Exterior Lighting (210-70)
The previous code required a wall-switched outside light
"at" every exterior door. The new code says only that a
switched light must provide illumination for entrances, which
would allow a general floodlight to provide lighting for more
than one door (Figure 5).
5. Instead of a light next to every entrance door, a
general floodlight can now provide illumination for exterior
entrances. Lighting is no longer required for exterior
entrances with no grade-level access.
In addition, only exterior entrances with grade-level access
are required to have lighting. A door to a balcony, for
instance, no longer needs a light, though many customers will
undoubtedly request them.
Service Conductors Over Decks and
I have often seen decks that were
built right under low overhead service conductors, where a
person could reach up and touch the wires — an extremely
dangerous condition (see photo).
What’s wrong with this picture? Even
though it’s around the corner, the service
entrance cable is too low where it passes near the
In the past, these conductors were required to be a minimum
of 10 feet above the deck or porch. The ’99 NEC takes
this a step further by extending the 10-foot clearance to
include an area 3 feet out from the porch or deck in every
direction (Figure 6).
6. As before, overhead service entrance cables must be
placed higher than 10 feet above a deck or porch. Now, however,
this includes an area extending 3 feet out in any direction
from the deck or porch.
The 3 feet should also be measured around a corner.
New Job-Site GFCI Rule
As most builders know, all 15-amp, 20-amp,
and 30-amp 125-volt job-site receptacles are required to be
protected. To save money, some builders make their own plug-in
protectors using a GFCI receptacle from a hardware store. This
is no longer possible.
New wording in the ’99 NEC requires a plug-in GFCI
protection device to be built with components that are listed
for portable GFCI protection. Most GFCI receptacles the
consumer can buy are not listed for portable use.
Under the new code, all receptacles in a
workshop in an unattached building on residential property are
required to be GFCI-protected, even those in a finished office
Lights in Dropped Ceilings
Previously, a Romex wire feeding a light
installed in a dropped ceiling had to be supported within 12
inches of the fixture. Now, the Romex must be supported within
41/2 feet of the fixture. Most other types of cable must have
support within 6 feet.
Sean Kenney is an electrical instructor at Whittier Tech
in Haverhill, Mass.