Illustrated Catastrophes: Where’s the Box?

May 15, 2024
See the latest Code violations from NEC Consultant Russ LeBlanc.

All references are based on the 2023 edition of the NEC. 

Where’s the Box?

Some of our readers may be old enough to remember the catchphrase “Where’s the beef?” that became famous in 1984 as a slogan for the fast-food restaurant Wendy’s. This installation reminds me of that TV commercial and has me asking: “Where’s the box?”

It sure looks as though there was never a box installed here. The fixture bar and the white outline on the bricks are clues that there was probably a luminaire installed here at some point. While I have seen many luminaires installed on fixture bars secured directly to the building without using a box — as was done here — it was most likely a Code violation when it was originally installed. It would certainly be a violation to use this method today.

Section 300.15 requires boxes to be installed at outlet points, such as luminaires. Another problem is the lack of sunlight resistance for the wire connectors and conductors. Close inspection revealed signs of brittleness and damage. Section 310.10(D) requires insulated conductors used where exposed to direct sun to be listed as sunlight resistant or covered with an insulating sleeve or tape listed as being sunlight resistant. Unless identified for the environment, no conductors or equipment should be used where the operating environment will cause deterioration as specified in Sec. 110.11.

Disastrous Dock Wiring

There are many violations to point out here. The blue electrical nonmetallic tubing (ENT) installed beneath the panelboard enclosure and the disconnect enclosure is a violation of Sec. 362.12(7) because it’s not identified as being sunlight resistant. The gray liquidtight flexible nonmetallic conduit (LFNC) beneath the disconnect is also faded and showing signs of sunlight damage. There are no requirements in Sec. 356.10 specifically permitting LFNC to be installed in the direct sunlight. Section 356.10(3) does permit LFNC outdoors where listed and marked for this purpose but does not mention installations in direct sun. Simultaneously, nothing in Sec. 356.12 specifically prohibits LFNC from being installed in direct sun. LFNC installed in direct sunlight must be listed or identified for this purpose as specified in Sec. 300.6(C)(1).

The white PVC drain line installed in front of the panelboard and disconnecting means is a violation of the working space requirements specified in Sec. 110.26(A). The black LFNC connected to the receptacle box on the right side is snapped and broken apart near the bottom right corner of the panelboard enclosure. This broken raceway is a violation of Sec. 110.12(B). Lastly, the black duct tape used to cover the missing knockout for the panelboard enclosure does not comply with Sec. 110.12(A).

About the Author

Russ LeBlanc | Owner

Russ started in the electrical trade as an apprentice in 1985. He worked his way up to become a Journeyman Electrician and then eventually became a Master Electrician and Licensed Construction Supervisor. In 1999 Russ become an Electrical Instructor for The Peterson School of Engineering in Massachusetts where he developed his passion for teaching, and quickly became Department Head of Electrical Instruction. Russ has taught thousands of apprentices, electricians, engineers, inspectors, and other electrical professionals during his career as an instructor. He continues to provide electrical professionals with Electrical Code seminars, Arc-Flash Awareness training seminars and educational material through his LeBlanc Consulting Services in North Reading, MA whose specialty is educating electricians. He has been an active member of the NFPA Electrical Section and has authored hundreds of National Electrical Code proposals and comments which have become Code rules to improve the safety for the electrical industry. Russ is also an IAEI certified Electrical Inspector.

Please visit for more information.

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