A fellow inspector called me and asked if it was permissible to run a feeder through a strip mall inside the building having it pass through multiple rental suites before terminating in a sub-panel. I answered yes and I used 225.37 (08 NEC) as my code reference. Got to thinking about it afterwards and wonder if I gave him good information. Article 225 is for Outside Branch Circuits and Feeders. However, it clearly talks about passing through a structure and the requirements associated with it. Is there another code reference that might apply? Article 215 says nothing about this scenario.
George: The issue is the accessability to the feeder in the event that repair/replace/service is needed, and being able to disturb/disrupt/infringe, etc on the adjacent tenant spaces to perform same. In some comm properties I worked at (as EC) the landlord had a clause within the lease that granted access for any service work for the adjacent/other tenants. What legal hat they hung that on I don't know; but it worked!
Without doing a lot of reading, I cannot put an NEC Article on this that is concrete. There have been many debates at meetings, but no articles.
Resi condos have the feeders run thru the common corridors. Most (if not all) feeders in our mall are thru the service corridors and/or common areas. The last two multi bldg apt complexes had all feeders thru common areas by design.
Let's see if anyone here has any input.
I must say you offer up all very interesting subjects!!!
I am not sure if I have seen blood on the floor but I have seen big fights over this. I think there may have even been one or two here. It usually centers around the wiring method and what a "building" is. The concerns go all the way from access to a fault to theft of services. I am not sure I have seen a code cite that does not require a lot of bending and cocking your head. "Is it subject to <fill in the blank> damage?" Construction type may fit in. "Is this a litigious town?"
Thanks Greg and John, I can understand there being security issues and contractual issues but what I see so far is a lack of electrical code issues. So I guess as an electrical inspector, I can't write a violation.
Niko: As Greg said above, there's no NEC direct guidance on this type issue, but some Articles that can 'lean' toward it.
With comm jobs most issues seem to deal with future access to the 'space' the feeders may run through. That revolves around the wiring methods installed. Raceway thru space, end to end, no boxes, condulets, etc., I see no basis for any argument. The jobs installed in MC cable, or other allowed cabling are where the access comes into discussion. Some landlords include a clause within the lease for access, but that's a legal issue, not NEC directly related.
I've looked over my notes from the past upmteen years, and having the feeder pass through another tenant's space doesn't happen very often.
It's an interesting pattern; most often the gas, phone, data, and every other kind of line runs in a straight shot over everyone's ceiling, but the feeders are most often under the slab.
Where I've found the feeders passing through other spaces, there has invariably been quite a history of remodels and shifting spaces.
I have seen local codes that required all feeders (from the meter to the panel) to be in some form of pipe.
I fear that all this discussion has accomplished is to give the code-changers yet another opportunity to intrude on what has been a design issue. With their desire to 'conform' to all manner of other codes, they seem determined to address all manner of non-electrical matters.