If you’ve looked around for an electrical contractor to help with your house—whether for electrical repairs, installations, rewiring, new indoor or outdoor lighting—then you’ve probably come across mention of “keeping a house up to code” and “the electrical code.” You’ll recognize this means keeping a home up to some sort of safety standard, the same way food service establishments must stay up to state and local health codes. But what exactly is the electrical code?
Meet the NEC: The National Electric Code
The “code” starts with The National Electric Code, a.k.a. the NFPA 70. It is part of the National Fire Codes series published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and it contains government recommended standards for electrical wiring and electrical appliances in the US. For example, it sets standards for high and low voltage rules, insulation for wiring, requirements for outlet types and placements, temperature ratings for wires and cables, and much more.
The NEC isn’t the law of the land or the specific code your house must live up to. It is instead a regionally adoptable system that local jurisdictions can use as the basis for their code requirements. Think of it like a handbook for municipal governments: the NEC is a template that helps municipal boards create their own set of code standards.
Many jurisdictions adopt the NEC wholesale, with only a few adjustments. Other jurisdictions will make extensive changes, and still others will not use the NEC at all and instead build their own electrical code from the ground up. It’s up to the local governing bodies to make the decision.
The NEC is always changing, with updates made to it every three years. The bound book is around a thousand pages long, but it’s also available in an electronic format which makes it easy to see recent changes made in the code.
Electricians and the NEC
Any licensed electrician must understand both the NEC and the local adoption of the NEC. It’s one of the most basic requirements of being a professional electrician. Most jurisdictions follow the NEC requirements closely, and a qualified electrician will understand the local variations and why they are in place.
A building is “up to code” if it meets the local code requirements as inspected by “the authority having jurisdiction,” which changes based on location. The State of New Jersey has adopted the 2014 National Electrical Code.
A Licensed Electrician Will Keep You Up to Code
This may sound like too much information for you to deal with, a few too many jurisdictions and codes, but this is why you have a licensed electrician, like the ones on our staff, to handle your services. It’s our job to ensure every work assignment is done to meet not only the safety requirements of the code, but also to meet your own high standards—which are often higher than the code!
For an electrician in Wayne, NJ who will always ensure your home is up to code and you receive the best possible service, you only have to reach out to our team.