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Electrical Code Revisions

Code Revision and Interpretation Committee Code Interpretation For 2004
(Last Updated: January 21, 2005)

In an effort to help the electrical industry make a smooth transition into the new Electrical Code and ensure the continuity in the performance of electrical work, the Department of Buildings will be posting code interpretations on its website. Listed below are new code-related questions and corresponding interpretations by the Code Committee. The users of this list should have available the 2002 edition of the NEC and the associated NYC Amendments to the 2002 NEC (Local Law 81/03) (PDF) that went into effect on January 1, 2004.

To learn more about what each chapter / topic is about, click on the chapter number.
To find questions on the related topic, click on the topic or section code.

Chapter 1: General (Section 110-2/110-59)
Chapter 2: Wiring and Protection (Section 200-1/280-25)
Chapter 3: Wiring Methods & Materials (Section 300-1/384-37)
Chapter 4: Equipment for General Use (Section 400-1/490-74)
Chapter 5: Special Occupancies (Section 500-1/555-11)
Chapter 6: Special Equipment (Section 600-1/695-14)
Chapter 7: Special Conditions (Section 700-1/780-7)
Chapter 8: Communications Systems (Section 800-1/830-58)
Table: Requirements for conductors and conduits
Administrative: General Requirements (Local Laws 64/2001 and 81/2003)

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CHAPTER 1: GENERAL (Code Section 110-2 to 110-59)

SECTION 110.2

Q: a. Can electrical equipment be installed in a telephone closet?

b. Can telephone equipment be installed in an electrical closed?

c. Can fire alarm equipment (strobe panel) be installed in an electrical closet?

d. Does "qualified person" described in Note #3 of the Table 450-3(a) of the NY City Electrical Code need to be a licensed electrician?

e. Standard 250V, UL listed fuse blocks are available in the rating up to 600A. Is there any limit for the maximum size of fuses for a fire alarm system fuse cutout panel?

f. Is it permissible to use a 90A main fuse cut-out on a feeder that supplies power to a multi-branch fire alarm system? (2/11/2004)

A: a. Yes. See Article 110.2
b. No. See Article 110.2
c. Yes.
d. No. A "qualified person" must be authorized per Section 27-3017 of the Administrative Code and must meet the definition of "qualified person" under Article 100 of the NEC.
e. The maximum fuse size for a fire alarm system fuse cutout panel is 90A, as per RS-17-3.
f. Yes.

SECTION 110.2

Q: We are planning to install task lights if a university laboratory. The lights will be permanently attached to adjustable shelf assemblies and hardwired via flexible metallic conduit. Does this installation meet the current New York City Electric Code? (10/6/2004)

A: No, unless the interconnecting cables provide sufficient length and flexibility to allow shelf movement. Subject to field inspection. See Section 110.2.

SECTION 110.2 and 110.3

Q: Perimeter heat pump units are being installed in an apartment building, connected to 277/480V local panel boards The existing electrical service into the building is rated 120/208V, and is stepped up to 277/480V through local transformers. Some of these transformers will be eliminated, and the existing risers will be re-used at 120/208V to feed apartment panels. The corresponding heat pump units will be connected to the apartment panels, while a 208/277V step up transformer with proper disconnecting means will be installed in each heat pump enclosure. Each unit will be hard-wired into a junction box with a toggle disconnect. Is this proposed wiring method in compliance with Article 210-6a and c of the 1999 NEC? (3/10/2004)

A: Yes, if the installation does not violate the listing of the heat pump unit. See Articles 110-2 and 110-3.

SECTION 110.3(B)

Q: Section 210.8(A)(7) prohibits the installation of receptacles face-up on work surfaces or counter tops. Is it permissible to install receptacles on a Gym floor to power the exercise equipment? The installation would employ the use of 2000 series wire mold, including device covers and mechanical ground. (7/14/2004)

A: No, unless the product is listed for the purpose.

SECTION 110.4

Q: Is a Master Electrician License required when installing:

  1. IMC, RMC (Articles 342 & 344)
  2. Flexible Metal Conduit (Article 348)
  3. LFMC (Article 350)
  4. RNC (Article352)
  5. LFNC (Article 356)
  6. EMT (Article 358)
  7. FMT (Article 360)
  8. ENT (Article 362)
  9. Auxiliary Gutters (Article 366) and Pull Boxes
  10. Metal Wireways (Article 376)
  11. Nonmetallic Wireways (Article 378)
  12. Multioutlet Assembly (Article 380)
  13. Surface metal Raceways (Article 386)
  14. Surface Nonmetallic Raceways (Article 388)
  15. Underfloor Raceways (Article 390)
  16. Cable Tray (Article 392)
  17. Messenger Supported Wiring (Article 396)

For each of the raceways listed above that require a license to install, does it make a difference if the intended purpose of the raceway is for power, fire alarm, security, HVAC control or low voltage?   (9/8/2004)

A: a. - r. Yes. All Chapter 3 wiring installations must be performed by a licensed electrician. See Section 110.4 and the Administrative Section 27-3004.

SECTION 110.26 - 110.34

Q: In the old New York City Electrical Code there was a section which addressed storage within a service room or an electrical closet. It required that a sign be posted on the door of the service room or electrical closet, stating that the space inside could not be used for storage. The new adopted code (2002 NEC) however, does not address the storage issue within service rooms or electrical closets nor the need for a door sign. How will non-conformance be enforced? (12/8/2004)

A: Minimum clearances and all other provisions of Sections 110.26 thru 110.34 must be considered and maintained.

SECTION 110.26(C)

Q: We are replacing the existing main distribution switchboard in a public school with a new distribution switchboard rated 1600 Amp, 120/208 Volt.
The electrical room has one access door, which appears to be in violation to Section 110.26(C) (2) of the current New York City Electrical Code (2002 NEC), since the equipment rating is greater than 1200 Amp. Neither of the two conditions (a) or (b) apply in this case, to allow the use of a single entrance. Because this an existing building and the electrical equipment replacement is "in kind", we are asking for permission to retain this electrical room as is, without creating a second exit, which would be very difficult due to the building configuration.
Please note that there will be a fairly large number of similar school projects with electrical rooms having equipment rated higher than 1200 Amp and located in electrical rooms with only one entrance door.
(12/8/2004)

A: An "in kind" replacement must comply with the code in effect at the time of the original installation.

