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Code Alert: Washington, 16 September 2010

Washington State Begins 2011 NEC Adoption Process

The State of Washington, Electrical Division, has announced that proposals to revise the State Electrical Code will be accepted from September 7 through October 8, 2010. Included in the process is adoption of the 2011 Edition of the National Electrical Code, which will be reviewed and potentially modified for use in the State.

The process is well defined and scheduled, leading up to the anticipated implementation on July 1, 2011. Following receipt of proposals, the Department will convene a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) consisting of representation from all stakeholders in the electrical industry. Historically, NEMA has been given a seat at this Committee to represent manufacturers of electrical equipment, filled by NEMA’s Western Field Rep. The next step, after the final rule package has met the legal requirements for public noticing, is to conduct public hearings in at least a couple locations around the State, and to present the rules to the State Electrical Board for review and comment.

The one factor that is not in evidence is that the Chief Electrical Inspector in Washington retains final decision-making authority over the final rulemaking. While rare, there is precedent in the past where the Chief has exercised this authority to overturn a majority vote of the Technical Advisory Committee. The Electrical Board as well has only an advisory function in the process, though a strong recommendation from the Board would be difficult to ignore.

The schedule of events leading to adoption is reproduced below from a Special Newsletter published by the Department:

2011 WAC Revision Process – Proposed Sequence of Events

  • September 2010 – File CR 101 – pre-proposal statement of inquiry

  • September 7 through October 8, 2010 – Accept proposals from stakeholders to: amend or add to the existing WAC

  • September 7 through October 8, 2010 – Accept applications for TAC

  • November 29, 2010 (possible 2nd day) –TAC meeting, Tukwila L&I office

  • Spring 2011 – File CR 102 –rule filing (opens the official required public comment period)

  • Spring 2011 – Public hearing(s) & Electrical Board review

  • July 1, 2011 – Effective rule

  • The entire Special Newsletter, including the proposal form and submittal instructions, may be viewed and downloaded from the Electrical Division’s website.

    Submitted by Joe Andre, Joe.andre@nema.org


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