680.26(B)(2) Perimeter Surfaces.

Revised code language now allows a copper grid for equipotential bonding of perimeter surfaces adjacent to a pool.
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Revised code language now allows a copper grid for equipotential bonding of perimeter surfaces adjacent to a pool.

Code Change Summary: Revised code language now allows a copper grid for equipotential bonding of perimeter surfaces adjacent to a pool.

During the first draft stage of the 2020 NEC code development process, a public input was rejected to delete the existing allowance of a #8 AWG bare solid copper conductor as an equipotential bonding means for the perimeter deck around a pool and replace it with a copper bonding grid. The substantiation was that a single bare solid copper conductor performed insufficiently for its intended purpose according to tests conducted by National Electric Energy Testing Research and Applications Center (NEETRAC), Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and ENEREX.

Public comments received during the second draft stage of the 2020 NEC development process resulted in the code making panel allowing the previous #8 AWG solid bare copper conductor to remain and a new allowance to use a copper bonding grid for equipotential bonding of the perimeter surfaces.

One requirement is that the copper grid must comply with 680.26(B)(1)(b)(3) and be arranged in a 12 inch by 12 inch network of conductors in a uniformly spaced perpendicular grid pattern with a tolerance of 4 inches.

Below is a preview of the NEC. See the actual NEC text at NFPA.ORG for the complete code section. Once there, click on their link to free access to the 2020 NEC edition of NFPA 70.

2017 Code Language:

680.26(B)(2) Perimeter Surfaces. The perimeter surface to be bonded shall be considered to extend for 1 m (3 ft) horizontally beyond the inside walls of the pool and shall include unpaved surfaces and other types of paving. Perimeter surfaces separated from the pool by a permanent wall or building 1.5 m (5 ft) in height or more shall require equipotential bonding only on the pool side of the permanent wall or building. Bonding to perimeter surfaces shall be provided as specified in 680.26(B)(2)(a) or (2)(b) and shall be attached to the pool reinforcing steel or copper conductor grid at a minimum of four (4) points uniformly spaced around the perimeter of the pool. For nonconductive pool shells, bonding at four points shall not be required.

(a) Structural Reinforcing Steel. Structural reinforcing steel shall be bonded in accordance with 680.26(B)(1)(a).

(b) Alternate Means. Where structural reinforcing steel is not available or is encapsulated in a nonconductive compound, a copper conductor(s) shall be utilized where the following requirements are met:

(1) At least one minimum 8 AWG bare solid copper conductor shall be provided.

(2) The conductors shall follow the contour of the perimeter surface.

(3) Only listed splices shall be permitted.

(4) The required conductor shall be 450 mm to 600 mm (18 in. to 24 in.) from the inside walls of the pool.

(5) The required conductor shall be secured within or under the perimeter surface 100 mm to 150 mm (4 in. to 6 in.) below the subgrade.

2020 Code Language:

680.26(B)(2) Perimeter Surfaces. The perimeter surface to be bonded shall be considered to extend for 1 m (3 ft) horizontally beyond the inside walls of the pool and shall include unpaved surfaces and other types of paving. Perimeter surfaces separated from the pool by a permanent wall or building 1.5 m (5 ft) in height or more shall require equipotential bonding only on the pool side of the permanent wall or building. Bonding to perimeter surfaces shall be provided as specified in 680.26(B)(2)(a), (B)(2)(b), or (B)(2)(c) and shall be attached to the pool reinforcing steel or copper conductor grid at a minimum of four points uniformly spaced around the perimeter of the pool. For nonconductive pool shells, bonding at four points shall not be required.

(a) Structural Reinforcing Steel. Structural reinforcing steel shall be bonded in accordance with 680.26(B)(1)(a).

(b) Copper Ring. Where structural reinforcing steel is not available or is encapsulated in a nonconductive compound, a copper conductor(s) shall be utilized where the following requirements are met:

(1) At least one minimum 8 AWG bare solid copper conductor shall be provided.

(2) The conductors shall follow the contour of the perimeter surface.

(3) Only listed splicing devices or exothermic welding shall be permitted.

(4) The required conductor shall be 450 mm to 600 mm (18 in. to 24 in.) from the inside walls of the pool.

(5) The required conductor shall be secured within or under the perimeter surface 100 mm to 150 mm (4 in. to 6 in.) below the subgrade.

(c) Copper Grid. Where structural reinforcing steel is not available or is encapsulated in a nonconductive compound, copper grid shall be utilized where the following requirements are met:

(1) The copper grid shall be constructed of 8 AWG solid bare copper and be arranged in accordance with 680.26(B)(1)(b)(3).

(2) The copper grid shall follow the contour of the perimeter surface extending 1 m (3 ft) horizontally beyond the inside walls of the pool.

(3) Only listed splicing devices or exothermic welding shall be permitted.

(4) The copper grid shall be secured within or under the deck or unpaved surfaces between 100 mm to 150 mm (4 in. to 6 in.) below the subgrade.

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680.26(B)(2) Perimeter Surfaces.

Below is a Real Question from our Electrical Continuing Education Courses for Electrical License Renewal:

Which of the following is true for a copper grid under the perimeter surface adjacent to a pool?

A: The copper grid shall follow the contour of the perimeter surface extending 4 feet horizontally beyond the inside walls of the pool.
B: The copper grid shall be constructed of 6 AWG stranded bare copper.
C: The copper grid shall be constructed of 6 AWG solid bare copper.
D: Copper grids are permitted where structural reinforcing steel is not available or is encapsulated in a nonconductive compound.
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