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Electrical Code Revisions

Code Revision and Interpretation Committee Code Interpretation For 2011
(Last Updated: November 30, 2011)

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 2005 edition of the NEC and the associated  NYC Amendments to the 2005 NEC (Local Law 49/06) (421 kb) that went into effect on January 1, 2007.

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.

ChapterDescription
Chapter 1:General (Section 110.2/110.79)
Chapter 2:Wiring and Protection (Section 200.1/285.25)
Chapter 3:Wiring Methods & Materials
(Section 300.1/398.104)
Chapter 4:Equipment for General Use
(Section 400.1/490.74)
Chapter 5:Special Occupancies (Section 500.1/590.7)
Chapter 6:Special Equipment (Section 600.1/695.14)
Chapter 7:Special Conditions (Section 700.1/780.7)
Chapter 8:Communications Systems
(Section 800.1/830.179)
Table:Requirements for conductors and conduits
Annex D:Calculation examples
Article:A subdivision of a Chapter, comprised of a certain number of Sections
Administrative:General Requirements
(Local Laws 64/2001 and 49/2006)

 

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Chapter 1: General (Section 110.2 to 110.79) 
 

SECTION 100 - (7/27/2011)

Q: Questions are raised to clarify the definition of electric closet described in Article 100.

1. May a room containing only light and power uninterrupted conduit risers be used as a telephone closet?
2. May a room which has light and power conduit risers concealed behind a sheetrock wall, with no access panel required for pull or splice box be used as a telephone closet?

A. 1) Yes; room as described does not meet the definition of an Electric Closet.
2) Yes; room as described does not meet the definition of an Electric Closet.

 

SECTION 110.14 - (6/1/2011)

Q: Scenario: Wiring circuits with THHN 90 degrees Celsius copper conductors and the equipment terminations are rated at 75 degrees Celsius and the circuit is rated 100 Amps or less, or marked for 14AWG through 1AWG conductors.  Is it permissible to wire with conductors ampacities rated at 75 degrees Celsius as per Table 310.16?

A. Yes; provided the termination provisions of all equipment is listed and identified for use with such conductors.  See Section 110.14(C).

 

SECTION 110.26 - (11/15/2011)

Q: We are requesting clarification and/ or interpretation of NFPA 110.26(A)(1) under the following circumstances:
1. I NFPA 110.26(A)(1):
a. Condition 3 applicable to all installation where you have equipment facing each others?
b. Someone may argue that they don’t work on equipment facing each others; can they apply condition 2 for their installation?

2. Subsection 110.26(A)(!)(c) Existing Condition:
a. Is this applicable when installing new equipment in front of existing equipment?
b. Is this applicable to existing installation where the new equipment aren’t replacing existing within the same foot print (not utilizing existing feeder)?

A. 1.a. Yes.
1.b. No, unless 110.26(A)(1)(c) applies.
2.a. No.
2.b. No, Section 110.26(A)(1)(c) applies to existing buildings where existing equipment is be replaced or upgraded, and conditions of maintenance and supervision exist to ensure written procedures have been adopted to prohibit equipment on both sides of the aisle from being open at the same time. Additionally, only qualified persons who are authorized will service the installation.

 

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CHAPTER 2: Wiring and Protection (Code Section 200.1 to 285.25) 
 

SECTION 210 - (7/27/2011)

Q: We are in the process of designing a 408-bed “Assisted Living Facility”.  Cooking will be done centrally on each floor and not in the resident’s room. 

Article 210.11(C) (3) requires a separate circuit to serve the bathroom receptacle in each dwelling unit.

1. Is the resident’s room in this assisted living facility considered to be a “dwelling unit”?
2. Is the receptacle in each of the bathrooms required to be on a separate circuit?

A. 1) No.
2) No.

 

SECTION 210.52 and 422.16 - (6/1/2011)

Q: A microwave was moved from atop the countertop to above the range.  Is the outlet provided for the microwave acceptable as the second required circuit (kitchen receptacle) to satisfy Article 210.52(B)(3)?

A. No; Two circuits are required for receptacles serving countertop surfaces.  For more information see Section 422.16(B) (4).

 

SECTION 220.40 and 110.2 - (6/1/2011)

Q: A new building with a 208/120V utility service is planned to include a central heating/cooling system that requires 480/277V.  To accommodate this, the building electrical distribution system will include a step-up transformer (T1 as shown on attached drawing E-300.00).  The central heating/cooling system has a calculated load of peak load of 333 kVA on the secondary (480Y/277V) side of the step-up transformer.  For purposes of calculating the size of the 208/120V building service, should the calculation include:

A. The calculated 480/277V load of 333kVA per Section 220.40

OR

B. The transformer nameplate rating of 500kVA per Section 110.2(C)(2).

A: Both criteria shall be applied.  When calculating the size of the building service load calculations are used. Transformer nameplate rating shall be used when calculating the size of the transformer overcurrent protection, including service disconnect where the service disconnect serves as the transformer overcurrent protection.

