outlet spacing with built-in cabinets


Old 04-01-04, 06:53 AM
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outlet spacing with built-in cabinets

Does built-in cabinetry in a living room count as a break in the wall? That is, if I have a wall that is 16 feet long and I permanently install 15 feet of floor-to-ceiling cabinets/bookcases do I need to have any outlets on this wall? The remaining one foot space is too small to require an outlet, right?
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Old 04-02-04, 01:46 PM
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I would believe that this would now require a floor mounted receptacle to satisfy the spacing requirement.

Call your building department on Monday and ask for their take on this.
Old 04-04-04, 06:32 AM
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Only an opening is considered a break. Railings, glass panels (such as the fixed part of a slider), book cases, etc., all count as wall space.
A second floor loft with a railing for example needs floor receptacles if the railing is long enough.

You will either need to put them in the floor or if the book cases are at 5'6" or lower you can put them in the bookcase.
Old 04-05-04, 03:32 PM
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210.52 (A)(2)

(1) Any space 600 mm (2 ft) or more in width (including space measured around corners) and unbroken along the floor line by doorways, fireplaces, and similar openings

Bookcases are "similar openings", much like a fireplace.

The intent of 210.52 (A) is to limit the use of extension cords. Bookcases work best when access is left free and clear and are not usually blocked by tables, computer furniture, entertainment centers, or other item's that require electric power.

210.52 (A)(2)
(2) The space occupied by fixed panels in exterior walls, excluding sliding panels
(3) The space afforded by fixed room dividers such as freestanding bar-type counters or railings

The reason these "spaces" are required to have receptacles is just the opposite of what I explained above. People often put items and furniture with items that require electric power in these areas.

The NEC is a minimum, I usually add receptacles to large bookcases.
Old 04-05-04, 05:24 PM
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I have a situation just like that described by Mattgg. Cabinets are "built in" but were added some years after the house was constructed. So I do have a couple receptacles along this wall, 12 inches above floor level. They are accessible by opening the cabinet doors, since the installer left the cabinets open in back.
Would this be code compliant - having pre-existing receptacles in the wall accessible through the cabinets?
Old 04-05-04, 06:13 PM
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Bolted. Our inspectors require receptacles where there are bookcases infringing on the 6/12 rule. I guess they don't consider them "openings".
Old 04-05-04, 06:55 PM
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My inspector also considers builtin bookcases the same as any other wall, and thus requires receptacles in the floor or in the bookcase whenever the bookcase is 12 feet or wider.
Old 04-06-04, 07:28 AM
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People often place items requiring electrical power _into_ built in shelf units. Since you cannot move the thing, you can't decide 'hey, I'm going to move this book shelf someplace else and put in my stereo rack', so the stereo ends up on the shelves.

I would suggest that weather or not your particular AHJ (the inspector or government agency who enforces code) considers a bookcase to be an 'opening' or not, that you design receptacles into the unit in such a way that they integrate with the unit. At the house I grew up in, we had a large built in with plugmold receptacles set up in nooks specifically for a stereo system and TV.


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