Code Considerations for Furniture with Power

code.gifUnderstanding the National Electrical Code® (NEC) and doing it right the first time can save a contractor thousands of dollars every year.

The NEC provides the minimum installation requirements when doing electrical work. The authority having jurisdiction (AHJ), or better known as the electrical inspector, applies the NEC when evaluating an installation to ensure code compliance. Installations that do not conform are rejected by the AHJ and must be corrected.

Understanding the NEC is vital when applying the Code. Every Code article has a scope that installers should read to know how it would apply to an installation. After reading the scope, you may determine that another article is where you need to look.

Article 110 provides the general requirements for all electrical installations. One section that is often overlooked is 110.3(B), which includes language for installers to follow the listing and labeling instructions.

Recently, I learned that an AHJ rejected an installation on a commercial job where the owner provided portable tables with pre-wired receptacles supplied with a cord connection. The inspector wanted to see the listing for the assembly that included the table. UL confirmed that there are standards that cover just the outlet assembly, and there are standards that address the complete product assembly.

The standards that would apply in this scenario are as follows:


This category covers cord-connected furniture power distribution units rated 250 V ac or less, 20 A ac or less, intended for indoor use. These units consist of single- or multiple-outlet wiring devices that provide power for and are intended to be installed in commercial or household (residential) portable or stationary furnishings only. These units provide outlet receptacles for computers, audio and video equipment, and other equipment that is mounted on or in commercial or household (residential) portable or stationary furnishings. These units are provided with an attachment- plug cap and a flexible cord terminated in an enclosure in which are mounted one or more receptacles, which could include power, phone, data, or video receptacles.


This category covers furnishings provided with or without electrical power typically for lighting and convenience receptacle outlets. They include lighted make-up mirrors, study carrels, consoles, lighted curio cabinets, entertainment centers, headboards, bookcases, desks, tables, laboratory and work benches, indirectly heated and cooled beds, and the like.

In order to get a final approval on this job, the contractor had to work with the owner for verification that the table assembly was listed, and if not, then a field evaluation could be ordered.

Section 110.3(B) is very important, and a sharp inspector always looks for listed or labeled equipment.

It is never good to learn the Code with a rejection notice referred to as a “Red Tag.” Be familiar with the Code to avoid these issues for your next job.

David Hittinger is Executive Director at IEC of Greater Cincinnati. He is a member of the National Fire Protection Association’s Code Making Panel 1 and a Correlating Committee member.