2020 National Electric Code – First round of proposed changes in Article 600

Code Panel 18 is responsible for Articles 406, 410, 411, 600, and 605.

There were 176 public inputs proposed to Code Panel 18 with 30 being directed to Article 600 resulting in 17 First Revisions.  I had the distinct pleasure of being asked to Chair a task group to review and propose recommendations for Article 600 Electric Signs and Outline lighting. This task group was split into 3 sub groups made up of members from the sign industry, electrical inspection, standards laboratory, labor, power industry and the lighting industry. A diverse group of opinions to make a positive first draft recommended text, reject or “resolve” the public input and develop panel comments. Once the sub groups finished their work it was circulated to the entire task group for comment.  Comments were then re-circulated to the sub panel members for any additional changes before it was circulated to the entire code panel and NFPA staff.

The day before the panel meeting started, there was a meeting of task group chairs and interested members. The meeting was run by the code panel chair to address any issues not able to be resolved at the task group level, comments by the chair, review of global first revision inputs and correlating committee recommendations. Most of the Global and correlating committee recommendations referred to updating dates, standards numbers and removing language not needed for clarity or usability. Another proposal will add a statement under the definition sections to clarify that these definitions referred only to this section.

The following review covers the high points of the proposed changes:

600.2 Definitions. The global proposed first draft was “The definitions in this section shall apply only to this article” “Host Sign” and “Subassembly” was added to be consistent with the Retrofit standard. New definitions for “General Use” and “Sign Specific Retrofit Kits” were added to identify the different types of retrofit kits.

600.3 Listing. Adding “and Labeled” will clarify that listed products will have a label for inspection to view and provide traceability if needed.

600.4 Marking.  There were three public inputs, two becoming first drafts and one rejected. Section A was updated to add the wording “and Labeled” and Section D Visibility was updated to allow for labels to be on the outside of the sign but not required to be visible to the public. This should satisfy a long running disagreement between service personnel, inspection, first responders and the building owners.

600.5 Branch Circuit.  Adding the words “entrances” in the service section of (A) Required Branch Circuit to clarify entrances not accessible to customers do not require an additional branch circuit.  In a new Section (B) a marking requirement was added to identify where the primary disconnect for the sign, outline lighting or controller can be located.  An exception was added to not require the marking if the disconnect was mounted on the sign body, sign enclosure, sign pole, or controller for the sign or outline lighting it controls.

In section (C) (1) the word “panel board” was added to clarify a panel board is a suitable Chapter 3 wiring method or landing point for a circuit conductor.  The first revision for Section (C)(2) will remove the word “Signs” and only apply to transformer boxes as pull boxes  An additional  requirement was added requiring the disconnect for the sign and outline lighting shall de-energize all conductors in this enclosure.

600.6 Disconnects.  The Informational Note was updated to include “First Responders” to recognize that others than service and maintenance electricians will need access to the disconnect and its location during an emergency. A new section was added in 600.6 (A)(4) Remote location. The section requires if the disconnect is at a remote location it shall be accessible to first responders and service personnel. The location of the disconnect shall be marked with a label on the sign identifying the location of the disconnect.  The disconnect shall be marked as the disconnect for the sign or outline lighting system it controls.  The label shall conform to 110.21 (B).

600.30 Applicability.   (4) Field-installed retrofit kits were added to allow for field installation. These requirements are in addition to Part I.

600.33 (A) Installation and sizing of Class 2 conductors. Charts (A)(a)(b) were updated to separate the plenum and risers to clarity the types of cable that can be used in each location. (b) was undated to show that PLTC has no substitutes. An exception and an informational note was added to clarify that listed PLTC may not be marked for sunlight resistance but is allowed because of its listing.

600.33 (C) Protection Against Physical Damage.   The following was added to (C). “All through-wall penetrations shall be protected by a listed bushing or raceway.”

600.35  Retrofit Kits.   A new section was added to provide installation requirements for general use and sign specific retrofit kits.

The above revisions will now be voted upon by each panel member and comments can be attached for further consideration by other members. Votes will be re-circulated to all panel members if they wish to change their original vote. Once the final vote is completed the documents will go out for public comment in July 2018. Second draft proposals need to be submitted by August 30, 2018. The second draft meeting will be in November 2018.

Provided by:

Randall Wright

RKW Consulting

Sign & Lighting Fire Prevention