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NFPA Style Guide

The NEC is written in a format that is determined by the NFPA. The format of the NEC is designed to accomplish several things:

    1. Make the NEC as clear as possible. This does not indicate that the language of the NEC will be clear or written the way we speak. It means that the code will be written in terms that have very clear definitions and are subject to as little interpretation as possible.

    2. Make all of the NFPA document similar so that regulations can be easily found in any NFPA document.

    3. Arrange regulations by category and type for ease of use and logical order.

The NEC is governed by two different manuals. The NFPA Style Manual and The NEC Style Manual.

Here is a copy of the NEC Manual of Style 2015. Read the following sections of 2015 NEC Style Manual.
3.2.1, 3.2.5, 3.2.7.1 and all of Chapter 2.

This is a copy from the NFPA website www.nfpa.org. Updated copies of the NEC and NFPA Style manuals may be obtained by contacting the NFPA.

1.1 Purpose. The National Electrical Code (NEC) Style Manual is prepared under the guidance of the NEC Correlating Committee and is used to advise members of the Code-Making Panels on the required editorial style and arrangement of the NEC. It is intended to be used as a practical working tool to assist in making the NEC as clear, usable, and unambiguous as possible.

1.2 Scope. This Manual provides editorial and administrative requirements for writing the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70®) and the Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace® (NFPA 70E®). Except as otherwise specified in this manual, the NEC and the Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace shall comply with the Manual of Style for NFPA Technical Committee Documents.

1.2.1 Requirements Not Included. The NEC Style Manual does not include many purely editorial and stylistic matters, including, but not limited to, the formatting of tables, capitalization practices, use of hyphens, and units of measurement. For information on these editorial guidelines, see the Manual of Style for NFPA Technical Committee Documents.

1.2.2 Format. The NEC is formatted differently from other NFPA standards. Examples of these differences include, but are not limited to, arrangement of the document, its internal numbering system, and use of informational notes. The Secretary of the NEC Correlating Committee shall be responsible for recommending to the NEC Correlating Committee resolutions of any apparent conflicts or discrepancies between the Manual of Style for NFPA Technical Committee Documents and this manual.

1.3 Regulatory Adoption. Because the National Electrical Code is intended to be suitable for adoption as a regulatory document, it is important that it contain clearly stated mandatory requirements in the Code text. This should encourage uniform adoption of the National Electrical Code without alterations.

1.4 Examples.
The examples shown throughout this manual are intended to be representative of the style and arrangement of the text. The actual text used in the example may or may not match the current document text.


CHAPTER 2 DOCUMENT STRUCTURE AND NUMBERING
2.1 Subdivisions of the NEC. The National Electrical Code shall be organized as follows.

2.1.1 Introduction. Article 90 contains the scope of the NEC and administrative provisions.

2.1.2 Chapters. Chapters are major subdivisions of the NEC that cover broad areas and are divided into articles. Chapters shall be organized as follows:

Chapter 1 General
Article 100 — Definitions
Article 110 — Requirements for Electrical Installations

Chapter 2 Wiring and Protection
Articles 200 – 299

Chapter 3 Wiring Methods and Materials
Articles 300 – 399

Chapter 4 Equipment for General Use
Articles 400 – 499

Chapter 5 Special Occupancies
Articles 500 – 599

Chapter 6
Special Equipment
Articles 600 – 699

Chapter 7
Special Conditions
Articles 700 – 799

Chapter 8 Communications Systems
Articles 800 – 899

Chapter 9 Tables

2.1.3 Articles. Articles are chapter subdivisions that cover a specific subject such as grounding and bonding, overcurrent protection, luminaires, and so on. Each article shall have a title. Articles are divided into sections and sometimes into parts.

2.1.4 Parts. If an article is sufficiently large, or where necessary to logically group requirements, it shall be permitted to be subdivided into parts that correspond to logical groupings of information. Parts shall have titles and shall be designated by Roman numerals. (See example.) Parts typically consist of a number of sections; see 2.4.2.1 for section numbering in articles that are subdivided into parts.

Example:
I. Installation
II. Construction Specifications
III. Grounding

2.1.5 Subdividing Sections. Sections shall be permitted to be subdivided for clarity, with each subdivision representing either a rule or a part of a rule. Up to three levels of subdivisions shall be permitted, and any level shall be permitted to contain a list.

2.1.5.1 List Formats. Lists are a method of structuring the items necessary to complete a rule. Lists in any subdivision level or exception shall be numbered, and listed items shall be single words, phrases, or sentences. Items in a list shall not contain titles.

2.1.5.2 Subdivision Titles. First and second level subdivisions shall have titles. Third level subdivisions shall be permitted to have titles.

