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Unique Electrical Code Requirements

White Paper
February 9, 2017 @ 3:00 PM

Unique Electrical Code Requirements White Paper

Purpose: Describe the unique electrical code requirements in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco

Introduction: The primary electrical code used in the United States is the National Electrical Code (NEC) (NFPA70). While most states and cities use the NEC as is, some have created their own electrical code using the NEC as the basis for the requirements. There are 3 cities that have unique requirements that directly affect office furnishings installations: New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. These unique requirements are detailed below.

New York City

New York City  uses the NEC but also has a separate document with the exceptions that follow:

•Allows the use of Office Furnishings Systems (as permitted by Article 605 of the NEC) but requires that licensed electricians install the electrical components into  the furniture.
•Does not allow the use of any non-metallic liquid tight conduit.
•Metallic liquid tight conduit can only be 18” long.
•Flexible metal conduit used on infeeds can only be 6’ long.
•Does not allow Manufactured Wiring Systems in furniture.


As of 2009, New York City allows the use of Relocatable Power Taps in office environments.

The New York Electric Code exception of Article 604 for Manufactured Wiring Systems includes Article 604(3) Such wiring may only be used for general lighting circuits above the hung ceiling line.

Until now, this statement was interpreted as lighting circuits must be above the ceiling, while other Manufactured Wiring Systems can be used below the ceiling line.

The new official interpretation requested by BIFMA indicates Manufactured Wiring Systems can only be used for lighting and must be above the ceiling. This applies to Byrne 8-Trac, Byrne 4-Trac and Byrne Phase 3 product lines. This interpretation has not been published on the official NYC Codes site even though more recent interpretations have been.

BIFMA continues to work on a resolution to this issue.


Chicago has their own electrical code based on the NEC.

Chicago does not allow the use of any modular systems. All electrical must be hardwired by a licensed electrician. Byrne offers a UL Listed Outlet Box that can be used in Office Furnishings that slide onto our mounting brackets. These are used by the licensed electrician to install outlets. The specific wording of the 2009 Chicago Electrical Code is as follows:

18-27-605.2. General. Wiring in and on office partitions shall conform to all applicable chapter provisions. Relocatable wired partitions are not considered portable and, as such, plug and jack connections are not acceptable. All wiring is to be contained in listed and labeled electrical raceways and outlet boxes.

(a) Use. Wired relocatable office partitions shall be installed and used only as provided for by this Article. The biggest ambiguity is what product types will require TR receptacle for code compliance applications. For example, the NEC TR code dwelling requirements specify “appliances” as exempt from the scope of TR receptacles. Relocatable Power Taps are often grouped into this category.

Hardwire accessories can be used in Chicago if they have a metallic enclosure. This includes Mho, Assemble, Axil, Glenbeigh, and Wonderbar product lines. These hardwire units can be provided as a Chicago version which includes 15” of conduit and a 4X4 junction box.

San Francisco

San Francisco uses the California Electrical Code which in turn uses the NEC. San Francisco has additional / revised requirements that are called out as an addendum to the code. San Francisco does not allow the use of non-metallic liquid tight conduit and only metallic liquid tight conduit is permitted.

356.10  Revise the first sentence of this section as follows:
356.10  Uses Permitted.
LFNC shall be permitted to be used in exposed or concealed locations for systems not exceeding   50 volts for the following purposes:

356.12  Uses Not Permitted
356.12  Revise item 4 of this section as follows:
(4)   Where the operating voltage of the contained conductors is in excess of 50 volts, nominal,except as permitted in 600.32(A).

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