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  1. #1
    Jon mackay's Avatar
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    Default Wiring on attic floor

    I am assuming this wiring on the attic floor is a no no but wanted to throw it out there anyway.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    That wiring is subject to damage from someone walking on it and any stored items that are placed on the floor. It should be removed from the floor.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon mackay View Post
    I am assuming this wiring on the attic floor is a no no but wanted to throw it out there anyway.
    That NM cable does need protection.. I would let my client know about it, add a photo to my report and tell them that it could easily be damaged. I might also tell them also that it should not go under the attic flooring because it will then be pinched and damaged between the ceiling joist and the plywood flooring.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    That vinyl vent in the background (top, left in the pic) is probably a no-no too.

    -Jon
    Errickson Home Inspections, LLC
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  5. #5
    Jon mackay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Errickson View Post
    That vinyl vent in the background (top, left in the pic) is probably a no-no too.
    That is for a bathroom exhaust vent terminating at the roof.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    I'm not sure what you usually see in NY, in MN we use insulated venting in unconditioned spaces like that. If it gets pretty cold up there in the winter you'll get lots of condensation in that vent when the exhaust fan is running in the winter.

    -Jon
    Errickson Home Inspections, LLC
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  7. #7
    Jon mackay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    This is pretty typical in southern NY. I don't believe I have ever come across an insulated one. The temperatures don't typically get much lower than the 20's for any extended period of time here.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    I believe that the NEC only requires that particular cable to have runners alongside it - it can be on the 'floor.' It does have to be secured (appx every other joist).

    Ironically, had they fished it under the boards, they would not need staples, or anything else.


  9. #9
    Thomas Streicher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    I believe that the NEC only requires that particular cable to have runners alongside it - it can be on the 'floor.' It does have to be secured (appx every other joist).

    Ironically, had they fished it under the boards, they would not need staples, or anything else.
    Yep, the holes in the joist would be the securing method for the wire.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    The comment would be (unprofessional installation ,recommend electrician review.) This looks like a homeowner install for whatever its feeding.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    I disagree with justifications made by others that this wiring method atop the floor/platform in the attic is in anyway acceptable, it is not, neither could a "running board" make it right atop this platform/subfloor.

    Subject to damage - this is in the path of the operable window. Cable protection - it is not protected. Securing of cable - it is not secured, there is no fish overtop of structural floor/subfloor or platform exception. This is inproper exposed work, it is not acceptable. The presence of the window further dictates/limits how this may be accomplished.

    More importantly the drapped, unprotected, unsecured wiring across and aside the operable window, upon uninsulated wall in inconditioned space NYS means this area is subject to dampness/condensation, the unclamped cables to the metalic junction box, unrestrained and out of the wall and proud of the framing at OPERABLE window are furthermore unacceptable.

    Chapter 3 addresses those violations, there is an entire article devoted to this style cable.

    There are further restrictions and requirements for signal and communications cable elsewhere.

    IIRC NYS has adopted that article.

    Unconditioned, unfinished attic with operable window and partial subfloor. Suspect there is more going on in this space and home than has been shared with us on the instant topic string, beyond the illegal wiring.


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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    The first question which needs to be asked and answered is: The attic is accessible how?

    Permanent ladder/stair? Yes? No?

    From there we will know how to address that cable and the requirements for securing and supporting it.

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

  13. #13
    Mark Howe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Singleton View Post
    The comment would be (unprofessional installation ,recommend electrician review.) This looks like a homeowner install for whatever its feeding.
    What's he going to review? How do you know it wasn't a professional who installed it? Professionals are responsible for most of the problems I find with houses.

    My point is that conjecture doesn't really have a place in an inspection report.

    Just report what you see and recommend a remedy. And if your comment would really be "unprofessional installation, recommend electrician review", not only would you have offered a meaningless sentence fragment to people who are seeking solid information, you would have told your client to have an electrician "review" something that in fact needs to be repaired/corrected.

    There is no need for a review, it is obviously wrong and it just needs to be fixed.

    There is improperly installed electrical cable in the attic. This is wrong because the cable is exposed to damage and is not properly secured. Have a qualified electrican correct this installation.


  14. #14
    John Steinke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    I seem to recall the NEC being fairly specific: wires in attics near access openings or likely to be used for storge are to be protected by 'running boards.' Is my memory wrong?

    If my memory is correct, running boards in this storage area are clearly adequate protection, as this appears to be a storage space. At least as far as the NEC is concerned.

    Now, if someone wishes to claim this is 'habitable space,' than all manner of other issues arise.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    There is a platform/walkway/flooring surface installed, access to system(s) (bath vent fan at very least) and an OPERABLE WINDOW, and/or storage. You canNot use running boards across the surface FLOORing in the unfinished attic or otherwise space,

    Pictured, or suggested by J.S. is NOT a chapter 3 wiring method for exposed work on the surface of a FLOORed or platformed area - I don't give a HOOT how close it is to a scuttle, hatch, fixed ladder or stair. It is above the structural "floor/ceiling" support and atop, across and unsecured a floor/platform/pathway to an operable window.

    This is no less than unfinished TEMPORARY wiring, exposed, unsecured, unprotected from damage, condensation, temperature, UV, and a TRIP hazard.

    Window close to floor - safety glass? guard?....Piles of un-installed insulation and debris. Plywood installed in opposing directions. Unfinished work, suspended progress, elect. work near window obviously unqualified if intended as permanent location or thought to be anything other than VERY TEMPORARY, as in Mid-project/construction, in nature. Area contining wiring to LEFT of window outside wall is lacking insulation, as is the area of the wall BELOW window.

    J.S. do you ever even view an attached photo in other than thumbnail mode? Have ANY flatwork exp?

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 09-17-2010 at 09:11 AM.

  16. #16
    Art Dotson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon mackay View Post
    I am assuming this wiring on the attic floor is a no no but wanted to throw it out there anyway.
    Your assumption is quite correct, Jon. In my neck of the woods we call that "cross country wiring". As mentioned in other posts it lacks proper support and physical protection as required by the NEC. Given the proximity of the window to the "floor" this could not be habitable space for lack of sufficient headrood or ceiling height. Likely it was installed to replace a ventilation louvre and provide some natural light. Looks to be a pretty old house, is it balloon framed?


  17. #17
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    As previously mentioned by JP when your up in an attic you need to take a look at 320.23 (A)&(B). The thing that I see in the photo is NM cable over the top of a walkable floor not across the face of floor joists. That NM cannot be there period, regardless of how the attic is accessed in accordance with 320.23. Three things have to happen ..

    1) if that floor exists or doesn't exist up to an accessible entrance that is permanent stairs or ladder the NM will need to be moved to the rafters and then protected by guard strips across the face of those rafters and along the top of any floor joists while you get to those rafters.... where ever it is exposed ... and then the NM once it gets over to that junction box and studs it needs to be installed as laid out in article 334 and 300

    2.) You could take up the floor and bore holes through the joists then reinstall the floor.

    3.) If the attic is not accessed by permanent stairs or ladder then those guard strips can go away after 6 feet away from that access but you can't have it on the surface of that floor even after 6 feet requirements are met.

    Last edited by Roger Frazee; 09-17-2010 at 12:30 PM. Reason: corrected redundant statement

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Frazee View Post
    That NM cannot be there period, regardless of how the attic is accessed in accordance with 320.23.
    As I said ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck
    The first question which needs to be asked and answered is: The attic is accessible how?

    Permanent ladder/stair? Yes? No?

    From there we will know how to address that cable and the requirements for securing and supporting it.
    Roger got most of the way there, here is the rest of the way:

    For NM cable: (underlining and bold are mine)
    - 334.23 In Accessible Attics.
    - - The installation of cable in accessible attics or roof spaces shall also comply with 320.23.