SECTION 110.26(C)(2)

Q: Does the installation of large equipment (i.e. equipment rated 1200A or more and over 6 feet wide, that contains overcurrent devices, switching devices or control devices) in an existing electrical service room with only one entrance, require the addition of a second entrance to the working space (as called for in Article 110. 26(C)(2) ) when:

  1. The installation involves replacement equipment?
  2. The installation involves new equipment? (11/10/2004)
A: a. No. b. Yes. See Section 110.26(C)(2).

SECTION 110.26(F)(1)

Q: a. Is it permissible to install wet pipe sprinklers in electric closets b. Are there any conditions associated with their acceptance? (11/10/2004)
 
A: a. Yes. b. Yes. See Section 110.26(F)(1) .

SECTION 110.26 and 110.34

Q: 1. Do the clearance requirements of Article 230.64(B) apply to switchboards that are part of generator supplied systems, installed in accordance with Articles 700 or 702, or should the general clearance requirements of Article 110.26 be used instead?
2. Do the separation requirements of Article 408.37 apply to distribution equipment provided as part of generator supplied systems, installed in accordance with Articles 700 or 702?
3. For existing buildings where a new installation of an Article 700 generator is made, can existing normal wiring, which is converted to emergency use, continue to share raceways & enclosures or is separation mandated per Article 7 00.9(B)? Separation of existing feeders in wireways, cable support & pull boxes is often difficult and disruptive in operational buildings. (7/14/2004)
 
A: 1. Sections 110.26 and 110.34 as applicable.
2. Yes.
3. Must be considered on a case by case basis. Advisory Board submission is required.
 
 

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CHAPTER 2: WIRING AND PROTECTION (Code Section 200-1 to 280-25)

SECTION 210.8(A)(5)

Q: In an unfinished basement of a one-family dwelling, a separate circuit will be installed for a refrigerator. Is it permissible to install a single receptacle that is not GFCI protected, if the receptacle is not located behind the refrigerator? (6/2/2004)

A: No. See Section 210.8(A)(5).

SECTION 210.12

Q: The owner of an apartment would like to add or modify one or two of the existing receptacles to be switch controlled. One receptacle would be used for table lamps, the second, for motorized shades. How should the upgrading work be performed so that it complies with Section 210.12, "Arc-Fault Circuit Interupter Protection"? (5/12/2004)

A: Adding a receptacle outlet to an existing non-AFCI protected circuit does not require AFCI protection of that circuit. All new circuits supplying receptacle outlets in bedrooms, require AFCI protection.

SECTION 210.12

Q: Are arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCI) required for 120V direct-wired baseboard heaters or HVAC equipment, located in bedrooms of residential units? (10/6/2004)

A: No. Only circuits supplying receptacle outlets require AFCI protection. See the amended Section 210.12(B).

SECTION Amendment Section 210.12(B) and Article 110.

Q: Is AFCI protection required for 15A and 20A outlets/circuits installed in college dormitories with facilities for cooking and eating?  (7/14/2004)

A: Yes.

SECTION 210-21(b)(2)

Q: Going back to the June 4, 2003 Q & As, please confirm that any listed electrical appliance can be powered from an approved relocatable power tap. (1/7/2004)

A: Any listed and approved portable appliance, which does not exceed the allowable capacity of the circuit, may be connected by an approved relocatable power tap. See Article 210-21(b)(2).

SECTION 210.52(A)

Q: In a building with nine apartments, each apartment has two kitchens. The two kitchens will not be used at the same time. How should the load of each kitchen be calculated? (9/8/2004)

A: Each kitchen load must be calculated in accordance with Section 210.52 (A).

SECTION 210.52(A)(1)

Q: Are receptacles installed on balconies of multiple dwellings and of one and two family homes required to have GFCI protection? (2/11/2004)

A: All outdoor receptacles must be GFCI protected.

SECTION 210.52(A)(2)

Q: Regarding the requirements for receptacle placement in residential buildings, we request clarification for the following conditions:

  1. We have full height floor to ceiling windows at certain exterior wall areas within living rooms. Section 210.52 (A)(2) of the NEC does not adequately define Wall Space for this condition. As fixed/operable floor to ceiling windows are not specifically included as wall space in the code definition, are these spaces considered as openings and therefore exempt from the wall spacing requirement?
  2. We have certain kitchen countertop configurations that include a wall at the side termination of a countertop. The code definition of wall counter space does not distinguish between back and side walls. However, it seems counterintuitive to locate a receptacle outlet on a side wall immediately adjacent to a receptacle outlet located on a back or side wall. Is that correct? (6/2/2004)
A: a. A fixed floor to ceiling window must be considered a wall. See Section 210.52(A)(2).
b. Your interpretation is correct.

SECTION 210.52(A)(2)

Q: For a dining room or dining area, does the NY City Elec. Code require a small appliance branch circuit or will general receptacles properly spaced suffice? (3/10/2004)

A: A small appliance branch circuit is required. See Article 210.52(A)(2).

SECTION 210.52(C)

Q: We are considering installing plug mold in a kitchen area, approximately 20 inches above the counter top. Each piece of plug mold will be protected by its own GFCI. What are corresponding code requirements? (9/8/2004)

A: The maximum height of any receptacle above a countertop is 20 inches. The use of plug mold is allowed. See Section 210.52 (C).

SECTION 210.52(C)

Q: In a kitchen with 2 existing appliance circuits, an additional small appliance branch circuit is brought to the counter.

  1. Must all the receptacles be GFCI protected or only the new one?
  2. Must the spacing of all the receptacles, old and new, be in accordance with the new NY City Electrical Code?(4/7/2004)
A: a. Only the new or relocated/replaced receptacles must be GFCI protected.
b. If the receptacles are added or relocated, they should be spaced in accordance with code. See Article 210.52(C).

