When did the requirement for clearance in front of an electrical panel become code?
Tuesday, December 31, 2019
The current standard for clearance in front of an electrical panel for working space began with the 1978 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC). NEC 110.26 (A)(1) requires a clear area for access and working in front of an electric panel that is 2.5 feet (30”) wide, 3 feet (36”) deep, and 6.5 feet (78”) high for a regular residential 120/240-volt panel. The 2.5 foot width in front of the panel does not have to be centered, although it is shown that way in the diagram.
Previous to 1978, the depth requirement was 2.5 feet, and up until 1965 it was 2 feet. The 2.5 feet width requirement began with the 1971 edition of the code. The panel shown at the top of panel is not acceptable, no matter how old it is.
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