Low Voltage Codes and Video Surveillance

By Brian Rhodes, Published May 22, 2014, 12:00am EDT (Info+)

Even 'low voltage' electrical work can be dangerous. Because of that, there are specific rules that apply to those who handle low voltage systems, including video surveillance, to ensure the work is safe, reliable, and is not a risk to innocent bystanders.

In this note, we explain how the National Electric Code impacts video surveillance work.

Low ****age *******

*** ** ******* **** **** *** 'low *******' *********** ** **** ********** the *****, *** **** *** ****** different *******, **** *** ********** ** typical ******** ********* ** ***. *** example:

  • **: *** ***** ******* ******* ***** supply ******* ******* ** - **** volts ** ** *** - **** volts **
  • ***: *** ******* ********* ******* ** distribution ******* ** ** **** **** 49 *****.

** ** *** '**' *** ******* designation **** ***** ***** *****, ********** to ** **** **** ~** ***** (although******** *** **** ******** ** ** 57 ***) *** ************ **** ******** (*.*., data ********). ** *** **, '*** voltage' ** **** ** ******** **** physical ******** *******, ** ******* ********** and ********* ** **** **** ** volts **** ****** ********** *********.

NEC: ******** ******** *****

** *** **, *** ***** ** low ******* **** ** ******* ** the'******** ********** ****', **** ***** ** NFPA **. *** **** ****** ******* ** this **** *** ******** ** ****, with *** ******** ******** ***** ***** years. 

************ ****** ******* ********* **** ***** Chapter * (******* ***) ** ******, ****** "Communications ******** *** *********" [**** ** longer *********] *** *** ******* ** the **** ** ***** ******* *** equipment ** ********* ****: ********, ****** spaces, **** ****-******* ********, ** ******* rated ***** **** ********* ** *********-***** environments.

Specific ******* ** ***** ************

** **** *******, ** ********* *** most ****** ********* ********* ***** ************ design. *******, ******* ** *** ****** code *** ** ****** *** ******** direction. *** ***** **** ****** *** ***** as **********, *************** **** **** ************* ***********.

**** ** ********* ***** ************ ** these *****:

*********

** *******, *** ******* **** ** properly ******** ** ** ***** ****** ** bond, including ***** *** ****** ***** *******. (800.49) *** ***** *** ******* ********* building **********, ********* ******* **** ** outside *****, *** ********** **** ** properly ******** ***** ** ******** *** facility. ********* *** ****** ***** ** a ****** *** ** ***** ****** of * ******** *** ********** ** many ********** *******, *** *** ****** ground ** **** ****** ******* ****** based ** ******** *****, ****, *** cable **** ****.

********* ******

** *******, ******* **** ** *** in ******* *******, ** *****, ** raceways ** **** ** *** ********** maintenance. "****** ** ********** ********* ***** not ** ****** ** ** ************ of ************* ****** **** ******* ****** to ** ******* ** ******, ********* suspended ******* ******." (***.**) **** ********, and *** ********* ******** ********** *** NEC, *** ***** ***** ********** *** practice ** ****** **** **** ******* tiles ********** ** ****** ***** ** not.

****** *******

*** ****** *** ** **** ***** cable *****, ********** ***** *** **** plenum ******, *** ******* ********** ********** the *******. (******** ** ***.***) ****** spaces, ********* ** ********, *** **** of *** *********** ****** ** * building. ******* ***** ***** *** ****** rich *** **** **** **** *** room ** *** ****, **** *** easily ***** * **** ** ****** quickly. ** ****, *** ********** ********* or ***** **** ******** **** **** space **** ** ***** ** ******* the ****** ** ***** ***/** *****. 

**** ******* **********

**** ****** **** ** *** ** least *" ***** **** **** ******* sources (***.**) *** *** ****** ********** raceways (***.**(*)). ********** ** **** ************* are **** ********** *** ***, ***** affected ** ******** ****, ******* ****, and ***** ****.

****** *****/*****

******* * **** ******* ******* ** antennas, *****, *** *****. *** *** AHJs ******** ***** ************ ********** ** non-power ******* *****, ***** ****** ******** them ********** ** ***** ** *** type, ********* ***** ********** ************ *******.  The ****** **************. ** *** **** regardless ** **** *********, **** ****** not ** **** *** ******* ***** support *** ************ ****** ********: "******** service masts *** **** ** **** *** the ******* ** ***** ******* **** conductors. In ********, ****** *** *****, **, CCTV, ** **** ****** ** ******** to *** ******** ******* *****." (***.**, 820.10(c))

***** ******* * / ******* *** ("Communication") ********* ******* ** ***** ************, some *********** *** **** ** ***** surveillance ** ******** ********, ***** ****** used *** '********* *** *** ******* of ********** ****' *** '**** ** installed ** ********** **** ******* * / ******* *** ("********* *** ***** Limited ********") ** *** ****. (***-**(*)(*)).