2.1.5.3 Subdivision Example. The following illustrates typical subdivision numbering with lists (see also 2.4):

Example:
Chapter Wiring and Protection
Article 210  Branch Circuits
Part I General Provisions

Section 210.5 Identification for Branch Circuits.
First level subdivision (A) Grounded Conductor. The grounded conductor of a branch circuit shall be identified in accordance with 200.6.
First level subdivision (B) Equipment Grounding Conductor. The equipment grounding conductor shall be identified in accordance with 250.119.
First level subdivision (C) Identification of Ungrounded Conductors. Ungrounded conductors shall be identified in accordance with 210.5(C)(1) or (2), as applicable.
Second level subdivision (1) Branch Circuits Supplied from More Than One Nominal Voltage System. Where the premises wiring system has branch circuits supplied from more than one nominal voltage system, each ungrounded conductor of a branch circuit shall be identified by phase or line and system at all termination, connection, and splice points in compliance with 210.5(C)(1)(a) and (b).
Third level subdivision (a) Means of Identification. The means of identification shall be permitted to be by separate color coding, marking tape, tagging, or other approved means.
Third level subdivision (b) Posting of Identification Means. The method utilized for conductors originating within each branch-circuit panelboard or similar branch-circuit distribution equipment shall be documented in a manner that is readily available or shall be permanently posted at each branch-circuit panelboard or similar branch-circuit distribution equipment.
Second level subdivision (2) Branch Circuits Supplied From Direct-Current Systems. Where a branch circuit is supplied from a dc system operating at more than 50 volts, each ungrounded conductor of 4 AWG or larger shall be identified by polarity at all termination, connection, and splice points by marking tape, tagging, or other approved means; each ungrounded conductor of 6 AWG or smaller shall be identified by polarity at all termination, connection, and splice points in compliance with 210.5(C)(2)(a) and (b). The identification methods utilized for conductors originating within each branch circuit panelboard or similar branch-circuit distribution equipment shall be documented in a manner that is readily available or shall be permanently posted at each branch circuit panelboard or similar branch-circuit distribution equipment.
Third level subdivision (a) Positive Polarity, Sizes 6 AWG or Smaller. Where the positive polarity of a dc system does not serve as the connection point for the grounded conductor, each positive ungrounded conductor shall be identified by one of the following means:
List Item (1) A continuous red outer finish
List Item (2) A continuous red stripe durably marked along the conductor’s entire length on insulation of a color other than green, white, gray, or black
List Item (3) Imprinted plus signs (+) or the word POSITIVE or POS durably marked on insulation of a color other than green, white, gray, or black, and repeated at intervals not exceeding 610 mm (24 in.) in accordance with 310.120(B)
Third level subdivision (b) Negative Polarity, Sizes 6 AWG or Smaller. Where the negative polarity of a dc system does not serve as the connection point for the grounded conductor, each negative ungrounded conductor shall be identified by one of the following means:
List Item (1) A continuous black outer finish
List Item (2) A continuous black stripe durably marked along the conductor’s entire length on insulation of a color other than green, white, gray, or red
List Item (3) Imprinted minus signs (–) or the word NEGATIVE or NEG durably marked on insulation of a color other
than green, white, gray, or red, and repeated at intervals not exceeding 610 mm (24 in.) in accordance with 310.120(B)

2.1.6 Annexes. Annexes (previously known as appendixes) shall contain references, examples, calculations, tables, and similar nonmandatory material. Annexes do not form part of the requirements of the National Electrical Code, and a statement to that effect shall appear at the beginning of each annex. Annexes shall have titles and shall be designated by capital letters.

Example:
Annex C
Conduit and Tubing Fill for Conductors and Fixture Wires of the Same Size. 
This annex is not a part of the requirements of this Code but is included for informational purposes only.
Annexes that are used to cross-reference material from one edition of the Code to another edition of the Code shall remain as an annex for a minimum of two code cycles. NFPA staff shall have the responsibility of updating any cross-reference annex.

2.2 Content of NEC Subdivisions.
2.2.1 Scopes. Each article shall have a scope, which shall be the first section of the article. The approval of article scope statements is the responsibility of the Correlating Committee.

Example:
Article 422 Appliances
422.1 Scope
Article 280 Surge Arresters
280.1 Scope

2.2.2 Definitions. Definitions shall be in alphabetical order and shall not contain the term that is being defined. Definitions shall not contain requirements or recommendations.

2.2.2.1 Article 100. In general, Article 100 shall contain definitions of terms that appear in two or more other articles of the NEC.

Examples:
Enclosure. The case or housing of apparatus, or the fence or walls surrounding an installation to prevent personnel from accidentally contacting energized parts, or to protect the equipment from physical damage.

