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  1. #1
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    Default Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    A home I just inspected had an updated service panel installed.

    This panel was installed horizontally in order to fit it into the same wall cabinet that the the home's original smaller panel had been in.

    The entire upper row of vertically installed circuit breakers were on in the down position. As I understand it, the NEC has not allowed this since the mid-70's.

    I called this out and advised that this installation be verified as permitted and inspected.

    I have just learned that this was inspected by the local code inspector and approved.

    Question - does the local code inspector have the authority to ignore the NEC and allow this?

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    Dave Tontarski
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by David Tontarski View Post
    A home I just inspected had an updated service panel installed.

    This panel was installed horizontally in order to fit it into the same wall cabinet that the the home's original smaller panel had been in.

    The entire upper row of vertically installed circuit breakers were on in the down position. As I understand it, the NEC has not allowed this since the mid-70's.

    I called this out and advised that this installation be verified as permitted and inspected.

    I have just learned that this was inspected by the local code inspector and approved.

    Question - does the local code inspector have the authority to ignore the NEC and allow this?
    DT: I am not certain about a specific reference in the NEC regarding this, but these would apply: 110.3(B) and 110.12.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by David Tontarski View Post
    A home I just inspected had an updated service panel installed.

    This panel was installed horizontally in order to fit it into the same wall cabinet that the the home's original smaller panel had been in.

    The entire upper row of vertically installed circuit breakers were on in the down position. As I understand it, the NEC has not allowed this since the mid-70's.

    I called this out and advised that this installation be verified as permitted and inspected.

    I have just learned that this was inspected by the local code inspector and approved.

    Question - does the local code inspector have the authority to ignore the NEC and allow this?

    Did they (The Real Estate Agent) inform you of this information over the phone or did you get a copy of the inspection permit tag sign off with the date on if?

    Best

    Ron


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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    I have not seen the documentation. I received a call from the irate owner of the home I inspected.

    He told me that this work had been inspected. I told him that my buyer would require a copy of the documentation.

    I found this interesting online information on the installation.

    Electrical Contractor: Panelboard Orientation

    I'm more interested in the local AHJ having the authority to ignore the NEC.

    EC Jerry has addressed this before....I haven't been able to find this in the archives.

    Dave Tontarski
    Act in haste....repent in leisure

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by David Tontarski View Post
    I have not seen the documentation. I received a call from the irate owner of the home I inspected.

    He told me that this work had been inspected. I told him that my buyer would require a copy of the documentation.

    I found this interesting online information on the installation.

    Electrical Contractor: Panelboard Orientation

    I'm more interested in the local AHJ having the authority to ignore the NEC.

    EC Jerry has addressed this before....I haven't been able to find this in the archives.
    DT: Yep:

    240.33 Vertical Position.
    Enclosures for overcurrent devices shall be mounted in a vertical position unless that is shown to be impracticable. Circuit breaker enclosures shall be permitted to be installed horizontally where the circuit breaker is installed in accordance with 240.81. Listed busway plug-in units shall be permitted to be mounted in orientations corresponding to the busway mounting position.

    The general rule of 240.33 requires enclosures for overcurrent devices to be installed in a vertical position. A wall-mounted vertical position for enclosures for overcurrent devices is desirable to afford easier access, natural hand operation, normal swinging or closing of doors or covers, and legibility of the manufacturer's markings. In addition, this section does not permit a panelboard or fusible switch enclosure to be installed in a horizontal position such that the back of the enclosure is mounted on the ceiling or the floor. Compliance with the up position of the handle being on or closed, and the down position of the handle being off or open, in accordance with 240.81 limits the number of pole spaces available on a panelboard where its cabinet is mounted in a horizontal position on a wall.

    So then, I assume that if the AHJ deemed it "impraticable" to install the device vertically, he could (and did) approve the installation. Stupid is as stupid does.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    A.D.

    My interpretation was that the latest code on this is:

    That circuit breaker enclosures can be mounted horizontally - only if the orientation of the circuit breakers is in compliance with 240.81 (up is on)

    It seemed to me that the "in compliance with 240.81" text restricted the "overcurrent devices shall be mounted in a vertical position, unless that is shown to be impracticable" text.

    This is my interpretation of what I extracted from the online source I linked. I have not seen the actual code documents, thus my interpretation may be skewed.

    Dave Tontarski
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by David Tontarski View Post
    A.D.

    My interpretation was that the latest code on this is:

    That circuit breaker enclosures can be mounted horizontally - only if the orientation of the circuit breakers is in compliance with 240.81 (up is on)

    It seemed to me that the "in compliance with 240.81" text restricted the "overcurrent devices shall be mounted in a vertical position, unless that is shown to be impracticable" text.

