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Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 449
Fred Offline OP
A guy in my area who lives in a wooded housing addition buys another building lot across the street to build a pole type building 48' x 60'. He has no room to build on the lot where his house is located and he needs space for his "hobby" which is restoring old Chevys for himself. The county issues him a building permit for the pole building. The electric utility serves everything in this addition underground. They require a minimum 200A meterbase as they don't bury anything smaller than 4/0 AL URD so he puts in a 200A MB 40 circuit loadcenter. This lot has no water(he didn't drill a well) and no septic system. By my understanding this building is not a dwelling as defined in article 100. It is not an accessorie building because it is the only building on the lot. The county says it is not a commercial/business building because no business will be conducted from it and it is zoned residential. The question here is what GFCI requirements apply to this building? I believe the applicable GFCI requirements for this building are found in art. 210.8(B) Other Than Dwelling Units. Since there are no bathrooms, commercial or institutional kitchens or rooftop equipment requiring servicing the only GFCI receptacles required by the NEC would be those installed outdoors. I would enjoy hearing other opinions accompanied by code references.

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Joined: May 2005
Posts: 706
Per usual it's up to the AHJ to define. I'd consider it a garage under Article 210.8(A)(2). This article seems to define the area you mention..."that have a floor located at or below grade level not intended as habitable rooms and limited to storage areas, work areas, and areas of similar use".


Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
e57 Offline
"pole type building"

Are you talking about a fire watch tower type thing? (I have always day dreamed about having one...)

Or, like a large open Kazzebo type thing? Some pillars and a roof, no walls. I think thats what you're getting at? Figure it all NEMA 3 at the very least, for exposure to weather, and wet/damp location.

Then as for GFI's considering it is residential, all

Calling it an out building, or garage...
210(a)2 Garages, and also accessory buildings that have a floor located at or below grade level not intended as habitable rooms and limited to storage areas, work areas, and areas of similar use.
(3) Outdoors

Same for commercial if it were:
511.12 Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection for Personnel.
All 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles installed in areas where electrical diagnostic equipment, electrical hand tools, or portable lighting equipment are to be used shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel.

Even if it doesn't fit a catagory, some common sense is in order in design, outside of the code. GFI all the 15 and 20A recepticals. Taking a knee on a concrete slab is like sticking your leg in tub while holding say a drill.... (CB's would be cheaper for this type of thing.) NEMA3 all around the wet areas at the very least, and cord covers if applicable in 406.8.

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 349
Even though I don't have one with me to look at, I believe the NEC provides a definition for a dwelling unit, and mentions a space suitable and/or intended for habitation including cooking and bathroom facilities, etc. So, imho, this wouldn't be a dwelling unit.


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Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
If this were being built in my jurisdiction, I would use a little common sense and call it an accessory structure to a dwelling. Just because it is on it's own building lot, doesn't make it an independent building. Many times well heeled individuals will purchase several small building lots, raze any existing buildings and build a large house with several out buildings. They may or may not have bothered to combine the lots into one, and it doesn't really matter. Political divisions on the dirt do not affect the safety of a building. Call it what it is: a detached garage with power, and follow the rules for detached garages.

By the way, a pole type building is (in my locality anyway) a building that uses telephone pole type timbers as the structural elements for construction. There is not any need to dig for footings or foundation walls. The posts are set 5 feet down to resist frost and wind.

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 449
Fred Offline OP
This building is not on an adjoining lot. It is on the other side of the street from the house. The county says it cannot be called an accessorie building for this reason. My advice to the owner is to GFCI the receptacles that are accessable from grade regardless of "requirements". It may add to his costs but will be safer. Since the AHJ says GFCI of the 120V duplex receptacles is not required, he probably won't spend the money.

Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 375
Usually this type of building is not allowed without a dwelling unit.

I would classify it as an accessory building in anticipation that the dwelling would be built in the future.

Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 56
I think that the AHJ will make the determination based on the zoning of the lot. If it is zoned residential it will be considered a residential building and will have to be wired accordingly.

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143

If I understand this correctly, it's a pole barn. This type of structure used to be made out of timber, but newer tech has allowed lam beams and metal to relace the heavy beams.

It's basically a self supporting framework with an outer sheathing that allows large inside areas without supporting columns.

Most of the long metal buildings on farms are of this construction type.

And my $0.02?

It's a storage building.... ie garage.

And I would GFI the receptacles or breakers as well.

Explain to him the effects of faulty current and some car washing or anti-freeze.

Joined: May 2005
Posts: 706
...especially the effects of current on his heart, or if that doesn't do it talk about his children or grandchildren. Usually I don't give them a T&M choice. I install GFCIs and include it in the contract. GFCI breakers don't cost much when included in a complete contract.


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