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NEC Definition of Common Area

Question asked by dwarren@panynj.gov on Apr 30, 2018
Latest reply on May 1, 2018 by cdafd

In Article 210.25 (B) Common Area Branch Circuits. Branch circuits installed for the purpose of lighting, central alarm, signal, communications, or other purposes for public or common areas of a two-family dwelling, a multi-family dwelling, or other multi-occupancy building shall not be supplied from equipment that supplies an individual dwelling unit or tenant space.

 

I am trying to determine who governs the definition of "common area" within this code reference. There is no definition of common area in NFPA's glossary of terms.

 

Some background: I have a two-family dwelling with a unit at grade level and one partially below grade (duplex/upstairs downstairs). The yard area in the front of the house is dedicated to the top unit (owner occupied) but secondary ingress/egress for the lower unit does pass through this area as path of travel to the street. The Electrical Compliance Unit in the city which I live is citing this code and saying that the front yard is a common area and therefore requiring that the two lights on the exterior front of the house be on a dedicated, separate service from the local power company.

 

I am trying to determine if right of way for secondary egress predicates that this be considered common area or if that definition is determined by another authority other than NFPA.

 

The addition of the third, dedicated service creates an undue burden as each of the lights on the front of the house will be dedicated to the two units so the original intention of the code for one unit to not adversely affect another is not an issue here, but this planning commission is not reasonable or accommodating, so my best effort is to prove that this code does not apply in my circumstance.

 

Any thoughts about the definition of common area in this code reference? Who determines what parts of a two family dwelling on the exterior of the building are considered common?

 

Thanks for your incite.

Stephanie Miller

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