The Commonwealth of Massachusetts recently adopted the 2002 National Electrical Code, but not without putting its own mark on the standards document. After making revisions to 210.12, among others, the commonwealth’s Board of Fire Prevention Regulations (BFPR) approved the Code with the new name 527 CMR 12:00, 2002 Massachusetts Electrical Code.

Responsible for promulgating fire safety codes, the 14-member BFPR appointed an advisory committee to review the latest version of the Code and make changes based on three criteria:

  • There are compelling local conditions that prompt a specific difference from the general provisions of the NEC.

  • There is a local consensus that a provision of the NEC is technically incorrect to the extent that it raises a compelling safety issue.

  • There is an evident error or other problem in the NEC that makes the provision unsuitable for mandatory, consistent enforcement under Massachusetts practice.

In particular, the committee decided the language in 210.12 was vague and required clarification. The section states that all branch circuits supplying 125V, single-phase, 15A and 20A outlets installed dwelling unit bedrooms must be protected by arc-fault circuit interrupters. The committee added a fine print note that notes some branch circuit outlet-type receptacles are listed as providing arc-fault circuit interruption protection when used as the first device in the branch circuit.

The BFPR committee received help in amending the NEC from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA).