Electrical Inspection & Inspector Qualifications | Standards Michigan

Electrical Inspection & Inspector Qualifications

NFPA is responding to a market demand for an electrical inspection template and a due process approach to setting credentials for electrical safety professionals.


Electrical Inspection & Inspector Qualifications

September 6, 2018
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Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratory (Click on image for more information)

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has two relatively new standards to add to its NFPA-70 suite* that will likely be candidates for incorporation by reference into public safety law (if they are not already):

NFPA 78: Guide on Electrical Inspections (NEW)  Scope: This Committee shall have primary responsibility for documents on the requirements for professional qualifications, professional competence, training, procedures, and equipment for electrical inspections and electrical plans examinations.

NFPA 1078: Standard for Electrical Inspector Professional Qualifications (2021) Scope: This Committee shall have primary responsibility for documents on the requirements for professional qualifications, professional competence, training, procedures, and equipment for electrical inspections and electrical plans examinations

NFPA 1078 is further along the development trajectory than NFPA 78.  Comments on the First Draft Report for both documents are due on October 31st.  Learn more HERE.

We will collaborate with the IEEE Education & Healthcare Facilities Committee and IEEE Standards Association Committee SCC-18 (which coordinates user-interest concepts moving between NFPA and IEEE standards) on to submit comments and to respond to the comments of other stakeholders.

All NFPA consensus documents are on the standing agenda of our weekly Open Door teleconference every Wednesday, 11 AM Eastern Time.  Click here to log in.

Issue: [Various]

Category: Electrical, #SmartCampus, Facility Asset Management

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Jim Harvey, Kane Howard, Jim Murphy

Perspective:  A fully-dimensioned understanding of the electrical power industry requires recognition that electrical engineers (innovators and risk-takers represented by the IEEE) and public safety stakeholders (risk managers and casualty interests represented by the NFPA) occupy different, but complementary “universes”, on the matter of power system safety.   Without an acceptable level of public safety, engineers have no market for their innovation.  With heavy-handed regulation by public safety officials, the innovation cannot improve quality of life and contribute to the economic growth of the community that supports the inspection department.    Reconciliation of these two priorities was as intense a discussion in the early days of the power industry as it is now. 

Due process in standards setting is the social negotiation of technological change.  As we explain elsewhere, the preference given to privately developed standards by ANSI-accredited organizations such as the NFPA is federal law. (Learn more HERE)

It is noteworthy that the present roster of technical committees on these two documents is, at the moment, populated by fire safety, conformity, and compliance interests closely aligned with risk management interests.     While the apparent imbalance is relatively common in the early stages of a consensus document development; there should be more balance on the committee as the document “matures”.  According to the NFPA Category of Interests guidelines there should be a User interest to form a balanced committee.   Balance is a condition for ANSI accreditation according to its due process requirements.   The lack of user-interest votes on these and other committees administered by an ANSI-accredited standards developer is usually not the fault of the standards developer.

As we explain in our ABOUT, our raison d’être is to advocate the safety and sustainability of the user interest in the largest non-residential building construction market in the United States – the education industry (US Census Report on Building Construction).   

Electrical inspection authority across all levels of government and within individual organizations presents a complicated map.  For example, we find that full-time inspection professionals on the payroll of a school district, college or university are restrained from participating in codes and standards development for one or more of the following reasons:

  • An apparent conflict of interest when inspectors are influencing the standard they are enforcing
  • Lack of high level expertise
  • Lack of funding for professional time and travel
  • Lack of organizational freedom.  

The absence of a user-interest on these committees exposes both committees to claims of market-making in this essential service so we encourage our colleagues in the education facilities industry to participate.   Click here for information about how to qualify.


* By “NFPA 70” suite we mean the following:

NFPA 70 National Electrical Code

NFPA 70A National Electrical Code Requirements for One- and Two-Family Dwellings

NFPA 70B Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance

NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace

NFPA 78: Guide on Electrical Inspections

NFPA 1078: Standard for Electrical Inspector Professional Qualifications






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