Outlet. A point on the wiring system at which current is taken to supply utilization equipment.

2.2.2.2 Definitions in Other Articles. If an article contains one or more definitions, the definition(s) shall be in the second section, shall be listed in alphabetical order, and shall be styled as shown in the following examples.

Examples:
280.2 Definition.
Surge Arrester. A protective device for limiting surge voltages by discharging or bypassing surge current, and it also prevents continued flow of follow current while remaining capable of repeating these functions.

392.2 Definition.
Cable Tray System. A unit or assembly of units or sections and associated fittings forming a rigid structural system used to securely fasten or support cables and raceways.

2.3 Tables and Figures.


2.3.1 Mandatory. Tables and figures, including any accompanying notes, represent mandatory requirements, unless specifically noted as in 2.3.2. Tables and figures shall be referenced in the text and shall be designated by the number of the NEC rule in which they are referenced. Each table shall have a title and each figure shall have a caption. Titles and captions shall be as brief as possible, consistent with clarity.

Example:
500.8(C) Marking Equipment shall be marked to show the environment for which it has been evaluated. Unless otherwise specified or allowed in (C)6, the marking shall include the information in (C)1 through (C)5.

500.8(C)(4) Equipment Temperature. The marking shall specify the temperature class or operating temperature at a 40°C ambient temperature, or at the higher ambient temperature if the equipment is rated and marked for an ambient temperature of greater than 40°C. For equipment installed in a Class II, Division 1 location, the temperature class or operating temperature shall be based on operation of the equipment when blanketed with the maximum amount of dust that can accumulate on the equipment. The temperature class, if provided, shall be indicated using the temperature class (T codes) shown in Table 500.8(C). Equipment for Class I and Class II shall be marked with the maximum safe operating temperature, as determined by simultaneous exposure to the combinations of Class I and Class II conditions. Exception: Equipment of the non–heat-producing type, such as junction boxes, conduit, and fittings, and equipment of the heat-producing type having a maximum temperature not more than 100°C shall not be required to have a marked operating temperature or temperature class.

Informal Note: More than one marked temperature class or operating temperature, for gases and vapors, dusts, and different ambient temperatures, may appear.

Table 500.8(C) Classification of Maximum Surface Temperature

2.3.2 Nonmandatory. When the NEC is adopted into law, graphics in the text of the document become mandatory. If a CodeMaking Panel wishes to use a table or figure to illustrate only a typical situation, not a mandatory requirement, that table or figure shall be identified as an informational note or be placed in an annex. Each table shall have a title and each figure shall have a caption.

2.4 Numbering Practices. The following two practices are intended to improve NEC usability by preventing the continual renumbering of articles and sections from one edition to the next.

2.4.1 Parallel Numbering Within Similar Articles. To the extent possible, Code-Making Panels are encouraged to use the same section numbers (and part numbers, where applicable) for the same purposes within articles covering similar subjects.

Example: A typical family of articles might be organized as follows:
Article 399 Future Products
I. General
399.1 Scope.
399.2 Definition.
399.3 Other Articles.

II. Installation
399.10 Uses Permitted.
399.11 Uses Not Permitted.
399.13 Bends.

III. Construction Specifications
399.20 General.
399.21 Sizes.
399.22 Marking.

2.4.2 Nonconsecutive Numbering. Articles and sections in the NEC are, in general, numbered consecutively. However, gaps or unused numbers are sometimes left for future articles and sections. Assigning numbers to new articles is the responsibility of the NEC Correlating Committee, advised by the NFPA Staff Editor. Assigning numbers to new sections within articles is the responsibility of Code-Making Panels, advised by the NFPA Staff Editor.

2.4.2.1 Parts. If an article is subdivided into parts, it is recommended that the section numbering within each part start with the next decade as a minimum.

Example:
Article 498 Future Equipment
I. General
498.1 – 498.6

II. Disconnecting Means
498.10 – 498.24

III. Branch-Circuit Conductors
498.50 – 498.58

IV. Provisions for Combination Loads
498.100 – 498.110

2.4.3 Numbering Informational Notes. If there are two or more consecutive informational notes, each shall be numbered.

Example
210.12 Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection.
(A) Dwelling Units. All 120-volt, single phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets installed in dwelling unit family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, or similar rooms or areas shall be protected by a listed arc-fault circuit interrupter, combination-type, installed to provide protection of the branch circuit.

Informational Note No.1: For information on types of arc-fault circuit interrupters, see ANSI/UL 1699-2013, Standard for ArcFault
Circuit Interrupters.

Informational Note No.2: See 11.6.3(5) of NFPA 72-2010, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, for information related to secondary power supply requirements for smoke alarms installed in dwelling units.