 

SECTION 220.83 and 310.15 - (6/1/2011)

Q: We are the building engineers reviewing the apartment renovation, which includes partial electrical rewiring work and replacement of the existing electrical panel.  Based on the load calculations per Section 220.83 the minimum required electrical service for the apartment is 75 Amp, 120/208V single-phase.

The existing electrical riser for the apartment is 3#2 AWG, rated at 115 Amp (130 Amp at 90 degrees Celsius), 120/208Volt, single-phase and protected with 2 pole, 100 Amp circuit breaker.  The existing electrical riser is installed in a common shared conduit with another 5 apartments’ risers.

According to Section 310.15(B)(2)(a) the allowable ampacity of each conductor shall be reduced to 50% based on the above, the maximum electrical load on existing riser shall not exceed 65 Amp.

Please advise whether the existing riser and protection equipment can remain as a “grandfathered” installation and can be re-used?

A: No. 

 

SECTION 225 and 352 - (7/27/2011)

Q: Requesting clarification on the use of Type Rigid Non-Metallic Conduit (RNC, PVC) in and on the exterior of residential buildings. 

Articles 225 and 352 are conflicting in that there is no reasonable explanation for the exclusion of use of RNC on the exterior of residential buildings with the existing use restrictions can be understood.  This clarification is requested due to the lack of an economical compliant wiring method for the wiring of ductless split system air conditioning equipment.

A: Limitations are as defined in the respective Articles.  Requests for site specific special permission can be made to the Electrical Advisory Board.

 

SECTION 225.39 - (4/6/2011)

Q: An existing residential apartment building’s electrical distribution system provides each apartment with a 120Volt, single phase service rated for 30 Amperes.  Each apartment feeder serves a load center within each apartment.  The existing system is planned to be replaced with all new equipment and associated 120/208Volt, single-phase, 3-wire apartment feeders and apartment panels.

Article 225.39 (D) states that feeders or branch-circuit means shall have a rating of not less than 60 Amperes.  Does each apartment require a 120/208Volt feeder rated for a minimum of 60 Amperes to comply with this section?

A: No; Section 225.39 speaks of outside branch circuits and feeders. 

 

SECTION 230 - (11/15/2011)

Q: Under the current NYC Electrical Code, is the disconnect switch required to feed the fire alarm system per 760.41.(A),(1) considered a service disconnect means and thus subject to the maximum number of disconnect switches allowed by230.71(A)?

Note that the fire alarm disconnect switch is not listed under the exceptions of the rule. Only disconnect switches for power monitoring equipment, surge suppression devices, control circuit of ground fault protection system and power operable service disconnect means are exempt.

A: Fire Alarm service tap switch doesn’t count as a service switch, thus it doesn’t count as one of the maximum six service disconnecting means. NEC section 230.82 (5) lists the fire alarm tap as one of the allowed equipment to be connected to the supply side of service.

Please note that the fire alarm switch must be grouped together with the rest of the service switches per section 230.72.(A). Also, the fire alarm tap is exempted from the Advisory Board submittal if you are installing only fire alarm service tap switch, NYC amendments section 110.2.(B) Exception No. 1.

 

SECTION 230.2 - (6/1/2011)

Q: We have two buildings, with two separate owners on a single tax lot.  The buildings are under separate management companies and have two foundation walls, side by side.  Two Con Edison service stabs enter and terminate in Building 1 in metered service switches.  The first service stab serves both Building 1 and Building 2.  The second service stab serves only Building 2.  From the service switches located in Building 1, conductors pass through the foundation walls and terminate in a switchgear room in Building 2.  Our questions are as follows:

1. Are the service switches located in Building 1 considered the service equipment for Building 2?
2. Are the conductors running from Building 1 to Building 2 considered service conductors?
3. Do the conductors running from Building 1 to Building 2 require concrete encasement?
4. Is a disconnecting means required immediately where the conductors from Building 1 enter Building 2?
5a. Is the direct connection for the fire pump for Building 2 required to be in Building 1, tapped ahead of the switch or
5b. Is the direct connection for the fire pump for Building 2 required to be in Building 2 tapped ahead of the main over-current protection device (OCPD) in the switchgear?
6. Do the provisions of Article 225, outside branch circuits and feeders apply to the conductors running from Building 1 to Building 2?

A: Please be advised that the existing installation is in violation of Section 230.2 and a request for special permission shall be submitted to the Electrical Advisory Board for approval.

 

SECTION 230.71 - (2/9/2011)

Q: Should a grid-tied solar photovoltaic disconnect switch be counted as one of the utility service switches as per 230.71(A) which allows for six (6) total?

A: No.

 

SECTION 250.52 - (2/9/2011)

Q: Where a generator is being used as optional standby equipment in a residential concrete building and there is a four-pole transfer switch that will be switching the neutral.

(a) Is it then necessary to bring a separate grounding electrode system conductor from the water main to the generator?

(b) If so, can the grounding electrode conductor be in the same raceway as the feeders?

A: (a) Yes. See 250.52(A)(1) or 250.52(A)(2), where applicable. Where these electrodes are not  available, exception #1 permits any of the other electrodes identified in 250.52(A) to be used.