    This is my interpretation of what I extracted from the online source I linked. I have not seen the actual code documents, thus my interpretation may be skewed.
    DT: Good point, and I agree.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    I haven't dabbled in a while, but IIRC NYS's RCNYS chapters E33-E42 (Part VIII) is NFPA-70-2002 (NEC 2002 Ed.) based and BCNYS Chapter 27 is NFPA-70-2005 (NEC 2005 Ed.) based. Installations under RCNYS cannot be done under BCNYS. If RCNYS based, and not specifically addressed
    When the RCNYS does not address equipment, such as a residential elevator, the equipment shall be listed and tested, and installed in accordance with the manufacturer's installation instructions.

    I believe you will find that the CB manufacturers and the Listing Standards require orientation that if the mechanical components, spring, etc. of the CB switch fails and/or the effects of gravity (to pull down) aren't overcome that the position orientation when vertical require that the OPEN position (OFF) be down as a default. I believe you would also find this to be the case when a CB is also functioning as the disconnect for a permanently installed electrical appliance.

    Although not part of the enforceable code (information only) IIRC Appendix L of the RCNYS provides a cross reference chart between it and the 2002 NEC. You might find it helpful (appendix L).

    Not terribly responsive to your question, offered for your follow-up. You can review RCNYS on-line access, as well as the 2002 edition of the NEC at no cost both in read-only modes.

    You might also find some of the technical bulletins helpful from the
    Division of Code Enforcement and Administration, New York State Department of State; Two in particular may be helpful regarding position statements as to applicable NEC and BCNYS and RCNYS Code provisions, and the "Inspection level or Code standard".

    They are both dated Jan 1, 2008 and as am not up to date on the status, not sure if still appliable:

    The first is the updated version topic as to requirements for arc-fault but is on point as to inspection and applicable code/NEC version. The second is topic when BCNYS and when RCNYS is applied.

    Topic: National Electrical Code and Arc-fault Circuit-interrupter Protection
    This document provides information with regard to the referenced version of the National Electrical Code (NEC) and to the requirements for arc-fault circuit-interrupter protection in BCNYS Chapter 27, which refers to NFPA 70, the National Electrical Code (NEC) and RCNYS Part VIII, Electrical.

    "What is the applicable version of the NEC for enforcmenet and why?"
    "The BCNYS, chapter 27, references the 2005 version of NFPA 70 (NEC). Electrical inspections shall provide for conformance to the referenced version and not to newer versions. Each version of the reference standards has to be approved by the Fire and Building Code Council (Codes Council) before it is effective. The inspection of electrical systems is the responsibility of the local code enforcement official. This provision is also applicable to electrical inspection companies who are third party inspectors."

    "Are arc-fault circuit-interrupters required in residential buildings regulated by the RCNYS?"

    "YES. The RCNYS is applicable to detached one- and two-family dwellings and multiple single-family dwellings (townhomes) not more than three stories in height with a separate means of egress. Part VIII of the RCNYS has specific requirements for electrical installation, based on the 2002 edition of the NEC. Section 3301.1 entitled "Applicability", provides that Chapter E33 through Chapter E42 shall establish the general scope of the electrical system and equipment requirements of this code. Chapter E33 through Chapter E42 cover those wiring methods and materials most commonly encountered in the construction of one- and two-family dwellings and structures regulated by the RCNYS. Arc-fault circuit-interrupters are required by the RCNYS section E3802.1, bedroom outlets."
    And from the Technical Bulletin effective Jan 1, 2008 topic BCNYS or RCNYS which clarifies that BCNYS may NOT be used to construct all or part of a building regulated by the RCNYS, Link:
    http://www.dos.state.ny.us/code/pdf/...SorBCNYS07.pdf

    "Therefore NEC 2002 edition as perscribed by the RCNYS MUST be used if RCNYS and not BCNYS is applicable"....

    ...."When the RCNYS does not address equipment, such as a residential elevator, the equipment shall be listed and tested, and installed in accordance with the manufacturer's installation instructions."
    Don't know if the authority in question has adopted and had approved MRLS (More Restrictive Local Standards) - or if my references are up to date.

    Hope that helps in your quest for documentation.



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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by David Tontarski View Post
    That circuit breaker enclosures can be mounted horizontally ...
    Even the enclosure is not allowed to be installed horizontally as the enclosure and panelboard is listed with the enclosure installed vertically.

    Heat rise and many other things would be affected by a horizontal installation instead of a vertical installation.

    As H.G. explained, the overcurrent devices are not allowed to be installed in an orientation which would allow gravity to to turn the breaker to the 'on' position, which means that 'on' must either be horizontal (where gravity would have no detrimental effect on it) or 'on' must be vertically up (where gravity would have the effect of turning it 'off' should anything happen which allows gravity to take over).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    not allowed to be installed in an orientation which would allow gravity to to turn the breaker to the 'on' position,
    (where gravity would have the effect of turning it 'off' should anything happen which allows gravity to take over).
    Woah! Does it actually say that in writing? I can understand "up" is "on" is conventional and therefore desirable, but I wouldn't repeat that gravity reason in front of a paying client.


