Finishing Basement - Boxing Breaker Panel

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Old 12-22-20, 07:39 PM
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Finishing Basement - Boxing Breaker Panel

Hi,

I wasn't sure if this post belongs here or rather into the electrical board. (Please let me know if wrong)

I live in Ontario and I'm currently finishing my basement. Now, I'd like to cover my breaker panel, however, I'm not sure how to interpret the code for this.

From what I've read there needs to be 1m of working space, head room and solid footing. In my humble opinion this leaves a lot of room for interpretation. So I'm attaching a few pictures with my plan:

1) Lower ceiling a bit and install pot lights - aligns/attaches with boxed in vent system on the right.
2) Add a recessed shelf (not sure what to call it, see pic) which would in theory take a way a bit of the 1m work space in front of it up until someone's waist.
3) Build a very narrow bench on the right wall which does not interfere with the 1m work space in front of the breaker panel but it does interfere with the opening in general OR build a deeper bench that has a liftable seating area so that, if access is needed and someone does not want to rest the knee on the bench, it can be removed/lifted and the required workspace is provided.
4) Opening would either be covered by a large picture of a diy door.

(Framing/Walls have are not finished and have to not be fixed yet... they're just there to help my imagination :-) )





I would like to have a shelf recess along the wall. Would this be a code violation? It wouldn't be much and in my opinion there is plenty of space and solid footing available to work in front of it but my opinion doesn't matter here

the built in bench would not interfere with the breaker box 1m work space in front of it, but it will interfere with some of the stuff around the breaker box such as cable, the alarm system etc.

I hope someone can shed some light on this

Thanks
Matt
 
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Old 12-22-20, 07:48 PM
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As far as I know, no. None of that would be okay. Let's see what the electricians say. I moved your post to electrical.
 
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Old 12-22-20, 08:01 PM
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It looks like the biggest problem is that built-in shelf that keeps you from being able to stand directly in front of the panel. That may not be a major issue but could be a sticking point with certain inspectors.
 
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Old 12-22-20, 08:49 PM
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Thanks @PJMax

I've seen this image before but wasn't sure this would apply to Ontario.

Here's something I found which "might" mean it doesn't have to be measured all the way to the floor:

"[...] When a provincial inspector was questioned in Edmonton Alberta, he explained that this requirement of one meter about equipment is measured from the busbars not the front of the equipment, and the clearances are not required to go to the floor. [...]"

Source:
Costly Deficiencies Found in Canadian Electrical Code.

I understand this is Alberta but I couldn't find anything in regards to the "floor" requirement for Ontario. I also understand this is just "hear saying"
 
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Old 12-22-20, 08:52 PM
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Just a quick addition:From The Ontario Electrical Code:

Rule 2-308 Working space around electrical equipment
(1) A minimum working space of 1 m with secure footing shall be provided and maintained about electrical
equipment such as switchboards, panelboards, control panels, and motor control centres that are enclosed
in metal, except that working space is not required behind such equipment where there are no renewable
parts such as fuses or switches on the back and where all connections are accessible from locations other
than the back.

(2) The space referred to in Subrule (1) shall be in addition to the space required for the operation of drawout-
type equipment in either the connected, test, or fully disconnected position and shall be sufficient for
the opening of enclosure doors and hinged panels to at least 90.

(3) Working space with secure footing not less than that specified in Table 56 shall be provided and maintained
around electrical equipment such as switchboards, control panels, and motor control centres having
exposed live parts.

(4) The minimum headroom of working spaces around switchboards or motor control centres where bare live
parts are exposed at any time shall be 2.2 m.


No where does it mention anything about a floor requirement. :-(
 
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Old 12-22-20, 09:15 PM
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The problem with that reasoning is, at what point does that shelf impede on the 1m rule? If it doesn't specifically mention a 6" shelf, what about a 12" shelf. Could it be a 16" shelf? What about a 24" shelf? At what point does it become an obstruction? What if the electrician needing to work there is a "little person ", formerly known as midget? Just some food for thought.
 
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Old 12-22-20, 09:20 PM
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Add a recessed shelf (not sure what to call it, see pic) which would in theory take a way a bit of the 1m work space in front of it up until someone's waist.
Not permitted. You not allowed to use the space in front of the panel for storage.
Some quotes from the ESASAFE faq page.

Question:
At what height does the Code require a residential electrical panel to be mounted?
Answer:
Panelboards in dwelling units shall be mounted as high as possible but with no circuit breaker position higher than 1.7 m (5' 6") above the finished floor level.

Rule 26-600.
Question:
Does the Code permit installation of an enclosure over top of my electrical panel to enhance its visual appearance?
Answer:
Yes, provided the enclosure is constructed so as not to permit its use for storage purposes and the enclosure provides full access to the electrical panel including removal of the panel cover for maintenance purposes.

Rules 2-308, 2-314, 6-206.
Question:
Can I place an appliance such as a clothes dryer in front of my electrical panel?
Answer:
No. The electrical code requires a minimum working space of 1 m (39") with firm footing be provided and maintained in front of electrical equipment such as panelboards. The Code also requires that the working space around the electrical panel be kept clear of all obstructions.

Rules 2-308, 2-314.
Question:
Does the Code permit an electrical service panelboard to be located in a crawl space or a low ceiling area such as found in older homes?
Answer:
No. The Code requires the headroom clearance at the service panelboard to be not less than 2 m (6'6").

Rule 6-206.
QuestionL
Ontario Electrical Safety Code Rule 2-308 requires minimum head room of 2.2 m about electrical service equipment such as switchboards. Rule 6-206 states that consumer's service equipment shall not be located where the head room clearance is less than 2 m. Which is correct?
Answer:
Both are correct, depending on the equipment that is being installed.

Direction:
1. Service entrance switchboards or motor control centers shall have head room clearance of not less than 2.2 m as per Rule 2-308.
2. Other service equipment such as service entrance panelboards shall have a head room clearance of not less then 2 m as per Rule 6-206.

Rules 2-308, 6-206
 
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Old 12-23-20, 09:38 AM
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Thanks a lot for all your replies! I really appreciate it!

@XSleeper, I see your point and it makes sense.

Just a quick follow up as I'd like to confirm my "thought process".

The "recessed shelf" is not really for storage - it's just for optics. A better
term would have probably been "recessed wall".

Here's a youtube video I found that has pretty much the same amount of space/depth that I'm talking about:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9Zkc30dn8s



While there are quite a few other issues with this in terms of its overall size, etc. it doesn't seem like the inspector has any issues with the depth/recess of it.

So it my case: Wouldn't it be just like a giant all wall frame? (Imagine the frame from the video spreading across the wall with no trimming).

So at the end of the day the big question is: Is there a written code that states the max depth/recess of the actual panel? (max recess: surface panel door <-> surface wall).

(not trying to convince anyone here - just want to make sure there is absolutely no way of achieving what I'd like to do.
 
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Old 12-23-20, 09:46 AM
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Another follow up (sorry)

I actually just called one of the inspectors from my area (didn't know I could do that) and asked him this exact question about the recess and he said there will be no problem :-)

 
 

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