Informational Note No.3: See 760.41(B) and 760.121(B) for power-supply requirements for fire alarm systems.

2.5 General References to Other Articles. If a listing is made of references to other articles under the section title “Other Articles,” the
listing shall be in table format and shall comply with 2.3.

2.6 Exceptions.
2.6.1 Placement and Order. Exceptions shall immediately follow the main rule to which they apply. Where exceptions are made to items within a numbered list, the exception shall clearly indicate the items within the list to which it applies. Exceptions containing the mandatory terms shall or shall not are to be listed first in the sequence. Permissive exceptions containing shall be permitted are to follow any mandatory exceptions and be listed in their order of importance as determined by the Code-Making Panel.

2.6.2 Numbering. Where there are two or more consecutive exceptions, each shall be numbered.


CHAPTER 3 EDITORIAL GUIDELINES
3.1 Mandatory Rules, Permissive Rules, and ExplanatoryInformation.
3.1.1 Mandatory Rules. Shall, shall not, and shall not be indicate mandatory NEC rules. Terms such as is to be, shall be not, and must, whose meanings are less clear, shall not be used. The terms may or can shall not be used.

3.1.2 Permissive Rules.
Shall be permitted and it shall be permissible indicate allowed optional or alternate methods. (Note that these are still mandatory language and constitute rules.) The term may shall only be used where it recognizes a discretionary judgment on the part of an authority having jurisdiction or in an informational note.

Example: The authority having jurisdiction may waive specific requirements in the Code or permit alternate methods.

3.1.3 Informational Notes. Informational notes contain explanatory information and shall be located directly after the rule they apply to. Informational Notes shall not be written in mandatory language and shall not contain requirements, make interpretations, or make recommendations. If an Informational Note is needed to explain the text of the Code, consideration should be given to rewriting the text of the code to make the rule clear.

Examples of informational notes
Correct: (D) 600 Volts Between Conductors. Circuits exceeding 277 volts, nominal, to ground and not exceeding 600 volts, nominal, between conductors shall be permitted to supply the following:
(1) The auxiliary equipment of electric-discharge lamps mounted in permanently installed luminaires where the luminaires are mounted in accordance with one of the following:
a. Not less than a height of 6.7 m (22 ft) on poles or similar structures for the illumination of outdoor areas such as highways, roads, bridges, athletic fields or parking lots
b. Not less than a height of 5.5 m (18 ft) on other structures such as tunnels

Informational Note: See 410.137 for auxiliary equipment limitations.
(2) Cord-and-plug-connected or permanently connected utilization equipment other than luminaires
(3) Luminaires powered from direct-current systems where the luminaire contains a listed, dc-rated ballast that provides isolation between the dc
power source and the lamp circuit and protection from electric shock when changing lamps
Incorrect:
(D) 600 Volts Between Conductors. Circuits exceeding 277 volts, nominal, to ground and not exceeding 600 volts, nominal, between conductors shall be permitted to supply the following:
(1) The auxiliary equipment of electric-discharge lamps mounted in permanently installed luminaires where the luminaires are mounted in accordance with one of the following:
a. Not less than a height of 6.7 m (22 ft) on poles or similar structures for the illumination of outdoor areas such as highways, roads, bridges, athletic fields or parking lots
b. Not less than a height of 5.5 m (18 ft) on other structures such as tunnels
(2) Cord-and-plug-connected or permanently connected utilization equipment other than luminaires
(3) Luminaires powered from direct-current systems where the luminaire contains a listed, dc-rated ballast that provides isolation between the dc power source and the lamp circuit and protection from electric shock when changing lamps

See 410.137 for auxiliary equipment limitations.

3.1.4 Exceptions. Exceptions to NEC rules shall be used sparingly. If used, exceptions shall convey alternatives or differences to a   basic code rule. It is the responsibility of the Code-Making Panel to determine whether the principle can be expressed most effectively as a separate positive code rule or as an exception to a rule. Annex A contains commentary on exceptions.

3.1.4.1 Language. Exceptions shall be permitted to use the terms shall, shall not, or shall be permitted depending on whether they specify a mandatory requirement that is (1) different from the rule, or (2) diametrically opposite to the rule, or (3) whether they permit, but do not require, a variance from the main rule. Exceptions shall be written in complete sentences.

3.1.4.2 Excessive Numbers of Exceptions. When the number of exceptions to a specific code rule becomes excessive, the Code-Making Panel should consider a revision of the basic rule or a rearrangement of the section to better convey the objectives.

3.2 Word Choices.
3.2.1 Unenforceable Terms. The NEC shall not contain references or requirements that are unenforceable or vague. The terms contained in Table 3.2.1 shall be reviewed in context, and, if the resulting requirement is unenforceable or vague, the term shall not be used.

