The State of Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) has announced that it has updated the Wisconsin adaptation of the NFPA 70: 2017 National Electrical Code — SPS 316 Electrical Code Package (CR 16-093). The proposed code package has been adopted and is awaiting publication at the end of June 2018. For commercial structures, the Wisconsin adaption of NFPA 70 will be effective August 1, 2018.
Most of the square footage in higher educational facilities are classified as a commercial facility according to state level adaptations of the International Code Council product — the International Building Code. School buildings at the K-12 level are classified separately. The relevant documents are linked below:
We follow state adaptations of ANSI-accredited safety and sustainability standards and advocate user-interest concepts that are inspired by proposals that appear in national consensus documents (regulatory products) produced by the NFPA. Conversely, we see proposals at the state level inspire proposals at the national level. One of the Wisconsin adaptations that will go into effect — and will affect the education facilities industry — is the requirement for arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCI) in student residence facilities (dormitories)
The requirement for AFCI in dormitories began tracking in the 2002 NEC cycle. The original University of Michigan standards advocacy enterprise — see ABOUT — supported the proposal (advanced by proxies for electrical manufacturers) because of the electrical risk in student dormitories. AFCI’s were a legitimate safety solution; although on the steep part of its cost curve.
At the time, incumbent interests with the funding to attend ASHRAE 90.1 meetings were advocating for timers on 50 percent of receptacles installed in dormitory rooms (for energy conservation purposes). Using its experience with electrical wiring and the density of end-use equipment in student dormitory rooms the University of Michigan Plant Operations Department rallied support (albeit thin support) for mandatory AFCI in dormitory sleeping quarters because the prospect of half of the outlets in a dormitory room being disabled from time to time, only increased the risk of electrical fire. (See APPA Facilities Manager article, September 2005).
Much of the resistance to mandatory AFCI came from highly networked and well funded homebuilders on the basis of increased cost for residences. Fifteen years later, AFCI in sleeping quarters in student dormitories will be a requirement in yet another jurisdiction – a win, in our view — for student safety.
All education industry safety and sustainability concepts are on the standing agenda or our own weekly Open Door teleconference every Wednesday, 11 AM Eastern Time (Click here to log in). The same issues are on the agenda of the IEEE Education & Healthcare Facilities Committee which meets online 4 times monthly in European and American time zones.
Category: Electrical, Facility Asset Management
Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Jim Harvey, Richard Robben