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Thread: Electrical Room 1200 Amps and Over

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    Electrical Room 1200 Amps and Over

    I know we've had a recent discussion on egress from these types of rooms. We are working on a project where the room is currently in violation and needs to be brought up to code. The only other apparent location available on one end would require installing a door about 3 feet off the floor, with stairs and a platform. In addition, the space that this door leads to is another electrical room that is connected, circuit-wise, to the first room. The architect is insisting that this arrangement meets the requirements of the NEC, and I can't find anything in the appropriate article (110.26.C) that says directly otherwise. Before anyone asks, the room does not meet either of the two conditions that would obviate the need for two exits. While this may be OK code-wise, neither I nor my colleague feel comfortable with it. Finding an exit is tough enough when your head is going "RUN! RUN! RUN!" without negotiating a flight of stairs, however short, into a space where the fault or whatever may have propagated into. Thoughts?

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    I also checked the IBC section 1010.1.10 to see if the language would force an actual means of egress, which is defined in the building code, but it doesn't require that.
    Ron

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    Bump.

    Really, no one else has an opinion? Don't be shy, fellas.

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    My only thought was "on bring it up to code" was, was it built to code back when it was installed or has it never been right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow View Post
    My only thought was "on bring it up to code" was, was it built to code back when it was installed or has it never been right?
    It's some public agency in NYC, likely built before the '30's. When did the two-exit requirement come into effect?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gadfly56 View Post
    I know we've had a recent discussion on egress from these types of rooms. We are working on a project where the room is currently in violation and needs to be brought up to code. The only other apparent location available on one end would require installing a door about 3 feet off the floor, with stairs and a platform. In addition, the space that this door leads to is another electrical room that is connected, circuit-wise, to the first room. The architect is insisting that this arrangement meets the requirements of the NEC, and I can't find anything in the appropriate article (110.26.C) that says directly otherwise. Before anyone asks, the room does not meet either of the two conditions that would obviate the need for two exits. While this may be OK code-wise, neither I nor my colleague feel comfortable with it. Finding an exit is tough enough when your head is going "RUN! RUN! RUN!" without negotiating a flight of stairs, however short, into a space where the fault or whatever may have propagated into. Thoughts?
    Could you clarify 2 of your statements -- I assume the code violations have nothing to do with egress.
    1 - We are working on a project where the room is currently in violation and needs to be brought up to code.
    2 - Before anyone asks, the room does not meet either of the two conditions that would obviate the need for two exits.
    Seems you are asking if you add another exit (that is not required) can you use stairs & landing to enter or exit for the additional door.
    You also state the 2nd door enters another electrical room - Are you considering the new opening as an exit out of the other electrical room & does personnel doors for such rooms with 800 amp or greater come into play? (door swing direction of egress)
    CircuitRyder --- Unfortunately not all good ideas are code enforceable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mwm1752 View Post
    Could you clarify 2 of your statements -- I assume the code violations have nothing to do with egress.
    1 - We are working on a project where the room is currently in violation and needs to be brought up to code.
    2 - Before anyone asks, the room does not meet either of the two conditions that would obviate the need for two exits.
    Seems you are asking if you add another exit (that is not required) can you use stairs & landing to enter or exit for the additional door.
    You also state the 2nd door enters another electrical room - Are you considering the new opening as an exit out of the other electrical room & does personnel doors for such rooms with 800 amp or greater come into play? (door swing direction of egress)
    The code violations have everything to do with egress. We need to add a second exit. The only apparently viable option is to create a door in a wall that goes into another electrical room. This door apparently existed at one point in the past. However, in addition to being another electrical room which is connected circuit-wise to the room in question, that door would be 3 feet above the floor and would need a platform in front of it. So, the question is, are we abating the violation, or merely creating a slightly less hazardous situation?

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    Its kind of hard to answer without knowing the exact layout and dimensions of the room.

    But I would ask myself these questions:

    1. Is it really required to update an installation to the current code if it complied with the code when it was installed?
    2. If so, can the service be divided into 800A disconnects that don't require 2 means of egress.
    3. If not, is there enough room someone can get out from in front of the equipment (and out of the arc flash boundry) before going up the stairs? If so, I really don't see a problem.

    Arc flashes don't typically propagate to separate enclosures, so I wouldn't worry about the other room being another electrical room.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gadfly56 View Post
    The code violations have everything to do with egress. We need to add a second exit. The only apparently viable option is to create a door in a wall that goes into another electrical room. This door apparently existed at one point in the past. However, in addition to being another electrical room which is connected circuit-wise to the room in question, that door would be 3 feet above the floor and would need a platform in front of it. So, the question is, are we abating the violation, or merely creating a slightly less hazardous situation?

    Is the opening proposed have a hinged door? Because if it does the the egress path & direction of door swing are the same & if you have 800 + amps in the other room an egress door out would have the same condition for swing - conundrum effect - -- a stair with handrails is not the issue & a platform is only required when the door swing is over the platform.
    CircuitRyder --- Unfortunately not all good ideas are code enforceable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gadfly56 View Post
    It's some public agency in NYC, likely built before the '30's. When did the two-exit requirement come into effect?
    Prior to LOCAL LAW 64 of 2001, NYC's electric code was the wild west.

    Similar to what Steve66 said, be sure you need to bring this old condition up to code. Unless you found someone's old grey cover loose-leaf Electric code from the archive, the NYC Electric Code was not always documented well. If this was greater than 1000kVA, the Electrical advisory board review may have been dependent on whoever slipped over the biggest envelope.
    Ron

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