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  1. #1
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    Default recep under counter overhang

    The old receptacle-under-the-counter-top-overhang ploy.

    I feel like kind of a stickler when I write these up.

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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    If you are asking if the receptacle should be GFI protected as serving the countertop, it does not meet the criteria as a countertop receptacle. Countertop receptacles can be no more than 20" above a counter and no lower than 12" below the countertop.

    Wish away, but not required.


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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    ... Countertop receptacles can be ... no lower than 12" below the countertop...
    Bingo.
    Plus, can't be under an overhang of more than 6 inches, I believe. This overhang is 12".

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    I wrote up two receptacles today on the side of an island sink that were within 6' of the kitchen sink but did not have GFCI protection. They were the only receptacles available for use on the island. The one in the center was GFCI protected. There was a receptacle on the other end of the island that was also not GFCI protected.

    Are you saying these two receptacles do not need to be GFCI protected because they are not along the countertop?

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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    Are you saying these two receptacles do not need to be GFCI protected because they are not along the countertop?
    No, they do not need GFI protection by code. There should be a receptacle to serve that countertop island.


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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    If you are asking if the receptacle should be GFI protected as serving the countertop, it does not meet the criteria as a countertop receptacle. Countertop receptacles can be no more than 20" above a counter and no lower than 12" below the countertop.

    Wish away, but not required.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    No, they do not need GFI protection by code. There should be a receptacle to serve that countertop island.
    Depends.

    On when the house was built ...

    For example, the 1996 NEC simply requires this:
    - (6) Kitchens. Where the receptacles are installed to serve the countertop surfaces.

    At that time there was nothing which defined what was 'too high' or 'too low' for receptacles which served the countertop.

    That means that those receptacles did ... may well have ... required GFCI protection.

    This is an example of where the code, through more precise definitions and limitations, was reduced in strictness for most areas, while those same more precise definitions and limitations increased the code's strictness in other areas (areas which used that code wording to 'not' require GFCI protection on those receptacles).

    Do those require GFCI protection? Yes. Either they are 'placed incorrectly to serve the countertop' (which is a much more costly repair than installing GFCI protection for them) or the are not there to serve the countertop and new receptacles need to be added to serve the countertop (which is also a much more costly repair than installing GFCI protection for those receptacles).

    Thus, the final answer is "it depends", but "installing GFCI protection is the least expensive correction option" - - - so why not call that out? When the seller's electrician reports that they do not require GFCI protection because they are too low you simply let them explain themselves in a deeper and deeper hole until they have convinced everyone those *are not for the countertop*, which is when your reply "No problem, I agree, HOWEVER ... NOW YOU NEED TO ADD properly located receptacles for the countertop." Then you walk away with your client and explain to them what just happened, what the electrician NOW has to do, and you two smile about it as the electrician is now trying to backtrack from what they just did/said.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    No, they do not need GFI protection by code. There should be a receptacle to serve that counter top island.
    I have to disagree with you that. The receptacles are within 6' of the sink so they have to be GFCI protected. As for a receptacle serving the counter top, the only place for the receptacle is on the side of the cabinet so they can be considered the receptacle for the counter top. There is not a real pretty way to install a receptacle on a flat granite counter top. And besides it would be facing up which is not right either.


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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    I have to disagree with you that. The receptacles are within 6' of the sink so they have to be GFCI protected. As for a receptacle serving the counter top, the only place for the receptacle is on the side of the cabinet so they can be considered the receptacle for the counter top. There is not a real pretty way to install a receptacle on a flat granite counter top. And besides it would be facing up which is not right either.
    Please quote where the 6' rule is from. The recent codes have called for GFI protection for the receptacles serving the countertops. Using the current code definition these receptacles do not serve the countertop, therefore no GFI protection. I will check the 87 NEC which may have had a requirement for receptacles within 6' of the sink.


