The Importance of NEC Compliance Part Two: for Detailers and Designers

October 23, 2017

The previous post in this series highlighted the fact that electrical professionals across the full job lifecycle should be concerned about National Electrical Code standards even if they’re not legally obligated to comply with them. We focused specifically on the estimator in Part One. For Part Two, we’ll be looking at designers and detailers.

Designers working with the client on initial plans and estimates, as well as the detailers who finalize construction plans into functional 2D and 3D drawings or models, do well to understand NEC compliance and incorporate that understanding into their daily activities. Otherwise, they risk creating costly inefficiencies or errors that can come back to haunt them or their firm down the road.

Why isn’t NEC compliance the norm?

As noted in the previous post, compliance to NEC standards is complicated by the fact that the standards have not been adopted across the board, and so, are not enforced everywhere. Even those jurisdictions that have adopted NEC standards don’t all use the most recent version, which causes further confusion.

As a result, electrical projects carried out just a few miles apart may have completely different compliance requirements — or none at all. This presents special challenges for the designer or detailer who is trying to develop plans for clients in multiple jurisdictions and trying to keep track of changing requirements.

Because of these challenges, some firms choose to ignore the NEC whenever possible, but this is like burying your head in the sand: it’s only going to work for so long.

Why detailers and designers should pay attention to the NEC

Rather than ignoring or avoiding NEC compliance, consider the benefits enjoyed by detailers and designers in firms that choose to give these standards their due:

  • Quality - Striving to comply with the latest NEC standards (even where doing so is not legally required) ensures your designs and the subsequent finished projects are meeting the highest standards for safety and quality. This will shine through in competitive bidding situations.

  • Efficiency - By adopting a set of standards like the NEC, you can tailor every project to consistently meet them. This creates efficiencies in the design and detailing projects as well as out in the field as those plans are brought to life.

  • Consistency - No matter where your next project is located, complying with the latest NEC guidelines means the electrical aspects of the job are guaranteed to either meet or exceed whatever the local jurisdiction requires. This means you’re always in compliance, and will be able to effectively collaborate with the client, other contractors, suppliers, and more in any area, at any time.

In addition to these benefits, designers considering prefabrication while doing coordination should think about detailed 3D modeling. It allows for the designer to group conduits together so that prefabrication of racks and hangers can be utilized for cost savings, safer working conditions, and better quality.

So, beyond offering the peace of mind that comes with knowing the strictest safety measures are being followed, giving attention to NEC compliance can offer many other benefits to electrical professionals from the office to the field.

For more information on the importance of the NEC for today’s electrical professional, read our free eBook by clicking below.


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