Table 3.2.1 Possibly Unenforceable and Vague Terms
Acceptable
Adequate
Adjacent
Appreciable
Appropriate
Approximate(ly)
Available
Avoid(ed)
Can
Care
Careful(ly)
Consider(ed)(ation)
Could
Designed for the purpose
Desirable
Easy(ily)
Equivalent(ly)
Familiar
Feasible
Few
Frequent(ly)
Firmly
Generally
Good
Lightly
Likely
Legible(y)
Many
May
Maybe
Metallic(ally)
Might
Most(ly)
Near(ly)
Neat(ly)
Normal(ly)
Note
16
Periodic(ally)
Practical(ly)
Practices
Prefer(red)
Proper(ly)
Ready(ily)
Reasonable(y)
Safe(ly)(ty)
Satisfactory
Secure(ly)
Several
Significant
Similar
Substantial(ly)
Sufficient(ly)
Suitable
Usual(ly)
Workmanlike

Examples of unenforceable or vague terms:
Correct: A manual pull station shall be located within 1 m of each exit.
Incorrect: A manual pull station shall be located near each exit.
Correct: Conduit shall be supported at intervals not exceeding 10 ft.
Incorrect: Conduit shall be adequately supported at periodic intervals.

3.2.2 Expressing Maximum and Minimum Limits. Maximum and minimum limits shall be expressed with the following types of wording.
Examples:
Shall not exceed 300 volts to ground . . .
Shall have a clearance of not less than 5 cm . . .
Shall be supported at intervals not exceeding 1.5 m . . .

3.2.3 Acronyms and Uncommon Abbreviations. All acronyms and any abbreviations that are not in common use shall be spelled out with the abbreviation following in parentheses for the first use of the term in the body of each article. Each subsequent use in the article shall be permitted to be the acronym or abbreviation only.

Examples:
(A) Dwelling Units. All 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20- ampere receptacles installed in the locations specified below shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCI) protection for personnel.
(B) Other Than Dwelling Units. All 125-volt, single-phase, 15-17 and 20-ampere receptacles installed in the locations specified below shall have GFCI protection for personnel.

3.2.4 Standard Terms. Standard terms have been established through accepted use or by definition and are to be used in preference to similar terms that do not have such recognition. Annex B provides guidance for syntax, spelling, punctuation, and usage of many standard technical terms.

3.2.5 Special Terms.
3.2.5.1 Ampacity. The term ampacity, as defined in Article 100, applies to the current-carrying capacity of conductors only. Therefore, this term shall be used in this sense, but only in this sense. (The ampacity of a 14 AWG copper conductor with 60°C insulation is 20.) On the other hand, switches, motors, and similar equipment are not rated in ampacities. Instead, they have current ratings, voltage ratings, horsepower ratings, and so on. Such equipment, therefore, shall not be specified or referred to in “ampacity” values.

3.2.5.2 Authority Having Jurisdiction. The term used to indicate any kind of inspection authority, enforcement authority, or the like, shall be the authority having jurisdiction. The use of this term will result in standardization, and it is in keeping with the term used in all other NFPA standards. This term is fully developed and explained in Paragraph 3.3.6.1 of the NFPA Regulations Governing the Development of NFPA Standards.

3.2.5.3 Listed by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory. Use of the terms “Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory” or “NRTL” shall be avoided. The definition of listed in Article 100 provides the details necessary for application in the NEC. The Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory program, also known as NRTL, is an OSHA program for the accreditation of laboratories that test products for the workplace and is not to be applied generally in the NEC. The preferred term to use is “Qualified Electrical Testing Laboratory”.

3.2.5.4 Requirements for Guarding. Requirements for guarding shall be stated in as complete a manner as possible and in as nearly standardized form as can be reasonably achieved. For example, the two terms protected against contact with live parts and protected against accidental contact with live parts do not mean the same thing. It may be necessary for qualified persons to have access to live parts, or it may be desirable to provide varying degrees of protection, depending on the location. Among other things, this distinction could affect the type of ventilation louvers or drains that would be acceptable for some types of equipment. The intent of the type and degree of protection to be required should, therefore, be made clear if possible.

3.2.5.5 Requirements for Protection Against Physical Damage. 18 If protection against physical damage is to be one of the requirements, this can be standardized by the use of this terminology instead of using the phrase provided with mechanical protection to mean the same thing. In many cases, one or two acceptable methods of providing the intended protection can be stated as examples for better understanding without restricting the rule to a specification-type requirement. There have been some cases, such as in the instance of grounding electrode conductors, where the means provided by the installer for protection against physical damage has impaired the electrical function of the conductor or equipment. This can be largely avoided by an explanatory note if the intent cannot be otherwise made sufficiently clear.

