ICC Electrical Code Under Fire From Industry Coalition

In response to the International Code Council's (ICC) announcement "that it has no plans for the development of an electrical code that would duplicate the purpose and then compete with the National Electrical Code (NEC)," a coalition of electrical industry organizations has called for the ICC to formally rescind its ICC Electrical Code.

08/01/2001


In response to the International Code Council's (ICC) announcement "that it has no plans for the development of an electrical code that would duplicate the purpose and then compete with the National Electrical Code (NEC)," a coalition of electrical industry organizations has called for the ICC to formally rescind its ICC Electrical Code.

The Inspection Initiative—a consortium of groups including the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Edison Electric Institute, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association and Underwriters Laboratories—has also requested that the ICC cease distribution of any promotional materials or draft documents that would encourage jurisdictions to adopt the ICC Electrical Code.

But the Falls Church, Va.-based ICC has no plans to abandon its electrical code.

"Some people are saying that we're trying to compete with the National Electrical Code and we have no intention of doing that," explains Richard P. Kuchnicki, ICC's executive vice president. "Our code is not like the NEC. The ICC Electrical Code contains electrical administrative provisions, such as things related to permits, inspections and construction documents, to give code officials a document to help them enforce the NEC."

But critics disagree with the notion that the ICC Electrical Code facilitates enforcement of the NEC, which was developed by NFPA through an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved consensus process.

According to Mark Early, P.E., assistant vice president and chief electrical engineer at the Quincy, Mass.-based NFPA, the group recently developed administrative provisions for the NEC that will now appear as Article 80, "so the ICC Electrical Code is really unecessary."

"Since the beginning, the ICC has said that their electrical code is nothing but a book of administrative provisions, so why does it have technical requirements such as wiring rules in Chapter 12?" asks Brooke Stauffer, director of codes and standards for NECA, Bethesda, Md.

"The ICC Electrical Code is an attempt to circumvent the consensus process for writing an electrical code, and in the consensus ANSI-approved camp, we don't agree with this," Stauffer says.

Further, Stauffer claims that the ICC code development is largely restricted to building code officials, leaving little opportunity for input from other industry professionals.

"ICC doesn't have the standing, the right or the expertise to mess with our electrical code," he says.

But Kuchnicki counters that the ICC's primary voting members are code officials, who, as public servants, don't have the vested interests of other building professionals.

In addition, ICC code hearings are open to anyone who would like to submit a proposal or disagree with a motion and call for a vote from the general assembly.

However, only members of Building Officials and Code Administrators International, the International Conference of Building Officials and the Southern Building Codes Congress International—founders of the ICC— are eligible to vote.





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