This type of installation can be found in many commercial buildings. The abundant number of working and abandoned cables in these types of spaces has become a major concern in the fire protection community. The following sections of the 2005 NEC make it clear that this type of installation is unacceptable.

Per 300.23, “Cables, raceways, and equipment installed behind panels designed to allow access, including suspended ceiling panels, shall be arranged and secured so as to allow the removal of panels and access to the equipment.”

In addition, the Code also states, “Access to equipment shall not be denied by an accumulation of wires and cables that prevents removal of panels, including suspended ceiling panels.” This same wording is noted in the following sections: 640.5, 725.7, 760.7, 770.21, 800.21, 820.21 and 830.21.

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