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Table 300.5 Minimum Cover Requirements, 0 to 1000 Volts, Nominal, Burial in Millimeters (Inches)
Location of Wiring Method or Circuit Type of Wiring Method or Circuit
Column 1 Direct Burial Cables or Conductors Column 2 Rigid Metal Conduit or Intermediate Metal Conduit Column 3 Nonmetallic Raceways Listed for Direct Burial Without Concrete Encasement or Other Approved Raceways Column 4 Residential Branch Circuits Rated 120 Volts or Less with GFCI Protection and Maximum Overcurrent Protection of 20 Amperes Column 5 Circuits for Control of Irrigation and Landscape Lighting Limited to Not More Than 30 Volts and Installed with Type UF or in Other Identified Cable or Raceway
mm in. mm in. mm in. mm in. mm in.
All locations not specified below 600 24 150 6 450 18 300 12 150a, b 6a, b
In trench below 50 mm (2 in.) thick concrete or equivalent 450 18 150 6 300 12 150 6 150 6
Under a building 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
(in raceway or Type MC or Type MI cable identified for direct burial)     (in raceway or Type MC or Type MI cable identified for direct burial) (in raceway or Type MC or Type MI cable identified for direct burial)
Under minimum of 102 mm (4 in.) thick concrete exterior slab with no vehicular traffic and the slab extending not less than 152 mm (6 in.) beyond the underground installation 450 18 100 4 100 4 150 6 150 6
(direct burial) (direct burial)
100 4 100 4
(in raceway) (in raceway)
Under streets, highways, roads, alleys, driveways, and parking lots 600 24 600 24 600 24 600 24 600 24
One- and two-family dwelling driveways and outdoor parking areas, and used only for dwelling-related purposes 450 18 450 18 450 18 300 12 450 18
In or under airport runways, including adjacent areas where trespassing prohibited 450 18 450 18 450 18 450 18 450 18
aA lesser depth shall be permitted where specified in the installation instructions of a listed low-voltage lighting system.
bA depth of 150 mm (6 in.) shall be permitted for pool, spa, and fountain lighting, installed in a nonmetallic raceway, limited to not more than 30 volts where part of a listed low-voltage lighting system.
1. Cover is defined as the shortest distance in mm (in.) measured between a point on the top surface of any direct-buried conductor, cable, conduit, or other raceway and the top surface of finished grade, concrete, or similar cover.
2. Raceways approved for burial only where concrete encased shall require concrete envelope not less than 50 mm (2 in.) thick.
3. Lesser depths shall be permitted where cables and conductors rise for terminations or splices or where access is otherwise required.
4. Where one of the wiring method types listed in Columns 1 through 3 is used for one of the circuit types in Columns 4 and 5, the shallowest depth of burial shall be permitted.
5. Where solid rock prevents compliance with the cover depths specified in this table, the wiring shall be installed in a metal raceway, or a nonmetallic raceway permitted for direct burial. The raceways shall be covered by a minimum of 50 mm (2 in.) of concrete extending down to rock.
(A) Minimum Cover Requirements
Direct-buried cable, conduit, or other raceways shall be installed to meet the minimum cover requirements of Table 300.5.
(B) Wet Locations
The interior of enclosures or raceways installed underground shall be considered to be a wet location. Insulated conductors and cables installed in these enclosures or raceways in underground installations shall comply with 310.10(C).
(C) Underground Cables and Conductors Under Buildings
Underground cable and conductors installed under a building shall be in a raceway.
Exception No. 1: Type MI cable shall be permitted under a building without installation in a raceway where embedded in concrete, fill, or other masonry in accordance with 332.10(6) or in underground runs where suitably protected against physical damage and corrosive conditions in accordance with 332.10(10).
Exception No. 2: Type MC cable listed for direct burial or concrete encasement shall be permitted under a building without installation in a raceway in accordance with 330.10(A)(5) and in wet locations in accordance with 330.10(A)(11).
(D) Protection From Damage
Direct-buried conductors and cables shall be protected from damage in accordance with 300.5(D)(1) through (D)(4).
