National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

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Friday, March 20, 2020

Question:

Hi CQD Staff, simple question today! Can a sprinkler pipe be installed 3 feet above a motor control center in a mechanical room? I thought this was a dedicated space that is for electrical equipment only. Am I wrong? Some people here are saying it's okay because it is a sprinkler pipe. Any opinion of guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Michael Gracias

A

Answer:

Hi Michael, your thinking is not off base. The NEC does have dedicated space requirements in Section 110.26(E). The general rule states that the space equal to the width and depth of the equipment and extending from the floor to a height of 6 feet above the equipment or to the structural ceiling, whichever is lower, shall be dedicated to the electrical installation. No piping, ducts, leak protection apparatus, or other equipment foreign to the electrical installation shall be located in this zone. The area above this zone is not restricted but protection must be provided to avoid damage to the electrical equipment from condensation, leaks, or breaks in such foreign systems. Section 110.26(E)(1) (c) indicates that sprinkler protection shall be permitted for the dedicated space where the piping complies this section. To be clear, sprinkler protection is allowed in the room, it is just restricted from being installed within the dedicated spaces addressed in this section. Hope this is useful.

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