408.4 Circuit Directory or Circuit Identification Every circuit and circuit modification shall be legibly identified as to its clear, evident, and specific purpose or use. The identification shall include sufficient detail to allow each circuit to be distinguished from all others. The identification shall be included in a circuit directory that is located on the face or inside of the panel door in the case of a panelboard, and located at each switch on a switchboard.
408.4 Circuit Directory or Circuit Identification. Every circuit and circuit modification shall be legibly identified as to its clear, evident, and specific purpose or use. The identification shall include sufficient detail to allow each circuit to be distinguished from all others. Spare positions that contain unused overcurrent devices or switches shall be described accordingly. The identification shall be included in a circuit directory that is located on the face or inside of the panel door in the case of a panelboard, and located at each switch on a switchboard. No circuit shall be described in a manner that depends on transient conditions of occupancy.
It is my practice to completely ignore the card/ sticker / label that comes with the panel. Instead, it is my practice to place a printed label on the face of the breaker itself.
Why? Because the ID remains even after you remove the cover, and you can re-position breakers at will. But I digress ...
Some folks took the position that the code, by requiring a "directory," either banned this practice of mine, or still required that the card be filled out.
For the 2008 code, I proposed that my method be allowed. The code panel's response was heartening: they said no change was needed, because, in their opinion, my method was already allowed by the code language.
So ... let's not get hung up on that word 'directory.'
No circuit shall be described in a manner that depends on transient conditions of occupancy.
How are you supposed to do that in say a residence with 5 bedrooms? Even if you number them anyone trying to identify the purpose of a breaker would need a plan with the room numbers, and likewise "north bedroom" would require a compass...
I may be biased coming from an environment where everything was extremely well documented, but nothing can replace an accurate drawing. For something like receptacles, the only way to show it with no ambiguity is an actual labeled map of the building, with each receptacle, where it's fed from, and how the wiring is configured. I'd go as far as to say it should be required by building code to be updated to reflect as-built condition. Not necessarily full engineering drawings, but at least accurate and legible shop sketches.
And yes, I know this would be very difficult to do "the way it's always been done", but I contest the way it's always been done is wrong.
Steve, that is a great goal and I am in the process of doing that at my house as we speak but it in unenforceable in most residential construction scenarios. Even in "cookie cutter" houses that you would assume are all wired alike the sparkies tend to take liberties with the plans because the buyer usually gets a chance to place outlets on the pre-drywall walk. As long as the outlet spacing is OK and the load seems to be evenly distributed across the GL circuits there is no good reason to fail them. The electrical plan is really just a guideline at that point. I would certainly not trust it as a point to point wiring diagram even if the receptacle and lighting distribution was right.