Panel placement in a residential basement

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infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
I do think you are right. I just not sure why you were saying it was a judgement call of the AHJ.

Out of curiousity do you agree that when applying the execption of 110.26(E) the work space height is to the top of the equipment?
90.4 would apply to special permission calls by the AHJ.

Yes. I've seen service upgrades where the panels were installed in 42" crawl spaces. Very ugly. :rolleyes:
 

GeorgeW

Member
3' clearance

3' clearance

The head room is not the issue. The 'issue' is that I do not have 3' clearance in FRONT of the panels beyond 6'3'' high. The front clearance drops to 2'5'' from the fron of the panels to the 1st steam pipe. The old (existing) panels are across the basement on the opposite wall from the underground feed.
The 'new' panels are on the same wall as the underground feed, but , again, the only place to put them is where the steam pipes are 2'5" from the panels at a heigh of 6'3"......
 
The head room is not the issue. The 'issue' is that I do not have 3' clearance in FRONT of the panels beyond 6'3'' high. The front clearance drops to 2'5'' from the fron of the panels to the 1st steam pipe. The old (existing) panels are across the basement on the opposite wall from the underground feed.
The 'new' panels are on the same wall as the underground feed, but , again, the only place to put them is where the steam pipes are 2'5" from the panels at a heigh of 6'3"......
Thanks for the clarification. I guess you already know then that the consensus is that it is a violation...
 

buzzbar

Senior Member
Location
Tacoma, WA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
LOL! It just amazes me that it can take up to three pages for a point to get across! That's exactly what I was trying to say. Sometimes, it feels like I'm arguing with my wife on this forum! :)

It's all good though.

Hope the weather is as good out there as it is here. 80 degrees and sunny. :smile:
 
LOL! It just amazes me that it can take up to three pages for a point to get across! That's exactly what I was trying to say. Sometimes, it feels like I'm arguing with my wife on this forum! :)

It's all good though.

Hope the weather is as good out there as it is here. 80 degrees and sunny. :smile:
Yeah it's funny but I enjoyed reading the same three paragraphs over and over and over.....

But seriously I feel like I know the section better and it was worth the pain and suffering to everyone else :D:D
 

GeorgeW

Member
thank you forum members

thank you forum members

In responce to the question I have received many opinions based on code interpretation....I spoke with the inspector and will let you know the outcome shortly..
 

radiopet

Senior Member
Location
Spotsylvania, VA
Just so we are CLEAR on what others think as well because while some think this is clear others do not agree and as always with the code it is not what you think it is but what it is actually saying. The below quote is NOT a formal opinion from the NFPA but lets just say it comes from someone in the same non-formal office and I only post it to show someones opinion on it.

The following reply is based upon the provisions of the NEC? 2008.

The NEC? does not define general or common words and terms. Headroom is generally understood as meaning ?a clear vertical space?. The headroom required in 110.26(E) is clear in its reference to being applicable to the required working space. The exception to reduce the required headroom is specifically applicable to a panelboard or service equipment which does not exceed 200 amperes and is being installed in an existing dwelling unit.
These are not my words.....but wanted you all to see it as I requested the non-formal interpretation to see if it made it any clearer. Again this is NOT a formal INTERP from the NFPA?.......just one persons opinion and take it as such.
 

GeorgeW

Member
Update on panel change with lack of clearance

Update on panel change with lack of clearance

The end result was that the inspector had NO issue with the installation. As he put it to me: " If this were a new installation I would not permit it, but given that it is an upgrade on an exisitng installation, and all othe requirements have been met or exceeded, the lack of 3 feet clearance at 6' high mark is not an issue.
 
The end result was that the inspector had NO issue with the installation. As he put it to me: " If this were a new installation I would not permit it, but given that it is an upgrade on an exisitng installation, and all othe requirements have been met or exceeded, the lack of 3 feet clearance at 6' high mark is not an issue.
Well I'm glad your inspector was gracious. As if I remember there wasn't a lot of options on were you could put it.

I do however want to say I disagree that it is not an issue. I wonder how close to the panel the pipes directly in front of the panel could be before he had a problem with it... 2.0ft? 1.0?ft Just far enough away the door will open? hmm
 

radiopet

Senior Member
Location
Spotsylvania, VA
Well I'm glad your inspector was gracious. As if I remember there wasn't a lot of options on were you could put it.

I do however want to say I disagree that it is not an issue. I wonder how close to the panel the pipes directly in front of the panel could be before he had a problem with it... 2.0ft? 1.0?ft Just far enough away the door will open? hmm
I maintain that this is the intent of the exception to allow this application. I believe many will agree and some will disagree. My informal opinions from Senior Electrical Engineers also agree that this is what the exception is for. As for the clearance for the door, that will be another issue as it would prohibit access and would indeed be a hazard. as for 3" in the original OP's question....should not be an issue. I would also allow it in the jurisdiction that I end up making the NEC calls...I would approve it under the exception for existing dwellings and it does not increase the risk on a case by case basis. In my opinion this was not one of those conditions, block the panel door then I would have a problem as he said the pipe was 2 1/2" away from the panel and the door would not be near it.

Keep in mind...these are just my opinions and not a formal interpretation..lol
 
I maintain that this is the intent of the exception to allow this application. I believe many will agree and some will disagree. My informal opinions from Senior Electrical Engineers also agree that this is what the exception is for. As for the clearance for the door, that will be another issue as it would prohibit access and would indeed be a hazard. as for 3" in the original OP's question....should not be an issue. I would also allow it in the jurisdiction that I end up making the NEC calls...I would approve it under the exception for existing dwellings and it does not increase the risk on a case by case basis. In my opinion this was not one of those conditions, block the panel door then I would have a problem as he said the pipe was 2 1/2" away from the panel and the door would not be near it.

Keep in mind...these are just my opinions and not a formal interpretation..lol
I don't read it that way. What is the limit. Are you saying a pipe 1 foot away is ok? It allows the door to open so your good.

I wish I had a picture but I saw a panel with a wall about 15 inches in front of it. Is that okay? You going to slide yourself in there to work in the panel?

Not what the exception is there for. Not what the code says.
 

radiopet

Senior Member
Location
Spotsylvania, VA
The code allows for a reduction. It does not allow for a hazard. You can'y apply a blanket statement to an exception that is clearly allowed in situations where the headroom is reduced and based on the information I posted...the headroom is not the space just over your head at the panel...it is the entire work space.

But I hear ya fella.......thats why I said each situation depends on the AHJ. As I said clearly if the door opening was a problem then OK.....it is just not that simple in all cases and the reason for the exception was to allow upgrades and so on in existing dwellings which might have some obstacles to the installation.

This is why I believe the inspector allowed the installation, based on his field obsevation. if you are saying it is clean and clear I would have to disagree and it is clear the senior electrical engineers with NFPA also have their own "non-formal" opinion which agrees with the it's ok premise.

But I respect your stance my friend....sad thing is many older dwellings with limitations would not be allowed service upgrades without the implication of the exception.
 
the headroom is not the space just over your head at the panel...it is the entire work space.

IMO this is not clear in the code.
It should be made clearer. The answer that the AHJ should be able to make the call on issues like this does not seem to be the intent.The idea that the code does not have anything against placing a obstacles right in front of a panel in existing as long as the inspector doesn't deem it a hazard doesn't sit with me and is not what I think the code says.

But I'm willing to agree to disagre and concede that it is not crystal clear in the code :)
 
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