An Open Letter to the Electrical Inspection Community
Many of you in this community are aware of the recent announcement by IAEI (International Association of Electrical Inspectors) to create a partnership/alliance with the ICC (International Code Council). Since making that announcement, NFPA has received numerous questions and inquiries from stakeholders in the electrical inspection arena as to what that means for the long-time relationship between NFPA and IAEI. We believe that it is important to be transparent about what the future path looks like from our perspective. First, it is critical to understand that NFPA believes that a strong electrical inspection system serves a vital role in safety and is in fact a critical part of the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem. A voice of the electrical inspection community that is focused exclusively on the role that inspection plays while carrying both policy and technical viewpoints, unincumbered by other interests, is vital to safety. Over many decades, NFPA has supported IAEI as the organization for that unique voice. This support has been across a wide spectrum including donating $100,000 for the renovation of the IAEI headquarters, licensing of NFPA intellectual property for IAEI publications at no charge to IAEI, providing thousands of print copies of the National Electrical Code® (NEC®) (more than $500K worth for the 2020 NEC alone) which IAEI, in turn, used as a membership benefit, and providing trainings and an active presence at IAEI Chapter and Section meetings. Despite all the additional support, IAEI (as stated in their own words) is still faced with declining membership and declining revenue. IAEI initiated a “Request for Proposal” process a few months ago. We were pleased to present a response that we believed would: best address the revenue and cost related pressures that IAEI was feeling, provide a path forward where the brand of IAEI as the strong voice for the inspector could be maintained, and provide IAEI Chapters with a good deal of autonomy through a more localized membership model and where the Chapters could provide locally focused training – both of which could be used to generate revenue at the Chapter level. In the end, our approach was not selected, and we very much understand it is the prerogative of IAEI leadership to make the decision they felt most appropriate for IAEI. This decision, however, focuses IAEI in a direction that is less in-line with it being uniquely and singularly focused on electrical inspection. For NFPA moving forward, this means we need to adjust to ensure that those focused on performing electrical inspections have a direct connection to us and are able to bring that sole focus forward. NFPA is at the core of the electrical industry through our commitment to electrical safety and through our development of the National Electrical Code. In order to provide a community for the electrical inspector and ensure that critical perspective is heard, NFPA will consider a number of actions including the acceleration of efforts to grow, and devote essential resources to, the NFPA Electrical Inspector Section that was established in 2018. The Electrical Inspector Section can be a place where the electrical inspection community has their own unique voice and will be a source from which to draw additional participants for the electrical code development process representing the enforcer community. We will also look to offer ways for locally-formed chapters to affiliate with NFPA in some way. If you are already a member of the NFPA, you can check out the Electrical Inspectors Section membership on our website. If you are not an NFPA member, look for future announcements on a special program tailored to your needs. In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments for us as we move forward with this effort to ensure a strong voice for electrical enforcers reach out by emailing us. Your voice matters. We look forward to working with you and continuing to deliver value to the enforcer community as we have for many years.