With the International Code Council’s 2021 building codes cycle in full swing, it’s important to note another set of codes that may have a big effect on many home builders and remodelers.

The National Fire Protection Association recently published the 2020 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC). This particular edition of the code has some significant changes that target residential electrical service, including:

  • Under section 230.67 of the code, all electrical service to homes would need to have a surge protect device installed. This applies to new home builds and remodels.
  • Section 210.8(A)(5) calls for all basement receptacles to have ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection. This section previously applied only to unfinished areas of basements.
  • Section 210.8(A) would require receptacles serving 250-volt appliances – like stoves and dryers – to have GFCI protection when located in certain areas. This section previously applied to outlets up to 125 volts only.
  • Under section 230.85, all one- and two-family homes would be required to have a labelled electrical disconnect in a readily accessible outdoor location.

While the current code cycle for the NEC is complete, the code was just recently published, meaning it has yet to be widely adopted. But many state and local jurisdictions will begin their adoption processes soon.

Home builders can still influence the adoption process at their state and local levels. NAHB has recommendations for changes to codes language that it encourages members to share with local adopting bodies. For example, NAHB recommends changing the new GFCI requirements back to only unfinished portions of basements and for the surge protection language to be struck altogether.

It is very important for home builders, remodelers and trade contractors to get involved in the codes process at every step. While the NEC is done for this cycle, the development of the new I-codes, such as the International Residential Code, can be influenced. With the ICC meeting right now to determine which residential building code changes will be on their ballot, builders can sign up to participate in NAHB’s One & Done campaign for better codes.

For more information on the NEC and adoption process, contact Dan Buuck.