SECTION 210.52(I)

Q: The 2002 NY City amended NEC requires the addition of Article 210.52(I). This section has only one exception: "Buildings with air conditioning systems that serve any of the above areas, shall not require separate outlets in those areas." However, Section 27-3172 of the old code gave us a second exception: "In rooms having permanently installed through-the-wall type room air conditioners, solid connections may be made from the individual appliance branch circuit to the air conditioner in lieu of the receptacle." Is this still permissible? (3/10/2004)

A: Yes.

SECTION 225.30(A)(2) and 225.33.

Q: Two feeders (one emergency) were installed between two buildings, and are connected to a total of seven disconnects (4 normal, 3 emergency) in the second building. Is this installation in violation of the Code? (7/14/2004)

A: The installation is OK.

SECTION 230.64(B)

Q: Article 230-64B, under Service Equipment Totaling 1000kVA or Larger, states: "…. provide the following minimum clearances: (2) At least 12 inches (30.48cm) from the floor to any exposed current-carrying part of the switchboard, except by special permission." Does the 12" minimum clearance requirement, from the floor to the current-carrying part of the switchboard, apply only to " Service Equipment Totaling 1000KVA or Larger"? (9/8/2004)

A: The 12 inches minimum clearance requirement applies only to the service bus of a 1000 KVA service. See Section 230.64(B).

SECTION 230.79

Q: What is the minimum rating of a single service disconnecting means for:
a. One family dwelling?Two family dwelling?
b. Two family dwelling?
c. Three or four family dwelling?
d. Public light and power in two, three or four family dwellings?
e. Utility steam meter?
f. Newspaper stand?
g. Outdoor sign?
h. Cable TV signal booster?
(3/10/2004)

A: a. 100A. Article 230.79(C).
b. & c. 60A per dwelling unit. Article 230.79(D).
d., e., f., g. & h. Per calculated load. Article 230.79.

SECTION 230.79

Q: What is the minimum ampacity of the service conductors for:

  1. One family dwelling?
  2. Two family dwelling?
  3. Three or four family dwelling?
  4. Newspaper stand?
  5. Outdoor sign?
  6. Cable TV signal booster? (3/10/2004)

A: a. & b. 100A.
c., d.& e. Per calculated load.

SECTION 230.79

Q: If the service switches and service conductors permitted are less than 100A, is special permission required? (3/10/2004)

A: Not necessarily.

SECTION 240.12 & 408.31(C)

Q: a. A fused switch, with a specified amperage, represents the first point of disconnect; a second switch, of the same size and with the same fuse size, represents the second point of disconnect. Per the New York City Electrical Code, is the second switch considered the second point in the system, and is that what is required to be shown on the Advisory Board submission? Or are the two switches the same point of protection within the system?
b. If a 4000A main disconnect and a 4 feet long load side bus, rated 800A per square inch, are located in the same section (between takeoff bus and section trough bus), can all remaining downstream bussing be increased to 1000 A per square inch? (11/10/2004)

A:
a. As described, the first and second points are to be considered the same. In this scenario, the third point of disconnect must be shown and the fuse coordination must be provided. See Section 240.12.
b. All remaining bus density ratings can be increased to 1000A per square inch. See Section 408.31(C) Exception.

SECTION 250.26(3)

Q: A special power distribution system is being considered, consisting of two Con Edison services, A and B, each 2000KVA / 2666KVA, 4.16KV - 208/120V, 3 phase, 4 wire and an emergency Diesel generator 100KW, 208V/120V, 3 phase, 4 wire. Do the grounding requirements of Article 250.26 of the 2002 NEC apply? If so, we are requesting a variance. (5/12/2004)

A: Yes, Section 250.26(3) and other related Sections of Article 250 apply. This design requires Advisory Board approval.

SECTION 250.52

Q: We are installing a grounding grid encircling a building, having the following characteristics:

  1. All grounding electrodes (ground rods) were driven to a minimum depth of 30 inches measured from the top of the rods to finish grade.
  2. All grounding electrode conductors (bonding jumpers) were installed at a minimum depth of 30 inches below finish grade, except for one section of the building where the depth is 6 inches, under asphalt pavement that serves as access to the loading bays.
  3. No conductors are exposed to physical injury.
  4. All conductors are stranded bare copper.
  5. All connections are solid copper hy-press compression fittings.

Does this installation comply with the requirements of Article 250? (7/14/2004)

A: Yes.

SECTION 250.52(A)(1) and 250.104(B)

Q: Is a bonding jumper required across a water meter that is installed on Y fittings? (5/12/2004)

A: Yes, a bonding jumper is required. See Sections 250.52(A)(1) and 250.104(B).

SECTION 250.66

Q: A fire alarm strobe panel will be installed in an all-concrete building, where the water main is not within a reasonable distance. We propose to ground the strobe panel to the fuse cutout, and the fuse cutout to the local electrical panel, using a #10 AWG copper ground wire. Is this approach acceptable? (12/8/2004)

A: In concrete buildings, connecting to the building's equipment grounding system is acceptable for local strobe panels. Minimum size of grounding electrode conductor is # 8 AWG. See Section 250.66.

SECTION 250.102(D) and 250.122(F)

Q: A 3000 Amp service disconnecting means is feeding a distribution board with 8 sets of 4 - 500 KCMIL conductors in 8 - 3.5 inch underground rigid galvanized conduits. One end of the conduits is properly bonded, with grounding lock nuts, and the other end comes up to the open bottom of the distribution board. What is the required minimum size of the bonding jumper? (4/7/2004)

A: The required minimum size of the bonding jumper is 400 KCMIL copper. See Articles 250.102(D) and 250.122(F).

SECTION 250.24(A)(5) and 250.142

Q: An appliance manufacturer is manufacturing stacked laundry appliances, operating at 240V, 27Amp, 1 phase.

  1. For existing installations, should the frame of a 240V appliance be grounded by means of a grounded circuit conductor or by an equipment grounding conductor?
  2. Considering that this appliance is rated 240V and the presence of water during normal operation, are there any safety concerns in NY City? (4/7/2004)
A: a. A separate equipment grounding conductor is required. See Articles 250.24(A)(5) and 250.142.
b. See answer to a.

