Rule Updates

Rules Under Development

Electrical safety standards, administration, and installation

Chapter 296-46B, WAC

All updates for this rule:

Emergency Rule: Temporary Electrician Permits (Chapter 296-46B WAC, Electrical Safety Standards, Administration, and Installation)

This emergency rule provides for the issuance of reciprocal licenses and temporary permits in lieu of certificates of competency for electricians coming from another state as authorized by RCW 19.28.231. There is an increase in construction in the state and a shortage of journey level electricians to meet the demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for electricians in the state will grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, twice as fast as the national average, surpassed only by Colorado, Arizona, Nevada Utah and Florida. Job openings greatly outpace supply. The impacts of the shortage of qualified electricians include: small projects are delayed because electricians seek work on large projects that offer inflated wages; companies stop bidding, causing delays in starting new projects; projects take longer to complete resulting in cost overruns; and public safety risks associated with hazards created when unqualified individuals step in to perform electrical work when qualified electricians are not available. To help address these issues, the emergency rule provides for the issuance of temporary permits in lieu of certificates of competency for electricians as authorized by RCW 19.28.231. To be eligible for a temporary permit under the emergency rule, electricians must have completed a four-year journey level electrical apprenticeship program that is equivalent to one approved in Washington or possess an equivalent journey level electrician certificate obtained by examination in another state, and meet the requirements under 19.28.181. Successful applicants receive a temporary electrician permit and approval to sit for a certification examination. The temporary electrician permit is only valid for 90 days and is not renewable. A permit is valid only on jobsites where a general electrical contractor licensed in Washington State has requested and received permission to employ temporary electricians from the departmentís Chief Electrical Inspector. To remain eligible, contractors must employ at least 50 certified electricians on a jobsite where they employ temporary electricians and regularly report the status of temporary electricians. Substantiation to limit eligibility to employ temporary electricians to contractors employing 50 or more Washington journey level electricians: Projects of a magnitude that require 50 electricians most likely have levels of engineering design and oversight far beyond that at lesser projects where electricians often work in isolation; Temporary electricians likely pose the least risk of danger to life and property when working under the scrutiny of at least 50 Washington certified electricians; and Without a threshold, risk of danger to life and property increases. Not establishing a threshold is contrary to the Electrical Boardís advice in 2016 when they cautioned the department not to allow temporary electricians on jobsites where their installations are likely to go un-scrutinized. The changes were adopted 7/3/2019 and became effective on 7/3/2019.853.

7/3/2019

PDF: Emergency Order Adoption (CR 103)

PDF: Adopted Rule Language

7/3/2019

Rule Changes Effective

Electrical Rules (Chapter 296-46B WAC, Electrical Safety Standards, Administration, and Installation)

The rulemaking adopts amendments in chapter 296-46B WAC, Electrical safety standards, administration, and installation. L&I performed a review of the rules to update and clarify existing rules, implement new legislation, adopt new safety codes by reference with an effective date, and make housekeeping and other changes. This rulemaking will: Adopt new safety code requirements; Adopt changes to existing rules to align with NEC requirements and to eliminate redundancy and rule conflicts; Adopt language for consistency with statutory requirements; Adopt proposals requested by stakeholders; Adopt rules for clarity and consistency; Adopt rules to align with other Washington State rules and requirements; Incorporate the existing policies of the department into rule; Adopt requirements for identification plates, excluding one- or two-family dwelling feeders rated up to 400 amperes, showing the ampacity of conductors to be installed on equipment if the feeder conductors have a lesser ampacity than the equipment rating that they terminate in or on; Increase penalty amounts for unlicensed contractors, as penalty amounts have not increased for over 30 years; Adopt a permit exemption for animal containment fences which is already allowed as a telecommunications system, but the change eliminates confusion; Adopt a new section to relocate some service requirements to a more appropriate location in the rules for applicability of requirements for installation of panels and sub-panels; and Make general housekeeping, reformatting and relocating of certain sections, grammatical and reference corrections, section title changes, etc. The changes were adopted 7/23/2019 and became effective on 8/23/2019.837.

