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  1. #1
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    Default Code For GFIs on Center Islands

    Does anybody know what year it became a requirement for a center island counter in a kitchen to have a GFI outlet installed? I have a client who had an inspection done on his house that he is selling and the buyer's realtor is telling him that not having a GFI outlet on the island counter (which has a sink) is a fire code violation (??). His house was built in 2005 and the island has no outlet on the exterior parts of the island.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Code For GFIs on Center Islands

    There is no requirement for a GFI outlet. The receptacle can be downstream of a GFI device located elsewhere on the SABC or a GFI breaker.

    This is not a fire code violation. The missing receptacle would be an NEC violation.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Code For GFCIs on Center Islands

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Does anybody know what year it became a requirement for a center island counter in a kitchen to have a GFI outlet installed? I have a client who had an inspection done on his house that he is selling and the buyer's realtor is telling him that not having a GFI outlet on the island counter (which has a sink) is a fire code violation (??). His house was built in 2005 and the island has no outlet on the exterior parts of the island.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    There is no requirement for a GFI outlet. The receptacle can be downstream of a GFI device located elsewhere on the SABC or a GFI breaker.
    To clarify what Jim said so as to eliminate word games on the above: The RECEPTACLE on the island is required ... the receptacles is required to have GFCI PROTECTION, which can either be a combination GFCI receptacle outlet device, or, it can be a standard receptacle outlet and have GFCI protection provided from an upstream GFCI device (such as a breaker or a GFCI receptacle device).

    The GFCI what/where/when page is here: http://www.constructionlitigationcon..._page-2008.pdf
    (I just realized that I need to update the page to include the 2011 NEC requirements.)

    With a sink in that island, it would have required GFCI protection in 1996.

    That receptacle outlet was required to have been there before 1996, however, it was only required to be GFCI protected since the 1996 NEC.

    Hoping I answered two questions:
    1) when the receptacle outlet was required to be in the island - partial answer is prior to 1996 (I did not trace it back further than my GFCI page goes, but that would not matter with a 2005 house);
    2) when the receptacle outlet was required to have GFCI protection.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Code For GFIs on Center Islands

    Word games? I don't know who would play those.

    Thanks Jim and Jerry. I'll pass the info along to my client.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Code For GFIs on Center Islands

    A kitchen island with an area equal to or greater than four square feet has required a receptacle since the 1990 NEC. Proximity of a receptacle to a sink, especially in a residential kitchen has required GFCI protection since prior to that. Non-residential, non-single-family dwelling UNIT, "kitchen"(s) have required GFCI protection for countertop receptacles since at least 2002, perhaps earlier, I don't recall definatively at the moment and am not inclined to look it up for you.

    In those years the island and/or countertop receptacle could be as much as 18" above the countertop surface, or with special permission, 12" below but not under an overhang equal to or exceeding 6". More recent editions allow for a countertop receptacle to be as much as 20" above the countertop surface and still meet code.

    I recently posted a copy of a long-standing CMP2 panel member's article and addressed this historical issue on a thread started by Mat Stouffer about two weeks ago on the Kitchen Island question. The last post on that thread was on the 11th from "speedy" which I chose to ignore his stupendous remark, since he seems ignorant of NFPA General Definitions and its own universal style guide, and feigns or demonstrates ignorance as to what IS a partition wall, including a less than full height partition wall according to NFPA who uses and has used ASCE/SEI (7:11.2) definitions and has further deliniated how measurements are made along walls to determine spacing consistant with its many publications and its NFPA general definitions and style guide, universal to same.

    At that time (1990 NEC - first requirement for Kitchen Island countertop receptacle outlets (ONE) and for many code cycles forward, if the Island countertop was less than four square feet, for example only 22x22", an island countertop receptacle was not required.

    If the countertop area on both sides and/or the area behind the sink does not equal to or exceed 12", that area does not require a receptacle.

    Next question would be IF the "island" is really an "island" or is it a countertop area abutting a partition wall. Partition walls are not required to be full height - if the partition wall is equal to or in excess of 24" than a wall outlet (or a floor outlet in proximity to the wall) is additionally required. If the partition wall is "obstructed" or overed by built-in or installed/afixed cabinets, book shelves, etc. then the wall outlet is no longer required according to the 2011 NEC.

    Whether or not the jursidiction where "the island" is located utilized an unammended version of the NEC at that time, who knows. Seems sometime in the vintage you reference changes were made in your state or soon afterward regarding local jurisdictions having to restate local code adoptions and enforcement.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 02-22-2011 at 06:59 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Code For GFIs on Center Islands

    Not sure how Speedy's comments from a two week old thread are pertinent here but I thank you for you input nonetheless.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

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