(b) Yes.

 

SECTION 250.52 - (2/9/2011)

Q: (a) As described in 250.52 and the NYC exception for 250.52(1)(A), are there any buildings in New York City where these methods of grounding are not permissible?

(b) As described in 250.52 and the NYC exception for 250.52(1)(A), are two rod electrodes driven six feet apart, as described in 250.53 an acceptable means for building main service ground?

(c) If a water main exists inside the building can the method described in question (b) above still be used for the main service ground?

(d) If the water main exist outside the building and the water pipe is inaccessible inside the building, can any of the methods described in 250.52 be utilized?

A: (a) No.

(b) Yes; only if there is no cold water main in the buildings.  Where none of the grounding electrodes described in 250.52(A)(1) through (A)(6) that are present, one or more of the grounding electrodes specified in 250.52(A)(4) through (A)(7) shall be installed and used.  Also, the ground rod installation shall meet the minimum resistance requirements of 250.56.

(c) Yes; only as a supplemental ground to the cold water pipe. The Code requires all grounding electrodes as described in 250.52(A)(1) through (A)(6) that are present at each building or structure served to be bonded together to form the grounding electrode system.  If a metal underground water pipe (water main) exists inside the building it must be used as part of the grounding electrode system.  Also, Section 250.53(D)(2) requires a metal underground water pipe to be supplemental by an additional electrode of a type specified in 250.52(A)(2) through (A)(7).  Where the supplemental electrode is a rod, pipe or plate type, it shall comply with 250.56.

Section 250.50 requires a Grounding Electrode “System” to be installed, which means that            “ALL” grounding electrodes as described in 250.52(A)(1) through (A)(6) that “ARE PRESENT” at each building or structure served shall be bonded together to form that grounding electrode “SYSTEM”.  There is no “main service ground”.  Also, a ground rod is not the only electrode that can be used to supplement the underground metal water pipe.  Any of the electrodes as specified in 250.52(A)(2) through (A)(7) can be used.

(d) No.

 

SECTION 250.122 - (6/1/2011)

Q: Scenario: Wiring a 400Amp fusible safety switch with 300Amp fuses installed.

(A) Is it permissible to use a 4AWG as the equipment ground conductor?
(B) The equipment ground conductor is always based on the fuse size and not the size of the switch/gap itself?

A: (A) Yes.
(B) Yes.

 

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CHAPTER 3: Wiring Methods and Materials (Code Section 300.1 to 398-104)
 

SECTION 300.3 - (2/9/2011)

Q: Does the New York City amendment to 300.3(C)(1) apply when one is dealing with conductors of 2 different branch circuits and the conductors of one circuit have a nominal voltage exceeding 250V and those of the other have a nominal voltage not exceeding 250V?

A: No; 300.3(C) (1) only applies to circuits that have 1st or 2nd levels over current protection.

 

SECTION 300.3 - (6/1/2011)

Q: An amendment to the NEC addresses separation of feeders from different sources in a pull box up to 600V.  Is the separation of different service feeders after the 4th fuse required for 5KV?

A: Yes and approval from the Electrical Advisory Board is required.

 

SECTION 310 - (11/15/2011)

Q: Section & Table 310.15(B)(6) indicates allowable service, feeder, etc., ratings for dwelling units.  It is indicated as applying to 120/240-Volt, 3-Wire, Single Phase Dwelling Services and Feeders.  The voltage in Manhattan is generally 208-Volt in lieu of 240V, and this would be the only difference.   The installation is an existing feeder in existing conduit.  

May we apply the ratings indicated in Section & Table 310.15(B)(6) to 120/208-Volt, 3-Wire, Single Phase Dwelling Services and Feeders?

A: Table 310.15(B)(6) doesn’t apply to 3 wire, single phase, 120/208V systems; the grounded neutral conductor carries current even when the system is balanced. This table applies only to 120/240-Volt, 3-Wire, single phase systems only.

Please note that 120/208V systems is derived from a 4 wire, three phase, 120/208V wye-connected systems and  a reduction in service grounded conductor ampacity is prohibited under section 220.61.(C)(1).

 

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CHAPTER 4: Equipment for General Use (Code Section 400.1 to 490.74)
 

SECTION 408 - (11/15/2011)

Q: Section 408-35 of the NEC 2005: The requirement for a maximum of  42 over-current devices in a panelboard has been removed from the 2008 code which is adopted by NYC as of July 1, 2011;
a. Can we install one panel with 84 over-current devices in lieu of two sections panel for a project that is currently in the design phase.
b. The design of that project started before July 2011, and will remain in the design until December 2011, The project has been filed with the building department on July 7, 2011;  building permits have not been issued yet ,  can we proceed with the design per 2008 NEC as amended by NYC?

A: a. Yes, if the job is to be filed under the 2011 NYC electrical code which came in effect July, 2011, with a transition period to the end of this year. Panelboards with more than 42 poles are allowed if they are designed, rated, listed, and comply with section 408.54 and UL 67.
b. Yes, the electrical permit (ED16A) which filed by the electrical contractor will indicate which NYC electrical code the project is being filed under. Please note if you file the job under NYC 2011 electrical code, the entire project must comply with the new code.

