National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


Re: CQD answer published Wednesday, January 24, 2017 -

Charlie, I really enjoy your questions of the day as they challenge me to think about the code requirements daily.  The January 23 Question raised some issues in my mind with the wording in Article 210.52 (A) (1)-(4) regarding the definition of wall space.  It would seem to me that If a kitchen had lower cabinets with countertop, but did not have upper cabinets (cabinets without countertops) then receptacles would be required in the face of the lower cabinets or in the wall greater than 20 inches above the countertops (to differentiate them from countertop receptacle requirements) because the lower cabinets would be counted as wall space by this article. This seems counterintuitive. (Pardon the pun)

Is that correct? Thank you, Alex Peat



Hey Alex thanks for your follow up question and the kind words. Countertop and work surface receptacle outlets are required, under the conditions given, whether or not cabinets exist above them, as stated in 210.52(C). Those receptacles do not count as the "wall space" receptacle outlets required by 210.52(A) as stated in 210.52(A)(4). The original question was about "base cabinets" but you have a point about cabinets above a countertop or work space. The front side of cabinets, whether supported by ceilings, walls or floors is not typically considered wall space because of the cabinet door openings. The back side of the cabinets, without door openings, seems to fit the wording of 210.52(A)(2)(3) being used as a room divider. As previously mentioned the AHJ will need to make the determination.

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ABOUT CHARLIE: Charles M. Trout, better known as Charlie, was a nationally known NEC® expert and author. He served on several NEC® technical committees and is past chairman of CMP-12. In 2006 Charlie was awarded the prestigious Coggeshall Award for outstanding contributions to the electrical contracting industry, codes and standards development, and technical training. Charlie was also a member of NECA’s Academy of Electrical Contracting. Charlie’s experienced team of industry experts keep the CQD dialogue and discussions active and informative in the spirit of the man himself, as he wanted.

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