 225-32 applies.
Section 240.83(d) will require that circuit breakers used as switches on circuits supplying high intensity discharge (HID) fixtures such as Metal Halide or High Pressure Sodium be marked "HID." This marking covers the "SWD" marking previously required, that is, either the SWD marking or the HID marking will be acceptable for incandescent or typical fluorescent fixtures, but the HID marking will be required for HID fixtures.
Section 250.30 will permit a separately derived system to be connected to a continuous grounding electrode conductor that extends to the grounding electrode system. This will resolve a significant problem in large buildings and high-rise buildings where many long grounding electrode conductors were sometimes necessary to comply with the revision of this rule in the 1999 Code.
Section 250.104(b) will be deleted and the requirements for bonding of gas piping will revert to the same rules that govern other metal piping systems.
A new Article 285 will cover Transient Voltage Surge Suppressors (TVSS). This will clarify that TVSS equipment is not covered by Article 280 because they are different from surge arresters. TVSS equipment is covered by UL1449, while surge arrestors are covered by ANSI/IEEE C62.1, C62.2, C62.11, and C62.22, depending on the type of device used.
Exception No. 2 to Section 305.6(a) will be deleted so that all 15A, 20A or 30A 125V receptacles used for temporary power are required to have GFCI protection. This removes the exception allowing assured equipment grounding conductor programs in lieu of GFCI protection in industrial establishments. The only exemption remaining will be for such receptacles mounted on a single-phase portable or vehicle-mounted generator of 5,000W or less.
The proposed Article 315 that would have combined all of the raceway articles into one article was reexamined and the Code panel decided that it would not improve usability. This proposal originated with the Usability Task Group and was considered for the 1999 Code but was held for reconsideration.
A new Article 420 is added to cover receptacles, cord connectors and attachment plugs. Most of the requirements in this new article are relocated from Article 410 although a few rules will be moved from Articles 210 and 250.
Section 430.34 will be revised to clarify that more than one increase in the size or setting of an overload sensing device is permitted as long as the maximum permitted rating is not exceeded.
Section 440.14 will prohibit air conditioning equipment disconnects from being mounted on panels designed to allow access.
Significant changes were made in the 1999 version of Article 547-8 that permitted alternative power distribution methods for groups of farm buildings. The language of this section will be revised and clarified to make the rules more usable and to clear up some apparent conflicts in the language of the 1999 revision. A definition of Distribution Point will also be added.
Section 645.5(d)(6) will require that abandoned cables be removed from information technology equipment rooms. Similar requirements to prevent and limit the accumulation of abandoned cables are also added to Articles 725, 760, 770, 800, 820 and 830. Abandoned cables will be defined in Section 725.2 and other locations as those that are "neither terminated at both ends, at a connector or other equipment, nor identified for future use with a tag."
Section 680.32(e) will recognize Through-Wall Lighting Assemblies for above-ground swimming pools.
A new Article 692 will cover Fuel Cells.
Section 702.1 will be revised to expand the scope of the article to cover optional standby systems that are supplied by portable generators. It will also require transfer equipment whenever a utility is one of the power sources. The transfer equipment will not be required to be automatic.
The issue of conduit fill and its applicability to limited energy circuits will be clarified. Panel 8 refused to exempt limited energy circuits from conduit fill requirements with the statement: "The panel intends that Table 1 apply to all conductors and cables installed in raceways. The operation of life safety systems could be compromised by damage to conductors as a result of overfill." However, Panel 16 accepted proposals that will require Class 2 and Class 3 remote control and signaling circuits to comply with conduit fill restrictions but will exempt communications circuits from those rules. Panel 16 has jurisdiction over these particular circuit types even though Panel 8 may disagree.
A new Annex will include a list of product standards for reference. Many of these product standards are already mentioned in Fine Print Notes located throughout the Code.
Section 725.7 will include expanded rules regarding mechanical execution of work that will require cables to be supported from the structure and will specify support distances. The physical protection requirements of Section 300.4(d) will also apply to these cables. However, a new rule in Section 725.5 will allow cables to be fished between access points without structural support and will also allow up to three small cables run parallel to the ceiling grid to be supported by any one removable ceiling tile. Similar requirements and exemptions were also accepted for Articles 760, 770, 800, 820 and 830.
Other new rules in Article 725 will clarify that the requirements for junction boxes in Section 300.15 apply to Class 1 circuits and that Class 1 wiring methods may be used for Class 2 and Class 3 circuits. This was previously required where the failure of the Class 2 or Class 3 circuits could result in a direct life safety hazard, but the previous wording in Section 725-52 seemed to require the use of special cable types.
OLYMPIC GAMES EMPLOY ENERGY-EFFICIENT TECHNOLOGIES The Sydney 2000 Olympic Games are showcasing energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Most of the new sporting venues include energy- efficient technologies, such as daylighting and natural ventilation designs, which circulate air without the use of fans. Green power - electricity from renewable energy sources - is providing all the electricity for the Sydney SuperDome, which also sports a 70-kW solar electric system on its roof. To further reduce pollution from the Games, many of the buses that shuttle spectators among the venues are powered by compressed natural gas. Even the torch is clean-burning and energy efficient.
At the Olympic Village, energy efficiency and passive cooling designs cut energy use by 50%. Rooftop-mounted solar photovoltaic panels throughout the Village will generate a million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year - roughly equal to its energy usage - leading some to call it "the world's largest solar suburb."
Nearby, the Novotel and Ibis Hotel Homebush Bay has Australia's largest solar hot water system on its roof. The facility supplies 60% of the hotel's hot water requirements, reducing the total energy consumption by 15%. See the Olympics Web site at: www.olympics.com/eng/about/green/index.html. See also the "Green Games 2000" Web site, prepared by Australia's Department of Environment and Heritage, at: www.environment.gov.au/greengames/index.html. The Department has also published the report "Greening the Games," which is available online at: www.sg.com.au/ea/body01.html.
NFPA LAUNCHES CODE ANSWER SITE The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recently designed a Web site to answer Code questions. The site - www.necdirect.org - features free access to the 1999 Code, newsletters and articles. It's maintained by a number of NPFPA experts.