No secrets in this Code

A news item appearing on page 37 of this month's issue is worth a close look, I believe.

A news item appearing on page 37 of this month's issue is worth a close look, I believe. It briefly explains that the Communications Cable and Connectivity Association (CCCA) has published a white paper that summarizes changes made to 10 articles in the National Electrical Code. The Code is published every three years and the 2011 edition, like every edition, includes some changes and modifications from the previous version.

The CCCA white paper looks specifically at 10 sections of the 2011 Code that the organization believes will be of interest to professionals in the structured cabling industry.

Why do I believe this news item in particular is worth a close look? As has been pointed out to me many times, many states and municipalities adopt the NEC as law. Therefore, violations of the Code are illegal. If someone installs a structured cabling system that is not in accordance with a standard put forth by the Telecommunications Industry Association or another standards-making body, there is a risk that the system will not perform as intended. Perhaps the user organization will withhold payment from the installation contractor until the installation is brought into compliance with the appropriate standard.

If, on the other hand, the installation of a structured cabling system falls out of compliance with the National Electrical Code, whether the failure to comply is intentional or accidental, the contractor and end user face consequences far worse than a squabble over payment.

Beyond the possibility of legal ramifications for such errors, the reality is that the National Electrical Code and other documents put out by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) are, first and foremost, about safety and the preservation of life. With a Code that takes three years to complete its cycle, a lot can change from one edition to the next. New information is put in front of Code-making committees frequently, and those committees are charged with putting corporate agendas aside and producing a document that, when it comes right down to it, saves lives.

Recently I had the opportunity to have a brief conversation with Phil Janeway, whose name may be familiar to some of you and who has experience with the Code-creation activities of the NFPA. That conversaion confirmed for me what I've known through Phil and others for years: Every practitioner in our industry can benefit from a better understanding of the NEC. Please do all you can in that regard.

PATRICK McLAUGHLIN
Chief Editor
patrick@pennwell.com

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