    - 320.23 In Accessible Attics.
    - - Type AC cables in accessible attics or roof spaces shall be installed as specified in 320.23(A) and (B).
    - - - (A) Where Run Across the Top of Floor Joists. Where run across the top of floor joists, or within 2.1 m (7 ft) of floor or floor joists across the face of rafters or studding, in attics and roof spaces that are accessible, the cable shall be protected by substantial guard strips that are at least as high as the cable. Where this space is not accessible by permanent stairs or ladders, protection shall only be required within 1.8 m (6 ft) of the nearest edge of the scuttle hole or attic entrance.

    Again, HOW is that attic accessed? THAT will be the first step in determining HOW that NM cable is required to be protected.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Roger gets it.

    It doesn't matter how the area is accessed, or how far it is from access, The cabling cannot run accorss FLOORING even if it is intermediate platform floor with no flooring connecting it to access. It further cannot be in exterior wall space uninuslated. It further cannot be draped next to operable window and along side of window frame, unprotected from nail penetrations, etc. or exposed to UV.

    There is no justifying it. It is wrong as to permanent wiring. Period.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Roger gets it.
    Apparently you do not get it.

    It doesn't matter how the area is accessed, or how far it is from access, The cabling cannot run accorss FLOORING even if it is intermediate platform floor with no flooring connecting it to access.
    Yes, it CAN be, and it CAN be done according to code - which is what this discussion is about.

    SHOULD it be done? Of course not. But code does not address "should" it be done, it addresses that it "may" be done.

    The key is whether or not there is a permanent means of access, such as a ladder, etc. Now, some apparently ASSUME that there is a permanent means of access, and thus they ASSUME that it is not allowed, but ... unless there is no permanent means of access ... it is "allowed", but not within 6 feet of the attic access opening.

    For some one who seems to think they know and understand the code, you sure are ignoring the code when it says " Where this space is not accessible by permanent stairs or ladders, protection shall only be required within 1.8 m (6 ft) of the nearest edge of the scuttle hole or attic entrance."

    Just because H. G. thinks it should not be allowed does not mean it is not allowed.

    Is it just plain dumb? Yep. Is it just plain stupid? Yep. Is it potentially dangerous? Yep. Is it against all common sense? Yep. Is it against the code? Nope ... not if there is no permanent means of access.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    No Jerry Peck, you're apparently confused by not knowing the style guide or understanding the rules THE CODE uses for puctuation, AGAIN.

    The presence of the FLOOR BELOW the EXPOSED cable is what you MISS.

    Neither the Code, nor I, care one hoot how far this floor or cable is from a scuttle without a perm. stair or ladder is, or for that matter if there is a contiguous path between same and this floor or platform.

    SIX feet is a horizontal distance from a scuttle for NON-FLOORED area, without perm. stair or ladder.

    THE SEVEN FEET is a vertical height distance clearance FROM A FLOOR surface.

    That cable is resting ON the FLOOR. Also it is EXPOSED and unsecured on the window JAMB and the UNINSULATED WALL to the left of the WINDOW and beneath the UNINSULATED WINDOW.

    Now we have UNSECURED Cable in an UNCONDITIONED ATTIC SITTING diagonally draped across a FLOOR or PLATFORM in DIRECT SUNLIGHT and In the path of an OPERABLE WINDOW. No insulation in parts of that exterior wall.

    EXPOSED CABLE MUST BE SECURED.

    It Can NOT BE DEFENDED.

    Despite your TWISTING of the Code, you cannot data mine and TWIST ignoring the STYLE GUIDE what the Code ACTUALLY SAYS.

    It may NOT be run ATOP and DIAGONAL Across the walking surface of the FLOOR.

    I'll try to keep this SIMPLE for you, see if you can GRASP IT:

    THE CABLE IS NOT RUNNING ACROSS THE TOP OF FLOOR JOISTS.

    I'll say that again,

    THIS CABLE IS NOT RUNNING ACROSS THE TOP OF FLOOR JOISTS.

    You apparently don't see that, I'll explain:

    THE PLYWOOD FLOORING IS RUNNING ACROSS THE TOP OF THE FLOOR JOISTS.

    Get that?

    The cable is RUNNING across the top of the FLOOR, NOT the floor JOISTS.

    And

    It is doing so, LESS THAN SEVEN FEET ABOVE THAT FLOOR or platform.

    If it were running across a rafter, but over a FLOOR surface, it would have to be seven feet above that floor or else it too would require PROTECTION.

    Now re-read your quoted section and see if YOU GET IT NOW?!

    If the FLOOR was NOT PRESENT WHERE THE CABLE WAS, - and there was six feet horizontal from the scuttle with no ladder or perm stair - then...running boards.

    The fact the FLOOR or platform IS running across the joists means the cable cannot run across the joists, and MUST NOT run exposed unprotected (from puncture, pinching, snagging, damage, crushing, etc.) and especially unsecured across that FLOOR.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 09-17-2010 at 10:03 PM.

  22. #22
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Jerry

    In my experience I would not be able to run the NM on the surface of a floor in an attic protected or not and regardless of type of access.

    I read the code you pasted as saying .. if I am going across the face of rafters in an attic and I am 7 feet or closer vertically to joists or flooring and the attic has permanent access means like a ladder or stairs i must use guard strips. But the nm must remain on the rafters.
    I can run across the face of the floor joists using guard strips for protection until I reach that flooring. I then must find some other approved routing other than across the surface of that flooring.

    If the attic doesn't have permanent access like stairs or ladder then I use guard strips or approved physical protection across the face of joists or rafters while with in 6 feet of the access. After that as long as I am running across the face of joists or rafters I can delete the protection.

    There is no permission given to run across the surface of a floor IMO regardless of type of access.

    EDIT ... deleted underlining seems that would be redundant at this point ...

    Last edited by Roger Frazee; 09-17-2010 at 10:53 PM.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    No Jerry Peck, you're apparently confused by not knowing the style guide or understanding the rules THE CODE uses for puctuation, AGAIN.

    The presence of the FLOOR BELOW the EXPOSED cable is what you MISS.
    H. G., again you are running off at the mouth before you think and, even more importantly, before you read:
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    For NM cable: (underlining and bold are mine)
    - 334.23 In Accessible Attics.
    - - The installation of cable in accessible attics or roof spaces shall also comply with 320.23.

    - 320.23 In Accessible Attics.
    - - Type AC cables in accessible attics or roof spaces shall be installed as specified in 320.23(A) and (B).
    - - - (A) Where Run Across the Top of Floor Joists. Where run across the top of floor joists, or within 2.1 m (7 ft) of floor or floor joists across the face of rafters or studding, in attics and roof spaces that are accessible, the cable shall be protected by substantial guard strips that are at least as high as the cable. Where this space is not accessible by permanent stairs or ladders, protection shall only be required within 1.8 m (6 ft) of the nearest edge of the scuttle hole or attic entrance.

    Again, HOW is that attic accessed? THAT will be the first step in determining HOW that NM cable is required to be protected.
    The code DOES NOT ONLY address "Where run across the top of floor joists", the code addresses the entire space up to 7 feet, and, most importantly, the code SPECIFICALLY STATES A LIMITATION on those requirements:
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    For NM cable: (underlining and bold are mine)
    - 334.23 In Accessible Attics.
    - - The installation of cable in accessible attics or roof spaces shall also comply with 320.23.