SECTION 250.50 and 250.53

Q: In a new building, the service switch must have a grounding electrode connected to the water main and another grounding electrode connected to the supplemental grounding electrode. The 2002 NEC states in part that "An underground metal water pipe shall be supplemented by an additional electrode of the type specified in Sections 250.50 and 250.52". Is only one supplemental electrode required or are all of them required? (3/10/2004)

A: In a new building, all elements of the grounding electrode system shall be used if available. See Articles 250.50 and 250.53.

SECTION 250.64(B)

Q: Is it permissible to install a # 6 AWG or larger supplemental grounding conductor, connected to the building steel or a grounding rod, without a raceway? The grounding conductor is not exposed to mechanical damage. (3/10/2004)

A: A # 6 AWG supplemental grounding conductor may be installed exposed.

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CHAPTER 3: WIRING METHODS AND MATERIALS (Code Section 300-1 to 384-37)

SECTION 300.4(F)

Q: Is an insulated bushing required, as per Section 300.4 (F), when using #4 or larger AWG wire with manufactured fittings such as an offset nipple, chase nipple or flexible metal conduit connector? (12/8/2004)

A: Yes. Some fittings are manufactured with integral insulating material. See Section 300.4(F).

SECTION 300.22

  Q: Is it permissible to install electrical panels, transformers, etc. within a masonry constructed plenum that is primarily used for spill air and a small amount of return air? (10/6/2004)

A: No. See Section 300.22(B).

SECTION 310.4

Q: In a 480V-3P-3W installation, six (6) sets of 3 #350Kcmil MI cable run from a service switch to a centrifugal electric drive chiller. Two (2) different phase legs of two (2) different sets of a motor feeder (i.e., Phase B in Set 5 and Phase C in Set 6) have been damaged and subsequently removed. Therefore, due to the failure of two (2) phase legs, Phase A now has six (6) sets, Phase B has five (5) sets operational. The five (5) sets are adequately protected by the upstream overcurrent protection device and the feeder is still within the voltage drop allowance. Is it permissible to operated system "as is" without replacing the two (2) phase leg feeders, or removing the 6th Phase A conductor? (7/14/2004)

A: No.

SECTION 310.15(B)(2)

Q: Is it permissible to use 90°C rated conductors for de-rating purposes? (11/10/2004)

A: Yes. For the number of conductors in a raceway see Section 310.15(B-)(2).

SECTION 314

Q: Does the NY City Electrical Code allow the use of PVC electrical boxes for outdoor fixtures? (12/11/2004)

A: Yes, for recessed boxes. See Article 314.

SECTION 314

Q: Does the NY City Electrical Code allow the use of PVC electrical boxes for outdoor fixtures? (2/11/2004)

A: Yes, for recessed boxes. See Article 314. 

SECTION 320.3

Q: We have been advised by an electrical contractor that Armored Cable shall be supported every 4.5 feet, when installed vertically in an enclosed fire rated shaft. He is referring to Article 300.19(A) and 320.30 of the 2002 NEC. Please advise if the contractor's interpretation is correct or not. (4/7/2004)

A: Article 300.19 does not apply. Type AC cable must be installed in accordance with Article 320.30. The contractor is correct.

SECTION 368.41

Q: Section 368.41 of the New York City Amendments to the 2002 NEC refers to the service busway as insulated and requires a clearance of at least four inches between any live bus and the enclosure. However, Section 368.42(B) requires four inches clearance between non-insulated bus bars and the enclosure. Which section applies? (6/2/2004)

A: Section 368.41 applies. Service bus bars must be insulated or wrapped.

SECTION 368.41

Q: a. The Con Ed service is entering a building with four bus stabs, and we are providing a service bus duct from the POE to the service board located approximately 15' away, all within the service room. Do we have to wrap the service bus duct with a ½ lap layer of varnished cambric tape, and a ½ lap layer of slow burning impregnated cotton fabric tape as per Section 27-3047C of the old New York City Electrical Code?

b. Please clarify the intent of the following sentences: "Bus bars shall be enclosed in a steel, aluminum or other approved housing. Housing, if of metal, shall be made of at least 1/8 inch aluminum or No. 12 gauge steel and shall be such that at no point will the distance between a live bus and the housing be less than 4 inches." (6/2/2004)

A: a. & b. Section 368.41 applies. Service bus bars must be insulated or wrapped.

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CHAPTER 4: EQUIPMENT FOR GENERAL USE (Code Section 400-1 to 490-74)

SECTION Amended Section 450.9 in compliance with Article 110.13

Q: NEC Article 110.13 addresses the general requirement for the cooling of electrical equipment, generally in terms of maintaining required clearances for proper operation of the equipment without any specific requirements for the type of ventilation required. Is mechanical ventilation still required for service equipment rooms containing service equipment rated 1000KVA and above? Is mechanical ventilation required for electrical closets and equipment rooms containing transformers and bus duct risers? Can transfer air through natural convection be used? Can positive displacement transfer air from adjoining spaces be used either through direct supply or return air connections or is it required to provide a separate exhaust system or transfer air fan? (7/14/2004)

A: See Section 450.9 in compliance with Article 110.13

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CHAPTER 5: SPECIAL OCCUPANCIES (Code Section 500-1 to 555-11)

SECTION 520.6

Q: Bulletin #142, Section 142.6 of the old NY City Elec. Code allowed for a max. 32 conductors in a wireway. One of the theaters at Lincoln Center has 800 production lighting circuits that need to be fed from 12 dimmer racks. Due to space considerations within the dimmer room, we are looking to install the cables in a 6"x36" wireway. The wireway will not exceed the fill requirements of the code. Is the installation acceptable? (3/10/2004)

A: Yes. See Article 520.6

SECTION 520.6 & 695.6(B)

Q: a. Does the NYC Electrical Code require de-rating of conductors in a wire-way installed for stage lighting?
b. Does a 2 hour fire-rated RHH cable installed in EMT meet the NYC Code requirements for the following installations:
1.
 Primary Fire Pump power.
2. Secondary (Emerg.) Fire Pump power.
3. Un-fused service entrance conductors beyond: 5 feet (480 Volt), 10 feet (208 Volt).
c.Can multiple 480 Volt, 4000 Amp services, located in the same room of a building, be grounded from a single 3/0 cold water ground conductor?
(9/8/2004)

A: a. No. See Section 520.6 
b.  1. Yes. See Section 695.6 (B). 2. Yes, but not required. 3. No. See Section 230.70 (A)(1) .
c. Yes. Collector bus may be used. See Section 250.66 .

