During renovations of a residential house when does new code apply or can grandfather the old code in.

I.e kitchen has awkward layout and not that practical to change.

Context: Kitchen landing spacings on each side of oven

  • 1
    Your best bet is to submit to plan for approval with AHJ and explicitly highlight items which are existing and unchanged but no longer code compliant. If you have a stamped and approved plan you should be mostly immune for the opinions of different inspectors. – Matthew Jun 21 '19 at 11:33
  • 1
    It depends on the trade, the modifications, the jurisdiction, and the specific code. Voting to close as too broad. – isherwood Jun 21 '19 at 12:41
  • 1
    Andrew, I suggest that you revise to describe your specific project and the code(s) you're concerned about. We'll be able to help much more effectively. You might delete this one and start fresh to avoid answer confusion. – isherwood Jun 21 '19 at 19:18
  • 1
    Anyone who thinks not modernizing the electrical in a kitchen is a good idea... Is not the person who cooks. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Dec 9 '19 at 20:07
  • When doing ASME work, the current code always applys. – blacksmith37 Dec 9 '19 at 20:23

It depends on the jurisdiction, my state I can move an outlet up to 6’ without having to update to current code. Even with the kitchen walls open I don’t have to update 3 wire range receptacles unless the panel is on a common wall with the range on that wall.

we need to under stand that updating surface finish (no structural changes) this is not a “remodel” but is redecorating, permits are not usually required for redecorating but they usually are for remodeling.

So it depends on the jurisdiction, new cabinets many call remodeling but it is truly redecorating.


By rule of thumb here in GA whatever is existing it won't need to be to current code. However, if you modify any component in any way it will need to be inspected and upgrade per current code.


I had one inspector in my town saying I needed to meet electrical regulations in current if I opened a wall and another said only if I changed the electrical via permit. I have had towns tell me I must meet NEC 2012 for old work and NEC 2015 for new work. You could find differences in construction ratings for hurricane or earthquake zones.

So what I am saying is if you want to do it 100% by the book and have everything permitted and verified the first step is to assess your situation correctly (or pay someone to) and then to talk with your local permits department. Call the clerk and ask when the inspectors have office times and then go down in person and talk to them (don't talk to inspectors over the phone about something like this). If you can see if inspector will stop by your house - often you can get free advice from a nice inspector that can save you hundreds/thousands.

But based on your question you are looking at bringing up the entire kitchen to electrical code. Depending on the amount of other work you are doing this could be costly (opening all the walls) or if you aren't planning on that it could be extremely costly.

Also if you have an older house you could possibly have asbestos in the flooring (and possibly walls).

Note: You have a kitchen that is already there. You can tear it out yourself. You can hire an electrician to rewire stove/fridge, he can make everything code and safer, and so on. You can do most of the other work yourself which is installing cabinets, minor plumbing, painting, maybe tiling, maybe flooring... Just saying if you hire an electrician and that part is done right a basic kitchen remodel isn't the first thing I would have permitted if I were doing everything else myself. (groans coming but being honest)

  • Real simple if you got walls open . bring it to new codes . Or later rip open new walls and fix. Do the math. – user101687 Jun 21 '19 at 20:28
  • @RobertMoody - that is not law/code in half the places I have done work in. – DMoore Jun 22 '19 at 3:31
  • Mr. DMoore that is good for you .If i have a wall open and can update stuff i will. I think it is foolish not to. By adding new wires if knob and tube or too small of a vent for water. – user101687 Jun 22 '19 at 19:36

According to CEI you could keep 'old code compliance' as long as you don't modify (at all) the wiring, it's enough to relocate a socket and you'll have to comply with new regulation for the whole room: at least you need to get a DiCo for the modified room and a DiRi for the old section of your system.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.