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Thread: Panel clearance

  1. #1
    Jody Humbert's Avatar
    Jody Humbert Guest

    Question Panel clearance

    Had a panel that was partially covered by the drop ceiling. I had to lift up the ceiling panel to unscrew the top secure screws. Ceiling measured 7' 7". I know of the 6'6" minimum work space requirement so that doesn't apply. The door can open freely and and access to the breakers is accessible. Should I mention the 3' in front of panel rule( ceiling panel almost touches the non opening portion of the cover) or is that being picky. Local county inspector passed this and another home inspector gave it passing remarks. Home is 6 years old. Thanks in advance for any remarks.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Columbus GA

    Default Re: Panel clearance

    Is this the main panel or a sub panel?

    I do not have the codes on this computer, but I give it a try.
    If I'm wrong, maybe just maybe someone will know for sure and correct it.

    You say the ceiling is 7'7".
    That will put the highest breaker above reach (5'6")
    That is not allowed

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Re: Panel clearance

    The highest breaker can be no more than 6'7" to the center of the handle.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Snowbird (this means I'm retired and migrate between locations), FL/MI

    Default Re: Panel clearance

    Jody Humbert,

    The working space clearance zone and the dedicated equipment space zone minimums extend to the minimum height OR to the height of the equipment itself, whichever is higher. Appears to also be a width working space /clearance "issue" - it may begin on either side of the equipment but it doesn't appear to have the minimum irregardless of where you begin the "zone" regarding the projections and location proximity and projection of the other equipment present.

    You also have proximity issues with the other equipment pictured, and projections exceeding the face within on either side which are not metering equipment exceptions.

    I further note a conduit body to the left which also fails to maintain required access to its removable blank/enclosure - this is defeated by the location of the center panel enclosure. These access covers must remain accessible - just as you may not cover a plate for an outlet box with a wall surface. I assume this conduit & body contain the main power feeder or SEC from above. I further suspect these should have entered the panel at the left from the bottom of the panel cabinet on the left, and not from the side or top.

    Additionaly, I note (white) communications cables in close proximity to NM Cable and the panel to the left. Am also curious/concerned regarding bundling or maintaining spacing and heat regarding NM cables behind conduit and their arrangment/securement/stacking path to the left of the center panel..

    "drop ceiling" metal support framing in contact with metal enclosures and restricting access. Drop ceiling panels are not structural ceiling - exposed wiring in unfinished basement, garage, or elsewhere? Even if a panelized drop ceiling system is a listed fire resistive assembly, with unremediated gaps such as pictured would be inconsistant with such.

    Gap above regarding wiring method unknown if blocking and stoping done regarding penetrations/wiring method and the floor/ceiling assembly above, and/or wall/floor plates above.

    What is the device to the right mostly out of frame? Is it a tankless water heater?

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 03-31-2011 at 06:36 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Ormond Beach, Florida

    Default Re: Panel clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    What is the device to the right mostly out of frame? Is it a tankless water heater?
    Generator emergency panel from a whole house generator.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( )


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