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Building Wire and Cable

While the terms wire and cable are often used interchangeably, wire is one electrical conductor and cable is a group of wires (or conductors) encased in sheathing. 

Building wire and cable is used in the construction of almost every commercial, industrial, and residential property in the world. Most commonly known as branch circuit wiring in homes and businesses, these products carry electrical current to all power applications in a building or dwelling.

Building wire and cable must be sized and installed correctly to keep electricity running. Categories include all types identified in the National Electrical Code? (NEC), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), CSA Standards, Mexican Electrical Code, and the Association Nacional de Normalización y Certificación del Sector Eléctrico (ANCE) Standards, including:

  • Armored cables
  • Flexible metal conduit and liquidtight flexible metal conduit
  • Metal-clad cables
  • Nonmetallic sheathed cables
  • Service entrance cables
  • Thermoplastic and thermoset insulated wires and cables

NEMA hosts the annual NEMA Wire & Cable Forum that brings together Members, thought leaders, and industry experts to discuss trends, opportunities, and challenges.


  • Promotes Standards, codes, legislation, and regulations related to building wire and cable
  • Publishes training modules
  • Provides public inputs for the National Electrical Code?  (NEC)
  • Develops and maintains building wire Standards and test procedures for use throughout North America; works with Standards developing organizations and certification organizations (e.g., UL, CSA, ANCE, and IEC) on issues related to conformity assessment and harmonization of electrical product safety standards for the safety and construction of building wire
  • Collaborate with other trade associations (e.g., ICEA, the Aluminum Association, the Copper Association) to align industry issues and positions
  • Advocates industry positions to government in support of wire and cable industry positions related to trade and tariffs


Usage ranges from residential communications to protecting sensitive electronic circuits in business to high-voltage transmission and heavy industry, including:

  • Coaxial (or heliax) cable: carrying television signals and connecting video equipment
  • Direct-buried cable: designed with a high tolerance for environmental factors
  • Metallic sheathed cable: supply mains and large appliances
  • Non-metallic sheathed cable: underground or outdoor use
  • Ribbon cable: conducting wires for computers and peripherals that run parallel to each other and only handle low voltage applications
  • Underground feeder cable: outdoor lighting and in-ground applications
  • Unshielded twisted pair cable: signal transmission, security cameras, and data networks


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