Electrical Code Updates
In September, the Chicago City Council approved a large number of changes to the Chicago Building Code. The most sweeping modifications are those made to the Electrical Code. It will now incorporate the National Electrical Code, 2017 edition, which is the benchmark for safe electrical design, installation, and inspection used throughout the United States.
Chicago is one of the first major cities to adopt the national code. The current regulations are based on the 1999 National Electrical Code. The update moves Chicago closer to national standards in several areas, including:
- New lighting calculation methods and technologies that allow up to an 83 percent reduction in lighting design loads, which would lower the cost of electrical installations in multi-family residential and commercial buildings as well as reduces electricity usage.
- The use of flexible conduit in lengths up to 25 feet for rehabilitation work on both residential and non-residential projects, shrinking these costs significantly. (Sec. 14E-3-348)
- Introducing new code articles providing the newest standards for sustainable technologies, including solar, wind and other renewable energy installations and storage.
Approximately half of the 156 articles in the National Electrical Code have been adopted without any local modifications. The Department of Buildings anticipates “the new Electrical Code will bring additional energy efficiency to Chicago’s booming building industry, improve safety requirements and lower costs for residences and businesses.”
The new provisions take effect in mid-October. However, between then and March 1, 2018, a permit applicant may use either the current code or the new provisions.