Cables in Attic - History of E3702.2 Rule?

Hello everyone — please help me find an answer: does anyone know when the IRC rule 3702.2.1 came into effect (cables in accessible attics across structural members must be at least 6 feet away from entrance)?

Was it included in the first version of IBC/IRC (in 1997, I believe)?

If anyone here has done inspections/electrical in Texas in 1996-97 and can share the rule at the time, that would be even better (looking at a house in Katy, TX).

Thank you in advance!

Welcome to our forum, Ivan!..Enjoy! :smile:

Why does it matter what the code was 20+ years ago on Cables in Attic.?
It’s history and if you see an installation that promotes a safety hazard, just call it out for correction or repair. You can use the current standard for reference. That is why it’s in the Code now, for safety of the occupants.

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If within 6’ from the access you can use guard strips that are at least as high as the cable.

NEC 320.23(A)

> Where Run Across the Top of Floor Joists. Where run across the top of floor joists, or within 2.1 m (7 ft) of floor or floor joists across the face of rafters or studding, in attics and roof spaces that are accessible, the cable shall be protected by substantial guard strips that are at least as high as the cable. Where this space is not accessible by permanent stairs or ladders, protection shall only be required within 1.8 m (6 ft) of the nearest edge of the scuttle hole or attic entrance.


Marcel - appreciate your response. The answer is very simple: I’m a buyer of a house and sellers are willing to cover the work to correct cabling if I can show that it was not up to the code when it was built.

Obviously, a very hard thing to do but that’s why I thought to consult the experts :slight_smile:

To know for sure you will need someone with the NEC code for that cycle year era. Some electricians here might have access to them. Or archives in a library.

Who me?..

I once knew an electrician that we nicknamed him spider man he would run his wires the shortest distance between two points when he was done it looked like a spider web, not a very neat job we stopped using him, but it always passed inspection. Crazy!

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I researched your state and the adoption of codes. I would contact the municipality or county to see what codes or when the codes were in effect.
In 96-97 the codes from my research were not uniform statewide.

Hello Ivan,

First I expect that you are concerned with Type NM (or similar) electrical branch circuit cabling. That is what I’ll base my answer on.

The I-Codes are available for free viewing here . You can search by year and will see the first IRC was in 1998. In that version the information you are looking for is Section 4302.2. Prior to 1998 are only the IPC and IMC in so far as the I-Codes go.

You can also view for free the National Electrical Code For One And Two Family Dwellings (NFPA 70A) which is located here . These also can be looked at for older versions but you do need to sign up for a free access password to the NEC.

The Archived copies of the NEC before 2002 jump back to 1993 and I would expect that your local requirements were following this but you never know and would need to find that out for the Local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) that oversaw the building process when the home was being built.

If you look at the 1993 version of NFPA 70A Type NM cabling is covered in section 336-13 as far as accessible attic spaces and refers back to section 333-12 which are the requirements for Type AC cable (Armored Cable). This is the view of 333-12 from 1993 and you can see that protection was required even back then.

Hope this helps with your purchase and good luck!



Yep, Roy’s got it.

The electrician probably did it just good enough to pass inspection to mess with the inspector. It was such a mess the inspector has to inspect it all.

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Great answers everyone.
Marcel, Roy, Emmanuel.
Much appeached as always.

The key is tops of.

If/when cables can entrap or act as a trip fall hazard next to or near hatches or maintenance path ways I write it up as, entrapment concern and refer to the trades contractor.

*Note: We are not code authorities Nor do I refer code, mostly…Sop.
Personally speaking. When I do delve, I softly refer excluding the code cycle reference.