Do you own a copy of the NEC?

sk8rsdad

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Fight Leukemia
Once one starts expanding this theatre-specific book to include such things as outdoor concerts, a lot of the NEC starts to apply. For most of us, the placement and depth of grounding rods is academic, but the people that work with generators on a regular basis might care about such things.
 

church

Active Member
No. I would need to own the Ontario Electrical Safety Code and the cheapest version is $190 for the PDF. It gets superceded every few years so that adds up to a pretty big investment. For anything big I'm hiring a licensed electrician then teaching them why they need to pull independent neutrals that they otherwise won't pull base on their experience wiring office buildings.

Likewise I own the Ontario Electrical Code - it is an expensive document when you buy it as a regular book, $500 with 3 years of updates in softcover

Construction Books, Codes, Standards, Manuals for Building, Electrical, Fire, Plumbing, Sewage, Concrete, Steel - Orderline.com - The best source for the Ontario Building Code, Ontario Electrical Code, Ontario Fire Code

The Ontario Safety Guidelines for the entertainment Industry are free Appendix B: Electrical Safety | Safety Guidelines for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario | Ontario Ministry of Labour

as indeed are the "Television, Film, Live Performance and Event Electrical Guidelines" http://www.esasafe.com/pdf/Specifications/ESA-SPEC-003-R6.pdf
 

church

Active Member
And CSA is precisely the problem.

ST

I feel your frustration with the codes but Canada has a unique perspective on many things it doesn't make their view better or worse - just different. I immigrated to Canada 23 years ago as an engineer and I have lived in two provinces and to be frank they may as well be different countries. The reality is that this divergence results from the federal government downloading many accountabilities to the provinces: electrical is just one (Quebec for example also handles it own immigration. My observation is that Canada more rigorously controls who is allowed to perform work. This means that the trades and professions are strictly controlled and licenced separately by each province and the licence is province specific unless you happen to be hold one of the "Red Seal" trade licences. Because of these requirements many of the topics we see discussed that involve references to electrical code are areas where a licenced electrician (not an ETCP electrician) and/or a Professional engineer are intended to be involved. If this happens the code discussions are more straightforward. The legal definitions of Professional Engineering used in each of the provincial professional engineering acts are very broad and are intended to protect people, equipment and property and the scope extends into the entertainment industry.

Is it restrictive? most definitely yes! The intent is to only allow people who have completed the proscribed training, experience and education requirements from doing this type of work. Can the codes be better? I would say so, I was used to the IEE Wiring Regulations and while not perfect they were far ahead of the Canadian Codes.
 

BGW

Active Member
I know that this thread is getting a bit old, but I just wanted to say the tabs are a really good thing to pick up as well. Also, next time I buy it, I'll buy the hardcover.
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museav

CBMod
CB Mods
Departed Member
Just a reminder to check with the local jurisdiction to see what version of NEC may be applicable and if there are revisions referenced. For example, according to the related web sites, where I live uses NEC 2008 while the City of Atlanta uses NEC 2005 with Georgia Amendments, however the State now uses NEC 2011 with no amendments so in theory they would all be using NEC 2011. In this case I think it is simply the web sites not being updated, however it is possible for a state or local jurisdiction to use an older version.
 

church

Active Member
Just a reminder to check with the local jurisdiction to see what version of NEC may be applicable and if there are revisions referenced. For example, according to the related web sites, where I live uses NEC 2008 while the City of Atlanta uses NEC 2005 with Georgia Amendments, however the State now uses NEC 2011 with no amendments so in theory they would all be using NEC 2011. In this case I think it is simply the web sites not being updated, however it is possible for a state or local jurisdiction to use an older version.

Seems to me that the situation re the NEC and the states in the U.S. is not that different to the situation here in Canada with our Provincial codes.
 

BillConnerFASTC

Well-Known Member
Just got an ad from NFPA offering the softbound 2014 NEC for 25% off or $67.13 in a pre-publication promotion. Order now, ships in October, credit card not charged until after it ships. Good deal if you are thinking about it (and can wait till October!).
 

Esoteric

Well-Known Member
We have three copies. One in the office, one in the shop, and one in the toolbox. We also have a physical copy of the uglybook in our toolbox and me and all of my electricians have an app on our phone that serves that function. No excuse not to have one. But I agree for 99% of the people who post here if you have to consult the NEC you should be hiring a licensed contractor.

Mike
 

ship

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Having one as per the Chicago Building code for working in Chicago is one thing.

Main questin overall is in having read and digested the NEC by all them doing the work that have access to the book on site? Otherwise it's like a fire extuingusher in having on hand and etc. Again, like 99' I did my best with the NEC and also the Chicago code, also various updates later.

