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Code Clusters: The Latest in Low-Budget Utility Pole Design


Code Clusters is a fond look back at some of the most interesting and outlandish Code violations published in the pages of EC&M magazine over the past 15 years — the item below is the fifth in a series of 10. Questions? Comments? We’d love to hear your feedback! Post your thoughts in the box below.


NEC Violations Illustrated - Panelboard in Tree

The Latest in Low-Budget Utility Pole Design

All references are based on the 2011 edition of the NEC.

Yes, that’s a panelboard hanging in a tree, and feeders are wrapped around the branches. While this is only a temporary power installation, there are still several Code violations present. Section 590.2(A) requires all other Code requirements to apply to temporary installations, unless Art. 590 modifies those requirements. Section 225.40 requires branch circuit overcurrent devices to be readily accessible where the feeder overcurrent device is not readily accessible. This panel is supplying branch circuit power to receptacles for the holiday lights draped over the trees. Therefore, the overcurrent devices are not readily accessible. Article 590 does not modify this requirement. Section 225.26 does not permit trees to support overhead conductor spans; however, the exception in 590.4(J) does modify this by permitting trees to support overhead spans of branch circuit conductors for temporary purposes when arranged with strain relief devices or some other arrangement to avoid damage from tree movement. Because the cables in the trees are feeders with no strain relief devices or any other means to prevent cable damage from tree movement, this is a Code violation. While not clearly visible in the photo, NM cable was used to supply receptacle power. Section 334.12(B)(4) does not permit NM cable to be used in this outdoor wet location, and Article 590 does not modify this requirement.

See next violation: One Cramped Commode

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