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CHAPTER 6: SPECIAL EQUIPMENT (Code Section 600-1 to 695-14)

SECTION 600 and 250

Q: a. Must each illuminated sign have a cut off switch on the side of the box or raceway?
b. Must all wiring be hard piped through the wall and into the sign?
c. Must the sign be properly grounded?
d. Must all interior wiring be covered as per the NY City Elec. Code? 
(3/10/2004)

A: a. Each outdoor sign must have a disconnect means. Article 600.6.
b. All wiring must be suitable for the condition.
c. Yes. Article 250.
d. Yes. Article 600.
 

SECTION 605.6

Q: The NY City amendment to Article 605.6 is titled Fixed and Free Standing Type Partitions. However, the term "free standing" is missing from the text. Does this mean that free standing partitions are not acceptable, with or without permanent connection to the electrical system?  (2/11/2004)

A: Free standing partitions are acceptable with permanent flexible connections to the electrical system.

SECTION 620.37(C).

Q: An existing DC elevator that is being converted to AC, has its power conduit running in the elevator shaft. Is it permissible to re-use the existing conduit without special permission?  (7/14/2004)

A: Special permission is required.

SECTION 695

Q: Are the following wiring arrangements approved wiring methods for the pumps listed in Section 695 of the new Electrical Code?

  1. Fire Pump, Any Size, Installed On Street Level Or Below: Normal - Service switch at 600% FLC, heavy wall rigid steel conduit 1 Hr fire rating (MI cable); conductors sized at 125% FLC. Emergency feed fused/trip at 150% FLC, heavy wall rigid steel conduit; conductors sized at 125% FLC.
  2. Special Service Fire Pump, in a building with Emergency Generator: Normal - Distribution panel fused/trip at 150% FLC, any metallic raceway; conductors sized at 125% FLC. Emergency panel fused/trip at 150% FLC, any metallic raceway; conductors sized at 125% FLC.
  3. Special Service Fire Pump in a building without Emergency Generator: Normal - Utility service switch fused/trip at 150% FLC, any metallic raceway; conductors sized at 125% FLC. Alternate Source - Distribution panel fused/trip at 150% FLC, any metallic raceway; conductors sized at 125% FLC.(2/11/2004)
A: a. Yes
b. Yes
c. Yes, as long the pump motor is less than 30HP and the pump is located above street level.

SECTION 695.4(B)(1)

Q: A 15HP Sprinkler Booster Pump is located in the basement of a building. a. Should the pump be connected to the street side of the service switch? b. What should the rating of the over correct protection fuses be? c. What should the rating of the controller overload protection be?  (2/11/2004)

A: Such pumps are considered fire pumps, unless installed in a J-2 occupancy. See Article 695.4(B)(1).

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CHAPTER 7 SPECIAL CONDITIONS (Code Section 700-1 to 780-7)

SECTION 700.12

Q: Regarding the power supply for Emergency Lighting.

  1. Does the 2004 update of the NYC Electrical Code still allow the power to be tapped from the line side of the main service switch and be considered an emergency power source?
  2. Is this type of emergency power source, if provided with separate disconnecting means and overcurrent protection and installed in accordance with the requirement for service-entrance conductors, allowed for:
    • emergency lighting (including illuminated exit signs);
    • fire pump equipment, fire alarms and sprinkler alarms;
    • elevators. (9/8/2004)

A: a. Rule 12.01 defines the equipment and systems for emergency power. Section 700.12 defines the acceptable power sources for emergency power.
b. No. See Section 700.12.

SECTION 700.12(E)

Q: Article 700.12(E) allows self-contained emergency battery packs to be installed with a flexible cord-plug connection, provided that the cord does not exceed 900mm (3 ft.) in length. Is this now permissible, or we still require to make a solid connection to the battery-pack as required under the old code? (3/10/2004)

A: This is now permissible, as long as the battery pack is fixed in place. 

SECTION 700.16

Q: The NY City Building Code, Article 6 - Exit Lighting, Section #27-381d, specifically prohibits the use of photoluminiscent materials as an illumination method for corridors and exits. The Materials and Equipment Acceptance (MEA) Division of the NY City Dept. of Buildings refers applicants to the Bureau of Electrical Control (BEC) for electrical acceptance of all exit signs. Does the BEC allow photoluminiscent materials in lieu of internally lighted exit signs, for use in corridors and exit areas? (5/12/2004)

A: No. See Article 700.16.

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CHAPTER 8 COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS (Code Section 800-1 to 830-58)

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TABLES (Detailed requirements for conductors and conduits)

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ADMINISTRATIVE GENERAL REQUIREMENTS 

SECTION Administrative

Q: We are an independent energy producer recognized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. We are presently constructing a 500 MW power plant in Astoria, Queens which we will own and operate. The outgoing power will be purchased by Con-Edison for use in their system.We are here requesting a waiver from BEC requirements, as per Section 27-3008 of the Administrative Code. (11/10/2004)

A: Only Public Service Commission regulated utilities are exempted by Section 27-3008.

SECTION Administrative

Q: a. We are installing a coaxial transmission line that connects a radio power transmitter to its antenna. The line carries voltages over 60V and radio frequencies in the Kilocylces range. a. Is it required that this installation be done by a licensed electrician?
b. Can this work be performed by a person holding a low voltage installer certificate?
c. Should these types of installations be filed with the BEC?
d. If filing is required, are there any special concerns that must be addressed (sketches, sizes, clearances, etc.)?
e. If filing is required, does it also include the installation of the antenna?
f. Some antennas have a built-in deicer heater, operating at 120V-460V. Can such an antenna be considered as an appliance?
g. Would the deicer heaters change any of the previous rulings pertaining to antenna installation?
 (7/14/2004)
A: a. Yes. See Administrative Code, Section 27-3018.
b. No.
c. Yes. See Administrative Code, Section 27-3018.
d. Must comply with all the applicable Articles.
e. Yes, as long as the installation is in accordance with Articles 810 and 820.
f. No. However, the installation shall comply with Article 426.
g. No.