 

SECTION 410.4 - (6/1/2011)

Q: 1. Is it possible to put an LED waterproof fixture under a bench in a shower?  This fixture has a low voltage feed and is rated IP67.  This is a residence and the fixture has ETL approval.
2. Is it possible to put the same LED fixture as above in a small soap niche in a shower?  The fixture would be hidden and also has a low voltage feed (24Volt).  This is a residential project and the fixture has ETL approval.

A: 1. Yes; provided the luminaire is listed for that purpose.  Please see Section 410.4(D) and special permission shall be obtained from the Advisory Board.
2.  Yes; provided the luminaire is listed for that purpose.  Please see Section 410.4(D) and special permission shall be obtained from the Advisory Board.

 

SECTION 410.73 - (4/6/2011)

Q: Section 410.73(G) states that “in indoor locations, other than dwellings and associated accessory structures, fluorescent luminaires (fixtures) that utilize double-ended lamps and contain ballast(s) that can be serviced in place or ballasted luminaires that are supplied from multi-wire branch circuits and contain ballast(s) that can be serviced in place shall have a disconnecting means…”.

Some linear fluorescent luminaires are provided by manufacturers with plastic disconnect clips on the line side of ballast wiring.  These clips are intended to provide the disconnecting means to service the ballast as described above.

1. Does a down light luminaire with an edison-type screw in base self-ballasted compact fluorescent lamp also require a disconnecting means as described above?

2. Does a down light luminaire with a multi-pin compact fluorescent lamp (ballast being integral to the luminaire) also require a disconnecting means as described above?

A: 1. No.
2. No

 

SECTION 411 and 725 - (11/15/2011)

Q: Is low voltage wiring for lighting installed within millwork required to be installed in conduit?  The line side of the transformer serving the lighting is 120 volt, 1 phase.  The load side of the transformer is 24 volt.  Please provide code reference.

A: Subsection 411.5(D) lists three wiring methods for lighting systems operating at 30 Volts or less. The first wiring method is not applicable; your installation doesn’t comply with the applications of Class 2 wiring as listed in 725.154, (A) through (G). Second wiring method is applicable for installation above 7 feet above finished floor, unless you can provide a listing for lower installation. This installation requires wiring protection and the wiring methods in Chapter 3 shall apply to this installation.

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CHAPTER 5: Special Occupancies (Code Section 500.1 to 590.7)
 

SECTION 517 - (6/1/2011)

Q: A) Does an exam or treatment room located within a building with a business occupancy need to be wired with hospital grade wiring?
B) Will standard armored cable (A/C) BX wiring be permitted if hospital grade is not required?
C) If an exam room happens to have an exam table with a plug that has the hospital grade (HG) symbol on it and the manufacture does not offer 2 types of products, 1 with HG spec and another without, does that receptacle have to be hospital grade?
D) If yes to (C) above, then do the remaining receptacles in the room need to be hospital grade?

A: (A) Yes. Please note that the Code does not use the phrase “Hospital Grade Wiring”.  The wiring method used in patient care areas (see Section 517.2 for definition of “Patient Care Area) must comply with Section 517.13.
(B) Yes; the armored cable or sheath assembly shall itself qualify as an equipment grounding conductor in accordance with Section 250.118 and contain an insulated equipment grounding conductor for the wiring of all treatment rooms.
(C) Yes. To meet the requirements of Section 110.3(B), a listed exam table must be installed and used in accordance with any instructions included in the listing or labeling of the exam table.
(D) No.

 

SECTION 517 - (7/27/2011)

Q: In a Business Occupancy with an examination table in a medical office; standard wiring is called for and provided.  A memo from the furniture company that supplied the examination table indicated that although the table is designed up to hospital grade wiring standards and provided with a hospital grade receptacle, the hospital grade wiring is not required for safe operation if not required by local codes.

Please note that this is not an institutional facility and this is a table and not a patient bed.

It is our understanding that hospital grade wiring is not required based on our use and occupancy and based on the above information is hospital grade receptacles and wiring required?

A: Yes; Equipment in patient care areas in health care facilties as defined in Section 517.2 shall comply with Section 517.13.

 

SECTION 517 - (11/15/2011)

Q: Subject: Receptacle location in Assisted Living Facility:
Article 517.18 and 517.19 addressed the quantity of receptacles at the Patient bed location. No mention of the receptacle requirement in the remainder of the room. Article 210 addresses the receptacle layout in dwelling and other sleeping type occupancies.

Question 1. Per Article 517, is there a receptacle quantity requirement for the remainder of the patient/sleeping room?

Question 2. Since this room qualifies as a sleeping room, could the receptacle layout be provided per Article 210.52 (A)(1)?    (placed so that no point on a wall is greater than 6 feet from a receptacle outlet)

Question 3. Also, since this room qualifies as a sleeping room, could the receptacle layout be permitted per Article 210.60 (b)? (Which allows the quantity to be placed as needed. Counting the receptacle at the headboard as well)

Question 4. Since this room qualifies as a sleeping room, is Article 210.12 applicable. (Arc fault protection requirement)

A: Questions 1 through 4: The electrical code and NYC amendments classify the Assisted Living Facility as a Health Care Facility, Essential Electrical System shall be provided to fit the space program. The electrical code doesn’t address the receptacles requirement or locations.