    Jerry has raised a point about what code was enforced when the kitchen was installed. I am not sure if it would be possible in older code cycles to not require GFI protection, and for these receptacles as shown in the pic to satisfy the spacing for countertop surfaces.


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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    I have to disagree with you that. The receptacles are within 6' of the sink so they have to be GFCI protected.

    That "6 foot rule" needs to be forgotten ... by EVERYONE ... as it has not existed for over a decade (was only in effect from the 1987 through the 1993 NEC).

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    didnt see a sink nor an island, please clarify?gfci in 87?cool


  11. #11
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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    The requirements for these kitchens depend on the code under which they were built.
    For some time the code has stated that a kitchen countertop receptacle can be no more than 12" under the counter surface and the overhang can be no more than 12". There used to be a 6' rule for GFCI protection until the code required all kitchen counter top receptacles to have GFCI protection. These receptacles that are low are not countertop receptacles so they do not require GFCI protection no matter how you look at it. If counter top receptacles are required under the code that was enforced when the kitchen was built then receptacles on 20 amp kitchen circuits should have been installed. This may be in an area that has no adopted code, who knows? There are some ridiculous locations like that here in this country. Not enough information has been given to give an accurate answer to either of the kitchen questions. It does not serve anyone's interest to write up an item that was not required by the code when the house was built as long as everything is in good repair. The house could be totally code compliant when it was built, but with changes in the code changes would be necessary if it was built today. Making a homeowner perform upgrades such as these for the convenience of a new owner when everything was in fact code compliant in the home is not providing a service.


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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Winchester View Post
    ... Making a homeowner perform upgrades such as these for the convenience of a new owner when everything was in fact code compliant in the home is not providing a service.
    I've never had the power to make a homeowner do anything.

    The home in the original post is 11 years old. I don't know, and don't really care that much if the receptacle location was allowed 11 years ago or not. Since it's a safety item, I put it in the report and explain what the thinking is. The buyers and sellers are free to do what they want about it, which I expect will be nothing, but I have provided the information, and that is a service.

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  13. #13
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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    The receptacle shown in the original post photo is NOT a counter top receptacle. It is simply a convenience receptacle in the dining area. It must be on a 20 amp circuit but it does not have to be GFCI protected. I would look for another receptacle within 12" of the counter top on the peninsula if it is a peninsula. We can't tell from the photo. To say that this receptacle shown should be a GFCI receptacle shows a terrible misunderstanding of the code. If the house was built under the 1993 or 1996 NEC that would determine what was code at that time for this house. You know whatever you write in your report is going to be taken as a requirement to complete the sale of the home. That's the way it works. Your reports are taken as life and death, every last item. I've been asked to make these electrical corrections many times for a seller.


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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Winchester View Post
    The receptacle shown in the original post photo is NOT a counter top receptacle. It is simply a convenience receptacle in the dining area. It must be on a 20 amp circuit but it does not have to be GFCI protected...r.
    Maybe someone else said it needed to be GFCI protected, but I didn't. I was only talking about the location under the overhang.

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  15. #15
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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    There is nothing wrong with the location of the receptacle. If this is a peninsula then one side is kitchen and the other is dining area. As a wall in the dining area the first convenience receptacle is required within the first 6' of wall space in the room. This could be the first 6 feet to satisfy that requirement. I would hope there was a receptacle within 12" of the counter at the end of the peninsula. If it's just a pass thru wall it's a different story but there is not enough information to judge this and I don't think that was the intent of the question in the first place. I would hope the electrical inspector in the local jurisdiction made this call correctly if there actually were inspections done there.


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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Winchester View Post
    ...You know whatever you write in your report is going to be taken as a requirement to complete the sale of the home.....
    I don't know anything of the sort. I often find out after the sale that the buyers let all kinds of stuff slide and don't demand repair or credit.

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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Winchester View Post
    ...I don't think that was the intent of the question in the first place...
    See original post. No question was asked.

