Rule Development

2017 Electrical Rule Development

Residential and Sign electrician specialties (Scope of Work)

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries is considering changes to work permitted for Residential (02) and Signs (04). See below for the specific rulemaking documents and a schedule of what happens next. In summary, the changes permit:

Residential (02) specialty electricians to work on buildings up to seven stories tall and of construction types III, IV, and V with non-metallic sheathed cable. The change would bring the residential specialty work scope in line with the current National Electrical Code (NEC) regarding installation of non-metallic sheathed cable in residential occupancies.

Sign (04) specialty electricians to retrofit existing exterior luminaires mounted on a pole or other structure with energy-efficient technology, such as LEDs. Currently, only those certified as journey level electricians (01), non-residential maintenance (07), or non-residential lighting maintenance and lighting retrofit specialty electricians (07A) may do that work.

L&I received petitions earlier this year to make the rule changes affecting Chapter 296-46B-920 of the Washington Administrative Code, “Electrical/telecommunications license/certificate types and scope of work. The agency published the proposed changes in its Electrical Program Newsletter of August 2017, and the program listserv.

The following are the rulemaking documents:

Here's what happens next:

  • September 26: Electrical stakeholder meeting scheduled at the L&I Tacoma office.
  • October 26: Electrical Board discussion of draft rule language (Spokane).
  • November 21: Submitted to the state Code Reviser’s Office.
  • January 3, 2018: A public hearing on the proposed rule is scheduled for January 3, 2018, at 9 a.m. The meeting will take place at the L&I headquarters, 7273 Linderson Way S.W., Tumwater.
  • January 2018: Upon approval, the rule would be adopted and submitted to the Code Reviser’s Office.
  • February 23, 2018: Date the rule would become effective with approval.

For more information
Get an overview of the L&I rulemaking process. A glossary of terms can help in understanding the rulemaking/code adoption process.


2017 Electrical Rule Development (2017 NEC Adoption)

The department has adopted amendments to the electrical rules based upon new safety code requirements from the 2017 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC). The 2017 NEC was published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in August 2016. From October 1 through October 31, 2016, the department accepted proposals for amendments to all sections of Chapter 296-46B WAC, excluding the Fee Schedules of WAC 296-46B-906, 909, and 911. During the month of October, the department also accepted applications for the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). For complete details, see the August 2016 Special Edition Electrical Currents Newsletter (195 KB PDF).

The TAC meeting was held on December 14, 2016, and the department received input from the TAC regarding all of the proposals. After the TAC meeting, the department compiled all of the proposals to be moved forward into a “First Draft” document. The department presented the First Draft, as well as proposals not included in the First Draft to the Electrical Board at their January 26 meeting in Tacoma, WA. At the meeting the board voted unanimously to advise the department to move forward with the proposed changes. A Second Draft was compiled which includes the Board’s recommendations, a slight revision in the WAC 296-46B-900 plan review proposal and a few additional measurement and typographical revisions. The proposals were also shared at 18 stakeholder meetings in various locations throughout the state. A public hearing was held on April 6, 2017 at 9 a.m. at the Tumwater L&I building. There were very few comments in opposition to the proposed rules.

Based on further research and stakeholder comments, the department decided to make 3 amendments to the proposed rules, which the Director adopted on May 30, 2017. The NEC 210.8(B) GFCI protection requirements for 3-phase receptacles will not be adopted due to lack of availability of equipment to provide this protection. Also, NEC 553.4 and 555.3 will be amended to allow a one-year period for further research and consideration of ground-fault protection requirements for floating buildings and marinas. Effective July 1, 2017, ground-fault protection of 100 mA will be allowed on feeder conductors, and 30 mA will be required for all branch circuit conductors and outlets in floating buildings, marinas, boatyards, and commercial and noncommercial docking facilities. You can view or download a copy of the final rule at the link below.

Following are the rulemaking documents:


View current electrical rules (

More information about electrical laws and rules:

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