Does the Conduit Industry Need Specific Color Standards for Colored Conduit Use?
Welcome to the age of color! Colored conduit is rapidly becoming a normal part of building planning and construction. Some facility managers have already recognized the benefits of using colored conduit and have developed their own standards for use in new construction of smart buildings and government buildings, as well as schools and universities. Currently there are no color code requirements for raceways or cables in the National Electrical Code or other NFPA / UL standards for specific system applications in new construction installations.
Most conduit manufacturers are already producing colored conduit products. Common colored conduit applications are:
- Black and white — Architectural use
- Red — Fire alarms systems
- Green – Health care systems
- Blue — Data communication systems
- Yellow — High voltage systems
- Orange — Fiber optic systems
- Purple — Security systems
Public Input Proposal #4806, referenced below, was submitted by Martin Brett of Wheatland Tube for the 2017 edition of the NEC.
Public Input Proposal #4806
358.120(A) Color Coding. Color coding EMT shall be permitted for the purpose of system identification.
Statement of Problem or Substantiation for Public Input: This could be a safety issue because the Code does not require a specific color assignment to identify a service or circuit except that for raceways contain only intrinsically safe wiring it shall be permitted to color code them light blue per 504.80(C). Without requiring a specific color for the identification of a service or circuit, it creates a potential safety hazard for the electricians servicing those systems. The color coding used in one facility may not, and most likely will not, be the same as another. The use of color-coded steel conduit and EMT is increasing and it would be a good time to establish color coding requirements. Fittings and box manufacturers are beginning to market color-coded fittings that match the colors established by the conduit / EMT producers.
Stay tuned for the results of the panel reviews for progress!
Submitted by Patrick Douglas and Carolyn Wood of Republic Conduit