    - 320.23 In Accessible Attics.
    - - Type AC cables in accessible attics or roof spaces shall be installed as specified in 320.23(A) and (B).
    - - - (A) Where Run Across the Top of Floor Joists. Where run across the top of floor joists, or within 2.1 m (7 ft) of floor or floor joists across the face of rafters or studding, in attics and roof spaces that are accessible, the cable shall be protected by substantial guard strips that are at least as high as the cable. Where this space is not accessible by permanent stairs or ladders, protection shall only be required within 1.8 m (6 ft) of the nearest edge of the scuttle hole or attic entrance.

    Again, HOW is that attic accessed? THAT will be the first step in determining HOW that NM cable is required to be protected.
    Neither the Code, nor I, care one hoot how far this floor or cable is from a scuttle without a perm. stair or ladder is, or for that matter if there is a contiguous path between same and this floor or platform.

    SIX feet is a horizontal distance from a scuttle for NON-FLOORED area, without perm. stair or ladder.
    It is quite apparent that YOU do not "care one hoot" how that is accessed, but, IF YOU CAN READ ... you will READ that the code absolutely DOES CARE.

    Again, you seem to have stuck your butt into the air and are talking through it instead of your head ... that is the only thing I can come up with why you, a normally articulate person, albeit an abrasive articulate person most of the time, can repeat what you are repeating with a straight face ...

    THE SEVEN FEET is a vertical height distance clearance FROM A FLOOR surface.


    Yeah, *I* *KNOW* *THAT* ... *I* also know that the code says:
    "Where this space is not accessible by permanent stairs or ladders, protection shall only be required within 1.8 m (6 ft) of the nearest edge of the scuttle hole or attic entrance"

    READ THAT. COMMIT THAT TO MEMORY. REPEAT THAT: "WHERE-THIS-SPACE-IS-NOT-ACCESSIBLE-BY-PERMANENT-STAIRS-OR-LADDERS"

    That is the condition the code limits what you are saying on, and ... IF THE ACCESS IS BY A PORTABLE ladder, then the only REQUIRED protection is within 6 feet of the opening.

    Jeez, H. G., you don't know when to actually read what is written, do you?

    And I thunk youse were smarterer din dat.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Frazee View Post
    Jerry

    In my experience I would not be able to run the NM on the surface of a floor in an attic protected or not and regardless of type of access.

    I read the code you pasted as saying .. if I am going across the face of rafters in an attic and I am 7 feet or closer vertically to joists or flooring and the attic has permanent access means like a ladder or stairs i must use guard strips.
    Roger,

    Would you explain the meaning of that word "and" to H. G.? Thank you.

    If the attic doesn't have permanent access like stairs or ladder then I use guard strips or approved physical protection across the face of joists or rafters while with in 6 feet of the access.
    Yep, that IS WHAT I HAVE BEEN SAYING ...

    After that as long as I am running across the face of joists or rafters I can delete the protection.
    Please show the code where the NEC says that.

    The code does not say that. The code simply stops the protection at the 6 foot point as that is the presumed area which could likely be used for storage by persons placing stored items up there from the portable ladder.

    Beyond that 6 foot out distance, no protection is required by the NEC if there is not permanent access such as permanent ladders or a permanent stair.

    This is what the NEC says, plain and simple:
    Where this space is not accessible by permanent stairs or ladders, protection shall only be required within 1.8 m (6 ft) of the nearest edge of the scuttle hole or attic entrance.

    I.e., there is no "required" protection past the 6 feet point stated in the above.

    Not saying I like it or that I agree with it in the condition show in the photo, but my first post on this is still NOT ANSWERED and several posts have been about disputing my post which has not been answered, and there is nothing in that post of mine to dispute ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck
    The first question which needs to be asked and answered is: The attic is accessible how?

    Permanent ladder/stair? Yes? No?

    From there we will know how to address that cable and the requirements for securing and supporting it.


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

  25. #25
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    (A) Where Run Across the Top of Floor Joists. Where run across the top of floor joists, or within 2.1 m (7 ft) of floor or floor joists across the face of rafters or studding, in attics and roof spaces that are accessible, the cable shall be protected by substantial guard strips that are at least as high as the cable. Where this space is not accessible by permanent stairs or ladders, protection shall only be required within 1.8 m (6 ft) of the nearest edge of the scuttle hole or attic entrance.


    It may be clear as gin but I'm having a dickens of a time with how to read it.....

    I read it this way .. If I have an attic that has permanent access I must use a means of protection for cabling if I secure it to the face of joists and/or rafters ..ie .. I can secure NM to the face of floor joists if I use guard strips for protection or if I decide to secure on the rafters I can secure it to the face of the rafters if I use guard strips for protection if I am within 7 feet or less vertically of the floor joists or flooring secured to the floor joists. If I am 7' 1" vertically from the flooring or floor joists then I can secure the nm to the face of rafters without protection.
    Permission is only given to secure to face of floor joists and/or face of rafters in a permanent access attic if you use protection or not use protection according to the dimension limits stated throughout that attic space or roof space. This is a modification to or addtion to the restrictions/methods of article 300.

    If I do not have a permanent access attic then that attic or roof space where cabling must meet the requirements of (A) reduces to a space 6 feet horizontally around the access point...scuttle hole etc...

    To me that means you can secure the nm cable across the face of floor joists and/or face of rafters without protection outside that attic or roof space box. It does not ever give permisson to run and secure the cable to the surface of a floor installed in that attic protection or no protection permanent or not permanent access.

    The allowance is to run across the face of floor joists or face of rafters without protection outside that 'protective' box.

    If they were allowing you to run on the surface of a floor IMO they would include a statement saying "or run across the face of flooring" ....

    'And' means what came before 'AND' applies plus what comes after 'AND' must also apply ...


    After that as long as I am running across the face of joists or rafters I can delete the protection.
    Please show the code where the NEC says that.

    IMO the entire subsection 320.23 (A) is talking about securing to face of rafters and face of floor joists and when protection is required and not required when running nm cable on the face of those structural members. It never says or includes the face of flooring in that sub-section either permanent or non permanent access.

    I believe the intent is that for permanent wiring in an attic it exempts protection on the face of rafters or face of floor joists if non permanent access and outside 6 feet horizontally . It does not appear to me to allow running on the surface of a floor protection or not.. It simply exempts the protection for running on the face of rafters or joists.

    If that floor is 3 feet outside those protective dimensions for non permanent access then for just 3 feet I can run unprotected across the face of the joists to that floor. Once there I must choose to go to the face of the rafters or some other method approved for permanent wiring in article 300 (as mentioned in (B) of 320.23.) Article 300 nor 334 will allow running across a floor with nm cable.

    Maybe this is a simpler way for me to understand ... If I'm running nm cable across the face of joists and/or rafters in an accessible attic then 320.23 (A) applies. If I'm not running cable across the face of rafters and face of joists in that article attic then 320.23(B) or article 300 applies....

    Lets take an example lets say the attic is not permanent access but the entire attic has flooring installed over the joists. I'm going to run some NM in the attic for lights along the peak/ridge vent area and secure the fixtures to the rafters. The scuttle hole is in the closet. If I elect to bring the cable up through the flooring outside the six feet protective area of the scuttle hole I will have to extend it to the rafters or a framing member as there is no way to secure it to the face of a joist to run along the top of those framing members nor bore holes through those joists because of the flooring. 320.23 (A) does not give me permission to run unprotected or protected across a floor. It does give me permission to extend to the rafters and run across the face of those rafters unprotected regardless of proximity to floor or floor joists as long as I stay 6 feet away from that scuttle hole.

    Conversely if I bring the nm up through the floor with-in the 6 foot box I must go to the rafters or some other framing member not across the flooring and not because of 320.23(A) because of article 320.23 (B). The way I generally do that is frame in a 2x4 screwed to the face of the rafter and screwed to the floor. Then I go one step further and cut a piece of emt bushed at each end and bring the cable thru it and secure the emt to the 2x4. Not required but that is my preference.

