It's hard to believe it's that time again. This fall marks the turn of another National Electrical Code (NEC) cycle. And as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) releases the 2002 NEC this month, professionals from all segments of the electrical industry (including consulting engineers, contractors, electricians, and plant facility maintenance personnel) will scramble to familiarize themselves with the most important revisions to the new Code.

In keeping with EC&M's long-standing tradition of translating how the NEC's changes affect our readers every three years, we present the first of four Code analysis installments (running in the September through December issues). In this month's cover story starting on page 22, NEC expert and EC&M Code Consultant Mike Holt highlights the most important changes to the 2002 Code from his book, Mike Holt's Illustrated Guide to Code Changes Based on the 2002 National Electrical Code. This month, he outlines changes to the Code as a whole, as well as revisions to Chapters 1 and 2.

In survey after survey, EC&M readers rank the NEC as the most important editorial topic and give our Code coverage the highest satisfaction ratings. This is not to say you should use this analysis as a substitute for the actual Code book — using this article without referencing the NEC would be irresponsible. Just think of this series as a must-have quick reference to the most important Code changes. Keep it handy — on your desk, in the truck, at the plant — so you can access it quickly for those Code questions that always pop up when you least expect them.

But don't stop there. Review the changes and discuss them with your coworkers, quiz each other on the Code, beef up your reference library with supplemental NEC materials, and attend a Code Change seminar. EC&M's 2002 NEC Code Change Conferences are in full swing. Presented by two of the electrical construction industry's most knowledgeable Code instructors, Mike Holt and James Stallcup, these seminars will get you up to speed on the 2002 Code in just two days. So why not take these steps to increase your Code awareness and understanding? The comprehensive knowledge you gain will benefit you as a professional and the industry as a whole.