The National Electrical Code Process Explained

nec-2017The National Electrical Code® (NEC®), or NFPA 70, is a regionally adoptable standard for the installation of electrical wiring and equipment developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

As with all NFPA standards, development of the NEC is an open process built on a consensus of input from the public and industry sources. The NEC is revised on a three-year cycle, and each cycle takes approximately two years to complete. Accordingly, the revision cycle for the 2020 NEC has already begun and is scheduled for completion in June of 2019. The four stages to updating and revising the NEC under the NFPA process are as follows:

  1. Public Input Stage: During this stage, suggested changes or additions to the code are accepted from the public, along with various committees and associations. The NEC has nineteen code making panels (CMPs), and any proposed revisions are reviewed by the appropriate panel. The CMPs are balanced committees comprised of electricians, electrical inspectors, industry associations and regulation and standard development organizations, among others. Once all suggested changes and content has been reviewed and voted on, a first draft is reviewed by the NFPA correlating committee to ensure the separate CMPs did not contradict one another or modify one article in a way that would impact other article or section of the code.

    Upon completion of this vetting process by the correlating committee, the first draft is released for comment to the public. Pursuant to this schedule, the NFPA will begin accepting public input for the 2020 NEC in the near future. The closing date for public input is September 7, 2017, and the first draft will be completed by July 6, 2018.  If you would like to submit a change or proposed revision to the NEC please visit the following link and submit a public input:

  2. Comment Stage: Following release of the first draft for public comment, any member of the public or industry can provided comments on the first draft, and state why they agree or disagree with the change. All comments are reviewed by the appropriate CMP. Each CMP will then vote to accept or reject each public comment.  Upon completion of the vote, a second draft is again reviewed by the correlating committee and then posted for review by the public. The final date for public comments for the 2020 NEC is August 30, 2018.
  3. Technical Session: The third stage in the process is the NFPA Technical Session, which takes place during the NFPA Conference & Expo® every June. The Technical Session allows for debate and discussion between members of the public and the NFPA. A Notice of Intent to Make a Motion (Notice) may be filed by anyone with questions or concerns regarding the results of the previous two stages.  The individual submitting the Notice will be allowed to present his or her opinion and support to the entire NFPA membership during the Technical Session. After the moving individual presents the matter, any member of the audience may speak in support or against the motion.  A vote will be taken once all arguments have been heard. Only NFPA members are allowed to vote, and a simple majority wins the motion.  The deadline to submit a Notice of Motion for the 2020 NEC is April 26, 2019.
  4. Appeals and Issuance: Following the Technical Session, the final opportunity to make a change to the NEC prior to publication is to appeal the issue to the Standards Council. A Notice of Appeal must be received by the Standards Council within twenty (20) days from the Technical Session. The Standards Council will hear the arguments and decide whether to issue the standard as drafted or to take other action to modify the drafted provision.

For more information or to submit a public input regarding modification of the NEC, visit