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#195664 08/17/10 01:47 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 1
craizem Offline OP
New Member
Hello all,

I have a question about comercial electrical work. I am an industrial electrician so the commercial side might be a little different but wanted to know if I HAD to run steel conduit or can you use romex in a commercial building? The place that is being rewired use to be a swim club and now is going to be a nail and hair salon. This is for my In-Laws so I should probably have them talk to the town inspector. Thanks for the info and this is a pretty cool forum I am looking forward to using this often.

craizem #195666 08/17/10 02:26 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,298
Likes: 6
Without any specifics on the structure, I will refer you to read 334.10 & 334.12 in the current NEC in your locale. We use '08 NEC here in NJ.

You may also have local codes to follow, so I suggest that you contact your AHJ in your town to be sure of the install.

All that said, welcome to ECN!!

HotLine1 #195671 08/17/10 04:45 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Cat Servant
Craizem, you've picked one devil of a topic to start off with ...

Romex, simply put, doesn't blong in anything but a wood-framed residence thats no more than three floors tall. That's what it was intended for; while the NEC has loosened the rules some, it hasn't changed the fact that the limitations of Romex quickly make it imprctical for any but the simplest uses.

A swim club would have issues, since Romex is not allowed in damp locations. (Read past the 'allowed uses' section, and you'll find this restriction).

A 'hair and nail' salon has a multitude of specific HVAC requirements. Add to that the near certainty that your original layout will not be adequate, you really want there to be some pipe - to make changes easier later.

Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 745
Not to mention, you are in Illinois. If you are anywhere near the Chicago metropolitan area, the unions have ensured that Romex isn't allowed anywhere, ever, period. You have to use EMT even to wire a light in a shed in those areas!


"But the guy at Home Depot said it would work."
EV607797 #195677 08/17/10 08:44 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,803
Why has Chicago made that rule?

Wood work but can't!
EV607797 #195678 08/17/10 08:46 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 368
Ed, I am not sure if its true but I was told that by one of my relatives that use to live in Cicero IL. at least one of the big box chains sells Romex in Chicagoland area.

I wonder how many homes are wired with that for additional branch circuits and not inspected.

mbhydro #195679 08/17/10 08:52 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 368
Alan, I always thought it was something to do with the "great Chicago fire" and fire prevention from the introduction "newfangled electricity" at the turn of the previous century.

I think its a local thing just like in San Fransisco (I think that's the city) all plumbing including the DVW and sprinklers have to be plumbed in copper. No plastic or cast iron allowed.

Last edited by mbhydro; 08/17/10 08:53 PM. Reason: spelling
mbhydro #195694 08/18/10 06:34 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Cat Servant
Let's lighten up on Chicago!

Chicago was inspired, first, by the "Great Chicago Fire" to develop building codes that focused on fire protection.

Later, the "Columbian Exposition" was held there, showcasing this new thing called "electricity." The very many fires - some of them large- resulting in renewed concern. A direct result of these fires was the creation of UL.

So, Chicago led the way in such code matters- long before anyone ever though to write an "NEC."

With the advent of other codes, Chicago felt little need to follow these latecomers.

Chicago had a point; it's building codes were (and still are) very heavily biased towards brick, steel, and concrete. When you recall that Romex was developed specifically for use in 'balloon frame' houses, you can see that Romex was recognized even by its' makers to be inappropriate for Chicago.

Until quite recently, even the NEC reflected this bias, limiting Romex to smaller residential structures. The parallel "AFCI debate" makes me wonder if maybe Chicago is still right.

One can make all manner of assertions as to the influence of Unions, city corruption, etc .... It's not just with Romex, but with plastic pipe and contractor licensing as well.

As we approach the release of the 2011 NEC, it's a good time to remember that it is the local governemnt that is the AHJ, and not some publisher in Massachussetts.

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,298
Likes: 6
Used to be years back that Elizabeth, Nj had a 'no NM local rule. They also had a requirement for "pre-inspections" before they issued any permits.

All of that was sent 'bye-bye' with the adoption of the statewide Uniform Construction Code (UCC aka 5:23 et al) That is supposed to put everyone on the same page.

Back to this topic, I suggested to the OP to contact the local AHJ & check local codes. Illinois is a big state.

HotLine1 #195744 08/20/10 09:28 AM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,233

Wasn't that also the story for NYC? Didn't they only allow RX for temp wiring?

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