(1) Emerging From Grade
Direct-buried conductors and cables emerging from grade and specified in columns 1 and 4 of Table 300.5 shall be protected by enclosures or raceways extending from the minimum cover distance below grade required by 300.5(A) to a point at least 2.5 m (8 ft) above finished grade. In no case shall the protection be required to exceed 450 mm (18 in.) below finished grade.
(2) Conductors Entering Buildings
Conductors entering a building shall be protected to the point of entrance.
(3) Service Conductors
Underground service conductors that are not encased in concrete and that are buried 450 mm (18 in.) or more below grade shall have their location identified by a warning ribbon that is placed in the trench at least 300 mm (12 in.) above the underground installation.
(4) Enclosure or Raceway Damage
Where the enclosure or raceway is subject to physical damage, the conductors shall be installed in electrical metallic tubing, rigid metal conduit, intermediate metal conduit, RTRC-XW, Schedule 80 PVC conduit, or equivalent.
(E) Splices and Taps
Direct-buried conductors or cables shall be permitted to be spliced or tapped without the use of splice boxes. The splices or taps shall be made in accordance with 110.14(B).
(F) Backfill
Backfill that contains large rocks, paving materials, cinders, large or sharply angular substances, or corrosive material shall not be placed in an excavation where materials may damage raceways, cables, conductors, or other substructures or prevent adequate compaction of fill or contribute to corrosion of raceways, cables, or other substructures.
Where necessary to prevent physical damage to the raceway, cable, or conductor, protection shall be provided in the form of granular or selected material, suitable running boards, suitable sleeves, or other approved means.
(G) Raceway Seals
Conduits or raceways through which moisture may contact live parts shall be sealed or plugged at either or both ends. Spare or unused raceways shall also be sealed. Sealants shall be identified for use with the cable insulation, conductor insulation, bare conductor, shield, or other components.
Informational Note: Presence of hazardous gases or vapors may also necessitate sealing of underground conduits or raceways entering buildings.
(H) Bushing
A bushing, or terminal fitting, with an integral bushed opening shall be used at the end of a conduit or other raceway that terminates underground where the conductors or cables emerge as a direct burial wiring method. A seal incorporating the physical protection characteristics of a bushing shall be permitted to be used in lieu of a bushing.
(I) Conductors of the Same Circuit
All conductors of the same circuit and, where used, the grounded conductor and all equipment grounding conductors shall be installed in the same raceway or cable or shall be installed in close proximity in the same trench.
Exception No. 1: Conductors shall be permitted to be installed in parallel in raceways, multiconductor cables, or direct-buried single conductor cables. Each raceway or multiconductor cable shall contain all conductors of the same circuit, including equipment grounding conductors. Each direct-buried single conductor cable shall be located in close proximity in the trench to the other single conductor cables in the same parallel set of conductors in the circuit, including equipment grounding conductors.
Exception No. 2: Isolated phase, polarity, grounded conductor, and equipment grounding and bonding conductor installations shall be permitted in nonmetallic raceways or cables with a nonmetallic covering or nonmagnetic sheath in close proximity where conductors are paralleled as permitted in 310.10(G), and where the conditions of 300.20(B) are met.
(J) Earth Movement
Where direct-buried conductors, raceways, or cables are subject to movement by settlement or frost, direct-buried conductors, raceways, or cables shall be arranged so as to prevent damage to the enclosed conductors or to equipment connected to the raceways.
Informational Note: This section recognizes "S" loops in underground direct burial cables and conductors to raceway transitions, expansion fittings in raceway risers to fixed equipment, and, generally, the provision of flexible connections to equipment subject to settlement or frost heaves.
(K) Directional Boring
Cables or raceways installed using directional boring equipment shall be approved for the purpose.
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Related Code Sections

300.5 Wiring Methods and Materials, Underground Installations
slab with no vehicular traffic and the slab extending not less than 152 mm (6 in.) beyond the underground installation 450 18 100 4 100 4 ...