    PS ... sorry for all the edits I just could not get my underlining right on the face of my monitor...

    Last edited by Roger Frazee; 09-18-2010 at 11:26 PM.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Frazee View Post
    I read it this way .. If I have an attic that has permanent access I must use a means of protection for cabling if I secure it to the face of joists and/or rafters ..ie .. I can secure NM to the face of floor joists if I use guard strips for protection or if I decide to secure on the rafters I can secure it to the face of the rafters if I use guard strips for protection if I am within 7 feet or less vertically of the floor joists or flooring secured to the floor joists. If I am 7' 1" vertically from the flooring or floor joists then I can secure the nm to the face of rafters without protection.
    Close (if I followed you through that).

    This is what the first part says (all I am doing is separating at the different parts of the requirements, the words are unchanged):
    (A) Where Run Across the Top of Floor Joists. Where run
    across the top of floor joists,
    or within 2.1 m (7 ft) of floor
    or floor joists across the face of rafters or studding,
    in attics and roof spaces that are accessible,
    the cable shall be protected by substantial guard strips that are at least as high as the cable.

    If I do not have a permanent access attic then that attic or roof space where cabling must meet the requirements of (A) reduces to a space 7 feet vertically by 6 feet horizontally around the access point...scuttle hole etc...
    The last part says:
    Where this space is not accessible by permanent stairs or ladders,
    protection shall only be required within 1.8 m (6 ft)
    of the nearest edge of the scuttle hole or attic entrance.

    Note that the last part does not alter the protection methods contained in the first part. The last part simply limits that required protection area to that area which is within 6 feet of the edge of the opening.

    The first part says "in attics and roof spaces that are accessible".

    The second part says "Where this space is not accessible by permanent stairs or ladders"

    BOTH are considered "accessible", the only difference is that one is "accessible" via permanent means and the other is "accessible" via non-permanent means, thus but must meet the protection of the first part for "accessible" attics, with the second part simply limiting the required protection to 6 feet from the edge of the opening.

    Which is what I have been saying, and am still saying. And which is why I first said that we would need to know how one accesses that attic before determining how one "is required" to protect the cables.

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

  27. #27
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Hi Jerry

    Might want to put yourself to sleep reading all the edits to my last post....sorry I don't like to edit but thought everybody was done for the evening so just added to last post.

    I'll read what you have said and reply tomorrow I have put myself to sleep reading my own response and yes I had the 7 feet in there incorrectly and went back and edited out while you were posting ...noticed I was wrong.

    I agree with all you are saying but I disagree about the nm cable (permanent wiring) being allowed to run across the flooring regardless of the type access ,,, 320.23 (A) & (B) does not address securing to the surface of a floor in an attic..

    Last edited by Roger Frazee; 09-18-2010 at 10:35 PM.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Some of you guys just kill me. The NEC is not an easy document to decipher, but the style is darn simple. If the NEC says SHALL, you have to. If it is prohibited, you can't. If something isn't prohibited, you can. It also has a blurb about attempting to use the code as a manual for untrained persons. Those of you who get stuck in the mode of "but it doesn't say you can" fall into this category. If everything that is permitted was detailed the NEC would look like a set of encyclopedias.

    The NEC doesn't prohibit wiring on an attic floor. All it does address is what you have to do if NM-B is subject to damage, and that is protect it. Running boards are judged suitable for protection. I'm reasonably sure that the folks that put the NEC together are aware that flooring gets installed in attics for various reasons (like furnaces, AC equipment, storage) on top of material that can't be drilled. Exactly how do you suppose that ceiling fixtures under an area like this are going to be supplied?

    The OP's picture definitely shows a bad installation. However, HG's rantings about any and everything else that may or may not be wrong in the picture have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the cable, properly secured and protected, would be legal (at least anywhere I work). This isn't a living room floor here folks.


  29. #29
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    If I were called to evaluate and repair the cable shown in the first post I would move the cable as far to the right as I could, nail a 2x4 beside the wire (both sides if needed), and secure the cable to the floor. It would take about a hour and cost about $150. Not a big deal I wouldn't think.


  30. #30
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    Wink Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    If I were called to evaluate and repair the cable shown in the first post I would move the cable as far to the right as I could, nail a 2x4 beside the wire (both sides if needed), and secure the cable to the floor. It would take about a hour and cost about $150. Not a big deal I wouldn't think.
    Geez James, comments like that might cause some on here to have a heart attack..

    Paul Kondzich
    Ft. Myers, FL.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Its pretty SIMPLE HOW the Code works.

    Article 300 applies. Jerry misses this part.

    This includes securing and protecting from damage.

    Article 334 further applies, ESPECIALLY 334.15,

    One must comply with Article 300 AND 334.

    The section of Article 334 which directs you to that section of article 320 TELLS YOU that the requirements of Article 334 MUST STILL BE MET, and TELLS YOU THAT requirements for circumstances outlined in 320.23 are IN ADDITION to applicable requirements of 334!!!!!

    We're in an attic....and its obviously accessible, as someone has photographed it....so we further look at 334.23 (this is where Jerry really loses it:

    Quote Originally Posted by NEC 334.23
    334.23 In Accessible Attics. The installation of cable in accessible attics or roof spaces shall also comply with 320.23.
    Jerry Peck would have you believe the areas and conditions discussed by 320.23 are the only acceptable area/location, method, and circumstances permitted using Cable in an accessible attic space...HOW ABSURD IS THAT? Obviously that is not the case, and 320.23 is ONLY applied where IT IS APPLICABLE and IN THE MANNER and via the LANGUAGE it is both refered to and envoked. It [320.23, and its sub-parts] ARE ADDITIONALLY restrictive IN application, NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR any part of 300 or 334, NOR PERMISSIVE or expressed authority to IGNORE REQUIREMENTS from either Article 300, NOR 334!

    320.23(A) envokes FURTHER requirement of Protection in an area where IT is otherwise NOT REQUIRED - EXPOSED WORK following building structure surface, specifically the TOP SIDE of EXPOSED UNCOVERED BY BUILDING FINISH MATERIALS, FLOOR JOISTS, RAFTERS (AND now with 2011 edition, STUDDING. WHERE THERE IS NO FLOOR, ceiling, or wall surface - WHERE such finish surface is BOTH NOT PRESENT AND NOT REQUIRED TO BE A FLOOR FINISH/SURFACE (on top of floor joists), ceiling finish/surface (underside/bottom of rafters), or wall finish/surface (face of studding), WITHIN a Six foot radius of the edges of a scuttle where there is NO permanent stair or ladder. IT EXISTS (320.23, envoked by 334.23) BECAUSE IT REQUIRES A FORM OF PROTECTION that OTHERWISE WOULD NOT BE REQUIRED BY Language found in 334, and 300 SHOULD THERE BE NO FLOOR - EXPOSED FLOOR JOISTS - WITHIN SIX FEET OF THE ACCESS TO THE ACCESSIBLE ATTIC.

    Does 320.23 Dictate the ONLY way said cable MAY be installed in an accessible attic? NO. Does 320.23 give license to IGNORE ANY PART OF ARTICLE 334??? NO!!!! IT IS IN ADDITION TO ARTICLE 334!!!!!!!

