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#### Greg Sparkovich

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(edited to correct the title -thanks Dennis!)

Here's an interesting quandary about [NEC 2014] 210.52 (C)1 [receptacles in a counter along a wall].

Is a counter space divided into two spaces if there is any sort of partition dividing part of the wall space behind the counter?

The drawing represents a counter that is 46 in Long with wall cabinets over 31" of the counter space -leaving an additional 15" of uncovered counter space along the back wall. On the right side of the cabinets, a supporting brace (dark line) comes down to the counter surface; it protrudes perpendicularly for 15" from the wall behind the counter. The depth of the counter is 28", so there is 13" of open space between the end of the supporting brace and the front edge of the counter. There is one receptacle in the middle of the 15" open space ... In other words, 7.5" from the supporting brace.

If this brace acts as a partition between a 31" section of counter and a 15" section of counter, then I obviously need another outlet in the 31-in section underneath the cabinets. So the question is, do I measure this as a single 46" counter, or two counters at 31" and 15" ?

The language of the code text that matters here is:
"Receptacle outlet shall be installed so that no point along the wall line is more than 24" measured horizontally from a receptacle outlet in that space".

If that horizontal line is blocked by a permanent structure of any kind, is it a separate space? I mean, I clearly can't run my finger along that horizontal line without it being stopped after 31".

So one interpretation I could see is that I would need to add the perpendicular length of the partition to the distance between receptacles since that is the only way that I could run my finger from one receptacle to the next. After all, in a perpendicular wall, I would have to include the distance from the corner to the back wall.

In (C)4, separate spaces are defined by a range, counter-mounted cooking unit, or sink, not partitions, so one could say that it counts as one continuous counter space ...but does that mean that for adjoining cubicles with one long counter, each cubicle is not its own counter space?

If I interpret intent, I'm thinking that any area in the counter space should be reachable by an appliance with a 24 inch cord. In that case, the orange line shows that the front of the counter beyond 24" from the perpendicular wall is not compliant and the green line shows that the back of the counter is non-compliant.

So I'm curious how people would interpret this:

Is it two spaces or one?

#### Almost Retired

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Here's an interesting quandary about [NEC 2014] 252.10 (C)1 [receptacles in a counter along a wall].

Is a counter space divided into two spaces if there is any sort of partition dividing part of the wall space behind the counter?

The drawing represents a counter that is 46 in Long with wall cabinets over 31" of the counter space -leaving an additional 15" of uncovered counter space along the back wall. On the right side of the cabinets, a supporting brace (dark line) comes down to the counter surface; it protrudes perpendicularly for 15" from the wall behind the counter. The depth of the counter is 28", so there is 13" of open space between the end of the supporting brace and the front edge of the counter. There is one receptacle in the middle of the 15" open space ... In other words, 7.5" from the supporting brace.

If this brace acts as a partition between a 31" section of counter and a 15" section of counter, then I obviously need another outlet in the 31-in section underneath the cabinets. So the question is, do I measure this as a single 46" counter, or two counters at 31" and 15" ?

The language of the code text that matters here is:
"Receptacle outlet shall be installed so that no point along the wall line is more than 24" measured horizontally from a receptacle outlet in that space".

If that horizontal line is blocked by a permanent structure of any kind, is it a separate space? I mean, I clearly can't run my finger along that horizontal line without it being stopped after 31".

So one interpretation I could see is that I would need to add the perpendicular length of the partition to the distance between receptacles since that is the only way that I could run my finger from one receptacle to the next. After all, in a perpendicular wall, I would have to include the distance from the corner to the back wall.

In (C)4, separate spaces are defined by a range, counter-mounted cooking unit, or sink, not partitions, so one could say that it counts as one continuous counter space ...but does that mean that for adjoining cubicles with one long counter, each cubicle is not its own counter space?

If I interpret intent, I'm thinking that any area in the counter space should be reachable by an appliance with a 24 inch cord. In that case, the orange line shows that the front of the counter beyond 24" from the perpendicular wall is not compliant and the green line shows that the back of the counter is non-compliant.

So I'm curious how people would interpret this: View attachment 165390
Is it two spaces or one?
you said :
The language of the code text that matters here is:
"Receptacle outlet shall be installed so that no point along the wall line is more than 24" measured horizontally from a receptacle outlet in that space".

so a dividing wall stops the horizontal distance of the back wall
also
to me that says that the horizontal distance of the dividing wall has to be counted for each space on either side of it
which may mean the left space now requires a second plug
and the space on the right now requires a plug

#### yankeejoe1141

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I see it as two separate counter spaces because if you had a blender or toaster on the counter you would most likely move the appliance before you would run the cord in front of the supporting partition to plug it in. So an appliance on the 15 inch section of counter doesn't really have access to the outlets on the 31 inch section of counter.

#### Dennis Alwon

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Firstly, your section number is wrong. I believe you are in 210.52(C)

Secondly, I am not sure what I am looking at but if that bracket is there blocking the space then I see it as 2 spaces.

But is this countertop or peninsula or an island? makes a difference but I assume countertop so we are looking at wall space.

Greg Sparkovich

#### Greg Sparkovich

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Firstly, your section number is wrong. I believe you are in 210.52(C)
Whoops! Thanks Dennis!

this countertop or peninsula or an island? makes a difference but I assume countertop so we are looking at wall space.
Not a counter or peninsula. Straight counter along a wall...so I agree that it's 2 spaces.

#### Greg Sparkovich

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I want to thank you guys because I agree 100%. Regardless of what the code says, I think it borders on being unethical to leave the architect's plan as it was.

So I let this job go.

Here's a long version and why reason I asked in the first place:

The customer didn't want any receptacles on the back wall because they want to tile the whole thing and have it be uninterrupted.

I asked my inspector about the situation and his first take was that I needed a receptacle and he suggested putting a new outlet on the inside of the supporting wall for lower visibility
So I told my customer make the supporting wall 1 7/8" thick and I'll put a 1900 box in there with a receptacle; you'll hardly see it. No.
Then I suggested plug mold run just underneath the wall cabinet so that no one would see it and you would really have to duck down and look for it (I love this solution all the time, and did this in my own house). No.
Customer asked me to call my inspector again which I reluctantly did ... I have to admit this is where greed got the better of me. I really don't do rehab anymore but this was a block and a half away from my house and I bid stupid high. I have a really good neighborhood reputation and he didn't even look for another electrician. I also have a good relationship with my inspector; I've never tried to ask for something weird or anything -and I'm the kind of guy who tries to make my customers happy.
My inspector said the best he could promise is to look at it and then make a determination ... Well, that's something I didn't want to do; I mean who WANTS to do rough-in after the kitchen cabinets are in????

I'm about to explain this to my customer when he interrupts me and says "Never mind the inspector. Just do the work. So what if you fail the inspection? You can just do it again if you have to".

That was the final straw, and that's why I quit.

Pro tip: don't let the electrician know that you don't care about their relationship with the inspector.

I told him flat out that I was astonished that he could say something like this and that he might think his job is really important, but to me it's one in a hundred jobs. Whereas my inspector is a relationship I'm going to have for the rest of my life.
Silence.
Stammering.
...which eventually turns into back pedaling and sort of an apology.

He took it very gracefully when I resigned from his job. I'm sure this will piss off the other contractors who were all ready to get started though. I kind of feel bad for them.

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