garage panel sheetrock

How much sheetrock is required on walls adjacent to garage panels?

New house, has 3 feet+ on right side, top and bottom but only 1 inch at left side.

Code reference?


added with edit: question does not pertain to working space, simply sheetrock on exterior garage walls around panels.

There is no electrical requirement to have any wall covering in place.

The only requirement as far as wall installation is working space

But my understanding is that 30" requirement is not a fixed dimension. In other words, it can be 30" from the left edge of the panel and extending out to the right. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with 1" clearance on the left.

The question is not about working space…

Simply sheetrock around garage panels for fireblocking or cable protection issues.

Must be a code reason somewhere because even the cheapest builders will put some drywall around the garage panel, even when on an exterior wall.

Here is a discussion about this… but still no code reason to have it…

OK then, are you saying that the rest of the garage is not rocked? Why would putting up a little sheetrock around an electrical panel provide any fireblocking? I guess I can’t quite see the scenario so I’ll bow out gracefully now before I confuse myself any further. :slight_smile:

Only the garage walls adjacent to the living space are covered.

Around here they put a sheet up around the panel.
Maybe just for a better fit for the panel cover?

Just thought of a good reason, this helps prevent access to the panel knockouts and discourages homeowner wiring.

Is there a local requirement for this? It certainly isn’t required in my area.

I’ll quote Mike here:

If they are specifically doing it in your area then there is either a local requirement for it, or they just feel like it.

It has to be for protection of the romexes leaving the panel.

From what???

rakes, shovels, bikes, saws, ladders, dogs, whatever you keep in the garage.

A panel mounted to the studs with no sheetrock around it would have exposed home runs. Around here it would fail a final inspection, the conductors at that height would be considered subject to damage. Also, I am certain the IRC, which is used by our local building inspectors, prohibits exposed Romex less than 7 feet from the floor.

Then you area also certainly wrong. No such language exists in the IRC.

Feel free to call out exposed romex if it gives you warm fuzzies to do so, but it meets the letter of the NEC and the IRC. I’m sure someone’s bound to point out that you’re held to a different standard as home inspectors, existance of local rules, blah, blah, blah…

Then it must be a local thing, I know we are never allowed exposed Romex where it is low enough to be possibly damaged. I guess our inspectors are mis interpereting 300.4

I’d sure like to know where the 7 foot rule came from, it is used by all of our county & city inspectors. I do not see it in our NEC ammendments.

P.S. I am not the guy who calls it out, I am the guy who gets called out to fix it!

I believe there is a code about not having exposed wiring within 6 or 7 feet of attic stairs or scuttles.

Yes Bruce 320.23A says cables run across the face of floor joists or across the face of rafters within 7 feet of the floor must be protected, in attics with permanent stairs or ladders. If there is no permanent stair or ladder then it says protection is only required within 6 feet of the edge of the scuttle hole. Maybe that’s where the mysterious 7 foot rule grew from.

“Click to Enlarge”

This would be saying that the code has allowances to allow code violations.

The area 36 inches in front and 30 inches side to side reaching to a height of six feet above or to the structural ceiling belongs to the electrical equipment. Nothing is allowed in this space unless it belongs to the electrical equipment or is for fire protection.

To say that the cables coming out to the panel needs protection would be the same as saying that the clearances required in 110 will be allowed to be violated.

This is far from the truth. The required clearance is protection in and of itself. No other protection is needed for these cables.

To store items such as rakes, shovels, bikes, saws, ladders, dogs, whatever you keep in the garage in front of, under or over the panel would be a violation of the required work space.
Yes I know that these items are placed in the panel area and there is no way to stop a home owner from storing these items there but we must remember that there is no way to stop a home owner from using gutter nails to hang a picture on the wall either.

The codes are not about what “might happen” but instead they are about safety. The rule to keep the space around a panel clear and free is enough to afford protection of the cables leaving the panel.
To make a requirement to protect these cables by covering them with some sort of wall board would negate the rule to have the clear space.

Personally the danger of having a panel buried behind a bunch of junk if a bigger danger than the danger of having a cable damaged by the stuff being stored.
I have seen many times where a washing machine was in a basement and the cables was being used to hold cloths from a coat hanger. Cables are for the most part pretty tough and normal bumps and pull rarely do damage. On the other hand in the event of a failure in a device or a piece of equipment and the panel buried behind a bunch of junk stored could lead to some pretty bad damage or even death.

Mike I agree that codes don’t prevent people from doing stupid things but it seems we are starting to write as much protection in the code as NEMA can come up with. How else can you explain the “tamper proof receptacle” provision in the 08?Like I said up thread a few days ago, physical protection of Romex in unfinished spaces seems to be a local AHJ call. I have seen it go both ways.

Lets also remember that even if it IS for fire protection like a sprinkler system…it can’t be within that space either…it could SPRAY water into the space but the dedicated space is just that…dedicated.