State Of The NFPA

Those can be very dangerous, with serious fire and safety hazards. The process uses a lot of flammables. There were a number of fire fighters seriously injured in LA from the results of a fire in one of these facilities a couple of years ago. . For the fire fighters, it is like approaching a mini-refinery in a commercial building.

Proper requirements enforcement may have prevented that incident, and that was one of the triggering reasons for the proposed new article.

What exactly were those facilities doing? I have worked in quite a few and never seen anything remotely hazardous. I think there are some extraction processes that may be more hazardous but they are very different from a typical "grow" and I dont see why those wouldnt already be covered by the 500 articles. If not seems like they should just tweak the 500 articles.
 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
Occupation
retired electrician
What exactly were those facilities doing? I have worked in quite a few and never seen anything remotely hazardous. I think there are some extraction processes that may be more hazardous but they are very different from a typical "grow" and I dont see why those wouldnt already be covered by the 500 articles. If not seems like they should just tweak the 500 articles.
The proposed Article 512 has nothing to do with grow facilities, it is about the extraction process. There are details for those facilities that are not covered by 500, and 501, and like garages, aircraft hangers, and garages, those details will be covered in a specific article.
 
The proposed Article 512 has nothing to do with grow facilities, it is about the extraction process. There are details for those facilities that are not covered by 500, and 501, and like garages, aircraft hangers, and garages, those details will be covered in a specific article.
Thanks for the info. Yeah figured it must be about extraction. I admit I dont know much about it, but I have hooked up and worked in a Co2 extraction facility. I assume the dangerous ones are the ones that use hydrocarbons as solvents. I still question why these couldnt be covered under existing articles. On the macro scale, I think the code is already so large and complex that there becomes a point of diminishing returns to making it even yet still more complex.
 

Josh111

Senior Member
Location
USA
The proposed Article 512 has nothing to do with grow facilities, it is about the extraction process. There are details for those facilities that are not covered by 500, and 501, and like garages, aircraft hangers, and garages, those details will be covered in a specific article.
I guess from what I could tell in the article it’s a lot of guidance on what is classified as what. We have all manner of factories in this country and the NEC has never taken the initiative to classify locations in those. In reality a lot of the examples of instances that are being used for substantiation are people having facilities in their houses against the zoning laws. If engineers had designed those facilities they likely would have classified them properly without the article. There was an example of improper handling of butane gas. We have long known how to handle that.

There’s a large manner of commonly occurring but prurient, marginally illegal, legally questionable, morally controversial, legal in some places only, harmful, or objectionable behavior for which there probably are unique electrical hazards posed (use your imagination but don’t post it here). However, we’ve never made any special occupancy’s or even written special code rules for areas where this may occur.
 
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tortuga

Code Historian
Location
Oregon
Occupation
Electrical Design
I don’t think it’s logical to require a special article just for that type of manufacturing because a number of the explosions have involved use of chemicals that are broadly used in factories. We don’t have a special article for every type of factory.
I agree. I think its an education issue.
In a area that has a lot of history with a particular refinery or chemical plant the EC and AHJ will have more specialized training in that work.
That being said I feel terible for the loss and their loved ones, I have family in the fire service and it gets very nerve racking.
 

Josh111

Senior Member
Location
USA
I agree. I think its an education issue.
In a area that has a lot of history with a particular refinery or chemical plant the EC and AHJ will have more specialized training in that work.
That being said I feel terible for the loss and their loved ones, I have family in the fire service and it gets very nerve racking.
I personally don’t think that these home operated facilities that were in many cases already installed in violation of zoning laws will cease to exist just because there’s an NEC article for it. Neither do I think that the firefighters would have not suffered if there would’ve been an NEC article. As it is they were illegal facilities due to zoning laws and as it is people are being prosecuted for running them in a hazardous manner so I don’t think this is even necessary.

But to me it just goes to show some of the issues with the state of the NFPA in general.
 

tortuga

Code Historian
Location
Oregon
Occupation
Electrical Design
home operated facilities that were in many cases already installed in violation of zoning laws.
Well these are no longer like school kids building something in their moms basement,
there are decent sized industrial facilities here, all properly permitted and zoned :)
similar to distilleries or making ethanol. (no code article for bourbon or tequila making is that coming next?)
 

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don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
Occupation
retired electrician
I guess from what I could tell in the article it’s a lot of guidance on what is classified as what. We have all manner of factories in this country and the NEC has never taken the initiative to classify locations in those. In reality a lot of the examples of instances that are being used for substantiation are people having facilities in their houses against the zoning laws. If engineers had designed those facilities they likely would have classified them properly without the article. There was an example of improper handling of butane gas. We have long known how to handle that.

