Tenant access to main disconnect in apartment bldg?

The IRC states that occupants must have access to disconnecting means - would that mean that in an apartment bldg where the main panel and disconnect is in a locked utility room the door should remain unlocked in order for the residents to access and turn off the main electrical disconnect? Also, each unit of the building has a subpanel, which is located in a closet. The building was built in the 40’s, so I am wondering if the panel’s locations in the closets is grandfathered?

Any advice? Thanks!

This is the exception for the service disconnect. . .

*Exception: In a multiple-occupancy building where electric service and electrical maintenance are provided by the building management and where these are under continuous building management supervision, the service disconnecting means supplying more than one occupancy shall be permitted to be accessible to authorized management personnel only.

*The requirement for location of OCPD’s has always been that they should “not be located in the vicinity of easily ignitable material,” but they have recently added the “specification” about “clothes closets.”

[FONT=Times-Roman][size=2]Overcurrent devices shall not be located in the vicinity of easily ignitable material, such as in clothes closets.


Thanks Jeff.

Do you know where I can find the update on the clothes closets so that I can show my client the reference? Also, I assume that since the bldg was built in the 40’s it is grandfathered compliant?

2002 NEC 240.24(D)

It was not specifically prohibited in earlier editions, so it has been “allowed” for many years. Common sense however, would dictate that it has never been “compliant.”

Thanks much for the reference and help Jeff !