Outlets in Front of Glass Panels

JoeStillman

Senior Member
Location
West Chester, PA
An architect is mad at me.

He laid out some apartments with 9' of glass looking onto the balcony. The first three foot piece of glass is a swinging door. The rest is a pair of three-foot fixed glass panels. I told him I need floor outlets in front of the glass panels. I can't even get close to 6' from the door because there will be lots of framing at the end of the glass.

He is trying to keep us from using floor outlets. He says that we can just decrease the spacing everywhere else and declare it enough outlets - he's done it before. This makes no sense to me. I told him I won't do that.

Has anyone ever done this?
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
The architect is not an electrician so set him straight. Code says within 6' of the door so put it there. There is no such provision for adding extra outlets to avoid one in a required space. An inspector may allow it but it is not code compliant and I would not even ask the inspector to okay an install like that unless the receptacle was within an 1" of the 6' rule
 

winnie

Senior Member
Location
Springfield, MA, USA
Occupation
Electric motor research
It sounds reasonable, but it isn't code. The practical safety difference between 6 feet and 7 feet is probably small, but 7 feet is longer than the required 6.

You might try running it past the AHJ to see if they would accept a variation from code. If you significantly exceed the minimum requirements around the room except where you can't, then it might pass muster.

The architect could also modify things a bit, eg. offsetting the door by a few inches or adding a pillar so that you don't have a 6 foot unbroken wall of glass.

-Jon
 

charlie b

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Seattle, WA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
What is the flooring material in front of the glass panels? I am working on a high-end private residence for which the owner does not want to see anything mechanical or electrical. This house also has large glass panels. So to satisfy the code and to placate the owner, we came up with a design that put a floor receptacle in front of the glass panel, but recessed it a few inches below the floor level. The receptacle was then hidden by an easily removable cover that was made of the same wood pattern as the rest of the floor. From the viewpoint of a person standing near the receptacle, it looks just like a continuous floor surface. But it met the code requirement for the presence of the receptacle within the 6' limit and within 18" of the glass wall.
 

JoeStillman

Senior Member
Location
West Chester, PA
What is the flooring material in front of the glass panels? I am working on a high-end private residence for which the owner does not want to see anything mechanical or electrical. This house also has large glass panels. So to satisfy the code and to placate the owner, we came up with a design that put a floor receptacle in front of the glass panel, but recessed it a few inches below the floor level. The receptacle was then hidden by an easily removable cover that was made of the same wood pattern as the rest of the floor. From the viewpoint of a person standing near the receptacle, it looks just like a continuous floor surface. But it met the code requirement for the presence of the receptacle within the 6' limit and within 18" of the glass wall.
That sounds good. I used flush covers in my spec, but he doesn't care. The floor is concrete on the second floor (above a parking garage) and wood frame above that. Floors in an apartment are fire rated too.
 

JoeStillman

Senior Member
Location
West Chester, PA
The architect is not an electrician so set him straight. Code says within 6' of the door so put it there. There is no such provision for adding extra outlets to avoid one in a required space. An inspector may allow it but it is not code compliant and I would not even ask the inspector to okay an install like that unless the receptacle was within an 1" of the 6' rule
Thanks, I tried to set him straight; that's why he's mad at me. I guess I wasn't sufficiently diplomatic. Or else he's just nuts. He seems to think the code is about the number of things a person will plug in, not the length of appliance cords.
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Thanks, I tried to set him straight; that's why he's mad at me. I guess I wasn't sufficiently diplomatic. Or else he's just nuts. He seems to think the code is about the number of things a person will plug in, not the length of appliance cords.

show him 210.52(A)(1&2)
 

mgookin

Senior Member
Location
Fort Myers, FL
That sounds good. I used flush covers in my spec, but he doesn't care. The floor is concrete on the second floor (above a parking garage) and wood frame above that. Floors in an apartment are fire rated too.
It's not a fire rated floor (if that's what he's trying to get you to believe).
It's a fire rated floor/ ceiling assembly.
You can install a receptacle in that fire-rated floor/ ceiling assembly just as you can install a receptacle in a fire rated wall.

He needs to make his design work. It can be done.
 

mgookin

Senior Member
Location
Fort Myers, FL
If architect sign off MEP drawing, he will take responsibility for a missing receptacle in case of lawsuit? Isn't it?

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
It's not so much a missing receptacle as it is the fact that 6' cords are common. This might result in the occupant using an extension cord or other configuration resulting in injury to persons or property. Imagine if the extension cord catches fire or a cord & plug connected space heater falls over and there's a fire and someone dies and the occupant says "we did it like that because there was no receptacle where we needed one." I know it's a long stretch but there's no just cause to take the risk, especially when EC knows it's a violation.

If you make a mistake you take liability; that's what insurance is for.
If you knowingly create a violation it can rise to criminal negligence; that's what prisons are for.
 

Strathead

Senior Member
An architect is mad at me.

He laid out some apartments with 9' of glass looking onto the balcony. The first three foot piece of glass is a swinging door. The rest is a pair of three-foot fixed glass panels. I told him I need floor outlets in front of the glass panels. I can't even get close to 6' from the door because there will be lots of framing at the end of the glass.

He is trying to keep us from using floor outlets. He says that we can just decrease the spacing everywhere else and declare it enough outlets - he's done it before. This makes no sense to me. I told him I won't do that.

Has anyone ever done this?
At some point, the best approach is to send an official RFI over in writing. Clearly state the code section cited above, make a respectful note about previous conversations and the aesthetic desire of the Architect. State exactly what you had in the bid and then ask for direction. The last sentence should be a disclaimer that states that pending further direction prior to concrete pour you are proceeding with either nothing or the proposed solution. Any costs incurred due to Authority Having Jurisdiction requirements or untimely further directions are not on you.

I wouldn't go to the AHJ. I wouldn't try to convince the Architect any further.
 

JoeStillman

Senior Member
Location
West Chester, PA
The architect backed down when I showed him the page in the NEC handbook that illustrates the spacing rule. There,s a diagram that shows two doors with a glass panel in between. It says a floor outlet can be used to comply with the code.

They were trying to say the code was ambiguous.
 

mgookin

Senior Member
Location
Fort Myers, FL
The architect backed down when I showed him the page in the NEC handbook that illustrates the spacing rule. There,s a diagram that shows two doors with a glass panel in between. It says a floor outlet can be used to comply with the code.

They were trying to say the code was ambiguous.
+1

Glad it worked out for you.
 

qcroanoke

Sometimes I don't know if I'm the boxer or the bag
Location
Roanoke, VA.
Occupation
Engineering
The architect backed down when I showed him the page in the NEC handbook that illustrates the spacing rule. There,s a diagram that shows two doors with a glass panel in between. It says a floor outlet can be used to comply with the code.

They were trying to say the code was ambiguous.
I once had an EE tell me he didn't have a problem with an obvious code violation and he didn't understand why I did.
"I'm the engineer" was his answer.
 
Top