SECTION Administrative

Q: a. Does the installation of Photovoltaic Solar Panels on buildings within NY City require a Master Electrician's License?
b. Is a Master Electrician's License required to connect the solar panels in series to the final point of attachment?
c. Does the BEC require that an electrical application be filed for the complete Photovoltaic Solar installation?
d. Can any firm, not the holder of a NY City Elec. License contract to install Photovoltaic Solar equipment within NY City?
 (3/10/2004)

A: a., b. & c. Yes.
d. Yes, as long the installation is performed by a NY City licensed electrician.

SECTION Administrative

Q: Two building structures, one high-rise and one low-rise, are connected at the second floor by an enclosed walkway. The structures share a common 1st floor plaza as well as below grade cellar levels and basements. The entire building was filed for, approved and built under one Buildings Dept. Application (1969) and subsequently issued one Certificate of Occupancy.

A project alteration has been filed under the Old New York City Electrical Code. Does Article 3, Code reference 27-3045(K) apply to this situation?  (10/6/2004)

A: Based on the description given, Article 27-3045(K) applies. Signage is recommended at each building entrance.

SECTION Administrative

Q: A project involves the replacement of a 130V DC battery system, comprised of batteries, chargers, feeder for chargers, conduit and wire. Can this project be performed by a company from outside New York City, that would:

  1. Employ a New York City licensed contractor to perform all the electrical work? OR
  2. Employ a New York City licensed electrical contractor to file for the electrical work and supervise the work and workers of the outside New York City company, to ensure the work installed is within the limits of the New York City Electric Code, and assume 100% responsibility for any violations, faults, poor quality of work?

For case (b), would the New York City contractor be considered:

  1. The main or prime contractor?
  2. The employer of the workers from the outside New York City company?
  3. Both of the above (10/6/2004)

A: All electrical work must be performed by persons employed by a New York City licensed master electrical contractor.

SECTION Administrative

Q: What is the definition of an electric utility? (10/6/2004)

A: The term electric utility is not defined in the code. See Section 27-3008 for the code's provisions on public service corporations. The meeting adjourned at 11:00 AM. The next meeting will be held on November 10, 2004, at 9:00 AM. Interpretations are based on the current issue of the New York City Electrical Code. Other jurisdictions may apply.

SECTION N/A

Q: The New York City Electrical Code requires a dedicated branch circuit for each oil fired boiler. Some of the oil fired boilers require a disconnect switch rated as high as 400A. What are the requirements for shutting-off the flow of oil to the boiler, and what is the applicable code section?  (11/10/2004)

A: The New York City Building Code requires a remote shutdown for both gas and oil fired boilers.

Q: The adopted New York City Electrical Code requires a dedicated branch circuit for each gas burner or gas boiler and a disconnect switch. Is it permissible for the disconnect switch (s) to be located next to gas burner or boiler?  (11/10/2004)

A: No. The required disconnect switch must be located adjacent to the entrance to the boiler room.

Q: What are the New York City Electrical Code and/or the Building Code requirements regarding installation, location and connection of smoke and/or carbon monoxide detectors?  (11/10/2004)

A: Smoke detectors are required in all common areas. See the NY City Building Code. Carbon monoxide detectors are required by Local Law 7/04.

Q: An existing building is equipped with automatic fire suppression (sprinklers) on the Cellar Level only. The building is in excess of 75 feet high, which classifies it as a "high rise".

Article 700 of the NEC defines Emergency Systems as "…systems legally required and classed as emergency by municipal, state, federal, or by any governmental agency having jurisdiction. These systems are intended to automatically supply illumination, power, or both to designated areas and equipment in event of failure of the normal supply or in the event of accident to elements of a system intended to supply, distribute, and control power an illumination essential for safety to human life". NYC has amended Article 700.1 to delete the fine print notes (FPN) and revised the second sentence of the Article to read as follows: "Emergency systems are those lighting, fire protection and power systems legally required and classed as emergency by any governmental agency having jurisdiction."

We believe that an emergency power riser is required for egress and exit lighting, security alarm systems and the telephone system in the above-mentioned building. The remaining load can be served from the automatic transfer switches serving the building loads. Is our interpretation correct?  (11/10/2004)

A: Where transfer switches are used to transfer normal building loads, to an alternate power supply, separate transfer switches are required for emergency systems so classified by the agency having jurisdiction. Installation shall be in accordance with code requirements for specific systems used in the occupancy classification involved as new or existing construction.

Q: Questions concerning electric service in 253/259 Garfield Place, Brooklyn NY 11215. This building is a 17 unit residential cooperative.

  1. This building, when it was built, did not have electricity. Lighting was originally provided by gas lines in the building. Some of these gas lines are still present in the building and are used for ovens, ranges, dryers etc. Those lines that were used for lighting were capped off but still contain gas. One tenant indicated that once, one of these active gas lines had an electric line coming through it that was being used as a ceiling lamp. Is it reasonable that this could have been the case? Note many of the electric ceiling lamps are adjacent to capped off gas lines. We believe that this was probably the case for the fixture noted by the tenant.
  2. Are there NYC codes concerning electric and gas lines being adjacent to one another as a pre-existing condition?
  3. Is there a NYC Code concerning EMF levels in apartments for electric lines within the apartment?
  4. The circuit breaker in each apartment is in a panel that was designed without a cover. Does the NYC code permit this? Note: In the basement the circuit breaker panel for each apartment does have a cover.
  5. When the electric service was installed in the building the wiring was cloth covered. As various lines were upgraded during renovations, or to increase service those lines were shielded as required by NYC code. Is the pre-existing wiring, that has not been modified, required to be upgraded under NYC code?  (9/8/2004)

A: a. Yes, your assumption is correct.
b. No. However, all inactive gas lines shall be cut and capped at the point of connection to the active line. NY City Building Code requirements apply.
c. The NY City Electrical Code makes no reference to EMF levels.|
d. Yes. However, all energized parts shall be covered.
e. No. See Section 90.4 .

