What's Wrong Here?

What's Wrong Here?


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. Joe Tedesco, who has a knack for finding shoddy electrical work, did the dirty work and found this mess. Now it's your turn to identify the violation.

Find the Answer

Kim Schneider, of Kim Schneider Electrical Contracting, Chalfont Pa., found this while inspecting a large catering hall located in Bucks County, Pa. “Within a minute of being in the facility, I found fire extinguishers that had not been inspected since 1998, not one emergency light was working, and this electrical junction box,” says Schneider. “This is just the beginning of a very large list of incompetent work performed in this building.”

The service entrance cable was frayed, damaged, not protected from physical damage, and in direct contact with the earth. The service cable supplying power to the existing outbuilding was installed without any electrical connectors and was not properly grounded and bonded. The open electrical junction box, with exposed live wires and improper connections, was located behind the boiler located in the basement. Unqualified persons installed the 3-phase panel without any permits.

For a few specific rule violations we should start with a review of 90.1.

As per 90.1(A), “The purpose of this Code is the practical safeguarding of persons and property from hazards arising from the use of electricity.

90.1(B) goes on to state, “This Code contains provisions that are considered necessary for safety. Compliance therewith and proper maintenance results in an installation that is essentially free from hazard but not necessarily efficient, convenient, or adequate for good service or future expansion of electrical use. FPN: Hazards often occur because of overloading of wiring systems by methods or usage not in conformity with this Code. This occurs because initial wiring did not provide for increases in the use of electricity. An initial adequate installation and reasonable provisions for system changes provide for future increases in the use of electricity.”

As per 110.2, “The conductors and equipment required or permitted by this Code shall be acceptable only if approved.

In addition, 110.3 focuses on the examination, identification, installation, and use of equipment. Many of the requirements in this section were not met on this installation.

Additional violations can be noted in the areas of improper grounding and bonding, exposed live wires, box fill, junction box use, and wiring methods.

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