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electrical panel in egress corridor


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If the FD is telling you that they don't like the panels locations, then arguing the point no matter what you find in documentation will be a moot point. Just like the AHJ (which in this case is the Fire Marshal or the FD) codes can be adopted, dropped or modified. What does the FL building code and or the NFPA say about it?

I have found that it is best to not upset or rattle the cages of those who have official authority!

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thanks to all fellas, but I talk about relocate five electrical panels, 800A, all wired, inside of restaurant, and you know we don't have too much space to play. I'm looking for some small space in any code for to escape. My electrical inspector pass,and I don't want confront to the FD If I have nothing on hand.

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In recent years building codes have become much less restrictive about fire-resistance ratings in corridors. We use fire sprinklers now a lot more than passive protection. If the building inspector passed it, then apparently they didn't see any issue about the rating of the assemblies.

It sounds to me like you are way late in the game for a question like this to arise. Were the locations of the panels shown on the approved plans? If so, I take it that only the building department reviewed the plans, not the fire department. If you have an approved plan, I would attempt to get the fire department to look at it. You might also try to get the fire department to discuss it with the building department. That's often not an easy task.

Good luck

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thanks to all fellas, but I talk about relocate five electrical panels, 800A, all wired, inside of restaurant, and you know we don't have too much space to play. I'm looking for some small space in any code for to escape. My electrical inspector pass,and I don't want confront to the FD If I have nothing on hand.

What exactly is the problem? Are they threatening some kind of action? What caused this "inspection"? And most importantly what grounds do they have to "fail" you for this?

I get the whole "I don't want to upset the inspector" mentality, but sometimes they need to be challenged, especially when thousands of your $$ are at stake.

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My brother was with the City of Miami FD for 36 years and if I remember correctly for commercial construction they require a fire inspection in addition to any AHJ inspections .

I thought these inspections were limited to "Fire" related issues such as sprinklers, and stand pipes. Hazards in a required egress path may be included it their perview.

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Most panels already have a 2 hour rating. I would like to know what code section that was cited.

In our jurisdiction, when we have a recessed panel in a one-hour wall we will "five side" the panel, i.e., create a box with 5/8" gypsum that is securely supported in addition to the 5/8" gypsum on the opposite side of the wall. We also typically firecaulk the wiring penetrations. We are not familiar with panels having any fire rating.

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Most panels already have a 2 hour rating. I would like to know what code section that was cited.

In our jurisdiction, when we have a recessed panel in a one-hour wall we will "five side" the panel, i.e., create a box with 5/8" gypsum that is securely supported in addition to the 5/8" gypsum on the opposite side of the wall. We also typically firecaulk the wiring penetrations. We are not familiar with panels having any fire rating.

Same here.

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  • 5 months later...

There are several issues here:

the electrical inspector would have passed it because it meets the NEC, but the problems are with the building and fire codes.(different guys enforce different books)

If the panel is existing to remain, typically building codes will allow you to you to leave as-is unless altered. Once you modify it, some or all will need to meet current code.

Installing a recessed panel into a rated wall (through the drywall membrane) needs to meet IBC 713 (similar in most states) which only allows steel boxes up to 100 sq.in. per 100 SF. We have not been able to find any panels with fire rated listing (which is where we ran across this thread).

Options to maintain the wall assembly rating appear to be drywall recess for box, false wall, putty packs, or endothermic mat.

- drywalled recess is questionable since it is no longer per the wall listing

- false wall will work, but could get expensive and/or unattractive with offsets so architect will probably reject.

- we will probably just specify thin intumescent sheet behind the panel with putty packs around the panel sides since they fit around branch circuits better.

Regarding the fire AHJ, I would take them seriously. Most fire codes mesh with the building codes and have similar language. Most jurisdictions also have the fire AHJ plan review and inspection as part of the permit process. Additionally, if you do somehow get it past them and they do not like the installation, they can drive the owner nuts with petty nuisance violations over the life of the building after you and the building AHJ have moved on. (not saying they will, but they can)

Hope this helps. Good luck.

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