Directive: BC Electrical Code Section 26 (installation of electrical equipment)



Reference number
D-EL 2016-01
Revision Number
Revision 2

This Directive is being issued by a provincial safety manager pursuant to section 30 of the Safety Standards Act. 

This Directive supersedes Directive D-EL 2012-01. 

This directive provides clarification on the interpretation of Section 26 of the BC Electrical Code. It provides instructions about the location of panelboards, placement of receptacles in closets, balconies and counters, altering existing branch circuits, and the location of outlet branch-circuit-type arc-fault interrupters. 

26-400 Panelboards in dwelling units

Subrule (1):

“A panelboard shall be installed in every dwelling unit except for dwelling units in hotels and motels, and dwelling units that

  1. are not individually metered for electrical power consumption; and
  2. have been created by subdivision of a single dwelling.”


A panelboard installed for a dwelling unit that has been created by subdivision of a single dwelling (secondary suite) is interpreted as complying with this rule, when a panelboard is located in a common room or area that is accessible to all occupants of dwelling units.


Subrule (1)(b) is interpreted as meaning subdivision of an existing single dwelling only.  

26-712 Receptacles for dwelling units

Subrule (a):

“…except as otherwise provided for in this Code, in dwelling units, duplex receptacles shall be installed in the finished walls of every room or area, other than bathrooms, hallways, laundry rooms, water closet rooms, utility rooms, or closets, so that no point along the floor line of any usable wall space is more than 1.8 m horizontally from a receptacle in that or an adjoining space, such distance being measured along the floor line of the wall spaces involved;”


This subrule does not require nor prohibit a receptacle in a closet.

26-712 Receptacles for dwelling units

Subrule (b): 

“…at least one duplex receptacle shall be provided in each area, such as a balcony or porch, that is not classified as a finished room or area in accordance with Item (a)”


Receptacles installed to meet the requirements of this subrule are considered to be provided in each area, such as a balcony or porch, only if they are located within the area and readily accessible from floor level. 

26-712 Receptacles for dwelling units

Subrule (d)(iii): 

“…a sufficient number of receptacles (5-15R split or 5-20R) along the wall at counter work surfaces (excluding sinks, built-in equipment, and isolated work surfaces less than 300 mm long at the wall line) so that no point along the wall line is more than 900 mm from a receptacle measured horizontally along the wall line” 


  1. Construction methods or materials do not affect the requirement in this rule.
  2. This rule does not require receptacles to be installed within a wall space.
  3. Alternatives such as in-counter “pop-up” receptacles, surface mounted receptacles, or receptacles mounted to the underside of the cupboard are acceptable, provided they are approved for the purpose, accessible, and installed as close as feasible to the wall. 

26-724  Branch circuits for dwelling units 

Subrule (f):

“each branch circuit supplying 125 V receptacles rated 20 A or less shall be protected by a combination-type arc-fault circuit interrupter, except for branch circuits supplying

(i) receptacles installed in accordance with

(A) Rule 26-710(f); or

(B) Rule 26-712(d)((i), (iii), (iv), and (v); and

(ii) a single receptacle for a sump pump where

(A) the receptacle is labelled in a conspicuous, legible, and permanent manner identifying it as a sump pump receptacle; and

(B) the branch circuit does not supply any other receptacles;”


This subrule applies to alteration of existing branch circuits. 

Subrule (g):

“notwithstanding item (f), the entire branch circuit need not be provided with arc-fault protection where

(i) an outlet branch-circuit-type arc-fault circuit interrupter is installed at the first outlet on the branch circuit:, and

(ii) the wiring method for the portion of the branch circuit between the branch circuit overcurrent device and the first outlet consists of metal raceway, armoured cable, or non-metallic conduit or tubing”


When an outlet branch-circuit-type arc-fault interrupter is used, it shall be installed in a location which permits testing in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.



Ulrich Janisch
Provincial Safety Manager, Electrical



Bill 19 – 2003 Safety Standards Act
B.C. Reg. 100/2004 Electrical Safety Regulation
C-22.1-15 Canadian Electrical Code, Part 1
B.C. Reg. 295/98 British Columbia Building Code Regulation

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