    2006 IRC E3801.4 Countertop receptacles says "In kitchens and dining rooms of dwelling units, receptacle outlets for counter spaces shall be installed in accordance with " yada yada, which includes the prohibition of more than 12 inches under an overhang, or under any overhang greater than six inches.

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  18. #18
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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    This receptacle ONLY qualifies as a convenience receptacle in the dining area, not as a counter top receptacle. Was there a receptacle in the end of the peninsula that complies with the IRC?


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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Winchester View Post
    This receptacle ONLY qualifies as a convenience receptacle in the dining area, not as a counter top receptacle. Was there a receptacle in the end of the peninsula that complies with the IRC?
    I don't see in the IRC where it says the receptacle shown in the original post is allowed if there is some other receptacle on the island that complies.

    It's my understanding that the reason for the prohibition involves a long hanging cord, such as from a crock pot, that can accidentally be snagged or grabbed by a little kid, for instance, pulling the thing down on top of him. So even if there is a compliant receptacle somewhere else on the island, how does that effect the kid?

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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Driscoll View Post
    didnt see a sink nor an island, please clarify?gfci in 87?cool
    The island is shown in post #4. The sink is in the middle of the island.


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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    The island is shown in post #4. The sink is in the middle of the island.
    Mr. Duffin done hijacked my thread. That may account for some of the confusion.
    The original thread had nothing whatsoever to do with GFCI protection.

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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    I've never had the power to make a homeowner do anything.

    The home in the original post is 11 years old. I don't know, and don't really care that much if the receptacle location was allowed 11 years ago or not. Since it's a safety item, I put it in the report and explain what the thinking is. The buyers and sellers are free to do what they want about it, which I expect will be nothing, but I have provided the information, and that is a service.
    So following this logic, do you recommend that all the receptacles in the house get GFI protection installed? GFI protection for those receptacles greater than 12" below the counter would still not be required even under the 08 NEC.

    You may say that you have no power to require the HO to make any changes, but the perception is quite different, especially in a buyers market. I have seen reports with "requirements" like the refrigerator needs a dedicated circuit. I told the HO that there was no basis for this and they said to do it anyway they didn't want to loose the sale. Nothing like an ill informed HI costing someone a couple hundred dollars out of their pocket needlessly.


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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    So following this logic, do you recommend that all the receptacles in the house get GFI protection installed? GFI protection for those receptacles greater than 12" below the counter would still not be required even under the 08 NEC....
    I recommend that people not live in houses, because they are inherently dangerous!

    AND I NEVER SAID ANYTHING ABOUT THE FRIGGIN RECEPTACLE UNDER THE FRIGGIN COUNTER NEEDING FRIGGIN GFCI PROTECTION!

    Last edited by John Arnold; 05-14-2010 at 06:44 AM. Reason: MUST ADD THIRD FRIGGIN
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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    See original post. No question was asked
    This might be the root of the problem. If the issue had been clarified in the post #1 as to whether the question was about meeting the countertop spacing requirements or whether GFI protection was required, maybe the answers would have not drifted.

    You could have changed the direction of this thread. I thought you were asking about GFI protection, therefore my answer in post #2.


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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    ...You could have changed the direction of this thread. I thought you were asking about GFI protection, therefore my answer in post #2.
    Hence my response in post #3 highlighting your comments about the location of the receptacle and saying nothing whatsoever about GFCI protection.

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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Winchester View Post
    The receptacle shown in the original post photo is NOT a counter top receptacle.

    DEPENDS.

    *IF* that was there to serve the countertop, then IT IS a countertop receptacle.

    The closeness of countertop receptacles WAS NOT DEFINED for several code cycles --- thus THAT MAY WELL HAVE BEEN a "countertop" receptacle.

    AND ... if it was not a countertop receptacle, then, as I pointed out in my post above ... let them install a countertop receptacle - that battle quickly becomes a losing proposition for the electrician trying to state that those *are not* as then *one needs to be installed*. Their choice, they may well make a poor and costly choice defending that those *are not*.

