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#96585 - 12/09/05 10:34 PM Is the NEC "Law"?  
skingusmc  Offline
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 116
Simi Valley, CA USA
All -

I am under the impression that the NEC is not a "leagal" document nor is it enforceable unless it has been adopted (codified)by the local municipality (city/town, county, state).

While most do, I do not believe that it is "required" by any law that the various municipalities do so.

Please, this is not a question as to the merits of the NEC, just a question as to what force of law it has.

If there are references to the contrary I would be interested in taking a look at them.




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#96586 - 12/09/05 11:06 PM Re: Is the NEC "Law"?  
gfretwell  Offline

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,142
You are right. The NEC is just a standard. Until some AHJ adopts it as law it has the same legal standing as the Boy Scout Motto.

Greg Fretwell

#96587 - 12/10/05 05:14 AM Re: Is the NEC "Law"?  
e57  Offline
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
Here in CA, (as are you skingusmc) Title 24 part 3, (with some enery related crapola in part 6) is the law of the land for the 2004 California Electrical Code, in the very least, effective 8/1/05. (2002 NEC with some changes) Cities and towns may further adopt or change things in that.

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

#96588 - 12/10/05 07:59 AM Re: Is the NEC "Law"?  
Ron  Offline
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 582
White Plains, NY
I think in most, if not all jurisdictions, the NEC is adopted by local or state law.
For example, here's the NYC code


#96589 - 12/10/05 08:40 AM Re: Is the NEC "Law"?  
HLCbuild  Offline
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 209
Herndon,Va USA
Here in Virginia, we have the VUSBC (VA Uniform Statewide Building Code) which adopts the different model codes as ammended by the state legislature. We just recently adopted the 2003 VUSBC and have a year grace period to get used to it.

#96590 - 12/10/05 08:52 AM Re: Is the NEC "Law"?  
jwhite  Offline
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 64
Trenton, NC, USA
Some of the users I have run into on forums have said that where they live the NEC has never been adopted.

Other areas, like Baltimore County MD have local code that has been adopted along side the NEC, and modifies the code in specific areas.

Some areas have adopted the most recient version of the code, other areas on behind in addopting the most recient version.

#96591 - 12/10/05 12:24 PM Re: Is the NEC "Law"?  
gfretwell  Offline

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,142
The difference betweel model legislation and a standard is the AHJs right to reproduce and publish.
Model legislation is given away with all rights to use the language in a law. Things like the NEC get adopted but the language still belongs to NFPA.

Greg Fretwell

#96592 - 12/11/05 05:45 PM Re: Is the NEC "Law"?  
harold endean  Offline
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,233
Boonton, NJ
Here in NJ the state will adopt the NEC, but they will make a few changes. The state doesn't change much and some of it is very small changes. For example, the state will remove the wording every where in the NEC where it mentions the AHJ and instead insert, "The electrical sub code official". That is a minor change. A major change is that the state does not require the use of AFCI's yet. Also we are still working on the 2002 NEC right now.

#96593 - 12/11/05 06:38 PM Re: Is the NEC "Law"?  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
Under our system, nothing is a "law" unles it has been adopted by a governmental body; then it is "law" only as far as that body is concerned. For example, something being adopted in California has no bearing here in Reno.
Nor is any body required to adopt something complete; in the case of the NEC, most places have their own ammendments that they add to it; one common example is the prohibition against using armored cable.

The NEC is likely the most widely adopted code. At least one edition of it has been adopted by OSHA, so it has near universal application- at least as far as OSHA is concerned.

As a practical matter, if your work complies with both "trade practice" and almost any edition of the NEC, you're pretty sure to be in compliance with whatever the actual code is, wherever in the USA you are. The areas where you wuold be affected by recent changes, or local ammendments, tend to be fairly narrow in scope- and arguably of minor impact.
(As an example, our local code requires a 10 ft. ground rod. Put in an NEC compliant 8 foter, and not only are you unlikely to get caught- but you almost certainly have an adequate ground).

Generally, governmental bodies are independent of each other, and may not impose their views on other such bodies. That's why "funding" is used as a lever.

Once a code has been adopted as law anywhere, it effectively enters the public domain, and "belongs" to everyone. This matter, which has been the point of some recent court actions, is of some distress to the multitude of "model code writing" groups- who have managed to make quite a decent living publishing frequently updated codes.

#96594 - 12/12/05 12:28 AM Re: Is the NEC "Law"?  
skingusmc  Offline
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 116
Simi Valley, CA USA
All -

Thanks to everyone for your comments and thoughts.

e57 - I knew that CA had adopted the 2002 code and was wondering if it "applied" to cities/counties. It seems that these localities may choose to adopt it or not.


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