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March-April 2005
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Inspection Basics for Electrical Signs and Outline Lighting

by Michael Johnston

When making an inspection on an electric sign or field-installed skeleton tubing installation, where does one begin? Well, there are undoubtedly several answers to that question from the many inspection jurisdictions charged with the task of adopting and enforcing the requirements of the electrical Code. Experience has indicated that there are a wide variety of approaches to conformance assessment of these electrical signs and displays, or other types of outline lighting, falling under the scope of the adopted Code. Read more

Perspectives on PV

* Photovoltaic Power Systems and 2005 NEC

by John Wiles

The 2005 NEC has been published and Article 690 has some changes that will benefit the Photovoltaic (PV) Power Industry and electrical inspectors by making the Code easier to understand and by allowing modified installation procedures. As jurisdictions adopt the Code (some as early as January 1, 2005—others possibly not for years), the new requirements may be applied. These requirements and other significant changes will be covered in this article. Read more

New Requirements for Selective Coordination

by Tim Crnko

For certain vital circuits, the 2005 NEC requires that all overcurrent protective devices be selectively coordinated with all supply side overcurrent protective devices in the system. In addition, the definition for selective coordination has been added in Article 100. This commentary includes an overview of the requirements, what selective coordination means, the rationale for the new requirements, system requirements to comply, and the role of designers, contractors and inspectors. Read more

Risk Management, Measuring Benefit, and Costs of Safety

by Robert Cormier

There is a constant movement towards decreasing the cost of doing business both in the private as well as the public sector. This is not a new phenomenon but a mainstay of operating a business effectively and efficiently. There are costs for inspection programs that are a reality to an industry: permits, time delays, notification process and the inability to use new but safe technology. On the government side there is a balancing act between expenditures and income. Income equals taxes and no North American government wants to increase taxation, including user fees. We are in a period of reduced red tape and increased access to employment. Read more

Is Electrical Plan Review Really Needed?

by Bruce Reynolds

This is a question many inspection departments ask as budgets for governmental agencies are scrutinized and cut back. It is the field inspector that has the visibility to the customer, so this is where the priority also seems to be set. Just recently I was at a meeting with other inspection jurisdictions in the area and one is having some personnel changes and where do they cut at this time? Plan review. The state rules in my area require electrical plan review only for health care, education, and prisons. It leaves the entire inspection process to the field inspector for large commercial and industrial projects. Read more

AHJ’s Wanted

by Deborah R. Prince

Standards Technical Panels (STPs) are the consensus bodies for ANSI/UL Standards and advisory bodies for UL Standards. The STP process provides input from all interested parties—regulatory officials, design professionals, consumer groups, producers, government agencies, and others—at the earliest stage of standards development. Additional participation by AHJs will further improve what UL believes is a value-added system of standards development. Read more

Emergency Systems and the Witness Test

by Michael Johnston

Emergency systems in buildings or structures can vary in size and complexity. Some basic emergency systems provide illumination of the egress paths through unit equipment connected to local area lighting circuits. Other more complex and multiple function emergency systems provide power not only for lighting for the egress path but for many other essential functions, such as smoke control systems, life support systems, fire pumps, life support systems and equipment, etc. Read more

Electrical Plan Review – Is It Worth the Time and Effort?

by Lanny McMahill

At one time or another most electrical plan reviewers have probably asked the question, "Is it worth the time and effort?” Electrical plan review reminds me of a television commercial years ago about cleaning and polishing the silverware—it’s tedious and time consuming! Naturally, no one enjoys doing repetitive and tiresome tasks, as they tend to wear on one’s mind and mood. Everyone, however, enjoys doing exciting and stimulating tasks, as they tend to invigorate one’s mind and mood. Although electrical plan review tasks may be tedious and time consuming, they can also be interesting and enjoyable if approached from the right angle. Sometimes finding the right angle is simply a matter of making a few minor adjustments in how we do things. Read more

Limited-Service Controllers


Limited-service controllers (LSC) are used as fire pump controllers within defined limits and restricted performance. LSCs are permitted in fire protection applications in instances where cost is a major factor and, if not permissible, would most likely result in the decision not to have any fire pump. They have been used in some nursing homes, day care centers, larger private homes, and similar small premises. LSCs were added to NFPA 20 Standard for the Installation of Stationary Pumps for Fire Protection after a serious fire in Chicago more than 40 years ago where testimony showed that the loss of life could have been lessened had a fire pump been placed in service. Read more

Making Changes to the Canadian Electrical Code

by Steve Douglas

The Canadian Electrical Code consists of three parts. Part I covers the installation and maintenance of electrical equipment, Part II is the safety standards for electrical products, and Part III is for outside wiring. This article will focus on Part I amendments. Read more

Being an IAEI Appointee to a Canadian Electrical Code Subcommittee

by Steve Douglas

How may times have you said to yourself? "I don’t understand why that rule reads the way it does. It doesn’t take ________ into account. I think I could have done a better job.” Every IAEI member has an opportunity to participate in development of the Canadian Electrical Code (CE Code). A very effective way is through the subcommittees. That is where the work is done and key decisions are made. Read more

Education and Training – First Steps to Safety

by Leslie Stoch

In addition to all other qualifications, a good grasp of safe work practices and the Canadian Electrical Code are essential to everyone employed in the electrical industry. This is true in particular when people are engaged in electrical engineering, construction, maintenance or in operating electrical facilities. It follows that the electrical industry has a unique responsibility to ensure that people are made aware of personal safety risks and fully qualified to carry out their assigned responsibilities with safety in mind. Read more

Which Business Retirement Plan Is Right for You?

by Jesse Abercrombie

If you run a small business in the electrical industry, you’ve got no shortage of concerns: cash flow, marketing, the ebb and flow of the economy—you name it. In fact, you have so many issues to ponder you might find it hard to take the time to choose a retirement plan for your business. And yet, it’s worth the effort—because the right plan can offer the opportunity to make your life a lot easier in the days when you don’t have so much to think about. Read more



What Happened in 2004?

by James W. Carpenter

Let’s take a few moments to reflect back at the past year before we look forward to 2005. The year 2004 has been a successful and exciting period on the international, national, local, and, more specifically, the IAEI scene. Read more

Other Code

Basic Electricity – Part 5

by David Young

Up until now, I have been talking about dc, direct current, in which the current in the circuit travels in one direction. Batteries and other sources of dc are marked with what we call polarity marks, + and –. When a battery is connected in a circuit, the current comes out of the positive (+) end of the battery and returns to the battery at the negative (–) end. This is true for all sources of dc. If we connect the test leads of a volt ohm meter (VOM) to a battery with the red colored positive (+) lead connected to the positive end of the battery and the black negative (–) lead connected to the negative end of the battery, the voltage reading on the display will be positive. Read more

UL Question Corner

Is it permitted to replace a sign face on a listed sign?

by Underwriters Laboratories

Depending on the sign design and the location of the sign, either dry or wet location, a sign face may provide many functions. In some cases the sign face may provide a weather shield, in other cases it may also provide the electrical enclosure for the sign. In either case the sign face material is required to have specific properties that must be verified if that sign is going to maintain its UL Listing. Read more

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