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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    but I wouldn't repeat that gravity reason in front of a paying client.

    I would ... and have ... and they full understand "gravity" and what it can do when things fail - i.e., "gravity" "wins" ... every time.

    - VII. Circuit Breakers
    - - 240.80 Method of Operation.
    - - - Circuit breakers shall be trip free and capable of being closed and opened by manual operation. Their normal method of operation by other than manual means, such as electrical or pneumatic, shall be permitted if means for manual operation are also provided.
    - - 240.81 Indicating.
    - - - Circuit breakers shall clearly indicate whether they are in the open “off” or closed “on” position.
    - - - Where circuit breaker handles are operated vertically rather than rotationally or horizontally, the “up” position of the handle shall be the “on” position.

    "Gravity" is the reason for the last sentence.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by David Tontarski View Post
    I'm more interested in the local AHJ having the authority to ignore the NEC.
    The things that get passed by my local AHJ would make your head spin. One of the most difficult parts of my job is trying to explain to a buyer (or seller) why something was permitted but is just dead wrong. Panels in stairways, basements lacking egress, foundations (sill plates) below grade, stair risers/treads well out of accepted tolerance, improper site slope/drainage just to name a few.

    My business partner called the city recently on an issue that came up in a house he was personally involved with. The contractor poured the foundation too short so the top was below grade and some flashing was jammed in the gap.... nice fix right? The excuse he was given was that due to the recent housing downturn over 1/2 of the city inspectors had been laid off (great excuse huh?). And this isn't some small town.... The Portland, OR metro area has over a million people.

    Basically, if it doesn't involve a tree or adding a bike lane in the middle of the freeway my city doesn't give a crap..... I'm not sure what motivates other cities.

    Sorry for the drift but I can tell you you're not alone....


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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Jerry -

    Thanks for your comments and the code cites. Yes, I understand that horizontally installing a panel designed for a vertical installation is wrong, and having all of the specifics regarding why it is wrong is very helpful.

    What I was hoping to have you comment on specifically (as I alluded to earlier in this thread) was your thoughts on the local AHJ having the authority to ignore the NEC.

    I remember you discussing this in a previous thread, but I can't locate this.

    I've got a photographic memory....the only problem is that it is not always in sharp focus.

    Thanks for your consideration of this matter.

    Dave Tontarski
    Act in haste....repent in leisure

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    What I was hoping to have you comment on specifically (as I alluded to earlier in this thread) was your thoughts on the local AHJ having the authority to ignore the NEC.
    DT: My understanding of the code is that a municipality adopts a version of the code, makes whatever amendments they choose that do not diminish the restrictions of that code, and then assigns a building official to insure that these are enforced. The building official has some latitude in his interpretation of the code, but cannot allow anything that is less restrictive than what the code specifies. Unusual methods or materials can be employed so long as the building official can show that these methods and materials have been thoroughly researched and tested and are proven sound.

    Having said all that, they are humans - most of them - and come equipped with all of the default problems normally associated with our species. That means that you will encounter those who do not understand the English language; those who are arrogant assholes; those who are in the pocket of some other entity; those who are lazy; those who are just plain incompetent; and, in Texas, those who are all of the above.

    So then, you seem to have encountered an imperfect one. I would just point out the error of his ways and leave it at that. OK, I might go further, but you are probably a nicer guy . . .

    Last edited by A.D. Miller; 12-17-2009 at 09:21 AM.

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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    I wonder when the last time a breaker actually fell open due to gravity.

    Knife switches would be understandable, but I think the last time they were used was in the filming of "Young Frankenstein".


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    I wonder when the last time a breaker actually fell open due to gravity.
    JP: On the last FPE installed horizontally.


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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Wasn't that the entire breaker falling out? . Wait, they fall out when horizontal too.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    Wasn't that the entire breaker falling out? . Wait, they fall out when horizontal too.
    JP: Yousorightabouthat.


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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    IIRC the concern was with a breaker tripping, It was more than 3 decades ago and in the case of disconnects and switches the rule has always been gravity down/open/off, FULLY OPEN without having to resist gravity.


    Ability to resist gravity - then functioning properly and able to make full contact - close/up/on.

    If a contact fell open it wouldn't be a hazard, if it COULDN'T FULLY OPEN when NEEDED (trip) it WOULD BE. If a contact that NEEDED to BE MAINTAINED OPEN fell closed or made partial contact or remained in close enough proximity to arc it would be a problem. GEEZE.

    Thankfully those younger and living with the rules in place have minimal experience direct or indirect with the consequences of the alternative when a malfunctioning breaker installed in the wrong orientation trips and doesn't open fully.

