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What's Wrong Here?

What's Wrong Here?

Hint: These flexible cords are “temporarily” being used outside on a concrete crushing site to supply various pieces of electrical equipment.


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

Mike Barnish, senior electrical designer, Shaw Infrastructure, Inc., Aiken, S.C., questions the temporary nature of this installation. “Temporary? I'll bet that the flexible cord wiring is probably still there as a substitute for the permanent wiring,” Barnish wrote. He goes on to say that not only are the cords not protected from physical damage, but that this installation doesn't even come close to meeting the requirements of 400.8. “Some will argue that it is OK to use cords for the connection of utilization equipment to facilitate frequent interchange. Sorry, but flexible cords and cables simply cannot be used as a substitute for the fixed wiring of a structure, or for this purpose.”

Bradley Nichols, electrical designer, Stearns and Wheler Engineers, Cazenovia, N.Y., added, “If it was true that the cords were used for this temporary installation, then they must be protected from any accidental damage. In this case these cords are likely to be damaged and violate 527.4(H), which states, ‘Flexible cords and cables shall be protected from accidental damage. Sharp corners and projections shall be avoided. Where passing through doorways or other pinch points, protection shall be provided to avoid damage.’”

Shajan Jacob, CEM, senior analyst, NUS Consulting Group, Park Ridge, N.J., also noted that if this job were properly designed, the various circuits would have to be properly protected and would have to originate in an approved distribution center. “I'm afraid that this situation is not easy to rectify, so it may have been allowed on this type of property being away from the public. But where do we draw the line?”

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