Nearly one in five CodeWatch readers are still using the 1999 Code, but that's not what concerns one reader who requested we not reveal his name. The unidentified 30-year veteran of the electrical field is tired of the inconsistent application of the NEC he witnesses in his jurisdiction:
I live in a small town in the Midwest and am currently licensed as a master electrician with upwards of 30 years of experience. I have been greatly discouraged by the inconsistencies regarding Code adoption and inspections in our industry. It seems the real-world bottom line is cost.
In our jurisdiction, the city commissioners are responsible for all Code-related adoption issues dependant upon the advisory committee and their recommendations, which is made up of local electrical contractors.
I have asked many contractors why we don't adopt to enforce the entirety of the Code. The answers vary from “many parts of the Code are too safe or rather absurd” to “it would cost too much, which would detract from being competitive in the bidding process.”
The general building codes regarding the structural integrity of buildings, plumbing codes, gas codes are all enforced in their entirety. By contrast, however, the electrical Code is viewed by many as a pick-and-choose type of code. I realize that ignorance, lack of proper training, and requirements for a valid continuing ed requirement for electrical contractors have a lot to do with this.
It continues to amaze me that so many people do not understand the basic principals of grounding and even more so the requirements for grounding of critical equipment beyond the Code. Although the Code is a minimum requirement, many view it as either too great a requirement or unnecessary.
Realistically, I see only one answer, and that is to push for a nationally enforced code through legislative action and national licensing.
Too often I come across blatant Code violations on new construction done by so-called professional electricians - just for the sake of getting the job and getting the job done.
We live in a time where energy resources are being severely taxed. Yet many new projects are being completed way under the minimum standard, which costs unnecessary energy waste. It seems that no one cares.