The Prime Directive

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What do you think when someone asks, “Have you seen a good electrical inspector?” Do you reply that you see one in the mirror every morning? What principle or obligation does an electrical inspector consider as his or her “prime directive”?

 

Prime Directive – Electrical Safety

The electrical inspector is not concerned with making a profit or doing the design. How is the prime directive achieved by the inspector?

Training –A background of electrical knowledge is needed through schooling, apprenticeship, contracting, or other programs with electrical emphasis.

Experience –Working in the electrical trade and gaining years of knowledge helps prepare the inspector to understand the prime directive.

Education –The National Electrical Code changes on a three-year cycle. Electrical products and installation methods change periodically. Product listings also change. Many jurisdictions now require electrical inspectors to be certified by code and professional organizations. These all require that electrical safety become the prime directive.

How can the electrical inspector meet these objectives and maintain the prime directive?

Educational Publications and Opportunities

  1. Analysis of Changes, 2005 NECby IAEI Education Department, associated seminars, and other publications provide code expertise that is at the forefront of available information.
  2. Section and chapter meetings provide an excellent source of hands-on participation. Meeting circuit writers, manufacturers, certifying agencies, and other inspectors provide insight and other points of view. Questions about NEC applications and interpretations are available. Problems of electrical safety are often brought up and can be addressed before they occur in other jurisdictions. CEUs are available for attendance at these meetings.
  3. TheIAEI Newsalso provides insight, education, training, and electrical expertise from the inspector’s point of view on code applications.
  4. Certification of electrical inspectors is provided by IAEI. Certification renewal requires CEU completion from approved organizations.

IAEI Members

  1. Submit an application to become part of the IAEI code manpower pool. Your prime directive expertise is needed on various code panels to help the electrical industry become the best that it can be.
  2. When rejecting an installation, the chapter and verse for code compliance needs to be addressed. To require the change of an installation because that’s the way the inspector wants it is not professional or meeting the prime directive.
  3. The electrical inspector needs to make sure his or her boss understands the prime directive and the professionalism, obligation, and qualifications needed to provide electrical safety. Education is needed and the support of your boss is essential.
  4. In order for an organization to prosper, it must grow through your participation and new membership. Invite those you meet to join the IAEI and become part of the knowledge base supporting the prime directive. We are all good at what we do, but the IAEI can help us become better.

Remember that…

“NOBODY SHOULD KNOW MORE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO THAN YOU.”

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Gaylen D. Rogers, a former international president of IAEI, holds a master electrician’s license and an electrical inspector’s license from the state of Utah. He has graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor of science in electrical engineering (BSEE) degree. He also has served as chairman of the education committee for the Utah Building Codes Commission. Since 1978, Gaylen has been an instructor in the apprentice electrician’s program at the Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) and has also served as chairman of the electricity program at SLCC.