Please refer to other codes and standards that are adopted by NY State Health Code (Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities, 2010 Edition, http://fgiguidelines.org/2010guidelines.html). 

 

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CHAPTER 6: Special Equipment (Code Section 600.1 to 695.14)
 

SECTION 600 - (7/27/2011)

Q: 1) Is it a requirement that all sign shops that manufacture or request sign inspections for electric signs installed within New York City be a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) listed shop?
2) Is an electric sign that is listed required to have a sign tag when permanently mounted within NYC?
3) If an electric sign is not listed can a Licensed Master Electrician file a sign tag application for inspection in lieu of the listing?
4) If the answer to question 1 is yes, can any NYC licensed electrical firm file for any sign shop or does the shop have a licensed electrician on their payroll?
5) If a sign is manufactured with more than one metal enclosure to convey one name or message would the sign require more than one tag?

A: 1) No.
2) Yes; provided the electric sign complies with the 2007 NYC Electrical Code.
3) No; unless approved by special permission.
4) N/A
5) Yes; unless the licensed electrician files separate applications for each metal enclosure.

 

SECTION 690.31 - (2/9/2011)

Q: We have been awarded a job where there is a solar photovoltaic system consisting of 10 inverters located on 9 different walls/roofs of a 20-story building. Eight of the ten inverters will be located outside next to their respective solar arrays. NEC 690.31(E) requires the conductors carrying direct current inside a building to be run in a metallic raceway but does not define this for the AC conductors from the inverter to the grid connection. Our plan is to use 6/4 BX cable in the building from the combiner panel on the eighth floor to each of the respective AC disconnects that are located next to the outdoor inverters.
Is the use of BX cable for this application permissible?

A: Yes. See 320.12. Additionally, Installation is subject to amendment 690.1.

 

SECTION 690.47 - (4/6/2011)

Q: We have been awarded a job where there is a solar pv system consisting of 10 inverters located on 9 different floors of a 20-story building.  The building is constructed of concrete with no continuous steel and therefore grounding each inverter close to the location they will be positioned is not an option.  The engineer has drawn 1 GEC to serve as both the GEC and the equipment grounding conductor (EGC).  Per NEC Article 690.47(c) (2) systems with both AC and DC grounding requirements shall be connected to a single grounding electrode.  Per the engineers plan we will accomplish this by making this connection with irreversible crimps in the load center where all of the inverters are combined on the 8th floor.  We have received confirmation that this meets NEC 2005 from the UL inspector Jimmy Wong and from the solar industry grounding expert John Wiles.  Is this permissible?

A: No; the Grounding Electrode Conductor (GEC) can be used per Section 690.47(C) (2) to ground both the AC and DC systems only.  It can not be used in addition as an Equipment Grounding Conductor (EGC).  If a separate EGC is required it can be installed together with the GEC in the same raceway.

 

SECTION 695 - (2/9/2011)

Q: An existing building contains a fire pump backed up a life safety generator – please see SKETCH A for existing one-line diagram.

The owner wishes to install a new generator to back up the existing life safety generator and back up the building’s two existing voluntary generators.  Under this scenario is the fire pump required to be backed up by this new generator in addition to being backed up by the existing life safety generator? For clarity please see SKETCH B for option 1.

In the event the fire pump is required to be backed up from the new generator (in addition to the existing life safety generator – or – the owner decides to back the fire pump with the new generator (in addition to the existing generator), is a separate tap from the new generator and an additional automatic transfer switch (ATS) that switches emergency power from the new and existing generators required?  For clarity, please see SKETCH C for option 2.

To satisfy the above requirements, in lieu of providing the separate tap and additional ATS can the emergency source feeding the fire pump’s ATS be via the load side of the gen-to-gen transfer switch? For clarity please see SKETCH D for option 2A.

A: Option 1 (Sketch B):   Yes; only if an over current protection and switch is provided on the normal side of the new gen-to-gen ATS.

Option 2 (Sketch C):   Yes; only if an over current protection and switch is provided on the normal side of the new gen-to-gen ATS.

Option 2A (Sketch D):  No; as over current protection and switch is required on the line side new gen-to-gen ATS (see responses above).  Insufficient information was provided to determine compliance for other aspects of the proposed installation, which must be in compliance with current code requirements.

 

SECTION 695 - (6/1/2011)

Q: Is RHH/RHW fire-rated cable in Electrical Metallic Tubing (EMT) or Rigid Metallic Conduit (RMC) for fire pump permitted to be installed without concrete encasement?

A: Yes; please see Section 695.6(B) for circuit conductors.  Where run as service conductors, installation shall conform to Section 695.6(A).

