Got a question regarding the Minimum Distance between Panelboards, as was posed to me recently. The Person whom ask me of the validity, was issued a Correction Notice, but said Person did not mention if any NEC Article was quoted - only that the Inspector mentioned the new version of the NEC (2008 I assume), describes the issue clearly.
Is there a defined _MINIMAL_ distance, _BETWEEN_ Panelboards, which are mounted to a similar Wall? i.e. installing two surface mounted Panelboards on the same wall, side by side.
From the description I was given, regardless of the overall size (Width) of a Panelboard's Enclosure, the _MINIMUM_ distance between any 2 Panelboards is 36" - as measured from the Centerline of one Panelboard, to the closest side edge of the next Panelboard.
This was also indicated regardless if the Panelboards are Surface mounted, Flush mounted; or if one is Surface mounted and the other is Flush mounted.
This would be in regards to clearance between Panelboards, not as to working space in front of equipment.
I reviewed Article 110.26, and specifically, 110.26(A)(2) of the 2004 California Electrical Code (based on 2002 NEC Model Code), and cannot find anything that verifies this quotation, other than the minimal 30" of "free space" around Equipment.
If this is a valid issue, I need to alter my future layouts.
My current layout techniques begin with a minimum of 15" from any wall corners, or 36" from any door jamb (an additional 6" - 12" if the door swings towards the wall where a Panelboard is mounted). This would be the first / closest side of the Panelboard's Enclosure.
If additional Panelboards are to be mounted to that same wall, I give them each a minimum of 30" clearance, set 15" each side from the centerline of each Panelboard. Since the typical Panelboard is a Surface Mounted 20" Wide Enclosure, this normally equates to 10" minimum between two Panelboards.
If the previously described 36" minimum spacing is true, that would result in a minimum of 26" between two 20" Panelboards.
Looking forward to your comments.
Scott " 35 " Thompson Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!
The only place I could see an opportunity for a violation is if they were not equal depth. Some inspectors say the required working space is a 30" plane at the face of the enclosure so another one next to it, sticking out a bit farther would encroach on the space.
It is really a safety issue. If you are wedged between a couple deeper cabinets to get to the recessed one you don't have clear working space. That could really be a problem if you had a narrow flush mounted cabinet and surface mounted cabinets on both sides.