Guide to the Canadian Electrical Code, Part 1 – A Roadmap (Installment 2 in a Series)

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The Code is a comprehensive document. Sometimes it can seem quite daunting to quickly find the information you need. This series of articles provides a guide to help users find their way through this critical document. This article is not intended to replace the notes in Appendix B or the explanations of individual requirements contained in the CEC Handbook  but will hopefully provide some help in navigating the Code.

Section 2 – General Rules

Administrative

In Section 2 we encounter the first numbered rules in the Code.  The rules from 2-000 to 2-032 are categorized as administrative rules.  These Rules establish the authority of the inspection department with respect to the Code and outline the operative functions of the Code such as permits, applications, payment of fees, posting of permits, notification for inspection, submission of plans and specifications, current-permits, reinspection, renovation, use of approved equipment, powers of rejection, availability of work for inspection, deviation or postponement and damage and interference. These are the rules that are the most likely to be amended by Provincial or Territorial Authorities Having Jurisdiction because inspection departments may require different administrative procedures than those set out in the Code.

Because these are not technical in nature, amendments to these procedures do not affect the consensus safety principles of the technical rules of the Code.  Also note that, as mentioned in the Preface, it is Rule 2-002 that establishes the fact that where there are Code sections covering particular installations, those rules do not cover all the rules that apply for that installation, but supplement or amend the rules in the general sections covering all installations.

Technical

General

Next, we move to the Technical part of the General Rules.  These rules will cover general safety aspects required of all electrical equipment and installations. The main topics include General, Protection of Persons and Property, Maintenance and Operation, and Enclosures.

The General topic rules 2-100 to 2-104 primarily deal with required attributes of electrical equipment. Such things as equipment markings, warning and caution markings, and ratings of equipment are included here. Although these requirements are also contained in the Part II Product Standards, the CEC Part I being the senior Code document, the requirements are established here.

Rules 2-106 to 2-124 contain general requirements governing some specific conditions applying to equipment, like using rebuilt equipment, substitution, and circuit voltage to ground in dwelling units. Other rules apply to conditions of installations like quality of work, material to be used for anchoring in masonry and concrete, corrosion protection for material used in wiring, soldering fluxes, use of AWG sizes for wire, accessibility of electrical equipment and nameplates, and the installation of other equipment near electrical equipment.

Rules 2-126 to 2-132 discuss requirements for the use of thermal insulation near or adjacent to electrical equipment, control of fire spread, and control of flame spread of wiring, cables, and non-metallic raceway in accordance with the National Building Code of Canada requirements, which are referenced in Appendices B and G.

Rules 2-134 and 2-136 give sunlight resistance requirements for wire cable and non-metallic raceways and the insulation integrity of the finished installation. The final rule in the 2-100 series, rule 2-138, prohibits the use of Class A GFCIs being used as a substitute for insulation or grounding except as permitted by Rules 10-408(4) and 26-700(8).

Protection of Persons and Property: rules 2-200 and 2-202 require electrical equipment to be installed and guarded for the safety of persons and protection of equipment and the guarding of bare live parts.

The next 2-300 to 2-324 series of rules deal with Maintenance and Operation. These rules cover the need to keep electrical equipment well maintained, in good working order and tested for proper operation.  As well these rules specify safe working practices for maintaining equipment in hazardous locations, disconnection of live equipment, provisions for shock and arc flash protection and working space around electrical equipment, as well as adequate entrance and exit provisions for spaces containing electrical equipment.

Rules 2-312 to 2-324 cover placement of electrical equipment, accessibility for maintenance and proper illumination, ventilation, drainage and clearances from flammable materials and combustible gas equipment. In addition, rule 2-314 requires a receptacle to be provided for maintenance of HVAC equipment located on a rooftop.

Enclosures: rules 2-400 to 2-404 cover the types, uses, and marking of enclosures and motors for various environmental conditions.

These are the administrative and general technical rules that apply to all electrical equipment and installations.  You will often need to refer to these in combination with the specific rules of the Code to ensure compliance and an essentially safe installation.

In the next installment in this series, we will explore Section 4 – Conductors.

* The source for this series of articles is the Canadian Electrical Code, Part I, published by CSA

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William (Bill) Burr is the former Chair of the Canadian Advisory Council on Electrical Safety (CACES), former Director of Electrical and Elevator Safety for the Province of BC, and former Director of Electrical and Gas Standards Development and former Director of Conformity Assessment at CSA Group. Bill can be reached at Burr and Associates Consulting billburr@gmail.com.