3.2.5.6 Voltage
. The term voltage is well understood and shall be used in preference to other terms such as potential. Because voltage is expressed in volts, a requirement should be written to avoid repetition of this term if it is possible to do so without losing clarity.
Example:
Correct: A circuit supplying the primary of an isolating transformer shall not exceed 300 volts between conductors.
Incorrect: The voltage of a circuit supplying the primary of an isolating transformer shall not exceed 300 volts between conductors.

3.2.6 Formulas and Equations. Formulas and equations shall be expressed in standard mathematical symbols.
3.2.7 Units of Measurement.
3.2.7.1 Measurement System of Preference. Metric units of measurement are in accordance with the modernized metric system known as the International System of Units (SI).

3.2.7.2 Dual System of Units. The SI units shall appear first, and the inch-pound units shall immediately follow in parenthesis. In tables the SI and inch-pound units shall appear in separate columns.

3.2.7.3 Permitted Uses of Soft Conversion.
3.2.7.3.1 Trade Sizes. Where the actual measured size of a product is not the same as the nominal size, trade size designators shall be used rather than dimensions. Trade practices shall be followed in all cases.

3.2.7.3.2 Extracted Material. Where material is extracted from another standard, the context of the original material shall not be compromised or violated. Any editing of the extracted text shall be confined to making the style consistent with that of the NEC.

3.2.7.3.3 Industry Practice. Where industry practice is to express units in inch-pound units, the inclusion of SI units shall not be required.

3.2.7.3.4 Safety. Where hard conversion to SI would have a negative impact on safety.

3.2.7.4 Approximate Conversion. The conversion from inchpound units to SI units shall be permitted to be an approximate conversion.

3.2.7.5 Standard Conversions. See Annex D for information on standard conversions.

3.2.7.6 Units. For dimensions less than 1 m, the SI unit shall be expressed as mm. For dimensions from 1 m to less than 1 km, the SI units shall be expressed in m. For dimensions of 1 km or greater, the SI units shall be expressed as km.

3.3 Writing Style. These guidelines shall be followed to help produce clear, unambiguous, NEC language.

3.3.1 General Guidelines.
(1) Write in present tense; do not write in future tense.
Example:
Correct: No conductor shall be used in such a manner that its operating temperature exceeds that designated for the type of insulated conductor involved.
Incorrect: No conductor shall be used in such a manner that its operating temperature will exceed that designated for the type of insulated conductor
involved.
(2) Use simple declarative sentence structure, and keep sentences short. Writing rules in long sentences full of commas, dependent clauses, and parenthetical expressions often creates confusion and misunderstanding. The requirement can be written in two or more short sentences, expressed using a list or table, or both.

(A) Occupancy Limitation. In dwelling units and guest rooms or guest suites of hotels, motels, and similar occupancies, the voltage shall not exceed 120 volts, nominal, between conductors that supply the terminals of the following:
(1) Luminaires
(2) Cord-and-plug-connected loads 1440 volt-amperes, nominal, or less than ¼ hp

(B) 120 Volts Between Conductors. Circuits not exceeding 120 volts, nominal, between conductors shall be permitted to supply the following:
(1) The terminals of lampholders applied within their voltage ratings
(2) Auxiliary equipment of electric-discharge lamps

(A) Occupancy Limitation. In dwelling units and guest rooms or guest suites of hotels, motels, and similar occupancies, the voltage shall not exceed 120 volts, nominal, between conductors that supply the terminals of luminaires and cord-and-plug-connected loads 1440 volt-amperes, nominal, or less than ¼ hp.
(B) 120 Volts Between Conductors. Circuits not exceeding 120 volts, nominal, between conductors shall be permitted to supply the terminals of lampholders applied within their voltage ratings and auxiliary equipment of electrical-discharge lamps.
(3) Use common words and avoid overly complex terminology (see 3.3.4).
(4) Use positive language, rather than negative, wherever possible.
Correct: Boxes used in wet locations shall be listed for wet locations.
Incorrect: Ordinary electrical boxes shall not be used in wet locations.
(5) If possible, avoid using dependent clauses, parenthetical phrases, and unclear inverted word order.
Correct: The definitions in Part I of this article apply throughout the Code.
Incorrect: Part I of this article contains definitions intended to apply wherever the terms are used throughout this Code.

3.3.2 Lists and Tables. If possible, use lists or tables to present requirements, rather than long text descriptions.

3.3.3 Plural. Unless referring to a single item of equipment, references to electrical components and parts shall be plural rather than singular. This results in greater consistency and makes it clear that the NEC provision refers to all components or parts of a given type or class.