8/23/2019

Rule Changes Effective

7/23/2019

PDF: Adoption (Rule-Making Order CR-103)

PDF: Adopted Rule Language

PDF: Response to Public Comments (CES)

6/5/2019

Public Hearing

6/5/2019

Comments Due

5/1/2019

PDF: Proposed Rulemaking (CR 102)

PDF: Proposed Rule Language

9/4/2018

PDF: Preproposal (CR-101)

Electrical Rules (WAC 296-46B-555, Special occupanciesóMarinas, boatyards, and commercial and noncommercial docking facilities)

This rulemaking adopts amendments to WAC 296-46B-555 Special occupancies Ė Marinas, boatyards, and commercial and noncommercial docking facilities, regarding the ground-fault protection requirements in marinas as specified by the 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC) 555.3. The adopted rule extends the 100mA ground-fault level allowance for feeders until Sept. 1, 2019, when the requirements as published in the 2020 NEC will take effect. The department received a petition for rulemaking in October 2017, to extend the 100mA ground-fault level allowance for feeders in the existing rule beyond July 1, 2018. The petition and the supporting materials challenged the appropriateness and feasibility of the 2017 NEC standard and the fact that needed experts were not involved in past NEC code development processes. The adopted rule allows the petitioner and other interested parties an opportunity to further engage in discussions at the national level as part of the 2020 code development process. The changes were adopted 5/22/2018 and became effective on 7/1/2018.823.

7/1/2018

Rule Changes Effective

5/22/2018

PDF: Adoption (Rule-Making Order CR-103)

PDF: Adopted Rule Language

5/10/2018

Comments Due

5/9/2018

Public Hearing

4/3/2018

PDF: Proposed Rulemaking (CR 102)

PDF: Proposed Rule Language

2/6/2018

PDF: Preproposal (CR-101)

Electrical Rules (Chapter 296-46B WAC, Electrical Safety Standards, Administration, and Installation)

This rulemaking amends WAC 296-46B-920, Electrical/telecommunications license/certificate types and scope of work. The Department accepted two petitions for rulemaking to modify the scopes of work for Residential (02) and Signs (04) electrician specialties. The adopted rule: Allows Residential (02) specialty electricians to work in multi-family occupancies of buildings of types III, IV or V construction when there are not more than six stories of multifamily dwellings of types III, IV or V construction above grade or above types I or II construction. Under the current rule, Residential (02) specialty electricians are limited to installation of non-metallic sheathed cable in multifamily dwellings to three stories above grade. The adopted rule aligns the scope of work for Residential (02) specialty electricians with the building code requirements for the installation of non-metallic sheathed cable. Building codes restrict the building construction types where non-metallic sheathed cable can be used to a maximum of six stories. The building code allows a maximum of those six stories to be built above grade (types III, IV or V construction above grade) or above types of construction where non-metallic sheathed cable is not allowed, commonly referred to as pedestal construction (types III, IV or V construction above types I or II construction); and Allows Signs (04) specialty electricians to retrofit existing luminaires that are mounted on a pole or other structure with energy efficient technology, such as LEDís. Under the existing rule, Signs (04) specialty electricians can service, maintain, or repair these luminaires with like-in-kind components but the rule prohibits alterations such as LED retrofits. Electrical contractors and electricians licensed as General (01), Nonresidential (07) specialty, or Nonresidential Lighting Maintenance and Lighting Retrofit (07A) specialty must perform this type of alteration work. The changes were adopted 1/23/2018 and became effective on 2/23/2018.805.

2/23/2018

Rule Changes Effective

1/23/2018

PDF: Adoption (Rule-Making Order CR-103)

PDF: Adopted Rule Language

1/5/2018

Comments Due

1/3/2018

Public Hearing

11/21/2017

PDF: Proposed Rulemaking (CR 102)

PDF: Proposed Rule Language

8/15/2017

PDF: Preproposal (CR-101)

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