Code books exist to protect the public, as well as private end-users. In liability suits, the "should have known" principle applies. If you are responsible for the design, management, or installation of a
project, you are liable for code-covered issues.
The bad news is that code books often appear intimidating or even incomprehensible. The good news is that appearances can be deceiving. The following tips will help you understand how best to use code books.
Code Book Tips
Most code books are laid out in the following sections:
- Credits, boilerplate, and Introduction
- A statement of scope or application
- A theoretical, tutorial, or explanatory chapter (usually)
- Requirements for standard applications (may be several chapters)--the "meat"
- Information for special applications
- Tables and references.
So, follow these tips:
- Read the Table of Contents, first. This will tell you the general layout of the standard.
- Read through the code, cover to cover, but not all at once. Spending half an hour or so at a time,
maybe once in the morning and once in the afternoon, is the most effective way. Use a highlighter to note items that strike you as especially important.
- As you read through the code book, determine which areas of this particular code apply to your project
and make a note as to where they are.
- Go back and re-read the areas that apply to your project. Read a logical grouping (section, article,
etc.) all at one time. Take notes, if necessary, either on separate paper or in the margins.
- If the standard has examples, work through ones that may apply to your project, using your own data. This
will allow you to see the principles of the standard in action.
- Review completed work against the standard. Don't wait until the project is complete--do the review as
each major task is complete. This will keep the code fresh in your mind.
Code compliance is not optional. Ignorance of the codes is no excuse under the law.
Some gear for contractors:
Code articles |
Buy Codebooks |
Buy the NEC |