The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has published the 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC) to the electrical construction industry. Among the list, there are 9 significant changes for engineers and installers to know.
1. Article 110.16
Service Equipment rated 1200 amps or more in commercial buildings will require a label containing the (1) nominal system voltage, (2) available fault current at the service overcurrent protective devices, (3) the clearing time of service overcurrent protective devices based on the available fault current at the service equipment and, (4) the date the label was applied.
2. Article 110.21
Reconditioned equipment will need to be marked by the organization responsible for the reconditioning.
3. Article 110.26
Working space is required for electrical equipment installed above ceilings or in crawl spaces. Hatches and openings are also required in ceilings and crawl spaces to gain access to the electrical equipment.
4. Article 210.8
GFCI measurements from sinks are measured as the cord would travel without piercing a door or window opening.
5. Article 210.8
GFCI will be required in commercial buildings for up to 50 amps single phase and 100 amps three phase, on receptacles 150 volts to ground or less.
6. Article 210.12
Guest rooms and guest suites of hotels and motels now need AFCI protection of the branch circuits.
7. Article 210.71
Meeting rooms larger than 215 SF and over 12’ in any dimension will require a floor receptacle in the middle of the room at least 6’ from any fixed wall.
8. Article 430.99
Motor control centers will require documenting the short circuit current so it's available to those who inspect the installation.
9. Article 700.3
A means to connect a portable or temporary alternate source of power is required if the facility is supplied by an emergency generator used for life safety equipment.
How Are Code Changes Decided?
The NFPA encourages participation in the code development process through its technical committees. These code-making panels, made up of engineers, manufacturers, fire safety first responders, and industry consultants, review the proposed changes and through consensus agree that the proposed code change should be made. The NFPA updates the NEC and publishes those changes.
Each state can administratively adopt the NEC at different rates. Presently the only state to formally adopt the 2017 NEC is Massachusetts. Twenty-three other states including Ohio and Kentucky are in the adoption process; however it can take some time before the adoption processes complete. Awareness of these changes now means you are ready when an inspector or engineer requires something new.
To learn more about all the code changes found in the 2017 NEC, attend the National Electric Code Conference where Tim Pool, PE, RCDD, will be sharing information on often-used sections and an overview of the new and changed articles.
Have questions? Contact Tim Pool. Tim is a licensed Electrical Safety Inspector and subject matter expert in National Electrical Codes and National Fire Codes and is the author of this article.