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Distance between Panelboards - Anyone verify this? #101122 02/11/07 12:19 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,721
Scott35 Online Happy OP
Broom Pusher and
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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.

Issue:

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.

Scott35


Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!
2017 / 2014 NEC & Related Books and Study Guides
Re: Distance between Panelboards - Anyone verify this? #101123 02/11/07 10:11 AM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
I
iwire Offline
Moderator
Scott I hope you do not write job specs, they would be 105 volumes long just for Division 16. [Linked Image]

Is the basic question can you place a row of 20" wide panel tubs side by side?

If so my answer is most definitely yes.

If I start in a corner I will start about 8" off the wall to leave room for a panel tub on the other side of the corner and than I will place as many tubs side by side as tight as I can.

Bob


Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Massachusetts
Re: Distance between Panelboards - Anyone verify this? #101124 02/11/07 10:39 AM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 1,716
R
Roger Offline
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Scott, there is no such requirement. The only requirement is that there must be 30" working space which can be measured from right edge, left edge, or anywhere in between.

Here is a picture to go with Bob's example.

[Linked Image]

Roger

Re: Distance between Panelboards - Anyone verify this? #101125 02/11/07 11:44 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,721
Scott35 Online Happy OP
Broom Pusher and
Member
Bob and Roger;

Thanks for the replies!

Bob:
Sorry for the extreme detail in my message!
Got kind of confusing, I assume.

Roger:
That's what I was hoping to hear (actually read [Linked Image]...).
Looks like another case of "Mistaken / Misquoted Article Distribution" being tossed around.

Will see if I have all the relavent information - from both the In-Field Person (the one who presented this question to me), and the Inspector that issued the correction notice.

Results will be posted to this thread, as soon as I figure out whaddaheck is going on!

Again, thanks for the replies.

Scott35


Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!
Re: Distance between Panelboards - Anyone verify this? #101126 02/11/07 10:50 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,541
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gfretwell Offline
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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.


Greg Fretwell
Re: Distance between Panelboards - Anyone verify this? #101127 02/12/07 09:10 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,148
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resqcapt19 Offline
Member
Quote
The only requirement is that there must be 30" working space which can be measured from right edge, left edge, or anywhere in between.
It is important that the required working space for one panel can include the space in front of other panels.
Quote
Some inspectors say the required hworking 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.
That is an interesting idea...the 6" intrusion rule only applies to the height part of the work space so an inspector could cite a larger depth on an adjacent panel as a violation.
Don


Don(resqcapt19)
Re: Distance between Panelboards - Anyone verify this? #101128 02/14/07 10:30 AM
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Posts: 681
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PCBelarge Offline
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The requirement that states 6 inches is for above and below equipment as per 110.26(A)(3). I do not see this as a requirement from side to side.


Pierre Belarge
Re: Distance between Panelboards - Anyone verify this? #101129 02/14/07 11:10 AM
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Posts: 2,148
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resqcapt19 Offline
Member
Pierre,
Quote
The requirement that states 6 inches is for above and below equipment as per 110.26(A)(3). I do not see this as a requirement from side to side.
That is my point. If the panel to the side sticks out any amount and is in the 30" work space of the next panel, there is a code violation.
Don


Don(resqcapt19)
Re: Distance between Panelboards - Anyone verify this? #101130 02/14/07 12:43 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,541
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gfretwell Offline
Member
You see why I said "some inspectors" [Linked Image]

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.


Greg Fretwell
Re: Distance between Panelboards - Anyone verify this? #101131 02/20/07 07:34 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,721
Scott35 Online Happy OP
Broom Pusher and
Member
Thanks to all who posted to this thread.

After careful analysis regarding this topic, the conclusion has been established that this scenario is 100% Male Bovine Fecal Matter, and a corresponding 100% waste of time, for many persons!

After discussing the matter with the person issuing the correction notice, the following was concluded:
<OL TYPE=1>

[*] The Non-Compliance Information given would be best spread across Lawns, not written in any Correction lists;


[*] If that Information was spread across Lawns, the Lawns will grow much Greener;


[*] The Information should only be packaged under the name "Bandini", and sold in the Lawn & Garden section of your favorite Hardware Store;


[*] Everyone had been involved in a classic episode of "Code Mis-interpretation" once again!.
</OL>

Thanks for everyone's input!

Scott - "The Bandini Sifter"- 35


Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!
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