New Jersey Wins National Award for Rehabilitation Subcode

New Jersey’s rehab code is the nation’s first set of rules written just for older buildings, and it’s bringing developers back to cities by providing sensible standards and predictable costs for renovations,” said Governor Christie Whitman. “It’s part of a whole tool kit of resources we’re using to revitalize New Jersey’s urban areas.”

The Innovations Awards recognize government initiatives that are original and effective. New Jersey’s rehabilitation subcode was named one of ten winning programs from a pool of 1,600 applicants.

Proof of the code’s effectiveness was illustrated by statistics showing that rehabilitation work in New Jersey’s five largest cities increased by 60 percent in 1998, the first year the code was in effect. In 1997, the year before the code’s implementation, rehabilitation work in those cities increased a mere 1.6 percent.

“The subcode reflects some of Governor Whitman’s top priorities: economic development, urban revitalization and common-sense regulatory reform,” said DCA Commissioner Jane M. Kenny. “It was designed to get developers back into cities by making it easier for them to rehabilitate existing buildings, and that’s exactly what it’s doing.”

“Previously, existing buildings had to meet code requirements for new buildings when renovations were extensive enough. That meant elements such as windows, doorways and stairways often had to be ripped out and replaced to conform with modern codes, even though they were perfectly safe. The result was prohibitively expensive alterations that carried little if any safety advantage,” Kenny said.

Kenny said that since the rehabilitation subcode went into effect, New Jersey is seeing its impact in the form of lower project costs and a growing interest in cities on the part of developers.

Among its many applications, the code recently saved about $400,000 in the rehabilitation of an abandoned building in Jersey City into a day care center and senior citizen apartments, Kenny noted. It also made possible the conversion of a vacant office building in Trenton into a charter school by saving 20 percent in construction costs. And the code cut 20 percent off the cost of rehabilitating and preserving an 18th century stone house in Chester, Morris County, she said.

New Jersey’s rehab code has already gained attention in other states. The city of Wilmington, Delaware, adopted New Jersey’s rehab code as their own earlier this year, while a number of other states and jurisdictions have requested copies.

The Innovations in American Government Award is recognized as one of the most prestigious public service awards programs in the country. It is sponsored by the Ford Foundation and administered by Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in partnership with the Council for Excellence in Government. Award money will be used by the department for program-related activities.

Rehabilitation Subcode: Appendix I ElectricalSummary of Electrical Subcode Requirements

Products and Practices – Sections 6.4(d)3, 6.4(e)2, Repairs; 6.5(d)3, 6.5(e)6, Renovations; 6.6(d)3, 6.6(e)8, Alterations; and 6.7(d)2, 6.7(e)8, Reconstruction.

The following electrical Products and Practices shall not be used: Unlisted or unapproved electrical products. As stated in theNational Electrical Code(Sections 90-7, 110-2, 110-3, and 100), only electrical products listed, labeled, approved, and identified are acceptable. Approval is to be based on tests and listing of testing laboratories such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL), Factory Mutual (FM), or Canadian Standards Association/ Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (CSA/NRTL).

The following electrical Products and Practices shall be required, when applicable: Existing electrical wiring and equipment undergoing repair or replacement shall be allowed to be replaced with like material, except for the following:

1 . Replacement of electrical receptacles shall comply with the requirements contained in Section 210-7(d) of the electrical subcode;

2. Plug fuses of the Edison base-type shall be used only for replacements where there is no evidence of over fusing or tampering per Section 240-51(b) of the electrical subcode;

3. For replacement of nongrounding-type receptacles with grounding-type receptacles, the grounding conductor of a grounding type receptacle outlet shall be permitted, in accordance with Section 250-50 of the electrical subcode, to be grounded to any accessible point on the grounding electrode system as described in Section 250-81 of the electrical subcode, or to any accessible point on the grounding electrode conductor;

4. Non “hospital grade” receptacles in patient bed locations of health care facilities, Use Group I-2, shall be replaced with “hospital grade” receptacles; and

5. Frames of electric ranges, wall-mounted ovens, counter-mounted cooking units, clothes dryers, and outlet or junction boxes that are part of the existing branch circuit for these appliances, except for mobile homes and recreational vehicles, shall be permitted to be grounded to the grounded circuit conductor if all the conditions of Section 250-60 of the electrical subcode are met.

