Electrical Code Updates

Association of Construction and Development
August 16, 2012 — 1,433 views  

The National Electrical Code (NEC) is considered the primary resource on
electrical safety standards. Although the NEC is not legally binding, it has
been adopted by several states and municipalities in an effort to standardize electrical
safety regulations. Even when local code has not been followed, no electrician
has ever been held liable for following the NEC standards. 

The NEC is published every three years by the National Fire Protection
Association (NFPA). It is also known as NFPA 70, which is the identification
given to the NEC by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Before
the NEC is published, the existing code is reviewed and amended by 19 panels
and a technical committee. 

The latest edition is the 2011 NEC, which was made effective on August 25,
2010. The softbound book is 870 pages and contains several changes from the
previous edition. The most important changes included in the 2011 NEC are as

110.24 – All electrical service equipment must be labeled with the maximum
available fault current and the date the last fault current calculation was
made. When electrical modifications affect the fault current, then it must be

210.8 – Ground-fault circuit interruption (GFCI) devices must be installed in
accessible locations. GFCI devices must be installed on receptacles within six
feet of a sink, near indoor wet areas, near showering facilities and in garages
where electrical equipment is used near flammable materials. 

210.12 – Circuits in dwelling units must be protected by arc-fault
circuit-interrupter (AFCI) devices. 

210.52 – Wall space is now defined as “any space two feet or more in width,
unbroken along the floor line by doorways and similar openings, fireplaces and
fixed cabinets.” Floor and countertop receptacles cannot be used to meet
wall-space receptacle requirements. Receptacles are now required in dwelling
unit accessory buildings and foyers over 60 square feet that are not part of a

250.30 – This section on grounding separately derived systems has been
completely rewritten and expanded.

250.52 – The instances when a structural metal frame can be used as a grounding
electrode have been changed and the requirements for concrete-encased
electrodes have been clarified.

300.5 – Type MI and MC cables can now be installed underneath buildings without
using a raceway. Conductors may be installed in parallel, but all conductors of
the same circuit must be in the same raceway or multiconductor cable.

404.2 – All switches controlling lighting must have a neutral conductor at the
switch location.

406.12 – Tamper-resistant receptacles must be used in dwellings unless they are
over 5.5 feet above the floor, part of an appliance or dedicated to a single
appliance that cannot be easily moved.

Association of Construction and Development