NEC Training: Going Above and beyond

Staying apprised of the myriad of Code changes cycle after cycle is a daunting and necessary task for any contractor, his employees, and their electrical inspector. Comprehending one Code change is difficult enough, but imagine how overwhelming it would be if your state fell two cycles behind. Assimilating to six years of code in a relatively short period of time is an unenviable position no one wants to find themselves in. Just ask the contractors in Connecticut who earlier this year jumped from the 2005 NEC to the 2011 version. Like a new coat, we need time to break in an unfamiliar code before feeling comfortable with it, possibly even up to two years.

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Such is the case in New York State, which is still following the 2008 NEC and is lagging behind on its adoption of the 2014 Code. This adoption of the new code is still only anticipated in New York and has not yet been confirmed.

However, one NY contractor has decided getting ahead of the curve is in everyone’s best interest and has taken matters into their own hands by offering free classes to all their employees based on the 2011 IAEI Analysis of Changes.

What makes these classes unique are the men and their commitment to learn the Code. Initially classes were held in the contractor’s Westchester offices but the sheer volume of attendees soon forced them to relocate the class into a nearby facility. Although this facility is not particularly central for the workforce, the response has still been tremendous. Many of the men leave jobs scattered throughout New York City, hop trains, and/or carpool to class then travel home against the NY traffic in order to attend the class.

“To know that guys are traveling so far at their own expense gives the instructor that added kick and inspiration to do an above average job. It’s really moving,” said Frank Farina, a Westchester electrical inspector and a frequent speaker at the Westchester Chapter of IAEI. In fact, all speakers at these training events are board members of the local Chapter and each willingly volunteers his personal time in an effort to advance an understanding of the National Electrical Code.  “These classes exist for the pure exchange of Code-based knowledge with no strings attached. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?” Frank asks.

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Rudolph Elliott (known to all as Elliott), a resident of New Jersey, said he comes “…to further myself. I want to learn the Code so I don’t have to rely on others to interpret it for me.”

Weekly classes begin promptly at 5 p.m., a real challenge for those with the longer treks. Late arrivals are never turned away.

“It’s necessary to learn the code changes as part of my job as a foreman,” explained Terry Parker, a long- time employee who lives in the Bronx.

Another foreman, Adrian Lashley, explained it this way, “I like knowledge. To me knowledge is power. Anywhere else this level of training is expensive. Of course, we pay our own tolls and gas but it’s worth it. I live on the Queens/Long Island border and getting home after 9 p.m. doesn’t bother me. I’ll keep coming.”

Carmine Lippolis, president and owner of Lippolis Electric, had this to add. “This is nothing new for my employees,” he said. “Over the past 10 years we have built a culture of education within this company to the point where the men now ache for education, and we are happy to provide it.”

Ron Troyer
Ron Troyer is an occasional contributor to IAEI News, lives in Westchester County, NY and serves as the safety director and project manager for a large electrical contractor.