    Does 320.23(A) PROHIBIT THE INSTALLATION OF FLOOR upon FLOOR JOISTS IN any area of any accessible attic?? NO!!!! The remainder of 320.23(A) applies to EXPOSED work installations on surfaces ABOVE the TOP of floor joists OR IF PRESENT FROM THE SURFACE OF THE FLOORING, WHICH IF PRESENT SUPERCEEDS THE REFERENCES OF UNFINISHED FLOOR JOISTS, in which the top of floor joists are covered with FLOOR? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    All other requirements for installing Cable IRRESPECTIVE OF THE CONDITIONS OF THE BUILDING STRUCTURE OR INSTALLATION LOCATION? NO!!. 320.23 is applied IN ADDITION to Article 334, as it futher limits Article 300 due to the choice of materials and the conditions/locations of installation/employment of the chosen wiring method!!! ARTICLE 334 MUST BE MET, HENCE THE WORD ALSO, and then AS THEY APPLY. 320.23 is FURTHER RESTRICTIVE WHEN APPLICABLE, NOT PERMISSIVE, IN NO WAY RELEASING ONE FROM THE REQUIREMENTS WHEN THE CONDITIONS OF 320.23(A) DO NOT APPLY NOR WHEN 320.23(B) DOES NOT APPLY!!!!

    Nothing in 320.23 GIVES LICENSE TO RUN UNPROTECTED, UNSECURED CABLE ACROSS FLOORING IN AN ACCESSIBLE ATTIC.


    THEN and ONLY THEN, WHERE APPLICABLE do we apply 320.23, and ONLY AS APPLICABLE and it is envoked IN ADDITION (ALSO) TO THE REQUIREMENTS IN ARTICLE 334, and ONLY WHEN THE SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES OUTLINED ARE PRESENT.

    320.23 Does NOT give license to IGNORE requirements in 334, NOR 300. 320.23 where envoked are ADDTIONAL REQUIREMENTS TO Article 334. They do NOT Contradict anything else in Chapter 1, 2 or 3; THEY FURTHER RESTRICT WHERE THE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE PRESENT.

    Now lets take a look AGAIN at what JERRY MISSES with the subsection he keeps quoting [320.23(A)]

    The TITLE of the sub-section of the article, that is the first words which are BOLDED by the NEC that follow that "(A)" TELL US HOW TO READ AND APPLY THAT PART!!!! I'll Highlight them further in RED and make them REALLY BIG like JERRY PECK likes to do (note the 2011 Edition has clarified by inserting what is underlined):

    Quote Originally Posted by NEC 320.23








    320.23 In Accessible Attics. Type AC cables in accessible attics or roof spaces shall be installed as specified in 320.23(A) and (B)
    (A)Cables Run Across the Top of Floor Joists. Where run across the top of floor joists, or within 2.1 m (7 ft) of the floor or floor joists across the face of rafters or
    studding, the cable shall be protected by substantial guard strips that are at least as high as the cable. Where this space is not accessible by permanent stairs or ladders, protection shall only be required within 1.8 m (6 ft) of the nearest edge of the scuttle hole or attic entrance.
    (B) Cable Installed Parallel to Framing Members. Where the cable is installed parallel to the sides of rafters, studs, or ceiling or floor joists, neither guard strips nor running boards shall be required, and the installation shall also comply with 300.4(D).
    THIS CABLE IS NOT BEING RUN ACROSS THE TOP OF FLOOR JOISTS. IT IS BEING "RUN" ACROSS THE TOP OF A FLOOR!!!!! 320.23(A) applies in Lieu of FLOOR surfaces, ceiling surfaces, and now wall surfaces IN ACCESSIBLE ATTICS!!!!!


    [size=2]Is this cable in accessible attic, sure. We know this to be so, as obviously the photographer has accessed the attic, so we know we MUST take a peek at that section in 320, as we have been directed to by 334.

    We are following Article 300 and 334 FIRST and IN THAT ORDER.

    320.23(A) "TOP OF FLOOR JOISTS MEASUREMENT" DOES NOT APPLY TO THIS PART OF THIS INSTALLATION, IT IS SUPERCEEDED BY THE PRESENCE OF THE FLOOR, AND THIS IS WHERE THE SEVEN FOOT MEASUREMENT/ZONE IS DEMARKED WHEN APPLYING THIS ARTICLE REFERENCE TO THIS PARTICULAR PHOTOGRAPHED AREA AND CABLING. THE SEVEN FOOT HIGH ZONE BEGINS AT THE TOP SURFACE FACE OF THE FLOOR IN THIS PART OF THIS INSTALLATION, BECAUSE A FLOOR EXISTS ATOP THE FLOOR JOISTS HERE. THAT IS HOW 320.23(A) is written, read, and applied!!!! THE FLOOR JOIST TOPS HERE IN THIS AREA ARE COVERED, OCCUPIED BY THE FLOOR INSTALLATION IN THIS ZONE. This EXPOSED WORK INSTALLATION, ALONG A BUILDING SURFACE (as required by both Article 300, and further detailed and outlined by 334.23, WHICH MUST BE ABIDED BY) IS NOT.....

    I repeat NOT BEING RUN ALONG THE TOP OF FLOOR JOISTS.

    FLOOR JOISTS ARE NOT THE BUILDING SURFACE THIS EXPOSED WORK IS BEING RUN ACROSS.

    WE DO NOT HAVE EXPOSED FLOOR JOISTS IN THIS LOCATION!!!!! The FACT that the FLOOR EXISTS in this area - NEGATES the applicability of 320.23(A) to this portion of the installation.

    See 334.15:

    Quote Originally Posted by NEC 334.15

    334.15 Exposed Work. In exposed work, except as provided in 300.11(A), cable shall be installed as specified in 334.15(A) through (C).

    (A) To Follow Surface. Cable shall closely follow the surface of the building finish or of running boards.

    (B) Protection from Physical Damage. Cable shall be protected from physical damage where necessary by rigid metal conduit, intermediate metal conduit, electrical metallic tubing, Schedule 80 PVC conduit, Type RTRC marked with the suffix -XW, or other approved means. Where passing through a floor, the cable shall be enclosed in rigid metal conduit, intermediate metal conduit, electrical metallic tubing, Schedule 80 PVC Conduit, Type RTRC marked sith the suffix -XW, or oth approved means extending at least 150 mm (6 in) above the floor.

    Type NMC cable installed in shallow chases or grooves in masonry, concrete, or adobe shall be protected in accordance with the requirements in 300.4(F) and covered with plaster, adobe, or similar finish.

    (C) In Unfinished Basements and Crawl Spaces. Where cable is run at angles with joists in unfinished basements and crawl spaces, it shall be permissible to secure cables not smaller than two 6 AWG or three 8 AWG conductors directly to the lower edges of the joists. Smaller cables shall be run either through bored holes in joists or on running boards. Nonmetallic-sheathed cable installed on the wall of an unfinished basement shall be permitted to be installed in a listed conduit or tubing or shall be protected in accordance with 300.4. Conduit or tubing shall be provided with a suitable insulating bushing or adapter at the point the cable enters the raceway. The sheath of the nonmetallic-sheathed cable shall extend through the conduit or tubing and into the outlet or device box not les sthan 6 mm (1/4 in.). The cable shall be secured within 300 mm (12 in.) of the point where the cable enters the conduit or tubing. Metal conduit, tubing, and metal outlet boxes shall be connected to an equipment grounding conductor complying with the provisions of 250.86 and 250.148.

    THE FLOOR which is present IS WHAT THE CABLE IS BEING RUN ACROSS.

    Which must be secured, and PROTECTED FROM DAMAGE, AND INSTALLED MEETING THE REQUIREMENTS OUTLINED IN THE ENTIRETY OF ARTICLE 334, AND ARTICLE 300, WHICH ARE APPLICABLE TO THIS INSTALLATION.

    Now what we do have is cable within six inches of a FLOOR, that remains required to be secured and protected.

    If the methods which are acceptable to protect this CABLE, and most especially the CABLE SHEATHING from DAMAGE and DETERIORATION, are NOT PERMITTED TO BE UNSECURED AND LAYED UPON A FLOORING SURFACE (nor exposed to UV via the window, etc.) THEN NEITHER, OBVIOUSLY may the cable which is what is vulnerable and is to be protected, in the first place!