Spotty ********

***** ******** ** *** ******** ** all ** ****** *** ******* ***************, which ******* ** ******** *** ****** vary. *** ***** ***** ******* *** extent ** ******** ** *******, **** the **** **** ***** **** ******:

*** *** ******* ****, ******* ******* versions *** ********* *****, **** ******* mostly ******** ** *********** *** ********* rather **** ************ ***********. *** ***** difficulty **** ** ***** ***** ** particulars ** * ******** **** **** not ***** ** ***** ********.  *******, to **** ********** *** *********** ******* to ******** ********* ** '******** ** Changes [**** ** ****** *********]' *** published **** ********* **** *** **** version, ******** **** ******* **** *** previous.

**** **** ** **** ******, "***** adoption" ********, ******* **** ** ********* acceptance ** *** ******* ** ********** and *** ********** ********* **** *** change **** *** **** ** **** to *** ****.

*** **** ******, *** ******* '***** **** **** ***** *** *****' ********** **** ** ***** ** heart.

Following *** *****

**** *** ******* ** ******** ***** that ********* ****** *******, *** *** stands ** **** ************ ******* (*** any *** ******* ******** ******) **** for *** *** *** *** ** or **** ** ******* **** **. The ***** ** ******* *** *** always ******** *********** ********* ***** **********, *** ** *** ******** ** public ****, ***** ********** ** ********* should ****** *** **********.

Comments (9)

""Electric service masts can only be used for the support of power service drop conductors. In addition, cables for radio, TV, CCTV, or CATV cannot be attached to the electric service masts." (810.12, 820.10(c))"

Wow, I guess our local CATV and Telco companies are either non-compliant or have specific wavers...

The likely situation is the local AHJ says they can do this as a local exception, presumably because they are specially trained on working safely around high voltage.

Do they own the poles?

I'm pretty sure SDG&E (the utility) owns the poles and Cox, Time-Warner, AT&T and the rest lease access.

Roger that. Though not apparently the case here, the adage 'possession is 9/10s (of) the law' rings true with pole usage.

Also, the AHJ may not recognize Article 800 as applicable to surveillance, but instead uses Article 700 which does not include this same citation.

Are we talking masts or poles here? Poles are routinely leased out. The mast is where the electric for the facility makes its entrance, and they do indeed need to be separate from low voltage utilities.

In this building, for example, the electric comes in through a weatherhead on a short mast in the lower half of the building, but the fiber and coax for the internet, along with the Sirius/XM antenna enter through a sepearate location.

Carl is correct. You have to lease the space from the local utility company then seek permits. Nearly all poles are owned by a utility company though some are owned by the city or DOT in a given area.

Seeking permits from the utility companies, particularly to lease space on one or two poles takes MONTHS in some cases.

UK: The terms usually defines power supply systems between 50 - 1000 volts AC or 120 - 1500 volts DC USA: Low Voltage primarily focuses on distribution systems of no more than 49 volts.

Low Voltage U.S. < 50 V

Low Voltage U.K. > 50 V

There is not much hope for humanity if this can happen...So what do they call < 50 V in the U.K. ?

Isn't there a lot of equipment out there in home automation and worship houses for pa equip/music amplifiers that run 70 V pulsed DC? I always thought of that as LV...

Public service utilities are exempt from NEC. You will see very little in the NEC regarding the transmission and installation of such. I am not sure who governs them.

Low voltage can mean many different things to different trades. Low voltage to an electrician is below 480 volts. This is why the NEC uses the term Limited Energy.

Also, low voltage is not exempt from licensing or permitting! It does depend on the AHJ which is usually the state.

State Licensing Guide 1-26-09.pub

For example, no licensing or permitting is necessary in my state of Michigan for low voltage unless burglar alarm or fire alarm is involved.

Many other states do, in fact, have licensing and frequently licensing/permitting. Hawaii, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, Washington,and Oregon are all states where licensing/permits are required.

If you are installing 10 cameras on a private business you are unlikely to draw any notice from inspectors. However, if it's a multi-million dollar project where other trades are performing work (particularly fire alarm) be prepared for fines.

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