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Code Alert: Massachusetts, 15 December 2010



Massachusetts adopts the 2011 National Electrical Code

On December 9, 2010 the Massachusetts Board of Fire Prevention Regulations (BFPR) held a public hearing to receive public comments on the adoption of the 2011 National Electrical Code (NEC®). The BFPR, the promulgating agency for the Massachusetts Electrical Code, appointed an advisory committee to keep the Electrical Code current. The committee reviews the latest edition of the NEC® and makes recommendations to the BFPR. The committee recommended adoption of the 2011 NEC® with sixty-seven amendments. The 2008 Massachusetts Electrical Code consists of the 2008 NEC® with seventy-one amendments. The Committee recommended deleting seventeen of these and adding thirteen new amendments. The BFPR voted to accept the Committee recommendation with one exception. The recommendation will now be sent to the Secretary of the Commonwealth for review and republished in the Massachusetts Register with an effective date of January 1, 2011. The amendments will soon be available on the BFPR website.

The BFPR took exception to the Committee recommendation to delete the Massachusetts amendment to 700.10 (formerly 700.9(D) in the 2008 NEC®). The Massachusetts amendment, first adopted in 1987, required all emergency systems generation and distribution equipment to be located in 2-hour fire resistive rated rooms, closets or shafts and all portions of emergency system feeders located outside these areas to be enclosed within 2-hour fire resistive rated enclosures or be part of an assembly that has a 2-hour fire resistive rating. The 2011 NEC® revised this section of the 2008 NEC® by changing the 1-hour fire resistive rating to 2-hour. The Committee felt that although the large occupancy load or high-rise building triggers remain in the NEC® it was time to delete the amendment and align with the NEC®. The BFPR’s main objection to this recommendation was that the NEC® provision would allow conventional wiring methods for the feeder-circuits when installed in spaces or areas that are fully protected by an approved automatic fire suppression system.

The Committee recommended and the BFPR approved the deletion of the 2008 amendments to 700.27, 701.18 and 708.54 regarding selective coordination. These amendments added an exception to the requirement that emergency system(s) overcurrent devices be selectively coordinated with all supply side overcurrent protective devices. The amendment permitted the selection of overcurrent protective devices to coordinate to the extent practicable when under engineering supervision.

The Committee also recommended and the BFPR approved the deletion of the new Section 110.24 of the 2011 NEC®, which requires service equipment in other than dwelling units to be field marked with the maximum available fault current.

There were no changes to the basic requirements regarding ground-fault circuit-interrupters, arc-fault circuit-interrupters and tamper resistant receptacles.

Contact: Gil Moniz: gilmoniz@nema.org