    I thought the references to New York State Law and the authoritative language cited in the Technical Bulletins issued by the New York Department of State were on point with regards to the question regarding if the local inspector could ignore the "shall" language in the NEC.
    As previously referenced and quoted:

    "Electrical inspections shall provide for conformance to the referenced version".

    Before you accuse the AHJ of having ignored the NEC - I'd make sure there was proof that THIS orientation was really signed off on. So far its second hand hearsay.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 12-17-2009 at 09:05 AM.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    The things that get passed by my local AHJ would make your head spin. One of the most difficult parts of my job is trying to explain to a buyer (or seller) why something was permitted but is just dead wrong. ...snipped....
    At the recent annual conference of the Virginia Association of Real Estate Inspectors, we were informed by the department head of a large community Building Code Compliance Office that a contractor's license, as issued by the state, contained a clause that requires the contractor to warranty for 2 years any work found to be in violation of the building codes in affect at the time of construction AND, there is an automatic 1 year extension if a violation is found. According to the speaker, the state is saying that code inspectors and inspections are not perfect. Inspection errors and omissions are possible and it is duty of the contractor to ensure the work is code compliant.

    WOW! I can't wait for a builder to tell my client that the has a final inspection certificate of occupancy, it was inspected and approved, so he doesn't have to do anything else! I will be glad to donate the time to just be allowed to stand around and watch him fix the screw ups. And, the next time a HI hating contractor tells me HE thinks all home inspectors should be code certified (that tirade had nothing to do with my inspection) ... I think I'll bring up this subject.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    A.D.

    Thanks for your focused reply to my initial question. As I remember, this is along the same lines as what east coast Jerry posted in an earlier thread.

    Thanks everyone for your contributions to this thread - I think I'm beginning to understand the full "gravity" of this issue.

    Dave Tontarski
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Interesting discussion about the "cans" and "cant's" with regard to NEC enforcement.

    The truth is, the AHJ (authority having jurisdiction) is charged with making the laws that govern the building process. As part of this law making authority they are free to adopt any or all parts of the NEC or none, and write their own. They can ignore or modify any part they choose making either a more or less encompassing rule or eliminating it completely.

    And, by law, the people who work in the jurisdiction are bound by these local rules, not necessarily what is written in the NEC, unless it is adopted in its' entirety and without amendments.

    In most jurisdictions the building officials also have the power to amend rules as they see fit. The ability to do this is akin to reducing the violation on a traffic ticket from from 20 MPH over the speed limit to 10 MPH over. There is also usually a formal process in place to request an exemption for a certain requirement.

    There is usually a much more formal paper trail for commercial and industrial projects than for residential ones simply because commercial and industrial locations may see many permitted projects over the structure life where prior permits might get reviewed. Residential structures often go a lifetime with only a permit or two being pulled and detailed records, other than a closed permit, weren't always kept and still aren't in many cases.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    The truth is, the AHJ (authority having jurisdiction) is charged with making the laws that govern the building process. As part of this law making authority they are free to adopt any or all parts of the NEC or none, and write their own. They can ignore or modify any part they choose making either a more or less encompassing rule or eliminating it completely.
    BK: This is not so in Texas. The state has adopted a minimum standard of the 2000 version of the IRC/IBC and the 2008 version of the NEC. Municipalities through local option cannot override this, least of all can the lowly building official.

    In most jurisdictions the building officials also have the power to amend rules as they see fit.
    BK: Again, not so in Texas. The municipality must pass into official ordinance whatever poppycock the AHJ may suggest. The amendments then become part and parcel of the officially-adopted version of the code.

    Before you wander off and get lost due to the notion that AHJs are all-powerful demigods roosting upon their laurels, you might want to revisit a few publications like Legal Aspects of Code Administration, et al. You may also wish to speak with several attorneys I have on speed dial who have often taken AHJs to task for practicing "selective code enforcement" and "impersonating a deity".


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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    And its even more restrictive in New York State (outside of New York City). More Restrictive Local Ammendments must still be approved by the Council before they are allowed. Outside of NYC there is not unabashed home rule type authority in NYS, MRLAs must be approved by the State (in NY, outside of NYC).

    DT has listed location in Rochester, NY, hence the references since he questioned the authority of a local inspector not inspecting to the state mandated requirements. The Division of Code Enforcement and Administration is his best resource. In the situation of ambiguity (of which there is none in the 2002 NEC 240.81 as to the orientation of the CBs) in the pure language of the RCNYS is easily resolved by the Listed CBs, their listing, the language of the standards listed thereto, and the manufacturer's listed instructions) - which is specifically addressed by the official and enforceable technical bulletins issued by the Division of Code Enforcement, Department of State, New York State.


