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#180513 08/28/08 04:43 PM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 179
D
derater Offline OP
Member
Do you have the authority to waive code at times ? To the point, there seems to be no AFCI breakers available for Federal Pacific panels. Remodel I first saw today will extend BR circuit into sitting room. The inspector I use a lot said remedy would be a small sub-panel. What say you ?

Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,233
H
Member
Here in NJ as an AHJ we are allowed to waive the code. It is called an Application for a Variation of the UCC which stands for Uniform Construction Code of NJ. The application ask 3 basic questions.
1) Please state the requirements of the subcode from which a variation is sought?(You have to cite code sections)

2) How would compliance with said provision result in practical difficulties? (Here you have to explain why you can't meet the code section.)

3) Please state an alternative to the subcode requirement that will still protect the health, safety and welfare of the occupants. (Here you really have to come up with a great reason and a great idea on how you can meet the code in a different way)

That might be difficult to get a variation, I know some AHJ's who grant them and some that don't.

Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,233
H
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OOPS,

I didn't answer the rest of the question. Here in NJ AFCI's are not required YET. Our state didn't adopt the 2008 NEC yet either. Putting in a sub panel to get AFCI protection would work in my eyes. I have seen HVAC people add sub panels to F.P. panels because they were not HAVC rated breakers.

Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 1,044
Tom Offline
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Yes, the AHJ can waive certain rules, but the problem is, equivalent safety objectives must be met. See 90.4

If there is a requirement for AFCI protection, then I don't see any way it can be waived and still have an equivalent level of safety. Installing a small sub-panel would, to me, be a reasonable request.


Last edited by Tom; 08/28/08 06:01 PM. Reason: Spelling, as usual, it takes a poor imagination to only be able to think of one way to spell a word, but it makes for hard reading

Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,663
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G
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I agree with Tom. If your jurisdiction is serious about AFCIs, a small sub panel would do it.

When I was working my boss gave me a lot of latitude to interpret the code. His only rule was "make it safe".
The only time I waived a rule was when it really didn't fit the circumstance we were working in. Prisons were probably the worst. You really didn't want to make things "too" accessible. These boys are sitting around all day thinking up ways to get into mischief.
In the museum renovation where we were working with antique hardware I worked very closely with the engineers to come up with a safe standard when we had unlisted equipment.

Most of the time it was straight code.


Greg Fretwell
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,213
S
Member
Originally Posted by derater
Do you have the authority to waive code at times ? To the point, there seems to be no AFCI breakers available for Federal Pacific panels. Remodel I first saw today will extend BR circuit into sitting room. The inspector I use a lot said remedy would be a small sub-panel. What say you ?
The subpanel is probably cheaper than the AFCI breaker you're going to put in it! You could also buy a small 1-breaker enclosure and place the AFCI in there. There's no issue feeding a 20A AFCI from a 20A conventional breaker.

Would the homeowner benefit from the addition of a new subpanel, or is this a one-off thing?

Also, yes, we do have the ability to waive code if we the installation is safe. 90.4 is a convenient paragraph!

Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 301
J
Member
This reminds me of an inspector here in SC. that told me I could not drive a ground rod at a detached sub panel.
The sub panel was on a lake and he made mention of "stray voltages" and a safety issue.
When I told him that the NEC required the rod he said " I am the authority and it is my decision, NO electrode anywhere near the water line".
It was a boat house near the water. He failed another guy for having an electrode for a sub that fed a dock.
He only allows an EGC from the main service panel. Odd wouldn't you agree?


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