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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Winchester View Post
    This receptacle ONLY qualifies as a convenience receptacle in the dining area, not as a counter top receptacle. Was there a receptacle in the end of the peninsula that complies with the IRC?

    NOT NECESSARILY - read through the post above and see if you get it.

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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    The old receptacle-under-the-counter-top-overhang ploy.

    John,

    It would help all if you would define "old".

    The real answer depends on how "old" "old" is.

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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    John,

    It would help all if you would define "old".

    The real answer depends on how "old" "old" is.
    11 y.o.

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  30. #30
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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Let's pause a moment, and re-consider our assumptions.

    Yes, GFCI-protection is required for receptacles that serve counter tops. Yet, when there is more than 6" of counter overhang, we are not allowed to consider the receptacle as serving the counter top. You can have the receptacle there - but it does not help meet the requirement for a receptacle to serve the counter.

    So .... if it doesn't serve the counter .... the GFCI requirement doesn't apply either.

    Code cycle at installation is a bit irrellevant, as simply replacing the counter top is a job that generally doesn not require any permits. We have no way of knowing if the overhang has always been there.

    As for the '6 ft. rule,' just a reminder .... this board has several Canadian members, and I believe that they still have such a rule.


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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    ...when there is more than 6" of counter overhang, we are not allowed to consider the receptacle as serving the counter top. You can have the receptacle there - but it does not help meet the requirement for a receptacle to serve the counter...
    So...if "you can have the receptacle there", are the residents supposed to understand that the receptacle in the photo in the first post is not "serving the counter top", and therefore they shouldn't plug any counter top appliances into it?

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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Since most kitchen appliances only have a 2' cord I don't think they could use that receptacle with the appliance on the counter.


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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    Let's pause a moment, and re-consider our assumptions.

    Yes, GFCI-protection is required for receptacles that serve counter tops. Yet, when there is more than 6" of counter overhang, we are not allowed to consider the receptacle as serving the counter top.
    John,

    It appears you missed a lot of important information in the posts above ... IT DEPENDS ON WHEN that was built on whether or not those limitations you are describing apply.

    We NOW know that the house was a 1999 house and that those limitations would (SHOULD) have applied, but had the house been 10 years or so older those limitations would not have applied.

    Thank you John Arnold for giving us the critical information we were lacking - the age of the house. As you can see, *sometimes* it makes a big difference as the codes do (in some cases) 'get weaker' as they become more well defined.

    Nonetheless, though, we now know that the receptacle for the island IS MISSING and NEEDS TO BE INSTALLED.

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  34. #34
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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    Mr. Duffin done hijacked my thread. That may account for some of the confusion.
    The original thread had nothing whatsoever to do with GFCI protection.
    I apologize for that. I had no intention of diverting attention from your OP. I thought it was a relevant subject that I had experienced that same day so I chimed in. No harm intended on my part.


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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    I apologize for that. I had no intention of diverting attention from your OP. I thought it was a relevant subject that I had experienced that same day so I chimed in. No harm intended on my part.
    No problem. I have a feeling things would have been just as confusing even if you hadn't chimed.

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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    The old receptacle-under-the-counter-top-overhang ploy.
    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    Mr. Duffin done hijacked my thread. That may account for some of the confusion.
    The original thread had nothing whatsoever to do with GFCI protection.

    Actually, it did have something to do with GFCI protection ... ... in that you were referencing (or at least implying a reference to) 'countertop serving receptacles' which do require GFCI protection. Thus, any reference or implication to 'countertop serving receptacles' also references or implicates receptacles which require GFCI protection.


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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    I find it interesting that under counter receptacles are allowed at all.

    Even though you can sit and debate the thought processes involved in the incident setup ad nauseam, the life changing events that can happen when you combine an under counter receptacle,an electric appliance containing hot water or grease, and a small child would seem to me to require at least the suggestion that counter top receptacles be installed and under counter receptacles be removed and the boxes plated over.