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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Before you wander off and get lost due to the notion that AHJs are all-powerful demigods roosting upon their laurels, you might want to revisit a few publications like Legal Aspects of Code Administration, et al. You may also wish to speak with several attorneys I have on speed dial who have often taken AHJs to task for practicing "selective code enforcement" and "impersonating a deity".
    I think you need to re-read what I wrote. The AHJ is the entire body of people responsible for building codes in the area in question. This includes the law making body with the legal authority to implement the rules - like a city council, county commission, or state legislature. If the legislature in Texas adopted the NEC they are just as free to modify it as they see fit as any other governing body.

    I gotta put in with Mr. Peck - you don't digest things well sometimes.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by David Tontarski View Post
    What I was hoping to have you comment on specifically (as I alluded to earlier in this thread) was your thoughts on the local AHJ having the authority to ignore the NEC.
    This is what the ICC codes state about what you are asking (I will get to the NEC shortly):
    - From the IRC - (bold and underlining at mine)
    - - SECTION R104
    - - - DUTIES AND POWERS OF THE BUILDING OFFICIAL
    - - - - R104.1 General. The building official is hereby authorized and directed to enforce the provisions of this code. The building official shall have the authority to render interpretations of this code and to adopt policies and procedures in order to clarify the application of its provisions. Such interpretations, policies and procedures shall be in conformance with the intent and purpose of this code. Such policies and procedures shall not have the effect of waiving requirements specifically provided for in this code.

    - From the NEC.
    - - 90.4 Enforcement.
    - - - This Code is intended to be suitable for mandatory application by governmental bodies that exercise legal jurisdiction over electrical installations, including signaling and communications systems, and for use by insurance inspectors. The authority having jurisdiction for enforcement of the Code has the responsibility for making interpretations of the rules, for deciding on the approval of equipment and materials, and for granting the special permission contemplated in a number of the rules.
    - - - By special permission, the authority having jurisdiction may waive specific requirements in this Code or permit alternative methods where it is assured that equivalent objectives can be achieved by establishing and maintaining effective safety.
    - - - This Code may require new products, constructions, or materials that may not yet be available at the time the Code is adopted. In such event, the authority having jurisdiction may permit the use of the products, constructions, or materials that comply with the most recent previous edition of this Code adopted by the jurisdiction.


    What the NEC *does not* say and the ICC codes do say:
    - Such interpretations, policies and procedures shall be in conformance with the intent and purpose of this code. Such policies and procedures shall not have the effect of waiving requirements specifically provided for in this code.

    I've got a photographic memory....the only problem is that it is not always in sharp focus.

    Wish I had a photographic memory ... then again, I'd probably simply forget to load the film ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    HG - thanks - nice to have someone familiar with NY on the forum.

    Jerry - thanks - this is exactly what I was looking for.

    The collective wisdom on this forum is fantastic!

    Jerry - film? (what's that?) lol

    Dave Tontarski
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  28. #28
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kriegh View Post
    I think you need to re-read what I wrote. The AHJ is the entire body of people responsible for building codes in the area in question. This includes the law making body with the legal authority to implement the rules - like a city council, county commission, or state legislature. If the legislature in Texas adopted the NEC they are just as free to modify it as they see fit as any other governing body.

    I gotta put in with Mr. Peck - you don't digest things well sometimes.
    BK: Pipe down Sparky. While I agree that the literal meaning of "AHJ" refers to the governmental agency or sub-agency involved, in my area that usually means the building inspection department, and more specifically the CBO. Many CBOs here have a tendency to forget that they answer to the city council and their constituents. Maybe it is different where you reside, but I doubt it.

    As for what I digest and don't: beans usually don't set well with me, especially if it is a hill of them mounded up by a wire splicer.

    Last edited by A.D. Miller; 12-18-2009 at 05:58 AM.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    In laymanís terms yes a panel can be put horizontal although stupid to me, and yes the locals can adopt there own interpretations of codes that apply. If the spring inside of the breaker is not strong enough to keep it in the open or closed position, where ever you want it to be then the breaker is bad, just replace it?



  30. #30
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Cobra Cook View Post
    If the spring inside of the breaker is not strong enough to keep it in the open or closed position, where ever you want it to be then the breaker is bad, just replace it?

    So at 2am, your space heater in your bedroom trips the breaker. The 10 year old spring is starting to wear out since it's constantly tripping (say it's an existing overloaded circuit). Now the spring has reduced strength and can't quite overcome gravity this time, leaving the contacts arcing. The breaker is overheating and will catch fire in about 5 minutes, the source of the overload still has power and the wires in the wall are beginning to heat up. Within 15 minutes those wires begin to catch the paper(romex) and wood in the surrounding walls so by 2:30 half the house is a blaze. Is this the time when you change the faulty breaker?

    Who is to blame: The electrician and the Inspector that approved an illegal panel. And now the homeowner who was aware of the issue (via HI) but ignored it. The insurance company might even refuse the claim if the homeowner knew the danger existed and ignored it (via the HI report).

