A recent press release issued by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) made me think of the recent Oscar-nominated song "Blame Canada." Featured in the animated movie South Park, some of you may remember the controversy created over the song's vulgar lyrics and so-called "humorous" attack on Canadians. In the movie, U.S. children learn to curse and disobey their parents from the characters of a make-believe Canadian television show. Rather than blame themselves for not monitoring their children's television viewing habits, the parents call for "a full assault" on Canada.
The opening of the press release, "Public Safety May Be Threatened by Proposed Electrical Code," reads: "In a letter addressed to the president of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), John Grau, executive vice president and CEO of NECA, expressed deep concern over and opposition to CSA's announced intention to cooperate with the International Code Council in promoting and marketing the Canadian Electrical Code, Part 1 for regulatory use in the United States." Grau went on to say, "We believe this is an ill-advised decision that will result in confusion, possible reduction of public safety, and an overall weakening of the well-integrated U.S. electrical safety system that is of critical importance to our industry." I agree!
However, I'm not sure Canada is totally to blame. I think we should look beyond the CSA and focus on the International Code Council (ICC). The ICC founders, including the Building Officials and Code Administrators (BOCA), International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO), and Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI), set a goal to develop a single set of construction codes without regional limitations.
Initial efforts resulted in publication of the International Plumbing Code™ (IPC), the International Private Sewage Disposal Code™ (IPSDC), and the International Mechanical Code™ (IMC)—with impending publication of the International Fire Code and the International Building Code set for adoption sometime later this year.
Notice anything missing? There's no International Electrical Code. From what I can gather, the ICC would love to introduce an International Electrical Code, but the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and others aren't interested. I don't think CSA realized the extent of backlash it would create with its agreement with ICC. It's also interesting that CSA announced in April it was withdrawing its proposal for further investigation. So before you join in the chorus "Blame Canada, Blame Canada," you may want to focus your negative feedback toward the organization behind this movement: the ICC.
Please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear your thoughts.