The 2008 National Electrical Code (NEC) was approved in June at the annual meeting of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in Boston. Significant revisions to the 2008 NEC include the following:

  • Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) will now be required for most branch circuits in newly constructed dwellings.

  • All receptacles installed in dwellings must be tamper-resistant type.

  • Ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) requirements were expanded to cover more outlets in dwellings

  • Definitions of “neutral conductor” and “neutral point” were added to Article 100.

  • Definitions and terminology relating to “grounding” and “bonding” were revised throughout the Code.

  • New requirements for selective coordination of overcurrent protection were added to Article 700 “Emergency Systems” and Article 701 “Legally-Required Standby Systems.”

  • Four new articles were added:

    • Article 355 Reinforced Thermosetting Resin Conduit: Type RTRC

    • Article 522, Control Systems for Permanent Amusement Attractions

    • Article 626, Electrified Truck Parking Space

    • Article 708, Critical Operations Power Systems (COPS)

  • Article 780, Closed-Loop and Programmed Power Distribution, was deleted. It covered a special cabling system for “smart houses” that was subsequently rendered obsolete by Internet-based control and communications schemes.

  • Rigid nonmetallic conduit (Type RNC) was renamed “PVC Conduit,” a designation that conforms to common field practice.

Revision of the NEC and other NFPA standards is a three-step process. Change proposals are submitted and considered by the 20 Code-Making Panels (CMPs) responsible for different articles (short chapters) of theNEC. Next, public comments are submitted to the CMPs. Last, a new edition of the Code is approved at an annual meeting of the entire association.

Typically, there are a number of appeals on the floor of the NFPA annual meeting, requesting last-minute revisions of the NEC. NFPA adopted new procedures this year to streamline this process. At the annual meeting, 38 amending motions were presented, only eight of which were approved.

The 2008 National Electrical Code will be published in September. This allows time for training and study before jurisdictions began adopting the NEC for regulatory enforcement in January 2008, using it in their contractor licensing exams, etc.

For more information on important changes and updates in the 2008 NEC, see “Significant Changes to the NEC 2008."    EC