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Digital Tools Ease Compliance

By Mark C. Ode | Aug 15, 2016
08-16-ODE-Fig_01_devices-think-highres-188140491.jpg

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Historically, the National Electrical Code (NEC) has required much of the electrical equipment, wiring methods and other electrical parts used in the electrical industry to be listed. The key behind listing requirements is located in Section 110.3(A), which states, in judging equipment, considerations shall be evaluated for suitability for installations and use in conformity with NEC provisions. 


Section 110.3(A)(1), Informational Note, further explains equipment use suitability for a specific purpose, environment or application may be identified by a description marked on or provided with a product. Special conditions of use, limitations and other pertinent information may be marked on the equipment, included in the product instructions, or included in the appropriate listing and labeling information. Equipment suitability may be evidenced by listing or labeling. In addition, 110.3(A) requires evaluation of the mechanical strength and durability of electrical equipment, including adequate protection of parts designed to enclose and protect other equipment. 


The electrical equipment must have adequate wire bending and connection space, proper electrical insulation and protection from heating effects (under normal and abnormal conditions likely to arise during use). Equipment must be classified by type, size, voltage and current capacity as well as for specific use. 


All these requirements would mandate special applications that are an integral part of listing and labeling (often referred to as certification) requirements. As 110.3(B) states, listed or labeled electrical equipment shall be installed and used in accordance with any instructions included in the listing or labeling. 


The UL White Book, used for decades by many in the electrical industry to verify the certification and installation criteria for UL Certified products, has recently been transformed into UL Product Spec, a powerful, web-based search tool that makes it possible for anyone with a smartphone, tablet or computer to access this important information. Since UL Product Spec is mobile-enabled, an electrical contractor, electrician or inspector can get information when and where they need it and on the device that is most convenient. The tool is available at www.ul.com/productspec.


UL Product Spec includes all UL certification information for products used in the built environment and helps fill in gray areas in the NEC. Just like the UL White Book, UL Product Spec should be considered part 2 of the NEC.


UL Product Spec offers five different ways to search: 


(1) Installation code 


(2) Product type keyword 


(3) Browsing products, systems and assemblies using product categories organized in intuitive groupings 


(4) UL category code


(5) Master format number 


The comprehensive search results include the UL product category guide information detailing the certification scope, intended use, installation markings, UL Standard and UL Mark information, and all UL product certifications for a particular category. In addition, the search results provide links to relevant articles and white papers as well as a link to the scope of the UL Standard used for certification.


The installation code search covers the latest versions of more than 20 model codes, including the NEC. Getting the right information is as simple as selecting a particular code and entering the code section.


Having trouble sourcing PV rapid shutdown systems or equipment for a PV installation as required by the 2014 NEC in 690.12? Select the 2014 NEC and type in 690.12. UL Product Spec will provide the product categories and certifications for that type of equipment.


Confused by the six options for arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) compliance in the 2014 NEC? Use the installation code search, select 2014 NEC and type in 210.12 to get to the certified products that comply with each option. 


The product type search helps source or validate UL-certified products by keyword search of the product type or product identity displayed on the UL Certification Mark. For instance, are you looking for LED retrofits? Type in the keywords, and UL Product Spec gives you all of the LED retrofit product categories and their certifications to source the proper kit for an application. Tired of carrying manufacturer’s catalogs of firestop systems? Choose the products, systems and assemblies search, select building and fire and then firestop systems. You now have access to 5,000 through penetration firestop systems searchable by system number or specific system parameters.


UL Product Spec can help make the job easier and faster and can help source the proper certified products for a Code-compliant installation. For more information and to see videos on the tool, visit www.ul.com/psvideo.

About The Author

ODE is a retired lead engineering instructor at Underwriters Laboratories and is owner of Southwest Electrical Training and Consulting. Contact him at 919.949.2576 and [email protected]

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