Thursday, December 30, 2010

Significant Changes in the 2011 NEC: Part I

Thank you for taking the time to review our blog for changes that are significant to all of us in the electrical industry. While these changes may take some time to gradually work their way into rules to abide by and follow, it's a mark of your superior desire to better yourself in your awareness of these code changes. I hope that they are clear and useful for you and urge you to take a few moments each week to review these as they are posted. You will get postings of every single change in the 2011 NEC over the course of the next few months, right here, and free of charge! Please pass the word to others so that they may also benefit from this. Look for our new publication that will contain all of these changes, along with diagrams and clarifying pictures and charts to be published in January. Again, I thank each of you for spending some of your valuable time reading my work.

Significant Changes in the 2011 NEC


Article 90 "Introduction

Article 90.2(C), wording has changed:

New wording in this section clarifies more specifically when "special permission" may be granted for the exclusion of service conductors and/or equipment from the Code's jurisdiction. Previous editions simply specified that such installations "terminate inside a building wall." Now it specifies "within service equipment... inside nearest point of entrance of the service conductors." This broadens the language and allows for better independent judgment calls by the Inspector or other Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).

Article 90.5(D), New Section Added:

This new paragraph now specifies the Annexes as solely "informative annexes," and as such are thus non-mandatory. We have previously excluded all Annexes as solely informative, but this wording now makes it clear and official. The information provided in them has been provided simply as a further assistance, but are not meant to be used as official Code material.

Article 100 "Definitions"

Definition Added:

"Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI)"

As AFCI's are becoming more prevalent and are mentioned in many sections of the Code, wording that clarifies and describes the devices has been added.

Definition Added:


The previous wording was lengthy and attempted to cover all aspects of mechanical and automatic types of forces that devices or equipment might use. The new wording greatly simplifies the definition of "automatic," as being simply the "Performing a function without the necessity of human intervention." This is a more simple manner to cover all aspects of automatic devices and the actual function of operation without a person to oversee or initiate them.

Definition Changed:


This definition has been expanded to now include more types of plumbing fixtures such as , urinal, showers, bidets, and foot baths. This closes loopholes in what might have previously fallen outside the scope, and thus the requirements and restrictions of electrical installations in bathrooms.

Definition Added:

"Bonding Jumper, Supply Side (SSBJ)"

A fourth bonding jumper definition is added to describe and quantify the bonding on the so called "Line Side" or 'supply' side of a service. The acronym SSBJ has now been officially adopted to describe the grounding Bonding Jumper on the service side of separately derived systems and services.

Definition Changed:


A more specific definition that describes in detail what structures now qualify as buildings. This expansion of the definition of what comprises a building may have a significant impact on many electrical installations. A prime example is Article 230.3 which limits the installation of service conductors where they might pass through a building different to that which they supply. Often times feeders will pass through joining apartment/condo units or tenant spaces, however, with the clarification and tightening of the term "building" some of these installations may have to be re-routed in order to fall into compliance with Code rules and statutes.

Definition Added:

"Ground Fault"

This definition describes ground faults specifically as an "unintentional...connection between an ungrounded conductor...and the normally, or earth." This helps to clearly differentiate ground faults from short circuits and phase to phase shorts.

Definition Changed

"Grounding Electrode Conductor (GEC)"

This change added the commonly utilized acronym "GEC." It also expanded the language to include other systems such as communications, network, and antenna equipment that may be connected via the GEC.


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