New Code Issues

February 1st, 2021

“I just wasted $180 purchasing the latest Code book.  There’s no index!  This is the first time I have ever seen this.  Who is the highest person in the chain of command that I can complain to?”

This note is from a popular online forum, which we’ll not drop the name of, on which Electricians Talk.

That post generated this response;

“Buy PS Knight’s book.”

Job done.

The release last month of the Canadian Standards Association’s (CSA’s) version of the 2021 Canadian Electrical Code has not gone well.  Just when you thought CSA couldn’t cock up their operations anymore, they’ve excelled themselves.

We’ve heard from CSA customers on the new Code, and boy did we get an earful. 

“Where the fuck is the index?”

Well, there isn’t one.  For the first time in ages, the Code hasn’t got an index at all.  And pardon the language here;  be kind to us, we’re quoting.

Said one CSA customer; “I was so pissed off [that] I called up CSA to complain about it.  Nobody there to take a call, so I had to leave a voicemail.” 

The very heart of customer service is being responsive to customers.  The CSA knows this, and that’s why they responded so quickly.

“Four fucking days!  How can it take so long to get back to me?”

This, about an outfit that expects customers with Code questions to phrase them “in such a manner as to permit a specific ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.”  And CSA won’t give their one-word reply to the person who actually asked the question.  No.  They’ll post it on a bulletin website up to three-years later.

We mocked this back in 2013, by the way.  The CSA had hidden the instructions for submission of questions in Appendix A.  They responded to the ridicule by moving the instructions to Appendix C.  Clearly, that solved everything.

But back to CSA’s callback…..

“The guy CSA hired for all these inquires is a new hire, only been there six months.  Didn’t know much.”  This is starting well.  “I told him that I teach electrical courses and no index is asking for trouble in classes.”  And then the punch line;  “The new Code is the biggest shit-show you can ever imagine.”  A pause, then;  “A massive fuckery.”

The new CSA guy took it in stride.  It seems he’s heard all this before.

“I told him that I’d buy a Knight’s Code just to piss off CSA.”

“Yeah,” he said, “I’m not allowed to talk about that.”

It seems he’d heard that before too.

Back on the forum where Electricians Talk that we’ll not mention the name of, somebody pointed out that “if [PS Knight] plans on making an identical copy of the CEC, then they won’t have an index either.”

True.  That’s the nature of authorized reproduction, we can’t alter the text of law, even if that text is screwy.

Next, “Why is CSA’s [version] so slow?”  He’s talking about their digital version.  “Every page loads slow.”  Well, nearly every page.  It’s CSA’s Digital Rights Management, or “DRM,” that’s slowing everything.  The CSA has a really aggressive DRM, such that every few moments the digital version needs to connect with CSA to get permission for the customer to turn the page.  But all these calls to CSA mothership slows everything to a crawl.  And that’s just the start.

“I can’t even open the damn thing!”  This guy is likely out of cell range.  That’s the reality of CSA’s hyper-aggressive version of DRM; it needs cell connection to call mothership.  No connection; no opening it. 

It’s sure a good thing that all of Canada’s electrical work takes place where there’s cell coverage.  Right?

By the way, the digital version of Knight’s Code is straight PDF, openable wherever you’re working, for less than half the price of CSA’s version, and its available in March.

Anyway, CSA has a headache with all this customer reaction, and PS Knight has a bit of a boon going on.  Reservations of the 2021 Knight’s Code are achingly good and sales will start very soon.  And every time CSA puts their foot in it, we look better and better.

Said a forum contributor; “Buy PS Knight’s Code book.  It’s Cheap.  And good.”  Responded another; “I think I will buy one.  If nothing else but to support them.”

See, this is terrific PR.  The CSA is free advertising for us.

“I bought and gave away a few of these $60 CEC books when it was available a couple of years ago.”  A few?  These are dream customers!  “His big commercial simplified book is always within an arms-length of my desk.  I use it frequently and would highly recommend it.  It is much better than the CSA companion book.  Worth every dollar!”

One guy bragged about “giving every new apprentice” a copy of our books, buying “between 50 and 100 copies per year.” 

Oh, see that’s just gold, that is.  We owe this guy a donut!

Knight’s books are “way better than the CEC version.  Highly recommend it for any electrician.”

The CSA on the other hand, must find this sort of thing grating.  And their poor six-month hire has likely heard his fill of it.

“You don’t care ‘bout nothing else, just sales,” ranted one caller.  We don’t know what the new guy said in response but, really, there’s not much he could say.

So, CSA cocked up their new Code and compounded their cockup by cocking up their customer service.  And it builds, this sort of thing.  People have been complaining for years about CSA but instead of cleaning up their act, CSA dug in their heels. 

Look, at PS Knight, we think we’ve got good products to offer.  We’re not perfect and we know it, but we do our best, an honest job, just like the people who buy from us.  It’s respect, right?  And that builds too.

We’ll close with one gem of a quote, also from the unnamed electrical forum, which highlights a growing theme in the trade;

“I like to support Knight and buy his books whenever I can. Although there is no direct connection, I think his fight with the CSA was one of the contributing factors when the NRC decided to make all the building codes free. All the provincial building codes followed closely behind. Now everything is free except for CSA! Our office was spending THOUSANDS on building codes and licenses. I’d like to think that Knight himself was at least partially responsible for this major shift. I think we all owe a debt of gratitude to Knight.”