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 fourth in a series of 10. Questions? Comments? We'd love to hear your feedback! Post your thoughts in the box below.
Splice in a Bottle
All references are based on the 2011 edition of the NEC.
Electrical improvisation rears its ugly head once again. This dirty mess was unearthed near a sump pump that had stopped working. Some fool thought this plastic bottle would make a nifty home for a splice point. What’s worse is these types of cords and cables are not designed to be installed on or under the ground. As noted in the first sentence of 110.8 [Wiring Methods], “Only wiring methods recognized as suitable are included in this Code.”
Is a splice box required at this location? Well, it depends. As per 300.15(G) [Direct-Buried Conductors], “As permitted in 300.5(E), a box or conduit body shall not be required for splices and taps in direct-buried conductors and cables.” But this assumes you’re using properly listed components. Section 314.29 [Boxes, Conduit Bodies, and Handhole Enclosures to Be Accessible] states, “Boxes, conduit bodies, and handhole enclosures shall be installed so that the wiring contained in them can be rendered accessible without removing any part of the building or, in underground circuits, without excavating sidewalks, paving, earth, or other substance that is to be used to establish the finished grade.” An Exception in this section notes, “Listed boxes and handhole enclosures shall be permitted where covered by gravel, light aggregate, or noncohesive granulated soil if their location is effectively identified and accessible for excavation.”