    The easist solution, if they want to keep the horizontal panel is to remove all the top row breakers. The correct solution would be to replace the panel, and if required move it to another location, using the old panel location as a junction box.


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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Hey AD. Looks like you need to add Reading is Fundimental to your speed dial list. I know what I said and implied about AHJs in my post but it's pretty obvious you don't. Comprehension of the english language is a big plus before you get into a verbal barage.


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kriegh View Post
    Hey AD. Looks like you need to add Reading is Fundimental to your speed dial list. I know what I said and implied about AHJs in my post but it's pretty obvious you don't. Comprehension of the english language is a big plus before you get into a verbal barage.
    BK: And you should add spelling and grammar to yours . . . "fundimentally" speaking, your mental "barage" needs a good cleaning, Sparko.


  33. #33
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    I am always amazed at the little and sometimes inconsequential details that everyone seems to go on and on and on about, freaking out the buyers and sellers alike, then wondering why you're caught up in the middle of a huge debate of what the ahj's should have caught or not.

    In the last 5 yrs of my electrical career as a extremely busy serviceman, I have never seen a breaker change positions due to gravity alone. That must be one of those possible text-book scenarios that everyone jumps on trying to sound official.

    As a home inspector, when I see a panel installed horizontally, yes, I'll make mention of it and point out how it should have been mounted correctly but I would never make the recommendation to have it corrected (for that reason alone). Why? It was inspected and accepted by the ahj and is functioning just fine. Spending a whack of money to turn it 90 deg makes no sense.

    Just my humble opinion... no go ahead and take all your cheap shots

    Joe Klampfer RHI
    www.myinspection.ca
    Pacific Home Inspections

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    I have never seen a breaker change positions due to gravity alone.
    JK: And yet you must remain ever vigilant.

    That must be one of those possible text-book scenarios that everyone jumps on trying to sound official.
    JK: A week before Xmas and we have to have something to do.

    go ahead and take all your cheap shots
    JK: No, not me. We are in agreement.


  35. #35
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Klampfer View Post
    In the last 5 yrs of my electrical career as a extremely busy serviceman, I have never seen a breaker change positions due to gravity alone. That must be one of those possible text-book scenarios that everyone jumps on trying to sound official.
    See Joe, the problem is that down here in the US it is much more vertical than up in Canada. Look at a globe, see how close to flat it is in your area. Now look at Florida, it is almost vertical so gravity has a much more pronounced affect. . I won't even get into the affect the magnetic north pole has.

    Geez, if something this simple can't be figured out I just don't know.


  36. #36
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    See Joe, the problem is that down here in the US it is much more vertical than up in Canada. Look at a globe, see how close to flat it is in your area. Now look at Florida, it is almost vertical so gravity has a much more pronounced affect. . I won't even get into the affect the magnetic north pole has.

    Geez, if something this simple can't be figured out I just don't know.
    JP: You forgot to mention the Borealis effect . . .


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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: You forgot to mention the Borealis effect . . .
    I couldn't see to look up how to spell that. There was some weird colored lights in the sky.


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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    AD. Simply trying to "dumb up" the language so you don't misunderstand. .

    In the spirit of the season I'll leave you alone with your schizophrenic condition. After all there's next year to look foreward to. Take care of yourself . There aren't many people who can sit on half a chair and we'd miss you.


  39. #39
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Simply trying to "dumb up" the language so you don't misunderstand. .
    BK: In the immortal words of your last favorite president, you misunderestimate me.

    In the spirit of the season I'll leave you alone with your schizophrenic condition.
    BK: You mean both of us?

    After all there's next year to look foreward to.
    BK: And here's hoping that Santa brings you a little something to help you with your spelling. Now, "foreward" (the ward in which you reside) to the next paragraph.

    Take care of yourself .
    BK: You too.

    There aren't many people who can sit on half a chair
    BK: In my schizophrenic state the two of us fit well into one seat.

    we'd miss you
    BK: Now, isn't that sweet . . .


  40. #40
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Klampfer View Post
    As a home inspector, when I see a panel installed horizontally, yes, I'll make mention of it and point out how it should have been mounted correctly but I would never make the recommendation to have it corrected (for that reason alone). Why? It was inspected and accepted by the ahj and is functioning just fine. Spending a whack of money to turn it 90 deg makes no sense.
    Joe, this especially true where we live, BC, Canada, where horizontal mounting is not prohibited.
    Gravity is stronger as you get closer to the equator.

    "when your gravity fails ya, negativity won't pull ya through" - Dylan


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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    See Joe, the problem is that down here in the US it is much more vertical than up in Canada. Look at a globe, see how close to flat it is in your area. Now look at Florida, it is almost vertical so gravity has a much more pronounced affect. . I won't even get into the affect the magnetic north pole has.
    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: You forgot to mention the Borealis effect . . .
    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Gravity is stronger as you get closer to the equator.

