Illustrated National Electrical Code (NEC) Catastrophes, May 2010

Illustrated National Electrical Code (NEC) Catastrophes, May 2010

As usual, never consider the following commentary associated with these photos as a formal interpretation of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Without criticizing anyone or any product, the following scenarios present us with serious safety questions.

Apparently, that's what the electrical contractor who did this work thought when he called for an inspection. Can you believe this guy actually called an inspector to look at this mess? I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want anyone to see this if I were responsible for the installation. All I can say is, “Wow!”

This photo was sent to me by Ron Troyer, an inspector who works with New York Electrical Inspection Services, Tarrytown, N.Y. The electrical contractor on this project called for a “rough-in” (i.e., open wall) inspection at this facility. “When he asked for a rough inspection, I didn't realize just how rough the inspection would be,” said Troyer.

It should be obvious to the most casual qualified electrical observer that there are a number of violations here, especially the rules governing proper support of cables and raceways outlined in Chapter 3 of the NEC. As you can see, the wiring method in this installation is Type MC cable. As covered in 330.30 (Securing and Supporting), Type MC cable must be secured every 6 ft and for cables with fewer than five 10 AWG conductors within 12 in. of every box, cabinet, or other cable termination. Clearly, this electrical contractor was unaware of the requirements in this section of the Code.

Another interesting fact that surfaced during the inspection was this particular contractor mentioned he normally works in a jurisdiction that doesn't require “open wall” inspections. Whether or not an inspector is actually going to look at the work before the walls go up, you are still responsible for complying with all applicable Code rules. Undetected crime is still a crime — as is this installation.

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