 

SECTION 695 - (7/27/2011)

Q: We are using RHW (2-hour fire rated cable) in conduit to feed a new fire pump installation.  The route the contractor is proposing would take the normal and emergency feeds for the pump straight through a stairwell at the ceiling approximately 10'-0" above the floor with no splices or pull boxes in stair?  Can these conduits be routed to pass through the stair?

A: Please be advised that this is a Building Code, not an Electrical Code question.  The fire rating on the cable assembly is to maintain survivability of the cable not as protection of the surrounding construction.  

Therefore, pursuant to Section 1019.1.2 of the 2008 New York City Building Code your request for permission to run normal and emergency feeds for the fire pump straight through a stairwell is hereby denied.

 

SECTION 695.2 - (4/6/2011)

Q: There are three definitions that were added in the New York City Amendments to the 2008 NEC Section 695.2 for “Fire Pump”, “Sprinkler Booster Pump” and “Limited Service Fire Pump”, which have been modified in the 2008 New York City Building Code as a result of changes to the fire protection system standard requirements for new construction for fire standpipe and sprinkler systems.

In concert with the revised fire protection standards the term “Limited Service Fire Pump” is no longer used.  The term “Special Service Fire Pump” is defined as to its purpose in 15.2.2.2 of BC Q102 of the 2008 New York City Building Code and is only used to increase pressure to hydraulically calculated sprinklers taking suction from a gravity tank.

The term “Sprinkler Booster Pump” is defined as to its purposed in 15.2.2.4 of BC Q102 and is used only to increase street pressure to building sprinklers.

Within both of these articles the normal service is required to be connected ahead of the main unless there is secondary power provided which is automatically switching.

Can the electrical requirements for these two pumps be provided in the same manner currently permitted in the New York City amendments to the 2005 NEC for “Limited Service Fire Pumps”?

A: Yes.

 

SECTION 695.6 - (4/6/2011)

Q: This section requires fire pump and special service fire pump service conductors to the service disconnect to be routed outside a building installed as service entrance conductors.  Where physical routing outside the building can not be complied with, routing through buildings is permitted when installed in accordance with 230.6(1), (2) or (4).

1. When the fire pump service conductor connections are made at a utility service end box located within the service switchboard room together with the fire pump service disconnect must the requirements of the referenced amendment section be complied with?
2. If the service switchboard room were of two-hour rated construction would compliance with the referenced section be required?
3. If the fire pump service conductor connection is made at a permitted location within a service switch assembly must the requirements of the referenced amendment section be complied with from the service switch assembly to the fire pump service switch when located in the same room?
4. If the answer to question 3 above is yes, would the service conductors to the service switchboard assembly used to make the connection also be required to comply with the referenced section?

A: 1. Yes.
2. No.
3. Yes, if the room is not 2-hour rated.  No, if the room is two-hour rated.
4. Yes, if the room is not 2-hour rated.  No, if the room is two-hour rated.

 

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CHAPTER 7: Special Conditions (Code Section 700.1 to 780.7)
 

SECTION 700 - (6/1/2011)

Q: We respectfully request a code interpretation regarding protection of existing emergency feeders and protection of emergency feeders routed on the exterior of a medical research building.

As part of the construction of a medical research building completed in 2005, twelve (12) sets of 6-500MCM XHHW emergency feeders (totaling 22,000’ of conductors) were installed in EMT conduit through the interior of the fully sprinklered building, from the main Emergency Service Switchboard (ESS) to a pull box located on the exterior of the building.  The intent was to extend these emergency feeders to provide emergency power to an adjacent building.  These feeders are currently capped off on both ends since their installation in 2005.  The facility wishes to utilize these as they were originally intended to be used for by extending them on the exterior of the building to an adjacent building.

Question 1: We feel that since the emergency feeders, described above, were installed in accordance with the code of the time of their installation and that no additional fire protection should be required other than the fact that the building is fully sprinklered.

Question 2: We wish to extend these feeders to the adjacent building via the exterior of the adjacent building.  We feel that no additional fire protection is required for XHHW emergency feeders when they are routed on the exterior of the building.

A: Yes; your assumption is correct for both questions.

 

SECTION 700 - (11/15/2011)

Q: We are designing an emergency distribution system with a diesel generator that will be mounted on the roof of a 15 story building.  The generator set will be exposed to the elements and will be installed within a weatherproof, sound attenuated enclosure.  The emergency distribution equipment, ie. automatic transfer switches, emergency distribution boards, etc., will be installed on the same level in a penthouse.  Can the emergency distribution equipment share a room containing mechanical equipment?  Does the emergency distribution equipment need to be installed within its own dedicated emergency electrical room?  Please provide code reference.

A: Emergency power systems associated with fire protection equipment shall be installed as per 1 RCNY §12-01 Emergency Power System Requirements and  comply with the requirement of this ruling. Please note that emergency fire protection equipment is listed in Section 27-396.4 of the Administrative Code. These equipment requires dedicated 2 hour fire rated electric room that complies with electric distribution rooms and electric closets requirement of NYC electric code.