Q: a. When eliminating a DC service from a building and a rectifier is installed to feed all existing equipment, including fire pump loads, can all existing loads be fed from the same rectifier?
b. How should a service switch to a rectifier be sized when feeding all existing loads, including the fire pump equipment served by the same rectifier?
c. Should the DC fire alarm system be connected to a separate rectifier?
d. If all the existing loads are served from the same rectifier, where should the fire alarm fuse cut-out be installed?
e. If all the existing loads are served from the same rectifier, how should the rectifier and line side feeder be sized? 
(9/8/2004)

A: a. Yes.
b. The service switch must be rated at 600% of the fire pump load plus 100% of the other loads. No additional fire pump disconnect is permitted.
c. No. The fire alarm cut-out must be located on the load side of the rectifer. Other jurisdictions apply.
d. See b. above.
e. The rectifier and the line side feeder must be rated at 125% of the Full Load Amps, and they must be capable of handling motor starting current characteristics.

Q: a. Can batteries (less than 50 Volts) of emergency lighting units be changed by persons or entities that are NOT the holder of a NYC master electrical license or a NYC "special" electrical license?
b. Can the lamps of emergency lighting units be changed by persons or entities that are NOT the holder of a NYC master electrical license or a NYC "special" electrical license? 
(7/14/2004)

A: a. Yes, if no wiring is involved.
b. Yes, if no wiring is involved.

Q: The owner of a high-rise office building is considering to voluntarily install a new 300KW backup diesel generator set, which would power selected life safety loads in the event of a utility power failure. A new backup distribution system would also be installed. Would such a voluntary installation have to comply with Article 27-396.4 of the NY City Building Code?  (1/7/2004)

A: The installation of voluntary backup generators supporting any life safety loads is a Building Code issue and not an Electrical Code requirement. The Buildings Dept. is providing the following answer: "In the interest of life and public safety, the Buildings Dept. requires that all loads as described in the revised (Oct. 7, 2002) Rule 12-01 shall be connected to the generator, even though it is a voluntary installation. This provision is covered under Matters Not Provided For, which is Section 27-110 of the NY City Building Code." Any further questions should be addressed to the Buildings Dept.

Q: A multiple dwelling has skylights and windows in the public stairwell. Since there is an adequate level of light during the daylight hours, can the owner install occupancy sensors to control stairwell lighting?  (1/7/2004)

A: The requirements for the control of stairway lighting are not part of the Electrical Code.

Q: a. A synchronous generator with an ATS installed for "load curtailment" or "peak shaving" purposes would not fall under the guidelines and rules governing "emergency life support" generators as long as all other life safety circuits were taken care of by other code compliant emergency backup systems, such as batteries or other generators. True or False?
b. If a. above is true, then an ATS switch for the load curtailment generator could be installed within the electrical room. True or False? 
(1/7/2004)

A:
a. True
b. True

Q: A synchronous generator with an ATS installed for "load curtailment" or "peak shaving" purposes would not fall under the guidelines and rules governing "emergency life support" as long as there were no life safety circuits affected by this installation. True or False?  (1/7/2004)

A: True

Q: If there is an existing emergency generator system with the ATS located within the electrical room, as long as we do not touch that system, we would not have to relocate the ATS switch outside of the electrical room. True or False?  (1/7/2004)

A: True

Q: If there is an existing emergency generator system with the ATS located within the electrical room, and we need to make repairs or replace some of the equipment, at what point do we have to upgrade the existing system to meet the new life safety codes? An example would be replacing a dead generator with a new larger one, upgrading the feeder from the generator to the existing ATS which is already sized correctly and would remain as is. Would we have to relocate the ATS outside of the electrical room?  (1/7/2004)

A: Relocation requirements are initiated when the existing switch is replaced by a larger one or when an additional life safety ATS is installed.

Q: a. If a building has no emergency generator, is the alternate source optional?
b. Can an alternate source be used as the emergency feed? 
(2/11/2004)

A: a. No, unless presently provided.
b. Only if it is pre-existing.

Q: We are installing a Fire Suppression System in a computer room located on the 6th floor of a building. The code requires that a ground conductor be installed and connected to either the building steel or to the street side of the main water valve. The building has no steel and it would be very costly to run a ground conductor in conduit from the 6th floor to the water valve in the basement. Accordingly, we are requesting a variance for the installation of the ground conductor.  (2/11/2004)

A: This type of appeal must be directed to the Fire Dept.

Q: Is it necessary to install in a NY City school building, Break Glass Stations for shut-down of the emergency generator?  (3/10/2004)

A: Emergency disconnect is not an Electrical Code requirement. Other jurisdictions apply.

Q: When rewiring rent controlled or rent stabilized apartments (Administrator's Interpretation No.1): a. Which code applies, the old NY City Elec. Code or the new NY City Elec. Code? b. Should the spacing of counter receptacles be per the old code or per the new code? c. Is GFCI protection required for counter receptacles?  (3/10/2004)

A: New code requirements are the minimum for such installations.

Q: We are restoring the wiring of a one family residence damaged by fire. The area of work involves an enclosed porch and a second floor bedroom.

  1. Can I replace damaged wiring in kind?
  2. Am I required to install an outlet every twelve feet around the porch area?
  3. Is an appliance circuit required for the porch?
  4. Same questions for the bedroom.
  5. Is Arc Fault Protection required for the bedroom?  (5/12/2004)

A: If the extent of the fire damage requires wiring of new construction, the present code applies. Less extensive damage, if documented, may allow for like and kind replacement.

Q: When only the face of an existing sign box is being replaced, is a new BEC application for a sign tag required?  (6/2/2004)

A: No. Other jurisdiction applies.

