Electrical Room 1200 Amps and Over

charlie b

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Seattle, WA
So, if the worker has to negotiate a flight of stairs and a landing before he hits the door, that's OK?
Yes. Would you hesitate to leave just because it would require you to climb a few steps?
As for the door, which way would it swing? It could be considered an exit for each space, and exit doors must open in the direction of exit travel during an emergency.
If the second room does not have any "large equipment," the door can swing into that room.


 

egurdian3

Member
Location
Germantown, MD
Ethics and the Code

Ethics and the Code

I am not familiar with that expression. But I suspect it is not literally true.
I don't think I would want to stick around and watch that happening. That said, once I am no longer in the room that has all that happening, the responsibility of the NEC, the electrical engineer who designed the room, and the electrician who built the room will have ended. I am drawing the line between "emergency conditions" and "stable conditions." The intent of code requirements is to give the worker a reasonable opportunity to exit the danger area. That is what I mean by "emergency conditions." The code is not concerned with allowing the worker to make it to the truck in time for lunch. That is what I mean by "stable conditions."
NEC 90.1: (A) Practical Safeguarding. The purpose of this Code is the practical safeguarding of persons and property from hazards arising from the use of electricity.
It doesn't say that the responsibility ends when the worker cannot see the fire anymore. Regardless of personal morals, I think that the designer's responsibility includes getting the worker to a safe means of egress.
Having said all that, I partially agree that stairs are a way to get out of harm's way. Personally I look at the room and the escape route, every time I'm in an electrical room. I have seen many with stairs access so; in that regard, I have no problem.
 
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charlie b

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Seattle, WA
NEC 90.1: (A) Practical Safeguarding. The purpose of this Code is the practical safeguarding of persons and property from hazards arising from the use of electricity.It doesn't say that the responsibility ends when the worker cannot see the fire anymore. Regardless of personal morals, I think that the designer's responsibility includes getting the worker to a safe means of egress.
If the worker can exit from the immediate danger area, the "practical safeguarding" will have been achieved. I absolutely agree that the designers (including the engineers and the architects) should create a route that allows the worker to exit not only the immediate danger area, but also the building. I would call that "good design practice." I would not say it is a requirement of the code.

Let's make an effort to distinguish code from design. The original statement of the issue implied that the proposed new doorway would not resolve the existing code violation. I do not agree with that. I do agree that a better solution would be to find a wall on the other side of which is a corridor, and put a door in that wall. But the physical limitations of the existing building might not accommodate that solution. So in my view the proposed solution is code compliant and would improve a worker's chances of surviving an incident.

 

egurdian3

Member
Location
Germantown, MD
If the worker can exit from the immediate danger area, the "practical safeguarding" will have been achieved. I absolutely agree that the designers (including the engineers and the architects) should create a route that allows the worker to exit not only the immediate danger area, but also the building. I would call that "good design practice." I would not say it is a requirement of the code.

Let's make an effort to distinguish code from design. The original statement of the issue implied that the proposed new doorway would not resolve the existing code violation. I do not agree with that. I do agree that a better solution would be to find a wall on the other side of which is a corridor, and put a door in that wall. But the physical limitations of the existing building might not accommodate that solution. So in my view the proposed solution is code compliant and would improve a worker's chances of surviving an incident.

We disagree on the design point of view; simply because Building Codes come into the Design Process; eg: IBC, NFPA-72 to name a couple. The point being, that NEC is a minimum requirement and by no means the last word in Safety.
 

charlie b

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Seattle, WA
We disagree on the design point of view. . . .
I am always willing to accept, even embrace, disagreements with my point of view.
. . . because Building Codes come into the Design Process; eg: IBC, NFPA-72 to name a couple.
Are you saying that one or both of these codes has a requirement that would prohibit the installation described in post #1 (i.e., stairs leading up to door that leads to another electrical room)? Can you offer a specific citation? Nobody contributing to this thread has yet cited a reference that would disallow the installation. The strongest objection I have read is essentially, "I don't like it." Well, I don't like it either. But I don't (yet anyway) discern any code violation.
The point being, that NEC is a minimum requirement and by no means the last word in Safety.
Agreed. Now, can anyone offer another more authoritative word on the subject?
 

egurdian3

Member
Location
Germantown, MD

I am always willing to accept, even embrace, disagreements with my point of view.

Are you saying that one or both of these codes has a requirement that would prohibit the installation described in post #1 (i.e., stairs leading up to door that leads to another electrical room)? Can you offer a specific citation? Nobody contributing to this thread has yet cited a reference that would disallow the installation. The strongest objection I have read is essentially, "I don't like it." Well, I don't like it either. But I don't (yet anyway) discern any code violation.

Agreed. Now, can anyone offer another more authoritative word on the subject?
Here is a reference you can check when you have some time: IBC Chapter 11 - Means of Egress. Also, once you determine the Type of Building, you can go to your Local Jurisdiction and check their specific requirements. I'm in the DC area so; you go to ther DC Fire Code and Check Chapter 10 - Means of Egress.
 

charlie b

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Seattle, WA
Here is a reference you can check when you have some time: IBC Chapter 11 - Means of Egress. Also, once you determine the Type of Building, you can go to your Local Jurisdiction and check their specific requirements. I'm in the DC area so; you go to ther DC Fire Code and Check Chapter 10 - Means of Egress.
I am not likely to have time to check that out. But I will say that when the IBC and Fire Code speak of "means of egress," they are talking about leaving the building. The present discussion is about working in a room that has electrical equipment, and suddenly needing to leave that room because the equipment is doing something scary. The NEC requirements related to the layout of the room are there to ensure you can safety distance yourself from the equipment. Also, if the effort to distance yourself involves going through a door, the NEC requires that walking through that door shall be easy (i.e., door opens in direction of egress and has listed panic hardware). Once you make it through that door, the NEC is happy for you: you are safe; the scary stuff is now on the other side of a door. How you might travel from your present location to one of the egress doors that the IBC required to be installed: well that is not the NEC's concern.

 

egurdian3

Member
Location
Germantown, MD
I am not likely to have time to check that out. But I will say that when the IBC and Fire Code speak of "means of egress," they are talking about leaving the building. The present discussion is about working in a room that has electrical equipment, and suddenly needing to leave that room because the equipment is doing something scary. The NEC requirements related to the layout of the room are there to ensure you can safety distance yourself from the equipment. Also, if the effort to distance yourself involves going through a door, the NEC requires that walking through that door shall be easy (i.e., door opens in direction of egress and has listed panic hardware). Once you make it through that door, the NEC is happy for you: you are safe; the scary stuff is now on the other side of a door. How you might travel from your present location to one of the egress doors that the IBC required to be installed: well that is not the NEC's concern.

It's a free country; however, there are Codes for very good reasons: preserve life and protect property.
 

charlie b

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Seattle, WA
. . . however, there are Codes for very good reasons: preserve life and protect property.
I am on board with that. Now, please show me the code that explicitly forbids an egress path from the working space of a large electrical switchboard to include stairs and to lead to another electrical room.

I said it before, and I will risk repeating it: I DON'T LIKE IT!!!

But I believe that the NEC does not forbid it.

 
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