Receptacle on Portable Desk

Mr. Pickle

Member
Working on a car dealership. Owner wants desks with receptacles on them. These desks are located in the middle of the show rooms, not close to any wall. Debate we are having though:

Do the receptacles have to be cord and plug, or can they run a conduit up through the floor, couple on flex conduit and hardwire the receptacle on the desk?

Owner would like the hardwire option as they believe it would be less expensive than installing a floor box with a receptacle.
 

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Owner would like the hardwire option as they believe it would be less expensive than installing a floor box with a receptacle.
Probably the one to ask about cost is the EC who will be doing the work.

If the desk is not permanently attached to the floor (like a counter island in a kitchen) I can't see how conduit up through the floor would work. Normally you would install floor boxes with whatever is on the desk plugged into them. Makes relocation easier also.

-Hal
 

Mouser

Member
If you can drill a hole in the floor, just drill a larger hole an install a poke-thru.

If they move the "portable" desk for an event then what happens with those hardwired receptacles?

As a side note: I don't take suggestions from customers on the wiring methods that I should use, that's my job. Just as you should not give him suggestions on the best way to sell a car, that's his job.
 

Knuckle Dragger

Master Electrician Electrical Contractor 01752
No, receptacles do not have to be cord and plug.
Don't worry about hard wiring the desk, especially if the customer prefers that method. If they have to move the desk then hopefully they will call on you again to relocate it.
I think of it as wiring an office cubical wall.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
I would opt for floor receptacles with the flip-doors with cord notches in them.
 

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
I think of it as wiring an office cubical wall.
Office cubicles don't move. OP is talking about portable desks.
romex jockey said:
I could swear there's a code article for this......:? ~RJ~
Me too. I would think along the lines of the conduit not being supported and the flex subject to damage because its attached to something that has no restriction on movement. I can just see a car salesman not liking where his desk is placed and kicking it over a few feet. Or the cleaning people moving it.

-Hal
 

Knuckle Dragger

Master Electrician Electrical Contractor 01752
I know what the OP wrote.
I'm not quite sure what a portable desk is. It sounds like the owner has no intention on moving them around if they what them hardwired. I was trying to give an example of something that is hardwired and not fastened down permanently.
I would define an office cubical as "portable" because it could be broken down and moved, and in most cases fairly easily.
 

Mr. Pickle

Member
Any thoughts on what code article might apply? It is just an office desk sitting on the sales floor.

I too think it is silly and ridiculous, but if the owner wants to pay for it so be it as long as it meets code.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Poke through floor, install a surface mounted box with receptacle in it.

Floor box is what must be used if you are installing it flush in the floor.

Only "face up" restrictions I can think of is for receptacles in countertop surfaces.
 

Mr. Pickle

Member
again, does it say somewhere in the code that conduit and flex conduit can not be used to wire a receptacle mounted to a desk?
Does it state in the code you can't mount a hardware receptacle to a desk?
 

kwired

Electron manager
again, does it say somewhere in the code that conduit and flex conduit can not be used to wire a receptacle mounted to a desk?
Does it state in the code you can't mount a hardware receptacle to a desk?
I don't think it does.

How secure it is I think is an AHJ judgement call at the most.

Really heavy desk may not need to be fastened to be considered secure enough.
 

Knuckle Dragger

Master Electrician Electrical Contractor 01752
For some reason I think it might more of an issue to install a receptacle with a male whip on it compared to hardwired.
I don't have an issue with it either way but the NEC might. I haven't found anything against either way yet.
Sorry for the nonanswer.
 

growler

Senior Member
Owner would like the hardwire option as they believe it would be less expensive than installing a floor box with a receptacle.
If they want the desk hardwired I think I would ask that they be secured to the floor so as not to be portable.

In my opinion the floor box is a much more practical design.
 

kwired

Electron manager
For some reason I think it might more of an issue to install a receptacle with a male whip on it compared to hardwired.
I don't have an issue with it either way but the NEC might. I haven't found anything against either way yet.
Sorry for the nonanswer.
That case the wiring is installed on a piece of furniture or equipment and is outside the scope of NEC - especially if listed with it's own wiring included in the listing.

At same time one can build their own equipment and unless they have it listed, most AHJ's (where involved anyway) probably will still use NEC to evaluate it, and since it is something that is portable, requires flexibility, etc. would likely approve the cord in that case.
 

charlie b

Moderator
Staff member
If they want the desk hardwired I think I would ask that they be secured to the floor so as not to be portable.
I agree with this. But I can't find a code article that would clearly prohibit what the owner wants. The closest I can find are,

406.5 requires receptacles to be in boxes (they would be) and the boxes to be securely fastened in place. The issue is that the box would be secured to the desk, but if someone tries to move the desk will that mean that the box is not really fastened in place?

300.11(A) requires raceway (e.g., conduit) to be securely fastened in place. Here again, if someone tries to move the desk will that mean that the conduit is not really fastened in place?

300.11(C) says that raceways cannot be used to support non-electrical equipment. If the reason a desk cannot be moved is that there is a conduit essentially holding the desk in position, would that violate this article?


I would not place any trust in any statement from the owner to the effect that there is no intent to move the desks. They are in the show rooms, and cars need to be moved in and out. Also, there may be occasional all-hands meetings that would require clearing the area to get all the employees into the area.
 

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
I think you are right on Charlie, thanks for looking up what I was too lazy to.

Think of it this way also, is there a precedent that you can point to? Because if this can be done you would have seen it someplace. Has anyone ever seen an office desk that has conduit up out of the floor fastened to it into a receptacle box?

I think any AHJ would interpret any or all of those Articles to disallow it, especially since there is the customary way to handle the situation using a floor box.

-Hal
 

kwired

Electron manager
I would not place any trust in any statement from the owner to the effect that there is no intent to move the desks. They are in the show rooms, and cars need to be moved in and out. Also, there may be occasional all-hands meetings that would require clearing the area to get all the employees into the area.
I thought OP said it was owner that wasn't wanting to spend the $$ on floor boxes, if so they likely realize that they will not be moving them without having to undo/do some wiring in the process vs just pulling the plug if they had floor receptacles.
 
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