3.3.4 Word Clarity. Words and terms used in the NEC shall be specific and clear in meaning, and shall avoid jargon, trade terminology, industry-specific terms, or colloquial language that is difficult to understand. NEC language shall be brief, clear, and emphatic. The following are examples of old-fashioned expressions and word uses that shall not be permitted:
Above or below (referring to text) — avoid using to describe the location of text.
Example:
Correct: ...shall be in accordance with (a), (b), and (c).
Incorrect: ...shall be in accordance with (a), (b), and (c) below.
And such, and the like — it is preferable to rearrange the sentence to use such as followed by examples.
As allowed — Use allowed instead.
Herein — Usually this word can be dropped without affecting clarity. Otherwise say “in this section” or whatever else is actually meant by herein.
If - Use to indicate a condition
Provided that — Use if instead.
Thereof — Rewrite sentence to say of or of them.
Utilize — Use use instead.
When - Use to express time.
Where — Use to convey a location or a situation. Not to be used to express time.

3.3.5 Parallel Construction. Parallel construction means stating similar requirements in similar ways for greater consistency. This helps makes the NEC clear for users. Lack of consistency often creates confusion, causing users to ask: Does this difference in wording represent a different requirement? Or is it simply two different ways of trying to say the same thing? There are several kinds of parallel construction:

Organization and Numbering. If practicable, the subsections of similar articles should be numbered in the same order (see 2.4.1).
Sections. Different sections, within the same article, that reflect similar or closely related subjects, should have similar structures.
Lists. All items in a list should be parallel (that is, singular or plural, written in the same verb tense, using phrases or sentences but not a mix).


CHAPTER 4 REFERENCES AND EXTRACTS
4.1 References to Other NEC Rules. Use references to improve clarity of the rule. Avoid redundant use of references. Do not use a reference if
the requirement is already covered by 90.3. Explanatory references shall be in informational notes.

4.1.1 References to a Part Within an Article. References shall not be made to an entire article, such as “grounded in accordance with
Article 250” unless additional conditions are specified. References to parts within articles shall be permitted.

Example:
If a switch or circuit breaker serves as the disconnecting means, it shall be within sight from the motor controller and shall comply with Part IX of Article 430.

4.1.2 Other References. Use references to other NEC rules to avoid repeating a requirement. If used, references shall include only the number of the rule being referenced; the words section, subsection, and paragraph shall not be used, unless the reference would fall at the beginning of a sentence. If needed at the beginning of a sentence, only the word section shall be permitted. References shall indicate the subject of the rules being referenced; the subject shall follow the number.

Example:
Wiring and equipment in Class I, Division 1 locations shall be grounded as specified in Article 250 and with the following additional requirements...
Informational Note: See 336.10 for the definition of first floor.
Informational Note: See 440.22(B)(2), Exception No. 2, for branch-circuit requirements for cord- and plug-connected equipment.

4.2 References to Other Standards. References to other standards shall not be in mandatory Code text. References to product standards shall be in an informative annex. References to other Standards shall be in the Informational Notes.

4.3 Extracts.
4.3.1 Extracting Material from an NFPA Document and Including It in the NEC. Extracting provides an advantage over multiple references to requirements contained within other NFPA documents. Extracting has the disadvantage of creating a situation where the text of the source document and the user document are not identical due to different revision cycles.

4.3.2 Extract Requirements. To extract material from another NFPA document, the following requirements shall be met.

4.3.2.1 Reason. There shall be a specific technical reason for the extract.

4.3.2.2 Context. A section or paragraph being extracted from another document shall represent a complete thought and shall be entirely extracted. The context of the original material shall not be compromised or violated. Any editing of the extracted text shall be confined to making the style consistent with that of the NEC and then only with the concurrence of the committee having primary jurisdiction. Such concurrence shall be obtained through the staff liaison for the source document.

4.3.2.3 Identification. The number, title, and edition of the NFPA document from which the extract is taken shall appear at the beginning of the article in which the extract is used. The document number and paragraph from which the extract is taken shall appear in brackets at the end of the section in which the extract is used.

Example:
Article 514 Motor Fuel Dispensing Facilities
Informational Note: Rules that are followed by a reference to [NFPA 30, xxx] in brackets contain text that has been extracted from NFPA 30-2012, Automotive and Marine Service Station Code (xxx represents the specific sections of that document referenced). Only editorial changes were made to the extracted text to make it consistent with this Code.

514.2 Class I Locations. Table 514.3(B)(1) shall be applied where Class I liquids are stored, handled, or dispensed and shall be used to delineate and classify service stations. A Class I location shall not extend beyond an unpierced wall, roof, or other solid partition. [30:7.1, 7.3].