Read and comprehention is not feasable even if the handbook version until sections germain to one's needs for undersanding. Again a NEC book for tech people would be a good thing to expand from for a start.
 

malsell

Member
In my opinion, the NEC is a valuable tool, but most things can be reference by various smartphone apps. Most people don't have a clue, or a care for that matter when it comes to the electrical code, checking amp draw, securing cables, etc. From 1997-2001 I worked for a company that built and installed assembly lines. Trust me, it's not just the production/theater industry that doesn't know or obey the code all of the time. I will say this, about a month ago, I got an extension cord brought to me that was "bad." I took one glance and noticed it was 16/2. I asked what happened and apparently a union stage hand used it because the 12/2 going to the NSI dimmer pack was 2 feet short, so he just used the 16/2 and coiled it up at the tree for the stage wash.
 

garyvp

Active Member
I am TD in a small all-volunteer community theater in NYC. Lots of legacy conduit and receptacle grid. Traditional incandescent lighting and NSI dimmers. Everything is well maintained. I have always been a geek and even worked with several electricians in my youth. My brother was a EE engineer and a master electrician and he was a code freak and was a source for advice.

I read this thread last year and it convinced me to get the NEC 2011 Handbook (good for NYC) It was $150 and is a very valuable tool......not just article 520 (theaters) but 300 (wiring), 725 (control circuits) and especially 250 (grounding and bonding). Had a lot of work done regarding that last section.

Upgraded my testing equipment as well - a good digital multimeter was not enough.

As I run the building in which the theater is located I have a much easier time communicating with the licensed electricians I contract - in NYC you are always chasing code.

The handbook presents the code very well. I can't imagine any theater electrician doing this professionally without it.
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Many questions come up here that can be answered from the text of the National Electrical Code. If you're a competent entertainment electrical technician you need to have a copy, and understand what the Code says.

Many of your colleagues in the entertainment industry have worked long and hard for many years to make the Code representative of best practice in our industry.

Please, make the NEC an essential part of your toolbox and your work ethic!

It's not hard to acquire, nor is it expensive!

ST
Do I own a copy of the NEC?
Yes, definitely! It's right on a corner of my desk and ought to be mandatory for anyone dealing with electrical work in the U.S.
Even though I'm a Canadian living and writing in Canada, prior to my retirement I used to do installs in the U.S. and build scenery for Germany, England, China and the U.S., primarily Broadway. I can't imagine installing and building automated and/or electrified scenery for the U.S. without owning a copy of the NEC.

Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

ship

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
While Ron no doubt has read and studied the NEC... at times such as me buying, reading and owning "Architecual Graphics Standards" -94' or "Machinists Handbook 26'" , "NEC 2002 Handbook", "Scenery For the Theater 2nd ed." and even "Chicago Building Code 94/95" amongst many other books that should be quick access, such books get out of date. Own lots of books from Fuchs' Stage lighting to Home Depot catalog - when they used to give them out.

While I did read about 90% of my collection including stuff like "Structural Steel Engineering" to make me a better TD as it were, there is important stuff I have found over recent years that if germain to your field which you need to stay up with. Stuff like parts of the NEC even in explained handbook goes over your head until germain or more experienced at times. Stuff you once learned for changes in rule are still put out for stuff you did understand. I found this out at times publically on Controlbooth, this my old or incorrect remembering of stuff I wasn't ready to memorize, and even recently in the field. Read lots and buy a lot of good books but don't as I did over the last say ten years.. rest in staying up on your reading. Don't need to buy a new "NEC Handbook" every three years but don't wait like ten years like I did in keeping refreshed. Instead there is lots of cheaper books on changes to the NEC that you can stay up with and it's a tax write off. Work is buying me a new copy of the 2014 NEC Handbook, because it's important for me to study . It's on order in me starting over again. At least now I have a lot more experience and a lot more stuff in it I'll be ready for it.

This all as opposed to on the corner of a desk - it's there, I have one... at a time I had the books and mostly understood them. All desks of a TD in a Chicago theater in the 90's should have a copy of all the above books on their desk in ready to pull info from. Realistically, often too busy building shows to reference other than specific pre-read info or tables. Read to the best of understanding. As opposed to me that was well red thru the 90's and early 2000's, don't take a ten year break in reading and staying up in your field.

This is a very new change of my past rule of "learning by osmosis" Yea, having the books and reading them are two different things. Now ten years later, having read the books, staying up to changes in them, and what you now further are ready to understand are also two different things in staying "lively or vibrant...." Some how to fit in all required in a day and staying up in education at least in your field takes structure and a little less project done.

Becoming more educated in my field, now that I for the most part have specialized the skill is what I'm working on these days. Lots of books to read and re-education in general. After that, keeping myself informed about changes and constant education.
 

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