Wish You Could Change the National Electric Code?

  • by Todd Fries
  • Jan 5, 2023
Wish You Could Change the National Electric Code?

Wish You Could Change the National Electric Code?
(Believe it or not, you can.)

By Todd Fries, Product Category Manager, Identification Solutions

I like to think I have some control regarding government policy. If I don't like a politician, I vote for the other one. If I don't like a policy, I voice my opinion.

However, certain things are completely out of our control. For instance, being struck by lightning. Or worse, complying with every requirement in the National Electrical Code – even the seemingly ridiculous ones.

Speaking of which, I may appear harsh toward the code and its writers, but it's okay. I am a member of Code Making Panel 4 of the NEC 2023 … so I'm one of "them."

Do you have to follow the code?

If you're like most installers, you believe some sections of the code are open to interpretation and are therefore subject to the whim of the local AHJ. In some of these cases, the specific article is almost impossible to satisfy. Of course, if you want to pass inspection, you don't really have a choice.

Can you complain to someone about it – someone who can actually do something to help? Turns out, this one is like writing your congressperson.

You have power (pun intended)

You have control over codes and standards. Whether you are an installer, designer or an inspector, your opinion counts. Do you perform industry-related tasks daily, where inspections are required? You're uniquely qualified to identify weak spots in the code and recommend corrected language.

Maybe some wording isn't as clear as it needs to be. Or perhaps the code contains inadequacies that could result in productivity bottlenecks, extra labor, and even affect safety.

Whatever the case, don't just deal with it as you have in the past. Likewise, don't take it out on someone else – like your inspector, which I don't recommend since they are just trying to follow the intent of the code like you are.

Instead, use your “vote” by providing input during the code revision process.

Your input matters

The final revision for NEC 2023 is complete. It was partially the product of input from people like you. We appreciate the suggestions from you folks affected by the codes. If it was addressed to my panel, I read it – really! And remember, if you keep your brilliant correction to yourself, it might never change.

The time has passed for submitting public comment for the first draft of the NEC 2023, but you can see the revision cycle schedules and learn more about the review and revision process here.


More opportunities for input

For all you procrastinators and late comers, just because the comment stage deadline passed, all is not lost. You can submit comments on other codes and standards as they open up for public comment or just be prepared for the next code revision cycle. These typically occur every three years.

Remember, when it comes to questionable code, don't fume about it – express your opinion!

Your contribution won't be lost in a black hole. I can tell you from personal experience that every PI is reviewed and considered.

Using the NFPA site, you can track your PI and get updates as the committee reviews your commentary.

Have you seen our NEC 2023 Solar Labeling Poster? It's huge with customers!

author Todd Fries

About the Author:

Todd Fries is HellermannTyton’s Product Category Manager for identification. He has been involved with industrial identification since he started with the company in 1988. Todd is a voting member of NFPA Code Making Panel 4, NEC2014, 2017, 2020 and currently 2023. He is also a voting member of TIA-606-B standard committee, which defines the labeling of telecommunications infrastructure. Todd also participates on the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) technical committee for AE-8D wire and cable. His hobbies include competitive running, writing, playing music, restoring vintage radios and clocks and collecting old 78 rpm records.


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