    "when your gravity fails ya, negativity won't pull ya through" - Dylan
    Haha, that's great, you guys crack me up.

    Joe Klampfer RHI
    www.myinspection.ca
    Pacific Home Inspections

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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    In Canada it is quite common for a horzontally mounted panel, it's not unsafe, goofy IMO yes. The matter is the NEC quite clearly prohibits it in art. 240.81 and that ends the matter pure & simple.


  43. #43
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Rollie Meyers View Post
    In Canada it is quite common for a horzontally mounted panel, it's not unsafe, goofy IMO yes. The matter is the NEC quite clearly prohibits it in art. 240.81 and that ends the matter pure & simple.
    RM: So then, are you saying that Kanucks are goofy?


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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    No, you are. Canadians have good reason to mount them horizontal,but that does not apply to the US, the reason that it's done is the main breaker compartment can only have SE cables in it no branch circuits,the requirement for a isolated main breaker compartment is a strictly Canadian rule.....

    Last edited by Rollie Meyers; 12-19-2009 at 08:31 AM.

  45. #45
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Wow I just finished watching a segment of Holmes on TV and low and behold there was a horizontally mounted panel in the basement. No big deal. Ken for goodness sake, are you a producer or a writer for a sci fi movie or somthing? If the breaker for the circuit where a space heater is plugged into keeps tripping the breaker then fix the darn thing, either the heater is pulling too much juice caused by hooking to an extension cord or what ever then you or who ever is using it is to blame. I simply explain this to my customer to not do that. Breakers are not designed to be used as cut on and cut off switches and if the breaker keeps tripping then call some one to FIX IT.


  46. #46
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Rollie Meyers View Post
    In Canada it is quite common for a horzontally mounted panel, it's not unsafe, goofy IMO yes. The matter is the NEC quite clearly prohibits it in art. 240.81 and that ends the matter pure & simple.
    Nope panel orientation is not the issue here, some panels are mounted and are listed to be mounted with circuit breakers in a vertical operation position.

    Its the molded case circuit breakers which are when mounted in a vertical operation orientation (as opposed to horizontal or rotational operation) must be installed where OPEN or OFF is DOWN and CLOSED or ON is UP. This is required by the Listing Standard for its use in compliance with its U.S. Listing which is required by the Code, in addition to the Code Section referenced previously regarding orientation of operation position of a molded case circuit breaker (240.81).

    If you don't know what 240.81 says you have only to read the posts in this topic string - for it was quoted.

    Further Listing, Standard requirements:


    at DIVQ.GuideInfo
    Circuit Breakers, Molded-case and Circuit-breaker Enclosures

    "Listed circuit breakers may be mounted in any position unless marked to indicate otherwise. If, however, the circuit breaker is mounted so that the handle is operated vertically rather than rotationally or horizontally, the up position of the handle should be in the "on" position."

    UL
    Molded Case Circuit Breakers, ANSI/UL 489

    UL Standard Writing Style Guide:

    31.1 An exception is a condition that is different from the basic requirement or that describes a variation that meets the intent of the basic requirement. An exception should not require a higher level of safety than the basic requirement

    45.7 The word "shall" is to be used only for required product or system attributes in a standard (e.g., "the product shall be constructed of..." or "maximum temperature rise shall not exceed...").

    From "THE ASME CODES & STANDARDS WRITING GUIDE, 2000":

    Similar Words


    Shall and Must: It is ASME practice to use the word "shall" to express a mandatory requirement of the code or standard (e.g. "...each trolley hoist shall have an identification marking..."). Do not construct requirements by using "must" or "is to be" in the statement.

    Should and May: Use of the word "should" indicates that a statement is a recommendation, the advisability of which depends on the facts in each situation (e.g., "A warning device should be provided for installations..."). "Should" is always used instead of "may", since the latter implies that a recommendation is entirely at the reader's option.

    REQUIREMENTS

    Standards: A standard can be defined as a set of technical definitions and guidelines that function as instructions for designers/manufacturers and operators/users of equi9pment. Standards can run from a few pages to a few hundred pages, and are written by professionals who serve on ASME committees. Standards are considered voluntary because they are guidelines and are not enforceable by law.

    Codes: A code is a standard that has been adopted by one or more governmental bodies and is enforceable by law.

    Codes and Standards: Additionally, to be considered a valid ASME/ANSI code or standard, a document:
    (a) should be suitable for repetitive use. A major requirement of a code or standard is that it can be used time and again. If a set of requirements is so specialized that it cannot and will not be applied repeately, it is not a code or standard.


    (b) should be enforceable. A standard's requirements should be worded so that a person auditing its use or application can point out where it has been followed or where it has not been followed, or the extent to which it has or has not been followed.

    (c) should be definite. Requirements that are too general or that contain vague appliactions instead of workable instructions are impractical and often useless. Requirements should be expressed as specific instructions and never as explanations.