514.11(B) Attended Service Stations. Emergency controls as specified in Section 514.11(A) shall be installed at a location acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ), but controls shall not be more than 100 ft (30 m) from dispensers. [30:9.4.5]

4.3.3 Interpretations of Extracted Material in the NEC. Requests for interpretations of, or proposed revisions to, the extracted text shall be referred to the NFPA technical committee that is responsible for the source document.

CHAPTER 5 EDITORIAL ADMINISTRATIVE RESPONSIBILITIES
5.1 General. Both NFPA committee members and staff shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with this manual.

5.2 Responsibilities of Committee Members.
5.2.1 Code-Making Panels. Panels shall be responsible for ensuring that the Code text agreed on at meetings complies with all requirements of this manual. They shall rely on the guidance of NFPA staff.

5.2.2 The Code Making Committee. The NEC Correlating Committee shall act as needed to ensure that all text appearing in the Public Input [First Draft], Public Comment, and final National Electrical Code meets the requirements of this Manual.

5.3 Responsibilities of NFPA Staff.
5.3.1 NEC Staff Editor. NFPA shall assign a staff editor to assist the NEC Technical Correlating Committee in developing the final text of the NEC. This editor shall be responsible for advising committees, panel liaisons, and the NEC Correlating Committee Secretary on matters of NEC style.

5.3.2 Panel Liaisons. NFPA staff serving at meetings of CodeMaking Panels shall advise panels on matters of NEC style.

5.3.3 NEC Correlating Committee Secretary. The Secretary shall be responsible for advising the NEC Correlating Committee on creating Code text that complies with the requirements of this manual. If text approved by Code-Making Panels does not comply, the Secretary shall recommend administrative revisions needed to bring the text into compliance, while preserving the panel’s intent.

Annex A: Editorial Guidance on Exceptions
Exceptions should be re-written into positive language, if positive language achieves clarity. The elimination of all exceptions is not intended, nor is it desirable. In some cases, deleting the word exception and incorporating the unedited language into a main rule may not lead to clarity. The resulting rule may appear to be self-contradicting instead. But, in many cases, positive language is much clearer. Two good examples may be found in 240.3 and 240.21. In these instances, the Code language once consisted of a short main rule followed by a number of exceptions. Other good examples of writing exceptions into positive language may be found in the ROP for the 1999 Code cycle. Proposed 520.68(A) consisted of a main rule with four exceptions. The main rule was changed to (1) entitled “General.” It is clear that this rule would generally apply. The exceptions then became (2) Stand Lamps, (3) High-Temperature
Applications, and (4) Breakouts. In 520.68(B), an exception was clearly the easiest way to deal with the difference from the main rule, and Panel 15 retained the exception.

520.68 Conductors for Portables.
(A) Conductor Type.
(1) General. Flexible conductors, including cable extensions, used to supply portable stage equipment shall be listed extra-hard usage cords or cables.
(2) Stand Lamps. Reinforced cord shall be permitted to supply stand lamps where the cord is not subject to severe physical damage and is protected by an overcurrent device rated at not over 20 amperes.
(3) High-Temperature Applications. A special assembly of conductors in sleeving no longer than 3.3 ft (1 m) shall be permitted to be employed in lieu of flexible cord if the individual wires are stranded and rated not less than 125 degrees C (257 degrees F) and the outer sleeve is glass fiber with a wall thickness of at least 0.025 in. (0.635 mm). Portable stage equipment requiring flexible supply conductors with a higher temperature rating where one end is permanently attached to the equipment shall be permitted to employ alternate, suitable conductors as determined by a qualified testing laboratory and recognized test standards.
(4) Breakouts. Listed, hard usage (junior hard service) cords shall be permitted in breakout assemblies where all of the following conditions are met:
(1) The cords are utilized to connect between a single multiple connector containing two or more branch circuits and multiple two-pole, 3-wire connectors.
(2) The longest cord in the breakout assembly does not exceed 20 ft (6.1 m).
(3) The breakout assembly is protected from physical damage by attachment over its entire length to a pipe, truss, tower, scaffold, or other substantial support structure.
(4) All branch circuits feeding the breakout assembly are protected by overcurrent devices rated at not over 20 amperes.
(B) Conductor Ampacity. The ampacity of conductors shall be as given in 400.5, except multiconductor listed extra-hard usage portable cords that are not in direct contact with equipment containing heatproducing elements shall be permitted to have their ampacity determined by Table 520.44. Maximum load current in any conductor shall not exceed the values in Table 520.44.
Exception: Where alternate conductors are allowed in 520.68(A)(3), Exception Nos. 2 and 3 their ampacity shall be as given in the appropriate table in this Code for the types of conductors employed.