Kit counter spacing

Does anyone have an idea when the requirement for outlet spacing on the kitchen counter went into effect. The inspected house was built in 1987 and definately does not meet the current requirements, but I’m not certain what was in effect at the time of construction.

I don’t think its a good idea to quote codes! especially in that instance. But I don’t know

Thanks. I don’t quote “codes” but list the requirement rather as “proper building practice” and explain it to the client that way. Either way, the requirement still stands and I need to let the client know. Any idea on the effective date?

I would just point out how many there are verbally during the inspection as it may not be a big deal.

Is there only one?

Requirement? Not a word I would use. If it wasn’t required when the house was built, it’s not required now. Recommended? yes. Required? no.

1984 NEC 210-52 (b) requires a recepticle outlets shall be installed at each counter space wider than 12".

I don’t quote code in my report but referr to it when questioned.

Long before 1987, I can tell you that.

In 1959 the code for the kitchen was the same as the rest of the home (6 feet). The next code book I have is 1975 and it requires the counter space wider than 12" rule.

Thanks for the feedback. As info, we’re all doing code inspections whether it’s admitted or not. Just think of all the items you report on… the majority of them are covered under one code or another. As a rule, I never do mention the word “code” in my reports (and have been doing so for 13 years) and agree none of us should. However, any known violations are pointed out as issues to be addressed as “proper building practices”. This particular counter had only one outlet in a 5 foot run and none on the adjoining counter. Thanks again for the feedback.

It’s pretty simple to simply recommend upgrades without referring to code. If I feel additional outlets will be needed in a specific area of a home, I simply recommend additional outlets.

Like this, David?

“There are not as many outlets serving the kitchen counters as would be required by current standards, and you may wish to consult an electrician about the possibility of adding more.”

Perfect, Joe.


It’s common sense that the electrical service needs upgrading in many of the older homes in my area. For example, many original services on the +75 year old homes only have two receptacles for the entire kitchen and one of them is for the refrigerator. Plus, the kitchen circuit includes the lights and two adjacent rooms. No parties object to my recommendations for upgrading the electrical service when I go over my typical themes of newer refrigerators drawing up to 15 amps for defrost cycle, many microwaves drawing over 10 amps, the conductors possibly of reduced capacity due to over 50 years of wear and tear, the safety hazards of receptacles near water not having GFCI protection, the problems with using extension cords, etc.

Its common sense, something codes don’t convey to the average Joe.