    When you review a CHAPTER in the code, it is divided into Sections.

    Articles are oftentimes (most times) also divided into Sections.


    320.23 (A) IS NOT PERMISSIVE NOR DOES IT IN ANY WAY EXCLUDE OR VOID STATED REQUIREMENTS FOR ELSEWHERE IN CHAPTER 3. IT IS FURTHER RESTRICTIVE IN/WHEN THE CONDITIONS, INSTALLATION, AND CIRCUMSTANCES, ALLOWABLE VIA COMPLIANCE WITH APPLICABLE PORTIONS OF 300 & 334 ARE MET.


    334.23 does not negate any other requirement of 334, nor 300; it envokes, where applicable additional requirements.

    320.23, and specifically, 320.23(A) does not negate any requirement from 334 nor 300. IT ADDS (where applicable) ADDITIONAL requirements where not otherwise required. All other requirements from Chapters 1, 2, 3 & 4 for such location/installation are still envoked.

    In this particular area (where cable is drawn across the FLOOR, where a FLOOR surface exists - JERRY PECK IS FLAT OUT WRONG IN HIS JUSTIFICATIONS OR APPLICATION OF THE LANGUAGE IN 320.23(A).

    320.23(A) applies to exposed work in an accessible attic in the "zone" which is seven feet high beginning at the top of the floor joists, if uncovered, or the top face of the floor (that which faces UP) and encompases exposed upon (wall) studding, rafters, and exposed floor joists in that seven-foot high zone (or roof structure height).

    That is how that is written, read, and applied. 320.23(A) does not prohibit concealed work, nor does it restrict or proscribe or otherwise prohibit the installation in other areas of the attic in compliance with 300, 334, and otherwise. It further does not REQUIRE installation on the top of exposed floor joists, or within the ceiling/floor cavity below the top of the attic floor joists, It further does not prohibit FLOOR FINSHES to be installed anywhere in an attic, ceiling surfaces to be installed anywhere on attic rafters, nor wall surface finishes on wall studding anywhere in an attic. It does not prohibit installation of wiring concealed within or behind, or below those surface finishes. It does not in anyway give permission to install cable ON a floor surface (top face of a floorING surface - IS not equal to top face of a floor joist which is uncovered!).

    BOTTOM LINE: PRESENCE OF FLOORING IN AN AREA OF ACCESSIBLE ATTIC BECOMES DEMARKATION POINT OF REFERENCE FOR 320.23(A); AS ITS (FLOORING) PRESENCE/INSTALLATION SUPERCEEDS DEMARKATION POINT REFERENCES TO THE TOPS OF (UNFINISHED/UNCOVERED BY BUILDING SURFACE/STRUCTURAL FINISH MATERIALS) FLOOR JOISTS.


    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 09-19-2010 at 10:13 AM.

  32. #32
    Lou Romano's Avatar
    Lou Romano Guest

    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    If I were called to evaluate and repair the cable shown in the first post I would move the cable as far to the right as I could, nail a 2x4 beside the wire (both sides if needed), and secure the cable to the floor. It would take about a hour and cost about $150. Not a big deal I wouldn't think.
    Assuming the rest of the installation is ok, the simplest way to deal with this is to reroute it up the wall where it comes out in the bottom right side of the picture, to the ceiling joists and staple it in place across the ceiling! It looks like there may even be enough slack to do this. If not, a junction box could be added on the ceiling and a short piece installed between the new junction box and the existing box by the window. This would make it comply with NEC and not cost an arm and a leg!

    NEC is the "minimum requirement" so compliance with NEC means you did the lousiest job you were allowed to get away with! Non compliance with NEC is ignorance and that's no excuse!


  33. #33
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    I ask you "where is the love" ??

    We would give the guys over on Mike Holt a run for their money....

    Well I'm just going to add that in my jurisdiction that cable on the attic floor will not be accepted ... I've been there.

    So I'm not going to walk the middle of the fence, I interpret the code to not give permission to run that cable across walkable flooring. I do not think 320.23 (A) is applicable to nm cable run across the surface of that floor.

    I have a question into the electrical guru site to see what they say .. not that it will change anything....

    HG

    Careful your going to have to change your red ink cartridge ...


  34. #34
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Romano View Post
    Assuming the rest of the installation is ok, the simplest way to deal with this is to reroute it up the wall where it comes out in the bottom right side of the picture, to the ceiling joists and staple it in place across the ceiling! It looks like there may even be enough slack to do this. If not, a junction box could be added on the ceiling and a short piece installed between the new junction box and the existing box by the window. This would make it comply with NEC and not cost an arm and a leg!

    NEC is the "minimum requirement" so compliance with NEC means you did the lousiest job you were allowed to get away with! Non compliance with NEC is ignorance and that's no excuse!
    That would be none-too-wise placing the cabling outside of the thermal envelope in New York, where attic temperatures might easily drop to or below 14 degrees F during the winter (brittle thermoplastic) and exceed ambient temperatures for the cable REQUIRING derating, not to mention increase the LENGTH of the circuit.


  35. #35
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    It doesn't matter how much you cut and paste, repeat yourself, or how BIG you make the font, the fact is there is nothing in the NEC that prohibits the cable from being installed on the attic floor as long as, if it is, you protect it. This area is NOT living space and doesn't need to be treated as such.

    How the hell else are you going to get wire to some areas? IT DOESEN'T MATTER if the attic is accessible, you still have to get power to some things. Heck, overhead service wire is accessible with an alumininum ladder but we don't build plastic buffer zones around it from the pole to the mast.

    Must be a great thing to be an old fart with too much time on your hands who sits around dreaming up crap to feed gullible people who are looking for real advice and facts.


  36. #36
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Hi Bill

    The fact is there is nothing in the NEC that prohibits the cable from being installed on the attic floor as long as, if it is, you protect it. This area is NOT living space and doesn't need to be treated as such.
    That is what I've been struggling with .. my problem is I cannot find where you are allowed to run permanent wiring or wiremold or any wiring method on the surface of a floor in a dwelling attic or anywhere else.

    I find permission for surface of walls and ceilings, ceiling joists etc but not surface of floors ... under floors yes ... I'm still looking ...

    Anyway I'm going to go watch my new grass grow as it has become more exciting lately ...

    PS ... You were correct ...if I hang around long enough .... well you probably remember what you told me ....


  37. #37
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Hey ..

    Anybody game for discussing basement floors....


  38. #38
    Art Dotson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    What happened to Jon? Do you suppose he got an acceptable answer to his post? Or, got disgusted with all the BS symantics and left? The fact is it is a sloppy installation and would be unacceptable in almost any jurisdiction. Is it safe? Apparently it has been so far, the house is still standing. Should it be corrected? To eliminate the hazards it presents at present, of course. BUT, ultimately that is for the home owner to decide.


  39. #39
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kriegh View Post
    the fact is there is nothing in the NEC that prohibits the cable from being installed on the attic floor as long as, if it is, you protect it. This area is NOT living space and doesn't need to be treated as such.
    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Frazee View Post
    That is what I've been struggling with .. my problem is I cannot find where you are allowed to run permanent wiring or wiremold or any wiring method on the surface of a floor in a dwelling attic or anywhere else.
    Roger,

    You seem to have, based on what your posts are saying, missed this important fact ("fact" as far as we know from the original post): "I am assuming this wiring on the attic floor" ...

    ... "attic" floor ...

    Thus we are not discussing a "floor" in a habitable space or any room in which people will be walking, we are discussing the 'floor' of the "attic", and ALL "attics" have "floors", whether those "floors" be the tops of the ceiling joists/truss bottom chords or "flooring" as shown in the photo.

