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#221873 08/27/22 11:28 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,389
Likes: 1
Cat Servant
As I re-enter the trade I am taking a close look at the changes made to the NEC in the past few cycles.
Ryan Jackson has some excellent YouTube videos that n the topic, including some be focused on accessible attics.
320.23 adds wire protection requirements based solely on whether the attic is accessed by a permanently installed ladder. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?
Except . . .
The house I own has an attic. There is a permanently installed folding ladder. The code seems to presume that the attic will be used for storage. I’d agree, save for two more details:
1) The pitch of the roof is so low that most can’t even sit in the hatch without bumping your head; and,
2) with the furnace closet right next to the attic hatch, the area around the opening is completely filled with ductwork and vent pipes. You’re not getting in that attic unless you’re a cat.

Therefore I maintain that the code has reached too far. What are your thoughts?

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Joined: May 2002
Posts: 382
Sounds like you have little need to get up in there much. Can I simply suggest you remove the ladder smile

Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 35
Note that in 320.23, for AC cable run across the top of the floor joists, an accessible attic is one that has either a permanently installed ladder or stairs, or one that requires a portable ladder. Each of these two scenarios has different protection requirements.
The question is if access is blocked by permanently installed equipment/ducts, etc., is the attic considered accessible anymore. I'd think - purely opinion - that If a human can't even get in there to hoist something through the attic opening without dismantling permanent stuff, it would not be considered accessible. On the other hand, if people can access the attic opening and hoist things into it even if they can't climb into the attic, then the protection requirements for a portable ladder would be applicable. All of this does raise some questions about when the wiring was installed, how was it installed, and how was it inspected.

Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 35
Forgot to add. I don't think the requirements are unreasonable for accessible attics. Think about hoisting a box through the attic opening and blindly pushing it along the floor. Could tug a cable if it's not protected as per 320.23.

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,822
Likes: 20
It is not a ridiculous rule and I would call it like I saw it. Areas really inaccessible would get a break but if it is possible that they will be crawling around, it would need the cable protection. I would counter that crawling around is worse than having a stand up attic.

Greg Fretwell

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