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Code Alert: Utah, 12 August 2011


On August 10, 2011, the Utah Uniform Building Codes Commission voted to adopt the 2011 National Electrical Code. Only a single amendment was approved by the Commission: to revert to the wording in the 2005 Edition of the NEC for ampacity of service conductors and main power feeders for individual dwelling units. The Commissioners felt that the language and format in 310.15(B)(6) of the 2005 Edition is clearer than that in 310.15(B)(7) of the 2011 Edition.

Significantly, all of the personnel and fire safety provisions of the 2011 National Electrical Code remain intact in the recommended package, including tamper resistant receptacles, expansion of arc fault protection, expanded GFCI protection, and other new provisions. The Utah legislature still must approve the recommendation, but there is not expected to be any significant opposition to this code package. The provisions of the 2011 National Electrical Code are expected to be effective on July 1, 2012.

It should be noted however that Utah recognizes and adopts the electrical provisions of the International Residential Code. That means that the NEC does not apply to residences covered by the IRC: one and two-family dwellings and townhouses. Those buildings are currently covered by the 2009 Edition of the IRC, which will be reviewed next year, in 2012, for adoption of the 2012 International Residential Code. That code is not expected to receive similar industry wide support as did the NEC. The Utah homebuilders are expected to contest TR receptacles and AFCI changes at the very least, and they will take their request not only to the Commission, but also to the legislature. If they are successful, it could mean that citizens in Utah occupying homes in multi-family buildings, such as apartments and condominiums, will enjoy a higher level of electrical safety than those in homes constructed under the IRC.

Submitted by: Joe Andre: joe.andre@nema.org