    The key to this is NM cable in an "attic", and this is what the NEC states:
    For NM cable: (underlining and bold are mine)
    - 334.23 In Accessible Attics.
    - - The installation of cable in accessible attics or roof spaces shall also comply with 320.23.

    - 320.23 In Accessible Attics.
    - - (A) ... Where this space is not accessible by permanent stairs or ladders, protection shall only be required within 1.8 m (6 ft) of the nearest edge of the scuttle hole or attic entrance.

    To break that down into its sentence parts for your reading pleasure:
    - 320.23 In Accessible Attics.
    - - (A) ... Where this space is not accessible by permanent
    stairs or ladders,
    protection
    shall only be required
    within 1.8 m (6 ft)
    of the nearest edge of the scuttle hole or attic entrance.

    The NEC does not care if there is no flooring installed on the attic floor or if there is flooring installed on the attic floor, the NEC recognizes that the use of that space is more dependent on the access to that space, and if that access is not permanent ... not permanent ... then that space will have limited use, in which case the protection is only required within the first 6 feet of the access opening edges.

    H. G. has gone off the deep end, but I have faith that you will be able to read and understand the NEC and that it is only addressing permanent access or not permanent access, not flooring or no flooring.

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

  40. #40
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Well sometimes I'm real hard headed and I was pretty sure I had this nailed down... but after a few phone calls to still working electricians, breakfast this morning with a retired building inspector and the reply from the other forum I'm going to have to SWALLOW REAL HARD and admit that I am incorrect in my statements about not being able to run cable across that flooring. It seems there is no violation in doing so as it is in an attic and I am told it would not matter permanent or non permanent access by my retired friend. Seems he thinks I need to go to the doctor and get my memory fixed.... He said the only thing he would require is the cable be protected if permanent access and I finally understand it.

    Jerry

    You've been drilling this into my hard skull and I am somewhat embarrassed that I could not put the pieces together that you have been patiently trying to tell me. It IS a matter of how the attic is accessed as to how you protect that cable on the floor....

    So gentlemen .... I hope that you understand that I only spent all this time on this thread trying to understand what I do not understand. And again I have learned something here and that makes it worth all the effort.

    FWIW ... I think what happened to me here is it was just something I would never do or have never done and couldn't accept the fact the NEC would allow it. So I didn't open my mind up to that possibility it was just too darn insane in my eyes.....

    Roger

    Last edited by Roger Frazee; 09-19-2010 at 10:05 PM.

  41. #41
    John Steinke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Some seem to be making a distinction as to the presence of a 'floor.'

    As best I can tell, the NEC completely fails to mention floors. I see no rules regarding the running of any manner of wiring across any manner of floor. The NEC is silent as to running wires over, under, through, or around floors. Since floors aren't specifically mentioned, we're just going to have to make our best guess.

    There are specific requirement as to protecting wiring from physical damage. IMO, in a attic 'running boards' are adequate for this purpose- even atof any manner of decking or flooring, however far they are from the opening.

    Let's carry this a step further. Suppose someone not only place running boards on either side of the wire in the picture .... supppose they then places a piece of plywood over both the boards and the wire. IMO, not only would the wires be protected - there would be no requirement to fasten them, as they might have been 'fished.' (After all, we can't tell which came first - the wires or the protection).

    If one were to make inferences from the NEC mentioning 'across joists,' but not mentioning 'over flooring,' one might infer that the NEC prohibits flooring in attics. Right. Sure.

    Place running boards down, and I defy you to damage the wires. You might trip and fall through the ceiling, but the wires would remain. Isn't that what this discussion is about- protecting the wires?


  42. #42
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    I have only three words to say on this topic:

    "Warnier-Orr Diagram"

    Warnier/Orr Diagrams

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  43. #43
    Bill Nolte's Avatar
    Bill Nolte Guest

    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    Some seem to be making a distinction as to the presence of a 'floor.'

    As best I can tell, the NEC completely fails to mention floors. I see no rules regarding the running of any manner of wiring across any manner of floor. The NEC is silent as to running wires over, under, through, or around floors. Since floors aren't specifically mentioned, we're just going to have to make our best guess.

    There are specific requirement as to protecting wiring from physical damage. IMO, in a attic 'running boards' are adequate for this purpose- even atof any manner of decking or flooring, however far they are from the opening.

    Let's carry this a step further. Suppose someone not only place running boards on either side of the wire in the picture .... supppose they then places a piece of plywood over both the boards and the wire. IMO, not only would the wires be protected - there would be no requirement to fasten them, as they might have been 'fished.' (After all, we can't tell which came first - the wires or the protection).

    If one were to make inferences from the NEC mentioning 'across joists,' but not mentioning 'over flooring,' one might infer that the NEC prohibits flooring in attics. Right. Sure.

    Place running boards down, and I defy you to damage the wires. You might trip and fall through the ceiling, but the wires would remain. Isn't that what this discussion is about- protecting the wires?

    John,
    I think you nailed it. Adding the protective strips and plywood over the strips raises the floor and protects the cable. Since the cable is no longer run over the floor but protected under the plywood and between the strips the location of the floor becomes a moot point. Unfortunately sometimes we forget to think outside of the box on the easiest or cheapest way to legally correct a code issue.

    Bill Nolte
    Master Electrician ('78 to present)
    Certified Safety and Health Official
    Authorized OSHA Instructor

    "It's not what we don't know that hurts, it's what we know that ain't so." Will Rogers 1879-1935.


  44. #44
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Nolte View Post
    John,
    I think you nailed it.

    Unfortunately sometimes we forget to think outside of the box on the easiest or cheapest way to legally correct a code issue.

    Bill,

    The discussion was not as to how to protect that NM cable but as to whether or not the code required it, and, being as the code does not require that protection *IF* there is no permanent means of access ... there is no "legal" way to correct that is not "legally" a code issue which needs to be corrected.

    Now *IF* there is a permanent means of access ... (and that has not been established yet) ...

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

  45. #45
    Bill Nolte's Avatar
    Bill Nolte Guest

    Thumbs up Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon mackay View Post
    I am assuming this wiring on the attic floor is a no no but wanted to throw it out there anyway.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Bill,

    The discussion was not as to how to protect that NM cable but as to whether or not the code required it, and, being as the code does not require that protection *IF* there is no permanent means of access ... there is no "legal" way to correct that is not "legally" a code issue which needs to be corrected.

    Now *IF* there is a permanent means of access ... (and that has not been established yet) ...

    Jerry,
    The current discussion may be "IF" required but the question was "I am assuming that the wiring on the floor is a no no".

    I believe that the code requires correction of this issue in;
    2008 NFPA 70 NEC Article 110.12
    "Mechanical Execution of Work
    Electrical equipment shall be installed in a neat and workmanlike manner."
    The handbook further notes;
    "The requirements in 110.12 calling for "neat and workmanlike" installations has appeared in the NEC as currently worded for more than half a century."
    "Many Code conflicts or violations have been cited by the authority having jurisdiction based on the authority's interpretation of "neat and workmanlike manner." Many electrical inspection authorities use their own experience or precedents in their local areas as the basis for their judgments."
    Further the code also states in 2008 NFPA 70 NEC Article 90.1(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 hazards but not necessarily efficient, convenient or adequate for good service or future expansion of electrical use."
    To paraphrase, the bare minimum for safety.
    Lets not race to the bottom with safety or quality. Rather than just meeting the basic or bare minimums why not point out what we find that makes this an unsafe structure, after all someone is going to put their life and their family's lives on the line by living and sleeping here.
    The pictured cabling installation method is not safe in several respects, one is trip hazards, these trip hazards present on a floor or decked attic might lead to someone catching the unsecured and unprotected cable with a foot or other object and dislodging same from the connector attaching it to the junction box or other piece of electrical equipment in which it terminates. This might expose live conductors and present a potentially fatal shock hazard to the occupants or a serviceman working in the attic.
    I stand by my statement that repairs are needed and further believe that I have herewith demonstrated several reasons for such necessity. There are almost always more than one section of the code that are relevant to any issue.
    Again, John nailed the easy cheap and simple correction to the entire issue and it is entirely code compliant!
    We should all work together to assist less knowledgeable individuals rather than allowing the detrimental confrontational attitudes so frequently expressed in this forum.

