Status Update: 2020 State Electrical Code

(2020 NEC with 2020 State Amendments)

During the August meeting of the Rules Review Commission, the 2020 State Electrical Code was objected by the Commission because the electrical code contains new provisions that effect the Residential One- and Two-Family Dwelling Code. Upon legal recommendation, the Building Code Council voted to change the Electrical Amendment package to satisfy the Commission’s objection. The 2020 State Electrical Code was accepted by the Rules Review Commission on October 21, 2021.

What this means in plain English:

Because the Rules Review Commission accepted the Building Code Council’s modification, the 2020 State Electrical Code is effective November 1, 2021, and is not applicable to one- and two-family dwellings. The 2017 State Electrical Code (2017 NEC with 2017 State Amendments) will remain effective for one- and two-family dwellings including their accessory structures such as swimming pools and PV equipment.

Care should be taken not to refer to the 2017 NEC as the “residential code” and the 2020 NEC as the “commercial code” because residential is much more the one- and two-family dwellings. For example, condominiums and apartments will be regulated by the 2020 State Electrical Code. Knowledge of a previous Code must be retained, similar to current projects permitted under a previous cycle.

At the September regular meeting of the State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors, the Licensing Board voted to modify electrical contractor testing on the 2020 NEC from January 1, 2022, to no less than 120 days after the effective date of the adoption of the 2020 NEC. At the October regular meeting of the Code Officials Qualifications Board, the Q-Board voted to modify electrical inspector testing from January 1, 2022, to March 1, 2022.

The webpage dedicated to the electrical code has been updated at the link below to reflect the above text including a third version of the 2020 Amendments. The Amendment to exclude one- and two-family dwellings from the 2020 State Electrical Code is located in sections 10.1 and 10.2. An interpretation to clarify the scope of the Residential One- and Two-Family Code will soon follow and be posted at the link below in the usual place for electrical interpretations.


Joseph Daniel Starling, PE
Chief State Electrical Engineer & Inspector
State Electrical Division of Risk Management

N.C. Department of Insurance
Office of State Fire Marshal
1202 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1202