    We can apply many terms to a person who might set such an appliance closer to the edge of a counter so the cord can reach a receptacle never intended for counter use. None of them matter to a child going about the business of exploring the world as kids do by grabbing and touching.

    I realize you can't legislate stupid out of existence but you can make it harder to practice.


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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Question: Why does an issue like this have to be a CODE issue? Unless you are required to report it as a code violation it shouldn't be an issue. I'm not inspecting a house to help sell it or help a client deal a price down. I'm there to report on the condition of the house and how it can effect the client now or down the road. If a receptacle is 6 inches or 6 feet-1 inch from a water source, wouldn't it be better to state that it was a possible safety hazard and recommend adding GFCI protection to help prevent personal injury by electric shock? A GFCI receptacle costs under $10 or protect the entire circuit with a $35 GFCI breaker. To me, and please note it is my opinion, that a advisory statement similar to this is worth more to a client that calling it a code violation when you probably have no idea if it is or not unless you can specifically date the installation and the appropriate code in effect at the time. Note: In Virginia, when remodeling, repairing, or modifying you don't have to adapt CURRENT electrical codes unless you make a new home run.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

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    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    To Stuart,

    There are a few examples in the NEC, especially when dealing with receptacle replacements, that the NEC mandates that the current edition be followed. This is going to be interesting if a receptacle needs to be replaced that now requires AFCI protection. It has changed a relatively inexpensive service call into one at probably 2 to 4 times the cost. Assuming the AFCI receptacle is available.

    Also following your train of thought, why not recommend GFI protection everywhere?


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    885

    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    To Stuart,

    There are a few examples in the NEC, especially when dealing with receptacle replacements, that the NEC mandates that the current edition be followed. This is going to be interesting if a receptacle needs to be replaced that now requires AFCI protection. It has changed a relatively inexpensive service call into one at probably 2 to 4 times the cost. Assuming the AFCI receptacle is available.

    Also following your train of thought, why not recommend GFI protection everywhere?
    Jim, you apparently got lost on the railroad. The post was concerning THIS thread and the situation involved; not a generality. Why try to make it so?

    With which NEC version is the home inspector to be concerned? Plus, in VIRGINIA - I cannot speak for Maryland or any other State and I really don't give a hoot) one cannot perform a code inspection unless explicitly authorized by the local AHJ. If you mention anything about building codes of any type in a report, I'm pretty sure it would be easy to make the case that you were performing a building code inspection. That subject has been well covered in this group. So why worry about what code, when or where when it's not necessary. I try to stay out of trouble, use a little common sense, knowledge, experience, add water use and the location.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  41. #41
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Brooks View Post
    I'm there to report on the condition of the house and how it can effect the client now or down the road.

    Precisely WHY you would report it.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  42. #42
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
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    885

    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Precisely WHY you would report it.
    Jerry - I didn't say I wouldn't report it. I said I would report it as a safety issue not as a code violation. I don't care what the what, which, when the code has to do with it. There's not much to argue about over a reported safety issue.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  43. #43
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,898

    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Brooks View Post
    Jerry - I didn't say I wouldn't report it. I said I would report it as a safety issue not as a code violation. I don't care what the what, which, when the code has to do with it. There's not much to argue about over a reported safety issue.
    What are you reporting? A non-GFI protected receptacle where none is required? Is this pertaining to the picture of the receptacle on the dining room side of the peninsula? Or was this a generalized statement?


  44. #44
    John Steinke's Avatar
    John Steinke Guest

    Default Re: recep under counter overhang

    As Rush says, words mean things. Keep that in mind when you write a report.

    For example, you might note the requirement for there to be a receptacle to serve the counter, then explain that the receptacle in the picture does not meet the requirements for being considered as serving the countertop.

    As for what someone 'might' do, that is a red herring. We are limited to citing facts, offering opinions, and justifying those opinions. Anything beyond that is simple speculation. You want to speculate, become a weatherman


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