Materials and Methods – Section 6.8(d)
The following sections of the electrical subcode, (NJAC 5:23-3.16), constitute the electrical materials and methods requirements for the Rehabilitation Subcode:

1. Section 90-7, entitled “Examination of Equipment for Safety” of the Introduction, Article 90;

2. All of chapter 1, entitled “General” except Section 110-8, Wiring Methods; 110-16, Working Space about Electrical Equipment (600 Volts, Nominal, or Less); 110- 17, Guarding of Live Parts (600 Volts, Nominal, or Less); 110-32, Work Space about Equipment; and 110-33, Entrance and Access to Work Space;

3. All of chapter 2, entitled “Wiring and Protection” except Sections 210-52 Dwelling Unit Receptacle Outlets, 210-60 Guest Rooms, 210-62 Show Windows, 210-63 Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Equipment Outlet, 210-70 Lighting Outlets Required, and 220-4 Branch Circuits Required;

4. Section 380-8 Accessibility and Grouping (switches), 384-4 Installation (switchboards and panelboards) and 384-8 clearances (switchboards and panelboards);

5. All of chapter 4, entitled “Equipment for General Use;”

6. All of chapter 5, entitled “Special Occupancies;”

7. All of chapter 6, entitled “Special Equipment;”

8. All of chapter 7, entitled “Special Conditions”; and

9. All of chapter 8, entitled “Communication Systems.”

10. Existing working clearances, clear space, access and entrance dimensions to working spaces, illumination, headroom clearance, and location of overcurrent protection devices shall be allowed to remain without modification.

Repairs – Section 6.4

A. The following work shall be considered renovation, alteration, or reconstruction, as appropriate, and not repair work: Addition to, alteration or relocation of electrical wiring, other than wiring for a low voltage communication system in a one- or two-family dwelling.

B. The work shall not cause any diminution of existing structural strength, system capacity, or mechanical ventilation below that which exists at the time of application for a permit or that which is required by the applicable subcode of the UCC, whichever is lower.

C. See Products and Practices above or Sections 6.4(d)3 and 6.4(e)2.

Renovations – Section 6.5

A. The work shall not cause any diminution of existing structural strength, system capacity, or mechanical ventilation below that which currently exists or that which is required by the applicable subcodes of the UCC, whichever is lower. The replacement or addition of fixtures, equipment, or appliances shall not increase loads on these systems unless the system is upgraded in accordance with the applicable subcode of the UCC to accommodate the increased load.

B. See Products and Practices above or Sections 6.5(d)3 and 6.5(e)6.

C. All Materials and Methods shall comply with the requirements specified in 6.8.

Alterations – Section 6.6

A. See Renovations A. above or Section 6.6(c).

B. See Products and Practices above or Sections

6.6(d)3 and 6.6(e)8.

C. See Renovations C. Above or Section 6.6(h).

D. Accessibility – In determining disproportionate cost, the following materials may be deducted from the overall cost of the project: windows, hardware, operating controls, electrical outlets and signage; mechanical systems, electrical systems, installations or alterations of fire protection systems, or abatement of hazardous materials; the repair or installation of roofing, siding, or other exterior wall facade.

Reconstruction – Section 6.7

A. See Renovations A. above or Section 6.7(c).

B. See Products and Practices above or Sections 6.7(d)2 and 6.7(e)8.

C. See Renovations C. above or Section 6.7(f).

D. See Alterations D. above or Section 6.7(j).

Electrical Requirements-Use Groups – Sections 6.11-6.28
Provisions that activate the electrical subcode, such as: means of egress lighting, illuminated exit signs, automatic alarm systems, manual alarm system, mechanically ventilated spaces, emergency systems, or smoke detectors are found within various use group categories. Specific electrical provisions exist in Use Group R-1 (Basic Section 6.25(n) and Use Group R-2 (Basic Section 6.26(m) and Use Group R-3/R-4 (Basic Section 6.27(d).

