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For 90 years, the National Electrical Code (NEC) did not address the installation of receptacles in meeting rooms. The design and installation of these power devices were left up to the building owner and design professional. Until recently, the primary power needs came from projectors and lighting. Laptops and other devices were the domain of presenters. Power accessibility and receptacle placement was a straightforward business.
Today, things are much different. Attendees increasingly bring power-hungry laptops, tablets and smartphones to meetings. The longer the meeting, the greater the need has become for recharging these devices. In some cases, people have begun sitting on floors and even in walkways to share access to power cords, which has become a safety concern.
The NEC’s response to this need is to update meeting room requirements. This new paradigm of usage has translated into a standard that provides greater accessibility.
The question then becomes, where the added receptacles need to be located without obstructing flexible use of the meeting room.
Because of the dynamic nature of meeting room usage and the need for so many users to access power throughout the course of a meeting, the placement of power receptacles, or outlets, has been upgraded.
This list of the meeting room configurations provides an understanding of the adaptive challenges involved in giving end-users the power access they require.
Power, Data and AV access must easily adapt to the possible configurations with minimum disruption or expense.
Beyond furniture placement, rooms must also accommodate increased end-user power requirements. As a result, walkways in meeting rooms must remain clear. The National Electric Code (NEC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have responded incrementally to the need for updated safety standards.
In 2017, the NEC and the NFPA released an update seeking to clarify the requirements for the placement of receptacles in meeting rooms. This clarification, known then as Section 210.71 and updated into Section 210.65 in the 2020 NEC, applies to meeting rooms with floor dimensions of 12 feet or greater in any direction.
This update is intended to prevent potential hazards associated with loose cords on the floors of meeting rooms. Some rooms already had floor outlets in place, while others did not, as this requirement was not previously mandatory.
Where to Find Status of Implementation Requirements in Your State
Determine # of Receptacles
6’ – 12’ Rule = 5 Receptacles
To comply with the NEC 210.65, receptacles have to be installed so that the wall space of any floor line is further than 6 feet from a receptacle.
Adding the power access points is where commercial building owners, facilities teams, and end-users have been faced with a challenging decision. Up to now, many have thought there were only two options—either go with a costly building infrastructure project, namely core drilling, or purchase an inexpensive wire casing, also known as a speed bump. Neither of these solutions is ideal.
Core drilling is the process of drilling out a large hole (4” – 6” diameter) in the concrete slab of a building to run wiring from underneath and install a floor outlet. It gives a room a receptacle and a data/comm port.
Core drilling is expensive and is also a loud, intrusive, and messy process that often involves obtaining access to other tenant spaces. It requires the help of facilities teams, security staff, cleaning staff, and contractors, and if a meeting room location changes, a business is back to square one.
The other option that businesses under budget constraints often use for managing meeting room power cables is the casing. It offers an inexpensive way to run wires over the floor. It works like a rubber speed bump that lets you run the cables underneath.
Once the demand for power increases and the number of needed power connections (wires) begins to multiply, the casing is no longer adequate. Additionally, you lose the aesthetics by increasing visual clutter.
In meeting rooms that already have a floor box to address power requirements, it is typically located underneath the conference room table. However, people also want to position AV and data cabling. A speed bump and even a core drill can fall short when participants begin to flesh out a full range of technology that ties to a presentation or collaborative work session.
These are many more devices connecting to a meeting room setup:
Ultimately, end-users need the capability to adapt meeting room configurations to what is the most advantageous for that meeting. Flexible space allows an AV professional or facilities team the ability to easily reconfigure wiring and cabling throughout the entire meeting space (not one section in the middle of the room).
That is why an adaptive raised flooring system has become such a worthwhile investment. It allows a business to quickly and easily address user needs.
The Gridd Power and cable management system is a one-of-a-kind, revolutionary solution that allows unlimited flexible power access.
The actual relocation (or addition) of one of these electrical four-boxes in the floor is easy, especially if there’s been some slack left on the wiring. Additionally, it is easy to quickly relocate a receptacle within the Gridd raised flooring system.
Finding ways to install Gridd in a meeting room is well worth the effort and budget. As the need for a meeting room expands, the value of the Gridd system and its ability to respond to evolving business work styles becomes evident. It allows facility teams to reconfigure power and data over a weekend. It makes it possible to double or triple the power connection points quickly.
Businesses benefit greatly from a Gridd Power installation. Adding floor outlets and reconfiguring the power and data locations happens in the same room. There is no need to run wiring to the electrical closet.
To successfully address the potential requirements of end-users, design professionals and owners must coordinate a balance between current needs and future adaptability. Gridd low-profile raised floor can provide limitless flexibility now and into the future.
Gridd Power is fully compatible with today’s power management and building management systems. This capability allows a meeting room to connect to the building management system (BMS) software. This feature is highly sustainable in that it also provides the ability to minimize excessive use of power. Gridd fully integrates with standard building management systems.
Gridd Mobile uses augmented reality technology to help IT and facility teams know where the wires and cabling are, without the inconvenience of taking apart the floor. The app makes it possible to go back and see where wiring and cabling are, with the least amount of work using the mobile system. It works for every team in a business operation, not just those responsible for the AV or meeting room setup.
When supporting team personnel turnover through the years, they often take the knowledge of infrastructure changes with them. The mobile app works with Gridd raised floors and makes it possible for new staff to come in and know where power and data cabling is without a lot of hassle and backtracking.
You have an application that answers questions like, “Can a floor outlet be moved to accommodate the relocation of a projector for a large gathering of investors or team members?”
Having that real-time visibility boosts efficiency, allowing electrical and AV professionals to prioritize other aspects of setup besides running power cords across walkways while doing a quick turnover in a room. Having that capability will enable facilities staff and others to focus on the layout instead of struggling to figure out what is going on under the floor or finding the person who knows.
Gridd is an integrated solution that enables easy access for cable management, power, and power management. It provides “through the floor” visibility using the Gridd® Mobile augmented reality app. The app shows how the data and power cables are laid out and saves time and extra work by allowing facilities teams and AV professionals to pinpoint exactly where to manage access without pulling up unnecessary carpet panels. Relocating and adding receptacles is quick using this feature and makes the process of meeting rooms compliance with the NEC and the ever-evolving needs of meeting participants much simpler.
Learn more about how Gridd Power can enhance the meeting room experience and simplify requirement compliance for your business at https://www.freeaxez.com/gridd-power/.
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