The Code Making Panels for the NFPA 70 National Electrical Code meet for the last couple of weeks (Jan 15-26, 2024).
One proposed change for 2026 is "Keeping the NEC Relevant - Is Now the Time to Modernize?"
It mostly just renumbers/reorganizes the NEC. Old time electricians will grumble because almost every code number changes.
However,the proposed change also takes data systems out of Chapter 7 - Special Conditions and seperate Chapter 8 - Communication Systems. Chapter 8 is currently a stand-alone section traditionally maintained by communication utilities.
In the U.S., for the last 40 years code enforcement officials mostly
ignored Chapter 8 and communication wiring installation practices. POE is changing that. Power of Ethernet has morphed data networks into integrated power, lighting, emergency, life-safety and communication systems.
It will be interesting to see how code enforcement officials reacts to moving the stand-alone communication wiring installation practices into the general enforcement part of the NEC.
It mostly just renumbers/reorganizes the NEC. Old time electricians will
grumble because almost every code number changes.
The NEC is included *by copy* in some state statutes, is it not? If so, I
wonder how that will affect those.
[ * rather than 'by reference' ]
I believe so. The actual text has long been behind a paywall, but could be accessed on some state websites. NFPA has softened the paywall to view it but you still need to jump through some registration hoops.
Typically the individual AHJ will specify a publication date of NEC as authoritative and it's often a few years behind the latest publication. Local authorities can and do make additions and changes from NEC. No Romex allowed in Chicago, for example.
AFAIK, it’s free access albeit via the ‘free’ pay wall. Soft is a good description.
For example once logged in: https://www.nfpa.org/product/nfpa-11-standard/p0011code
You’ll only see the “purchase option” on the page, but once you scroll down you’ll see “free access” on the right outer side. The text is watermarked, but it’s OK for non-craft users to do specific lookups. Works.
Looks like you can subscribe online and get the clean PDF’s for printing via their NFPA Link service for ~$100 per seat. HTH.