Those of us who have been in the Electrical Contracting business for awhile know that one of the few things we can count on is that the electrical codes that we must follow are going to change. Advances in engineering techniques and lessons learned from real world experiences such as fire investigations are just a couple of the reasons for these changes.
Regardless of the reasons behind them, it is in our own best interest to be sure and stay up to date on the latest news from our regulating bodies. Lets face it is easier to know the latest regs. and get it right the first time than have some hot shot inspector catch us with our pants down.
All that being said here are just a few of the changes that the NEC has made for 2014 that could affect your operations.
Definition of “Readily Accessible”
Though the words “readily accessible” have been used for eons in the code books, this year they have added a formal definition for the term in Article 100.
Readily Accessible- Capable of being reached quickly for operation, renewal or inspection without requiring those concerned to use a tool, to climb over, remove obstacle or other.
Taken literally, and we all know some inspectors will, this will mean that dryer hookups, vending machine plugs and a host of other installations will have to be placed in plain sight. No more baseboard installations or outlets behind the machines.
GFCI in Dwelling Unites and Commercial Garages
Two changes have been made to section 210. A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter must now be used for all dishwasher circuits whether receptacles or hard wired (210.8D) and GFCI protection is now a requirement for all 125 volt single phase 15 and 20 ampere receptacles installed in all commercial, non-dwelling service bays, unit garages, and similar areas. It also now says the GFCI must be readily accessible.
Wet Location Raceways
A new section has been added to Article 300 part 2 to indicate that the interior of raceways in wet locations, above grade are now to be considered as wet locations. This change basically just brings the requirement for installation of 1000+ volt systems in line with lower voltage standards.
Solar PV Systems
A major change for those of us who do work in large commercial structures is that the nominal threshold voltage for Solar Photovoltaic systems is now 1000 volts rather than the 600 volt standard that was in place.
There have been 4 completely new Articles added to the code for 2014 that could have far reaching effects on your business, depending on your field of specialty. They are:
- Article 393- Low Voltage Suspended Ceiling Power Distribution
- Article 646- Modular Data Centers
- Article 728- Fire Resistive Cable Systems
- Article 750- Energy Management Systems
Last year there were 3,745 proposals made to the NFPA for new regulations or alterations of existing NEC standards. This is just a few of the changes that have been made for the year and by no means is it an exhaustive list.
I know that if you are like me you would rather spend a day in the woods, on the water or napping on the coach than reading the new regulations. Unfortunately that is part of the price we pay to do our jobs right. Sometimes in life you just have to take the salt with the sugar.
Until next time, keep the coffee hot, the beer cold and don’t forget to like us on Facebook.