Rule Development

2016 Emergency Rule - Temporary Electrician Certificates, Canadian Red Seal Electricians

Due to the sharp increase in construction projects in Washington, and shortage of journey level electricians to man the projects, the department with approval of the Electrical Board has filed emergency rule revisions (effective November 21, 2016) which will allow the issuance of temporary permits in lieu of certificates of competency for qualified electricians coming from another state as authorized by RCW 19.28.231 ( The law does not allow temporary certificates to be issued for specialties. Under the emergency rule, electricians who have completed an equivalent state regulated four-year journey level electrical apprenticeship program or possess an equivalent journey level electrician certificate obtained by examination in another state and can meet the requirements under RCW 19.28.181 ( are eligible for a temporary 90 day non-renewable temporary permit.

In addition, the emergency rule allows for Canadian Red Seal endorsed journeyperson construction electricians to qualify for the Washington journey level (01) electrician competency examination if they have possessed a Red Seal endorsement for one year.

The temporary rules will be in effect for 120 days. In the meantime, the department will begin the process to adopt permanent rules for these issues with input from stakeholders and the Electrical Board. For more information, see the December 2016 Electrical Currents newsletter.

Following are the proposed rule change documents:


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:


2016 Electrical Rule Development (Fee Increase Proposal)

The Electrical Program has adopted the proposed fee increase fees in Chapter 296-46B WAC by the fiscal-growth factor of 4.32% for fiscal year 2017 (OFM's maximum allowable fiscal growth rate). The program's budget and projected revenue indicate a fee increase is necessary to cover the program's operating expenses. The new fees apply to all permits and other fee items for purchases made beginning 12:01 a.m. January 1, 2017.

The following are the proposed rule change documents:


View current electrical rules (

More information about electrical laws and rules:

End of main content, page footer follows.

Access Washington official state portal

  © Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries. Use of this site is subject to the laws of the state of Washington.

Help us improve