The National Electrical Code (NEC) is critically important to entertainment venues of all types. With rules affecting everything from ground fault circuits interrupts (GFCIs) to the proper gauge of cable to use, the NEC has become the universally accepted standard upon which electrical installations are designed and inspected in the United States, and increasingly throughout the world.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), sponsors of the NEC, are in the midst of a public comment period regarding proposed changes effective with the 1999 NEC. Twenty-four articles have been changed, and equipment installations in the lighting industry will be affected. Proposed changes range from raceway and EMT (conduit) usage, additional GFCI applications, communications wiring (with different power ratings) and technical power (frequently used with audio processing equipment).

The NFPA has a simple, well-designed process to distribute the proposed changes and gather comments.

The NEC Committee Report on Proposals (ROP) for the 1998 NFPA Annual Meeting is available free by calling NFPA customer service at 800/344-3555. The entire NEC ROP by article is posted at http://roproc.nfpa.org/nec/. The site requires the use of Adobe Acrobat, which is also available via the NFPA website.

Comments, limited to the articles under discussion, may be submitted to the NFPA until 5pm on Friday, October 24. The LDI97 session on the NEC, scheduled for October 24, 11am-12:30pm in the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, Room 304/305, will update attendees on the impact of many of these proposals and other code-related issues.