Chapter 18-27 Chicago Electrical Code

Last updated: March 23, 2010 – 9:36 AM

This provides excerpts of Chap 18-27 as it relates to tenants’ access to their fuse box. The Municipal Code of Chicago requires that either tenants have direct 24 hour open access to the circuit breaker/fuse box, or the management provides the same 24 hour access with their on-duty personnel.

18-27-225.35  Access to occupants.

In a multiple-occupancy building, each occupant shall have access to the occupant’s supply disconnecting means.

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

(Added Coun. J. 11-3-99, p. 13842, § 5)

18-27-230.70  General.

Means shall be provided to disconnect all conductors in a building or other structure from the service-entrance conductors.

(a)     Location. The service disconnecting means shall be installed at a readily accessible location in the basement or first floor area of a building or structure, within the main wall, at a point not exceeding 5 ft (1.92 m) from the point of entry. When the distance of the service raceway needs to exceed 5 ft (1.92 m) from the point of entry into the building, the service raceway shall conform to the requirements of Section 18-27-230.6.

Exception: For the purposes of this section, readily accessible locations include dedicated electrical rooms, meeting the following conditions:

(1)     Access to room either from inside or outside the building shall be provided for all occupants;

(2)     Rooms shall have a secure, locking-type door(s) that prohibits access to persons other than tenants and/or occupants of the building.

(3)     Rooms shall be of the same construction as the building;

(4)     Rooms shall be for the exclusive use of the electrical service metering and distribution equipment;

(5)     A panelboard with main and branch circuit protection shall be provided within the interior of each unit or space being served;

(6)     A wall switch controlled lighting outlet shall be provided for illumination in all such electrical rooms.

Service disconnecting means shall not be installed in bathrooms.

In high rise buildings or similar buildings, the disconnecting means for the multiple services recognized by Section 18-27-230.2(b)(2) shall be located in a dedicated fire-rated room as near as practical to the serving utility vault. The rooms for the “Main” service disconnecting means which serve the building common element loads shall have a three-hour fire rating. The electrical service rooms for tenant loads shall have a 2-hour minimum fire rating. These rooms shall be for the exclusive use of electrical equipment. Separate service disconnecting means shall be required for each tenant floor. These disconnects shall be permitted to be located on a floor other than the floor served. Where more than one service is permitted to serve one floor, the various disconnecting means and their locations shall be prominently identified as required by Section 18-27-230.2(e). All such rooms shall comply with Section 18-27-110.26.

(b)     Marking. Each service disconnect shall be permanently marked to identify it as a service disconnect.

(c)     Suitable for Use. Each service disconnecting means shall be suitable for the prevailing conditions. Service equipment installed in hazardous (classified) locations shall comply with the requirements of Articles 500 through 517.

(Added Coun. J. 11-3-99, p. 13842, § 5; Amend Coun. J. 1-10-01, p. 50262, § 1)

18-27-230.92  Locked service overcurrent devices.

Where the service overcurrent devices are locked or sealed, or not readily accessible to the occupant, branch- circuit overcurrent devices shall be installed on the load side, shall be mounted in a readily accessible location, and shall be of lower ampere rating than the service overcurrent device.

(Added Coun. J. 11-3-99, p. 13842, § 5)

All 3 Comments

  1. Hello. I moved into a 2 flat on the upper floor 2 weeks ago. Our breaker box is located in the basement. Our downstairs neighbors have a key to get down to the basement but are not willing to let us make a copy of it. I contacted the landlord about having a copy made as well and he also refused. The landlord does not live on the premises nor do we have an On-Site manager. The maintenance man he sends out to do all repairs also does not have a key to the basement and has to knock on the downstairs neighbors door to gain access. Can I be denied access.

  2. When it says “Exception: In a multiple-occupancy building where electric supply and electrical maintenance are provided by the building management and where these are under continuous building management supervision, the supply disconnecting means supplying more than one occupancy shall be permitted to be accessible to authorized management personnel only” does this mean that the building management must be on site and available 24 hours a day for this exception to be legal?

    1. That is a good question. What is the situation in your building? Have you spoken with the landlord about the problem? For instance if there is an onsite manager and they go out for a while but the person is there almost all the time then that will probably qualify or if there is a protocol for what to do if the onsite manager is away. I am not sure if there is a definition of continuous on site supervision which means that there will be different viewpoints.

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