There’s a large manner of commonly occurring but prurient, marginally illegal, legally questionable, morally controversial, legal in some places only, harmful, or objectionable behavior for which there probably are unique electrical hazards posed (use your imagination but don’t post it here). However, we’ve never made any special occupancy’s or even written special code rules for areas where this may occur.
I believe this is like some of the other classified area applications, where they want some clear cut definitions of what is classified and what isn't. The extraction equipment can be listed equipment, and they think that much of this equipment will be installed without the benefit of engineering experts being hired to provide the area classification drawings that 500.4 requires.

The code, other than in the specific articles such as 511, 513, 514, 516 and now 512, does not provide guidance on how to classify an area. The code only tells you how to wire the area once it has been classified by experts in the field, and those are typically process and mechanical engineers, not electrical engineers.
 

Josh111

Senior Member
Location
USA
I believe this is like some of the other classified area applications, where they want some clear cut definitions of what is classified and what isn't. The extraction equipment can be listed equipment, and they think that much of this equipment will be installed without the benefit of engineering experts being hired to provide the area classification drawings that 500.4 requires.

The code, other than in the specific articles such as 511, 513, 514, 516 and now 512, does not provide guidance on how to classify an area. The code only tells you how to wire the area once it has been classified by experts in the field, and those are typically process and mechanical engineers, not electrical engineers.
It is my belief that this is just like all of the other factories. Competent design professionals, if sober, have the necessary standards and guidelines and should know how to classify this stuff. In the news articles that were given in substantiation for creating this new NEC article, these were probably facilities that were not being ran by competent individuals. They are probably just people that jumped on the cannabis manufacturing bandwagon. I don’t think we need a special article for this unless we are going to make a special article for every single type of manufacturing facility that may have butane and oil.
 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
Occupation
retired electrician
It is my belief that this is just like all of the other factories. Competent design professionals, if sober, have the necessary standards and guidelines and should know how to classify this stuff. In the news articles that were given in substantiation for creating this new NEC article, these were probably facilities that were not being ran by competent individuals. They are probably just people that jumped on the cannabis manufacturing bandwagon. I don’t think we need a special article for this unless we are going to make a special article for every single type of manufacturing facility that may have butane and oil.
There very point is that since there is listed equipment for this process that is pretty much plug and play that there will not be any design professionals, at least ones with the experience and knowledge to classify areas, involved in these facilities.
Professional that actually have that knowledge are not very common.

As I said this just follows the 4 other occupancy specify classified area Articles.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
I kind of agree with Don. Once it gets to a point where you can get more or less of the shelf equipment for something like this, it makes sense for the NEC to recognize that and come up with a set of constraints that does not require a whole lot of engineering.
 

Josh111

Senior Member
Location
USA
There very point is that since there is listed equipment for this process that is pretty much plug and play that there will not be any design professionals, at least ones with the experience and knowledge to classify areas, involved in these facilities.
Professional that actually have that knowledge are not very common.

As I said this just follows the 4 other occupancy specify classified area Articles.
There’s been people for quite some time renting warehouses and other improperly constructed structures to set up commercial biodiesel production facilities and using non-listed manufactured equipment for doing so. That process uses all types of hazardous and flammable chemicals. They’ve never made a special article for them because even though they shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing there is already the appropriate regulations in place should they care to follow them. At least biodiesel is legal for the most part.
 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
Occupation
retired electrician
There’s been people for quite some time renting warehouses and other improperly constructed structures to set up commercial biodiesel production facilities and using non-listed manufactured equipment for doing so. That process uses all types of hazardous and flammable chemicals. They’ve never made a special article for them because even though they shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing there is already the appropriate regulations in place should they care to follow them. At least biodiesel is legal for the most part.
It is also just part the general "dumbing down" of everything and having to have an insane amount of instructions and rules for everything.

You have 3 days left to submit a Public Comment, in opposition to they proposed article and your comments here could be used as the substantiation.
 

Josh111

Senior Member
Location
USA
It is also just part the general "dumbing down" of everything and having to have an insane amount of instructions and rules for everything.

You have 3 days left to submit a Public Comment, in opposition to they proposed article and your comments here could be used as the substantiation.
I submitted some comments in opposition to it. I agree it’s a problem of just general dumbing down of everything. There’s increasingly things going into the NEC that are requirements to fix the fact that people who are uneducated are doing electrical work without supervision or on the job training. I don’t believe that ever increasing rules are going to fix that problem because those people won’t be reading the standard.

I also think that the general timeline including the public comment timeline is part of the problem. My work has been slow for the past six weeks and as a result I’ve had a lot of time to review things. For most working people, unless you work for a company that has vested interest in influencing the standard development you do not have time to review the proposed new standard in six weeks. That’s why I think they should move to a five-year development cycle. People say safety might suffer. I think they’ll be trade-offs both ways. I don’t think that safety is improved by the back-and-forth and changes they do to receptacle rules every three years for instance. And all the problems with interpretation that come with the rushed development have a negative impact on safety as well.

A five-year development cycle might also result in more states at the same time being on the most recent version of the NEC which could have a positive impact on safety.
 
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