Service panel in bathroom

Does anyone know the code date that service panels where not allowed in bathrooms?

Judging from the photo over-current devices were not permitted long before that bathroom was installed. It first appeared in the 1993 NEC. {240-24(e)}

I believe, an expert may correct me, service panels were permitted in all bathrooms up until the 1993 NEC. All meaning commercial and residential.

I was typing as Robert was posting. The toilet would violate working clearance.

Actually the prohibition is not only for service panels but for all over-current protection devices (OCPD’s) in bathrooms. That would include sub-panels too. This rule only applies to dwelling units and not commercial installations. Here’s the 2008 NEC wording:

The 1993 NEC wording:

Thanks Robert

What if the jurisdiction in which you are inspecting did not have that particular version of the NEC in effect at the time the bathroom was remodeled? This could have been approved by an AHJ. A city near me is still using the 1999 NEC and probably will for another 10 years.

Instead of dealing with it as a “code violation”, consider recommending to your client that the unsafe location of the service panel reveals the possibility of the lack of proper permits and suggest that your client run a permit search.

Is this located in the basement, or original utility room? It looks as if the panel may have been there first and then came the bathroom. I agree with James, if this area requires, recommend permit search.

Thanks for the info. I believe the bath was added. The original house was built in 1981. The bath appears to be more recent. I also noted the clearance.

The panel appears to be original if the home was built in 1981. It looks like a Murry panel, just guessing.

There was most likely no permit pulled as it violates the work space rule. The electrician would have one foot in the toilet!

This may help you: Working space

Added with edit:
Did you look in the toilet for a date? That may help you to determine which code applies.

This may help you as well: Working space 2

Workspace Origins

        	Installations built before the 1978 NEC only  require a minimum clearance of 2 ft in front of electrical equipment.  The 30-in.-wide rule has been used since the 1971 NEC. Headroom  clearance has been required since the 1965 NEC.

The only “code that applies” is the code that was in effect at the time the bathroom was installed.

Homes built in 2012, according to the IRC, will require a sprinkler system, according to the year the code book required them. Homes built in 2015 that are built in a jurisdiction that is still operating under the 2006 IRC that has no sprinkler system are also being built according to code.

You cannot go by the date the code book first instituted the requirement…but the date the jurisdiction adopted it.

If you do not know when that date was, you simply point out the issue that fails to meet today’s building standard and direct your client to do a permit search.

Since the OP is in Va: Virginia Building Code
Furthermore, as I stated in another thread, I live in Florida and know when applicable codes took effect. If I am not sure, I found out.

The reason you would look in the toilet for a date is to determine when the addition was done. That code would apply. If you perform work, that work cannot cause a code violation. An example would be if you remodel your kitchen, you can’t put the refrigerator in front of the breaker panel.
Citing the code would bolster your request for permits as it would appear, at least one thing was done improperly. It has been my experience that when one thing was done wrong, other hidden things were done wrong as well.

Just saying “check for permits” doesn’t really help the Client that much. There could be serious ramifications and costs involved to correct this issue.

In neither your scenario or mine does the date the requirement first entering the code book take on any relevance.

The date it was adopted has relevance.
The fact that the condition exists and is a violation of the current code (2005 NEC for VA), makes it a safety hazard right now, as the electric code is a safety code.

The OP wanted to know the year the code for not allowing panels in bathrooms was introduced. That code may not be relevant. The workspace code would be.
All it would take would be a phone call to the building department to confirm what code was in effect when the home was built.

If the date in the toilet was 2001, then now two codes have been violated, assuming that VA is 5 years behind on adopting codes.

If no permit was pulled, then the current code would be applicable, after the AHJ got done assessing fines and requiring that things got opened up to see what was done.
As I said earlier, this could get costly in a hurry and I have seen it many, many times.

LOL. Are you saying that it was NOT a safety hazard before somebody added it to a code book? It was “safe” before 1993 to put a service panel in a bathroom…but became “unsafe” in 1993?

It is safe…or it is not. Unsafe things should be called out no matter what date they were entered into a code book. As for compliance with the local codes, clients should do a permit search and determine that on their own.

Did I say that? No. What I said or more accurately was implying, was that the individuals who wrote the code determined that it needed to be added, for obvious reasons.

Clients may not know how to do a permit search, and even if they did, if home inspectors have limited knowledge of the code, just how much knowledge do you think the Client has?
Which is why I do them for my Clients, at no charge.

It is and was an unsafe condition prior to 1993. It was added to the code most likely because of interpretation issued regarding the work space rule.
Is it two feet or three feet, six and a half feet in height, drop ceilings or no drop ceiling…“We will make it easier for individuals to understand. No service equipment in the bathrooms”.

That removes all doubt.

Had one last week in Ottawa. 1943 house, 4500 sq ft. 99% 2 prong recepticles and any 3 prong showed no ground. 125 amp panel in basement bathroom(full). Obviously needs upgrades. ($750,000 home) I advised client that upgrades may be needed, however permit for upgrades may not be granted because of bathroom. Client called back and confirmed that bathroom needed to be removed before permits granted. Just FYI. It may be working now and be fine, however an upgrade may be more than $$$ cost.

I think the bathroom is going to be the least of their worries!
125 amp service for a 4,000 square foot home?:o

Main panel over the toilet. Not the first time I’ve seen this. No exhaust fan in bathroom, I guess the only positive to take away, was that the panel was sealed with caulk around the frame. Although we all know that moisture will always find a way to cause damage.

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