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What’s Wrong Here? Hint: Buenas Notches

What’s Wrong Here? Hint: Buenas Notches

Can you identify the Code violation(s) in this photo?

How well do you know the Code? Think you can spot violations the original installer either ignored or couldn't identify? Here's your chance to moonlight as an electrical inspector and second-guess someone else's work from the safety of your living room or office. It's your turn to identify the violation.

Hint: Buenas notches!

Find the Answer

Building codes specify exactly when, where, and how big of a hole or notch can be made in studs, rafters, joists, and other wooden framing members. Where there is no weakening of the building structure — in both exposed or concealed locations, Section 300.4(A)(2)of the 2011 NECpermits"cables or raceways to be laid in notches in wood studs, joists, rafters, or other wood members."

Now I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a structural engineer, but this particular floor joist has begun to split from the huge notch that was made in it. My experience tells me this notch may be too large compared to the size of the joist. Of course, the AHJ will have to make the final call on this issue.

If the notch is permitted, then 300.4(A)(2) also requires the cables or raceways at those points to be "protected against nails or screws by a steel plate at least 1⁄16 in. thick, and of appropriate length and width, installed to cover the area of the wiring." Steel plates would not be required to protect rigid metal conduit (RMC), intermediate metal conduit (IMC), rigid PVC, rigid RTRC, or electrical metallic tubing (EMT) in accordance with Exception 1. A thinner hardened steel plate is permitted if it is "listed and marked" in accordance with Exception 2.

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