    Bill Nolte
    Master Electrician ('78 to present)
    Certified Safety and Health Official
    Authorized OSHA Instructor

    "It's not what we don't know that hurts, it's what we know that ain't so." Will Rogers 1879-1935.


  46. #46
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
    Roger Frazee Guest

    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Hello Bill

    I couldn't agree more with what you have been saying. The NEC IMO is pretty much mute about cabling on floors in attics. At least they seem to think that since it is an attic then anything goes depending on the access. If i secure that cable to the floor and run it diagonally across that floor to the junction box just seems insane to me. If your one of those families that hoardes stuff (lots of them...) your going to have everything imaginable stacked on or around that cable. If you protect it with running boards you have a big trip hazard. I don't see how that cable ran diagonally meets any standard minimum or not , nor does it meet a workmanlike manner IMO.

    I have conceded that the cable can be there, .... still doesn't 'sit' well with me though. Jerry made this comment earlier in this thread

    Yes, it CAN be, and it CAN be done according to code - which is what this discussion is about.

    SHOULD it be done? Of course not. But code does not address "should" it be done, it addresses that it "may" be done.

    The key is whether or not there is a permanent means of access, such as a ladder, etc. Now, some apparently ASSUME that there is a permanent means of access, and thus they ASSUME that it is not allowed, but ... unless there is no permanent means of access ... it is "allowed", but not within 6 feet of the attic access opening.

    Is it just plain dumb? Yep. Is it just plain stupid? Yep. Is it potentially dangerous? Yep. Is it against all common sense? Yep. Is it against the code? Nope ... not if there is no permanent means of access.
    It took me a long time to absorb that the cable could be on that floor and I think Jerry pretty much summed up my feelings in the qoute above. There is no way I'm going to run that cable across that floor in that manner. If I had to put that cable on the floor it would be way to the rafter and wall top plate side where you couldn't touch it or walk on it. Even so I just wouldn't put it on the floor ... there is no good reason.

    That said I can't imagine an inspector accepting the cable on the floor like we see in this thread...protected or not.

    IMO the NEC needs to fix this floor in the attic vagueness...leaving it to "workmanlike" manner just doesn't cut it IMO.

    I have to understand (as hard as it may be) that the cable can be there in the manner shown if secured and/or protected .... and believe me I had to swallow real hard to finally accept that fact.

    I mean they provide a sub-section 320.23 to talk about faces of rafters and joists and omit flooring in attics.... that nuts.

    Roger

    Last edited by Roger Frazee; 09-22-2010 at 12:23 AM.

  47. #47
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Nolte View Post
    Jerry,
    The current discussion may be "IF" required but the question was "I am assuming that the wiring on the floor is a no no".

    I believe that the code requires correction of this issue in;
    Bill,

    That would be based on a potentially faulty ASSUMPTION (and you know what assumptions are, right? )

    Instead of promulgating an ASSUMPTION which may well not be correct (after all, as you stated "The current discussion may be "IF" required but the question ... " - meaning the person asking the question was not sure, thus no assumption can should be made), instead, one must first clarify the installation and its accessibility.

    Simply making assumptions does not do any good, especially after the long debate resulting in the fact that NO PROTECTION IS REQUIRED *IF* ... yes, *IF* ... there is no permanent access to that "ATTIC", which seems to be something else you may have missed.

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

  48. #48
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Howe View Post
    What's he going to review? How do you know it wasn't a professional who installed it? Professionals are responsible for most of the problems I find with houses.

    a. The point of review is the obvious attic floor wiring which is listed under the attic electrical section with photograph, you might also place an arrow there.. No one else on this forum had a problem with figuring out from the photo what the issue was. With experience you learn to spot unprofessional installations a mile away.
    Most professionals are not responsible for the problems you see in residential construction, its typically home owners who performed there
    own work or contractors who didn't want to spend the money on qualified
    help. You seem to be adverse to to referring licensed contarctors . Get over it.



    My point is that conjecture doesn't really have a place in an inspection report.
    b. Theres no conjecture here, with more experience you will learn how to
    properly phrase comments.

    Just report what you see and recommend a remedy. And if your comment would really be "unprofessional installation, recommend electrician review", not only would you have offered a meaningless sentence fragment to people who are seeking solid information, you would have told your client to have an electrician "review" something that in fact needs to be repaired/corrected.
    c. Its not your role to recomend a remedy other than to involve a licensed electrician.Were generalist and your not being paid to recomend specific
    electrical repairs unless you want to be sued.An electrician needs to review it in order to provide the cost to repair , since the wiring was
    improperly installed there are probably other issues which need to reviewed also.

    There is no need for a review, it is obviously wrong and it just needs to be fixed.
    d. No, it will be repaired by a licensed electrician who will also review it. No qualified electrician is likely to just do exactly what you recomend and assume the liability for your potential lack of electrical knowledge.
    When he touches it he assumes liability for it. Your not directing his work as a home inspector, if you want to do that you need to become an architect or engineer. I have worked as all three.

    There is improperly installed electrical cable in the attic. This is wrong because the cable is exposed to damage and is not properly secured. Have a qualified electrican correct this installation.
    e. Again you are not directing the scope of his work and any competent electrician is not going to stop with the lack of secure cable. Remember
    whenever you find one defect there are usually several more nearby.
    I'd recomend you read "Inspecting a House" by Rex Cauldwell for a good idea of your role as a home inspector. Also I think Home Gauge is similar to about another half dozen inspection softwares on the market. Personally I think 3D is the best .

    Jim Singleton
    Amerispec Dayton


  49. #49
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
    Darrel Hood Guest

    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    If the homeowner wanted to correct this by providing protection and support, why would that work require the skills and expense of an electrician?

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES


  50. #50
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    Cool Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Just wanted to thank everyone who reply to this thread. I really enjoyed
    reading all the posts. Robert


  51. #51
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    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Because in most states electrical work requires a licensed electrician. The reason it is messed up now is probably due to a non-professional install.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Hood View Post
    If the homeowner wanted to correct this by providing protection and support, why would that work require the skills and expense of an electrician?

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES



  52. #52
    Norman Ellis's Avatar
    Norman Ellis Guest

    Default Re: Wiring on attic floor

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The first question which needs to be asked and answered is: The attic is accessible how?

    Permanent ladder/stair? Yes? No?

    From there we will know how to address that cable and the requirements for securing and supporting it.
    Installations! at construction, remodel/repair/upgrade with all actions require occupied unoccupied/storage location requirements true!

    but it is obvious this attic has been modified to storage location, the wire in question is not properly installed or protected. runner boards are for NM (romex) that run along top of open frame joist, not flooring (no exception, even if it was rewired in conduit it would fall under a tripping hazard and would require additional steps taken) they must be secured every 4-6' by proper means (staples/bundle clip/strapping) they can not be exposed to contact witnin 3' of an opening (attic access) running on the side of the joist is a common fix with open frame attic lines.

    with your electrical safety in mind
    Norman W. Ellis
    Founder
    New World Electrical Consultants & Service
    (safe home energy LLC)
    Safe Home Energy LLC Inspections, Consulting & Service


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