6.25(n) Electrical Equipment and Wiring Guestrooms shall be provided with one switch-controlled ceiling or wall type outlet or equivalent to illuminate entrances or exits. Additionally, each guest bathroom shall be provided with at least one duplex receptacle outlet which is GFCI protected and at least one switch-controlled lighting outlet.

6.26(m) and 6.27(d) Electrical Equipment and Wiring

1. All enclosed areas, other than kitchens, basements, garages, hallways, closets, laundry areas and bathrooms shall have a minimum of two duplex receptacle outlets.

2. Kitchen areas shall have a minimum of two duplex receptacle outlets or equivalent and a switch controlled lighting outlet. At least one of the required duplex receptacles shall be provided to serve counter space.

3. Laundry areas shall have a minimum of one duplex receptacle outlet or equivalent located near the laundry equipment and installed on an independent circuit.

4. At least one switch controlled lighting outlet shall be provided in every bathroom, hallway, stairway, attached garage, detached garage with electric power, and to illuminate outdoor entrances and exits.

5. At least one switch controlled lighting outlet shall be provided in utility rooms and basements where these spaces are used for storage or contain equipment requiring service.

6. Electrical service equipment (overcurrent devices) shall be located where they will not be subject to physical damage and shall not be located in the vicinity of easily ignitable material.

7. All 125-volt, single phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles in locations specified in Section 210-8(a) of the electrical subcode, shall have ground-fault circuit protection for personnel.

Change of Use – Section 6.31(m)

1. When the character of the use of a building or portion thereof is changed to one of the following special occupancies as described in chapter 5 of the electrical subcode, the electrical wiring and equipment of the building or portion thereof that contains the proposed use shall comply with all applicable requirements of the electrical subcode regardless of whether a change of use group is involved:

i. Hazardous (classified) Locations

ii. Commercial Garages, Repair and Storage

iii. Aircraft Hangars

iv. Gasoline Dispensing and Service Stations

v. Bulk Storage Plants

vi. Spray Application, Dipping, and Coating Processes

vii. Health Care Facilities

viii. Places of Assembly

ix. Theaters, Audience Areas of Motion Picture and Television Studios and Similar Locations

x. Motion Picture and Television Studios and Similar Locations

xi. Agricultural Buildings

2. When the use of a building is changed to Use Group R-2, R-3 or R-4, the electrical wiring and equipment of the building shall comply, at a minimum, with the Basic Requirements of the rehabilitation subcode for that use and shall have the electrical service (conductors and equipment) sized and rated in accordance with the electrical subcode.

Additions – Section 6.32
Any addition to a building or structure shall comply with the requirements of the Uniform Construction Code applicable to new construction. Any repair, renovation, alteration or reconstruction work undertaken within an existing building in connection with an addition shall comply with the requirements of the rehabilitation subcode. No addition shall create or extend any non-conformity in the existing building to which the addition is constructed with regard to the capacity of electrical system provisions of the Basic Requirements of the rehabilitation subcode.

Historic Buildings – Section 6.33(b)
Material and Methods—original or replica material and original methods of construction may be used, subject to the provisions of this section.

i. Exception: Components of building systems hidden from public view, including but not limited to electrical equipment and wiring, plumbing equipment and piping and heating equipment, shall comply with Section 6.8 (Materials and Methods).

New Building Elements – Section 6.9(a)17

1. Newly installed electrical service equipment, switchboards, panelboards, motor control centers, and other electrical equipment containing overcurrent, switching, or control devices likely to require examination, adjustment, servicing, or maintenance while energized shall conform with the requirements specified in Section 6.8, Materials and Methods, and, in addition, shall conform with Sections 110-16 (Working Space about Electrical Equipment – 600 Volts, Nominal, or Less), 110-17 (Guarding of Live Parts – 600 Volts, Nominal, or Less), 110-32 (Work Space about Equipment), 110-33 (Entrance and Access to Work Space), 380-8 (Accessibility and Grouping – Switches), 384-4 (Installation – Switchboards and Panelboards), and 384-8 (Clearances – Switchboards and Panelboards), as applicable, of the electrical subcode.

2. In addition, other new building elements created may activate the electrical subcode.

Editors Note: New Jersey’s Rehabilitation Subcode references 1996NECsections.