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Code Alert: Massachusetts, 24 February 2011



On January 1, 2011 the 2011 National Electrical Code (NEC®) became the basis for the 2011 Massachusetts Electrical Code. The Board of Fire Prevention Regulations (BFPR) is a fourteen-member board responsible for promulgating fire safety codes for the Commonwealth including the Massachusetts Electrical Code. The BFPR appoints an advisory committee to keep the Electrical Code current by reviewing the latest edition of the NEC® and any comments or proposals received from the general public. The BFPR policy on amendments to the NEC® is that exception to the NEC® should only be taken in instances where one or more of the following three circumstances exist:

1) There are compelling local conditions that prompt a specific difference from the general provisions of the NEC®; or

2) There is a local consensus that a provision of the NEC® is technically incorrect to the extent that it raises a compelling safety issue; or

3) There is an evident error or other problem in the NEC® that makes the provision unsuitable for mandatory, consistent enforcement under Massachusetts’ practice.

In Massachusetts, the NEC® is adopted with amendments and its official title is “527 CMR 12:00”. CMR is an acronym for the Code of Massachusetts Regulations, which is the entire body of administrative law for the commonwealth. The CMR contains rules and regulations promulgated by state agencies pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act. These rules and regulations have the force and effect of law like statutes and are created and enforced by executive branch agencies, which are given this rulemaking authority by the legislature. A CMR is updated through the Massachusetts Register, which is published biweekly by the Secretary of the Commonwealth and contains gubernatorial executive orders, Attorney General opinions, permanent and emergency regulations, recently enacted legislation, and notice of public hearings.

There were no amendments to the AFCI, GFCI or tamper resistant receptacle requirements. The committee deleted a number of previous amendments, because they were accepted in the 2011 NEC. The committee also deleted previous amendments to the requirement for selective coordination found in 700.27, 701.18 and 708. 54. These amendments added an exception to the requirements that overcurrent devices be selectively coordinated with all supply side overcurrent protective devices. The exceptions allowed the selection of overcurrent protective devices to coordinate to the extent practicable for systems designed under the control of a licensed professional engineer. The design had to be documented, stamped by the professional engineer, and made available for review by the authority having jurisdiction. All of the amendments are available for download at: http://www.lawlib.state.ma.us/source/mass/cmr/cmrtext/527CMR12.pdf

Contact: Gil Moniz: gilmoniz@nema.org