≡ Menu

Does This Meet Code 10

Electrical Systems and Required Clearance

Do electrical systems require clearance and separation from other building systems?  Is this a requirement of the fire code, electrical code, plumbing code, or the building code?

Which inspector is required to ensure clearance to electrical equipment is maintained at all times?  Could it be the plumbing or the electrical inspector?  What if all inspectors understand the proper installations to ensure a smooth project?  I know the code world can seem complex, but what about the picture shown below?

I remember responding to a fire where a fish tank (big fish tank) was broken and the water rushed into the electrical distribution system in the basement.   The sound it created was something like I have never heard before, not to mention the sound of the first in crew backing out as the cables arced in the conduit.

This installation is located in a new hotel where the plumbing makes a transitions right near the electrical distribution.  So in this picture does this meet code?

Hint check the NEC or the local adopted fire code!

Main Switch Room2

Thanks to Inspector Dove for submitting this photo, if you have photos for Does this meet code, send us an email at help@inspector911.com.

View previous Does This Meet Code entries

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Aric Alexander October 20, 2009, 8:05 am

    This does not meet code as described in the below:

    2008 NFPA 70 110.26

    F Dedicated Equipment Space. All switchboards, panelboards, distribution boards, and motor control centers shall be located in dedicated spaces and protected from damage.

    Exception: Control equipment that by its very nature or because of other rules of the Code must be adjacent to or within sight of its operating machinery shall be permitted in those locations.

    1 Indoor. Indoor installations shall comply with 110.26(F)(1)(a) through (F)(1)(d).

    (a)Dedicated Electrical Space. The space equal to the width and depth of the equipment and extending from the floor to a height of 1.8 m (6 ft) above the equipment or to the structural ceiling, whichever is lower, shall be dedicated to the electrical installation. No piping, ducts, leak protection apparatus, or other equipment foreign to the electrical installation shall be located in this zone.

    Exception: Suspended ceilings with removable panels shall be permitted within the 1.8-m (6-ft) zone.

    (b)Foreign Systems. The area above the dedicated space required by 110.26(F)(1)(a) shall be permitted to contain foreign systems, provided protection is installed to avoid damage to the electrical equipment from condensation, leaks, or breaks in such foreign systems.

    (c)Sprinkler Protection. Sprinkler protection shall be permitted for the dedicated space where the piping complies with this section.

    (d)Suspended Ceilings. A dropped, suspended, or similar ceiling that does not add strength to the building structure shall not be considered a structural ceiling.

    Hope this helps. -Aric

  • Tim Potter October 20, 2009, 8:54 am

    NEC 90.1 Purpose.
    (A) Practical Safeguarding. The purpose of this Code is the practical safeguarding of persons and property from hazards arising from the use of electricity.

    (B) Adequacy. This Code contains provisions that are considered necessary for safety. Compliance therewith and proper maintenance results in an installation that is essentially free from hazard but not necessarily efficient, convenient, or adequate for good service or future expansion of electrical use.

    FPN: Hazards often occur because of overloading of wiring systems by methods or usage not in conformity with this Code. This occurs because initial wiring did not provide for increases in the use of electricity. An initial adequate installation and reasonable provisions for system changes provide for future increases in the use of
    (D) Relation to Other International Standards. The requirements in this Code address the fundamental principles of protection for safety contained in Section 131 of International Electrotechnical Commission Standard 60364-1, Electrical Installations of Buildings.

    FPN: IEC 60364-1, Section 131, contains fundamental principles of protection for safety that encompass protection against electric shock, protection against thermal effects, protection against overcurrent, protection against fault currents, and protection against overvoltage. All of these potential hazards are addressed by the requirements in this Code.

    Although I did not find anything specifically about this I believe this would cover it.

  • Builder Bob October 20, 2009, 9:38 am

    Don’t think it would pass the plumbing code either………..

  • Chris M October 20, 2009, 9:59 am

    If its a sprinklered building, and the AHJ is allowing the sprinklers to be elimenated, a 1 hour floor/ceiling assembly and 2 hour wall assembly is required. (903. NYS Fire Code).

  • Jason Gramer October 20, 2009, 10:41 pm

    110.26 is pretty clear. I can’t believe that the Electrical Forman would even allow the plumbing to be installed this way. I wonder if the plans show the gear in this location?

  • brynn January 27, 2011, 12:05 am

    i dont know what you guys have your panties in a knot for. the plumbing is a sealed system, ok i know a leak, were talking drips, if it ever occurs, sprinklers, which are designed to spray a room with water are allowed in electrical rooms as long as the switchgear in question has sprinkler proof hood on it. there is a sink or something to that effect right above the switchgear (indicated by the trap) so im assuming there is very little option on where that pipe could be ran otherwise. and im thinking moving the switchgear is way out of the question so im not sure what the options are here for the two tradesmen (plumber and electrician) but i think that neither will see a problem in the forseeable future the way the install is. pipes dont just break off, even if it did its a drain there is only going to be a 2 gallonn pail of water at most at anytime, and when that hits the floor someone is sure to notice soon, this is much less than a sprinker line that is set off that will run indefinitly.

  • brynn January 27, 2011, 12:12 am

    to supplement what i said, think about a light fixture installed in ceiling tile, there is likely to be pressurized waterlines and drains above it, code doesnt say thats a no no, there is limited room as it is for all the trades to get along you guys are borderline requesting the impossible. that pipe has to be there so does the switchgear moving it is absolutly ridiculous. if it makes u happy go buy a kids swimming pool hang it over the switchgear with some strut and redi rod knock a hole in it and run a pipe to a floor drain. in that case better start putting an eaves troughing system under all pipes in case they drip or leak or burst, and no plugs with in 7 feet of the floor in basements incase they flood.

  • G. Lee February 24, 2011, 8:32 pm

    Dial-out water-alarm units are a good idea for gray-area code circumstances or until systems can be relocated in the future. An alarm can call one or more cell-phones the second any water is detected and therefore potentially save lives. Same goes for the benefit of dial-out temperature alarm boxes. Freeze-alarms for the North too. Just a suggestion.

Leave a Comment