§[C26-610.1] 27-396.4 Requirements. -
Where required by this article or any other provision of this code, an emergency power system shall be provided. The emergency power system shall have a power source and fuel supply sufficient to operate the following equipment in accordance with rules and regulations promulgated by the department, where such equipment is required to be provided by this code:
(a) Fire pumps and booster pumps.
(b) At least three elevators at one time, with manual transfer to other elevators.
(c) Alarm systems.
(d) Communication systems.
(e) Emergency lighting, if battery packs are not provided.
(f) Ventilating systems used for smoke venting or control.
(g) Stair pressurization.

Emergency equipment other than listed above can be installed in mechanical space if the space has 1 hour fire rating and provided with dedicated working space as per 110.26.

SECTION 700.9 - (2/9/2011)

Q: Is it acceptable to install emergency equipment (Automatic Transfer Switch and panel boards) in the same room housing the 4000 Amps service switch board rated at 120/208V? Refer to sketch.

The facility, which is business occupancy, is less than 75 feet in height with less than 1,000 persons.

A: Not acceptable.

 

SECTION 700.9 - (4/6/2011)

Q: I have a large standby generator system comprised of multiple engine generators each with an output over-current protection (OCP) at each generator connected in parallel through paralleling breakers to a paralleling switchboard.  The generator system supplies both Article 700 emergency loads as well as Article 702 optional standby loads.

Article 700-9(B) requires the wiring from an emergency source or an emergency source distribution over current protective device to be kept entirely independent of all other wiring and equipment.

1. Can the point of separation between the emergency and optional standby feeders other than those required for fire pumps and fire alarm systems begin from separate over current protective devices in a distribution switchboard that is fed from a common over current protective device at the paralleling switchboard if the common feeder to the distribution switchboard meets the requirements of Article 700?
2. Should the answer to question 1 above be no, must the separation begin from separate over current protective devices connected to the paralleling bus?
3. Should the answer to question 2 above be yes, would a central standby generator system supporting both emergency and optional standby loads in different buildings on a campus be required to comply with the same separation requirements?

A: 1. No.
2. Yes.
3. No; separation begins at the point of entry of the generator source into the respective buildings.

 

SECTION 725 - (7/27/2011)

Q: An occupancy sensor system being installed in multiple public schools include 120 Volt branch circuit wiring and 24 VDC control wiring.  If the control wiring has 600 Volt insulation, same as the branch circuit wiring; can the branch circuit wiring and the control wiring be installed in a common raceway and common enclosure?

A: No; See Section 725.55, which does not allow branch circuit wiring and Class 2 control wiring to be installed in the same raceway or box.

 

SECTION 760 - (7/27/2011)

Q: Attached please find 10 sketches indicating wiring schemes for fire alarm systems in various connection arrangements.

A: Sketches were reviewed and found to be an acceptable method for power source connections for fire alarm systems represented by the respective conditions where system voltage is 600V or less.  Care must be taken to ensure compliance with other applicable code sections which may not be directly noted on the sketches.  Acceptance of these wiring schemes does not preclude use of other code conforming wiring arrangements for these or other comparable conditions.

 

SECTION 760.41  - (2/9/2011)

Q: (a) In RCNY 4000-06, 760.41(D)(2), is it the intent of the following statement “with a means of interrupting the unfused neutral and all ungrounded conductors” meant to require a 4-pole fire alarm service disconnect switch that breaks the neutral at the same time as the phase conductor?
(b) Is a 3-pole fire alarm service switch with neutral bar acceptable?

A: (a) No.
(b) Yes.

 

SECTION 760.46 & 760.52 - (4/6/2011)

Q: Regarding approved conduit types for non-power limited fire alarm circuits (NPLFA).

760.46 states “NPLFA circuit wiring” Installation of non-power limited fire alarm circuits shall be in accordance with applicable portions of 110.3(B), 300.7, 300.15, 300.17 and other appropriate articles of Chapter 3 using raceway methods described in Articles 342 (IMC) and 344 (RMC) or Type MI cable in accordance with Article 332, Exception No.1: As provided in 760.48 through 760.53.

760.52 (A) states “Mechanical Execution of work”. Installation shall conform to the following:

Mechanical Rooms, elevator rooms, garages and loading docks:  All wiring installed up to 8 feet above the finished floor in garages, loading docks, mechanical rooms and elevator rooms shall be installed in raceway pursuant to Article 344.  All wiring installed above 8 feet shall be installed pursuant to Articles 332, 342, 344 or 358 (EMT).  Exception: For mechanical rooms and elevator rooms having a floor area of less than 900 square feet, installation pursuant to Articles 332, 342, 344 or 358 (EMT) is permitted without height limitations.

Since Article 358 (EMT) conduit is approved for NPLFA circuit wiring in mechanical rooms, elevator rooms, garages and loading docks, can Article 358 (EMT) be applied in:

(a) Stairways?
(b) Exposed in corridors?
(c) Concealed in a hung ceiling?
(d) Regarding Article 344 (RMC) may the Rigid Metal Conduit be aluminum?

A: (a) No.
(b) No.
(c) No.
(d) Yes.