Q: a. Is a receptacle outlet required in the bathroom of a non-dwelling unit?
b. Are the receptacle outlets installed on deli or grocery store counters required to be GFCI protected?  
(11/10/2004)

A:
a. No.
b. No, provided the counter is not part of a kitchen.

Q: In an apartment renovation, we are replacing existing receptacles, switches and luminaires in each room. Since the work is "replace in kind", is it necessary to comply with the requirement for Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter protection for the bedroom area?  (6/2/2004)

A: No.

Q: Is it permissible to connect 120V lighting circuits to 20A breakers?  (6/2/2004)

A: Yes. See Article 210.23(A).

Q: Is it permissible to install and terminate cable TV in an electric closet? (6/2/2004)

A: Special permission is required.

Q: a. Referring to the minutes of the April 14, 1999 meeting, the answer to question #4 states: "The raceway supplying the power to the fire alarm control panel provides proper ground. No other equipment ground is required."

  1. Does this apply to a strobe panel or other subpanel that has a raceway supplying it with power?
  2. In the minutes of the February 11, 2004 meeting, the answer to Question #2 seems to imply that a separate ground wire is required, deferring the issue to the Fire Department. However, RS-17 seems to indicate that grounding should be in accordance with the New York City Electrical Code.

b. Now that the current Electrical Code allows for 20 amp general purpose circuits:

  1. How should violations issued under the old code be handled?
  2. Is there a difference if the violation was issued to the contractor or to the owner? c. Is the 2002 NEC the current New York City Electrical Code, and if so, will it be revised every three years to reflect the NEC changes?  (6/2/2004)

A: a. 1. Yes. An additional equipment grounding conductor is required.

a. 2. As per the Fire Department, a separate grounding conductor is required.

b. 1. Old violations are resolved under the old code.

b. 2. Yes. c. The current New York City Electrical Code is the 2002 NEC with Amendments, and it will be revised every three years.

Q: In an existing building, new Con Ed feeders(encased in concrete) will terminate into a new service end box, located in the same ground floor room and adjacent to an existing emergency generator. The customer's cables from the end box (MI cable or concrete encased) will terminate into a new service disconnect switch, located on the floor above, approximately 20 feet away.

  1. Will the service end box require a fire rating, and if so, what would be the required rating?
  2. What are the acceptable materials and methods for service end box fire rating?
  3. Are the following fire rating methods acceptable? Sheetrock, Spray-on fireproofing, concrete encasement.
  4. If the emergency generator or any other life safety equipment would not be located in the same room as the service end box, would fire rating of the end box be required, even though the feeders would require fire rating?
  5. Is the fire rating required to protect service feeders in a service end box from external fire or to protect the space from the fire inside the end box?  (6/2/2004)

A: a. Fire rating is not required.
b., c, d. & e. Not applicable

Q: a. Does the code cover the installation of service and meter equipment supplying power to cable TV or other telecom facilities installed on electric utility owned poles?
b.
 Same question for telecom facilities installed on service provider's own poles or in underground sub-surface structures.
c.
 Does BEC have any jurisdiction regarding the two scenarios above and would they perform an inspection on request?
d.
 Does the code require any grounding for an overhead service attachment or a secondary rack fastened to a building constructed of wood, masonry, brick or metal?  (6/2/2004)

A: a., b., c. & d. No.

Q: a. When the individual disconnect means is not located within sight of a rectifier, is the disconnect means required to be capable of being locked in the open position?
b. If the disconnect is not capable of being locked on the open position, is a safety disconnect installed next to the rectifier acceptable, providing that it is not feeding a fire alarm? 
(3/10/2004)

A: a. No.
b. Acceptable but not required.

Q: A fire alarm control panel will be installed in a vehicle inspection garage, which will report back to the main fire alarm control panel in the main building. Should the fuse cutout panel, serving the fire alarm control panel, be tapped ahead of the service disconnecting device in the garage or should it be tapped ahead of the main service switchboard serving the main building?  (4/7/2004)

A: The service disconnect can be located in the garage, considering that a battery back-up is provided. See RS17.3 . Other jurisdictions apply.

Q: A manufacturer of Trans-S CT cabinets with the meter and a 400A or 800A switch built-in, is asking: Is it permissible to use the cabinet as a fire pump switch? The metering compartment is in a separate barrier section. The switch would be capable of being locked in the in the "ON" position and the cover would be painted red and label "Fire Pump Do Not Disconnect".  (4/7/2004)

A: This would be acceptable as long as the meter can be removed or disabled without interrupting service to the pump. Other jurisdictions apply.

Q: On substation switchboards:

  1. Is it necessary to have a 12" separation (transition section) on both sides of the tie breaker section?
  2. Is a transition section necessary between the tie and main sections, on both sides of the tie or only one side?
  3. Is a transition section necessary on one side of the tie and not between mains and branches?
  4. Is a transition section required at all?
  5. Can a secondary switchboard be considered service entrance equipment, since it does not have a neutral? The service to the switchboard is 480V, 3 phase, 3 wire.  (4/7/2004)

A: a., c., d., and e. No.
b. Transition section not necessary.

Q: Does the present New York City Electrical Code require the removal of all abandoned power wiring and fuses?  (10/6/2004)

A: Removal of abandoned building power wiring is not a code requirement.

Q: Under the old New York City Electrical Code, a two hour fire rated MI cable was approved for use as service conductors for extended runs without two inches of concrete encasement. What happens now to the Advisory Board approval? (10/6/2004)

A: Advisory Board approvals are only appropriate to the code in force at time approval.

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 *   All interpretations, with the exception of those dated for January, are based on the 2002 NEC and associated NY City Amendments. The interpretations dated January 2004 are based on the 1999 NEC and associated NYC Amendments.

 ** Whenever there are a few sections referenced, the first one is the "lead section", and the rest are secondary sections. All the secondary sections are referenced with the purpose of offering additional clarifications.

The NYC 2011 Electrical Code – Administrative Provisions and 2008 NEC Amendments is now on sale on the CityStore.

Other Code Interpretation Links:
Code Interpretation for 2003
Code Interpretation for 2005
Code Interpretation for 2006
Code Interpretation for 2007
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