Author(s): Jesse Roman. Published on July 25, 2022.

Happy Together

The NEC headlined the two-day NFPA Technical Meeting in Boston, the first to take place in person since 2019


NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code®, dominated the proceedings of the annual NFPA Technical Meeting, where proposed revisions to standards are debated and voted on. The meeting, held June 7–8 as part of the NFPA Conference & Expo in Boston, returned to its traditional in-person format for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic forced the meeting to go virtual in 2020. 

A total of seven NFPA codes and standards were discussed and eventually approved during this year’s Technical Meeting. In addition to the NEC, those documents included NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems; NFPA 285, Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible ComponentsNFPA 855, Standard for the Installation of Stationary Energy Storage SystemsNFPA 502, Standard for Road Tunnels, Bridges, and Other Limited Access Highways; NFPA 86, Standard for Ovens and Furnaces; and NFPA 130, Standard for Fixed Guideway Transit and Passenger Rail Systems.

Another 11 documents, including the new NFPA 715, Standard for the Installation of Fuel Gases Detection Warning Equipment, were adopted via consensus before the meeting because no Certified Amending Motions (CAMs) were made. 

RELATED: Read a full breakdown of the 2022 NFPA Technical Meeting results

As is the case whenever a new edition of NFPA 70 is on the docket, the NEC took by far the longest to get through. Members filled the better part of eight hours moving through each of the 55 CAMs that were presented with proposed changes to the 2023 edition of the document. Ultimately, 18 of those motions were approved; 23 failed, and 14 CAMs were eventually withdrawn by the submitter, often due to a related CAM not passing.
Several NEC CAMs were related to charging equipment for electric vehicles, infrastructure that is becoming more widespread in parking garages and public spaces in countries around the world. Among other things, the CAMs sought to modify GFCI protection requirements and alter load management related to EV charging. Out of the 12 CAMs that would have modified NEC electric vehicle supply equipment installation requirements, six failed and six were not pursued.

One of the most passionate NEC debates, and the closest vote of the day, had to do with copper-clad aluminum wiring. CAM 70-126, which proposed to decrease the minimum size for copper-clad aluminum branch-circuit conductors allowed in the NEC from 12 AWG to 14 AWG, ultimately failed by a vote of 196-198. 

Most of the new additions to the NEC—including guidance on electrical installations for cannabis oil facilities, installation of photovoltaic arrays on bodies of water, and provisions to increase worker safety—passed without any CAMs being filed and were not subject to debate at the Technical Meeting.

In addition to the NEC, six other NFPA standards received CAMs that were considered by NFPA voting members at the Technical Meeting. NFPA 25 had eight CAMs; five passed, and three were not pursued. Most were administrative changes, such as adding information to a table that was accidentally omitted, said engineer Chad Duffy, the NFPA 25 staff liaison. One substantive change to the document was nixing a proposal that would have required inspectors to remove a percentage of concealed cover plates every five years to inspect sprinkler piping underneath. Most voters believed the measure went beyond the scope of inspections required by NFPA 25 and approved a motion to remove the language, Duffy said. 

The Technical Meeting is an important—but not final—step in the code-development process. CAMs that failed can be appealed to the NFPA Standards Council. The council will meet August 10–12 in Quincy, Massachusetts, to hear any submitted appeals and render a final decision. Once that’s complete, the Standards Council will vote on whether to approve and issue each of the 2023 NFPA documents. A successful vote means the new editions are official and will be published, generally by the fall.

For updates on 2023 edition codes and standards, visit the Codes & Standards page of the NFPA website.

JESSE ROMAN is senior editor of NFPA Journal. Top photograph: NFPA