 

SECTION 760.131 - (4/6/2011)

Q: As per Department of Buildings Rule 4000-06, Article 760.131(C) (3) regarding fire alarm wiring:

1. Is it allowed to penetrate the top of a fire alarm pull station back box with rigid galvanized steel (RGS) conduit?
2. Is it allowed to penetrate the top of a fire alarm strobe light back box with RGS conduit?
3. Is it allowed to penetrate the top of a fire alarm horn/strobe combination back box with RGS conduit?
4. Is it allowed to penetrate the top of a fire alarm pull box with RGS conduit?

A: 1. Yes.
2. Yes.
3. Yes.
4. Yes.

 

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CHAPTER 8: Communications Systems (Code Section 800.1 to 830.179)
 

SECTION 800.133 - (2/9/2011)

Q: Prior to the adoption of the NEC, a bulletin to the NYCEC stated that communication equipment and wiring was prohibited from being installed in an electric closet. This statement is absent from the current amendments to the 2005 NEC as adopted under §27-3025. Article 100 does define an electric closet as “a room containing substantial electrical distribution equipment such as vertical risers, bus ducts, transformers and panel boards.”

Is low-voltage equipment such as telephone, data or security permitted to be installed in an electric closet?

A: No; See Section 800.133(E).

 

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TABLES: Detailed requirements for conductors and conduits

 

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Annex D: Calculation Examples
 

Q: When calculating the feeder size for an individual apartment in a multi-unit dwelling is it permissible to include the load for the microwave and dishwasher with the general lighting load and apply the demand factor of Table 220.42?

A: Yes; it is permitted to be included in the general loads category of 220.82(B) when the optional calculation method of Section 220.82 is used.  The demand factor permitted by Section 220.82(B) is 40% for loads in excess of 10kVA, not Table 220.42.

 

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ARTICLES: A subdivision of a Chapter, comprised of a certain number of Sections

 

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ADMINISTRATIVE: General Requirements
 
Section 27-3017 (Administrative Portion) - (11/15/2011)

Q: I apologize as I am not an electrician and don’t know the codes related to my question[s]. 

When a GFI outlet is installed does it have to be by a licensed electrician?
 If so what are the ramifications if the electrician is not licensed?

Is this a NYC law applicable for apartment houses? 
 I saw that ‘some states’ require them but can’t find a definitive list of which states. 

Thank you for your time.  There is a lot of information on the web but I’m not sure what is valid and what isn’t and that is why I’m contacting you directly.

A: Under Section 27-3017 of the New York City Administrative Code, all electrical work, regardless of the type of building, must be performed by or under the direct supervision of a licensed Master Electrician.  Here’s the appropriate section below. 
 
The Department may issue violations for the illegal work and a criminal court summons may also result, requiring the unlicensed person to appear in Criminal Court.
 
§27-3017 Electrical work by unauthorized persons; false representations.
a. Work without appropriate license, false representation prohibited.
1. Except as otherwise provided in paragraph two of this subdivision, it shall be unlawful for any person to perform electrical work except under a license issued to a master electrician or special electrician as provided in this chapter. It shall be unlawful for any person to advertise or to hold himself, herself or itself out as authorized to engage in the business of performing electrical work unless such person is authorized to perform such work pursuant to this chapter under an appropriate master electrician’s or special electrician’s license. No person shall cause any such work to be done by any person unless he or she is an employee of and working under the direct supervision of a person authorized to perform such work pursuant to this chapter and the rules of the department. No person shall falsely represent that he, she or it is authorized to perform electrical work under a master electrician’s or special electrician’s license or shall use in any advertising the words “master electrician” or the words “licensed electrician” or the words “electrical contractor” or any words of similar meaning or import on any sign, card, letterhead or in any other manner unless such person is so authorized pursuant to this chapter and the rules of the department.

 
Section 27-3018 (Administrative Portion) - (2/9/2011)

Q: We are totally renovating a town house. The building has a 2 family certificate of occupancy. The owner will occupy the entire building, except the basement, which will be an apartment. There are no common hallways and the owner will supply heat to the apartment from a central boiler. The owner would like to install a single meter for the entire building. Section 27-3018(i) deals with installing more meters than dwelling units in one and two family houses, but does not state the minimum amount of meters required.

The NYS Energy Conservation Code Section 404.2 states “In all buildings having individual dwelling units, provisions shall be made to determine the electrical energy consumed by each tenant by separately metering or monitoring individual dwelling units”.

(a) Does the Energy Code statement apply to an apartment in a two-family house?
(b) Is it necessary to install a separate Con Edison meter for the apartment?
(c) If so, is it necessary to install a third meter for the building common areas if no such areas exist?

A: (a) Yes
(b) Yes
(c) No

Copies of the NYC 2011 Electrical Code (only the amendments to the NEC 2008 Electrical Code) and the New York City Electrical Code (the amendments and the NEC 2008 Electrical Code) can be purchased at the CityStore.

Other Code Interpretation Links:

Code Interpretation for 2010
Code Interpretation for 2009
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Code Interpretation for 2007
Code Interpretation for 2006
Code Interpretation for 2005
Code Interpretation for 2004
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