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2017 Kentucky NEC Adoption

Posted in: Midwest Region Update

Earlier this year IEC of KY & Southern Indiana found itself fighting to keep the adoption of the 2017 NEC on track for its adoption as voted on by the KY State Electrical Advisory Committee back in October 2016. In January Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin created an initiative to Cut Red Tape across the state of Kentucky to remove any hindrance that would slow business growth, discourage businesses to come to Kentucky, and to further influence job growth.

With the Red Tape Initiative the Governor removed all Advisory Committees, including the Electrical Advisory Committee, and created one Advisory Board per department. Under the guise of the Red Tape Initiative, the Home Builders Association of KY lobbied against adopting the 2017 NEC in its entirety, removing Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI’s) & tamper resistant receptacles based on cost and nuisance tripping. The IEC pulled together an industry coalition including NFPA, JATC, IBEW, NECA, ECHL, IAEI, and the KY State Fire Chiefs Association to determine what minimum safety devices should and should not be left in for code adoption.

After much research the coalition found problems with AFCI nuisance tripping are actually due to wiring method problems including subpar workmanship during the installation of the wiring of the branch circuits the AFCI breakers were connected to. It was also determined that if an AFCI breaker were to trip, it was not due to nuisance tripping but a problem the circuit breaker found on the circuit. With the fear of taking Kentucky from the 5th lowest state in number of fire deaths to what potentially could be a significantly higher ranking by removing these requirements, the coalition set out to protect the best interest of all Kentuckians. Many meetings were held educating anyone that would listen on the benefits of such a safety device as an AFCI or tamper resistant receptacle. The coalition was represented at meetings such as the Home Builders Codes and Standards committee meetings and the Department of Housing, Building & Construction Advisory Board meetings, with leaders of the Department of Housing Building and Construction, State Senators, State Representatives, the Governor’s office and more.

It was determined that removing safety standards such as AFCI’s or tamper resistant receptacles was not in the best interest of the residents of KY and by law the National Electrical Code in its entirety is the minimum standard for the state of KY. Currently, the 2017 NEC is in the process of being adopted through the Legislative Research Commission process that takes place every 3 years during a new code cycle. The 2017 NEC is expected to be adopted across Kentucky in early 2018 in January or February. IEC will update the region on the exact adoption date once it is determined by the Department of Housing, Building & Construction.