    (d) should be realistic. Requirements should not be arbitrary, rather, they should be based on factors that are necessary to achieve the purpose of the standard. Requirements that are unrelated, excessive, or more restrictive than necessary should not be included. A standard that is too restrictive or too detailed imposes a burden on both the administrator and the user. Increasing the severity or detail of a requirement does not automatically increase quality, but will nearly always increase cost. Be ready to justify, in writing, if necessary, every requirement of the standard, and be able to show the basis of each as a logical deduction from factual information about the item or practice in question.

    (e) should be authoritative. Requirements should be technically correct and accurate, and should cover only those properties that are subject to control or that are of legitimate use. Requirements should be reasonably consistent with current practices and capabilities in the industry and be attainable for the user.

    (f) should be complete. All areas open to question or interpretation (or misinterpretation) should be covered. If requirements are specified in terms of, or by reference to, another standard, all areas of the referenced standard that are open to question or misinterpretation should also be covered.

    (g) should be clear. Express the requirements in simply understood language that is free from ambiguity. Language should be precise and concise. Avoid common pitfalls such as run-on sentences, wordiness, redundancy, and complex sentence structures.

    (h) should be consistent. Requirements should not be contradictory or incompatible with one another; similarly, the requirements of related and dependent standards should also be consistent with each other. Also, the requirements should be compatible with the requirements of the documents referenced in the standard, and the standard should reflect national or international standards whenever possible. Special (i.e., nonstandard) sizes, shapes, or tests require special attention and extra time on the part of the user and therefore increase cost; they also inhibit maintenance and repair.

    (i) should not cover too borad a scope. When too much is covered by one standard, its requirements become confused and watered-down, and the standard loses its flexibility; users may be left wondering what parts of the standard apply to their work. When the standard applies to a number of users, with different requirements for each, it is often more desirable to provide separate standards.

    If the service/cabinet/panel is Listed to be mounted in a horzontal postion is a different question entirely

    We have legal vertical postion circuit breakers installed all over the US (with ON/Closed up and OFF/Open DOWN) for decades, despite the assertion from the Canadians otherwise.

    The voice of a standard uses SHALL when speaking to the requirements the item and/or manufacturer must do to be in compliance with the standard (The voice is to the "ear" of the manufacturer, a voluntary standard, which is voluntarially complied with and Listed or Submitted to an entity for said Listing - voluntarily by the manufacturer!). The Standard writer and the Testing/Listing entity only has authority over its standard and the manufacturer respectively. The Standard incorporates compliance with NFPA 70 when utilized and installed as per the Listing. The voice of the manufacturer to the user/installer and the voice of the Standard/Listing to the user/installer has no authority of Law - the authority of Law is from the Local Authority Having Jurisdiction - hence the use of the past tense of the auxillary verb SHALL being SHOULD utilized as the strongest voice outside of hazards cautions, etc. statements; and the use of RECOMMEND and RECOMMENDATIONS language in Instructions & Recommendations and Installation & Use - it changes its voice as it is incorporated by NEC Chapter 1 language regarding utilization/installation in accordance with ITS LISTING.

    Understanding the "voice" is important as is the "ear" when reading Code language and Listings/Standards/ProductCategories and Manufacturer's Instructions; and why JP and others have such difficulty understanding that the recommendations, instructions, use of the word "should" and "recommend" have the VOICE of a SHALL from the jurisdiction to the Ear of the private citizen user or installer when said jurisdiction encorporates the unammended portions of the NEC which require the use or installation according to its Listing, which likewise incorporates the manufacturer's labeling, markings and instructions. Only the authority of law based upon the codes or ordinances adopted by that jurisdiction and can exercise and voice "shall" upon the private citizen, not the Listing entity, the testing lab, nor the manufacturer.

    One must understand the rules/cannons of Statutory construction.

    The voice of the Standard and the Listing to the AHJ is different then the voice to the User/installer. Same goes for the voice of the law, ordinance, or code - it is different when the voice is speaking to the ear of the government official "shall" vs. the ear of the private citizen (or contractor, non governmental entity).


    One of the Intrinsic Textual Cannons is that of the Mandatory vs. Directory:

    Whether to construe acts described by a statute as mandatory (it shall be done) or directory (it should be done) depends upon whether the actor is a private citizen or a public officer.

    As to private citizens, when a statute describes consequences that will follow a failure to comply with its terms, it is presumptively mandatory and must be obeyed. If it merely requires that certain things be done, but does not prescribe consequences for a failure to act, the statute is presumptively directory.

    As to public officers, unless the acts to be performed go the heart of the purpose of the legislation or the language specifies otherwise, the conduct called for by the statute is presumptively directory, especially if it involves performance of an act within a specified time or if the conduct called for is merely procedural for uniformity and convenience.

    A statute presumptively mandates a public officer's conduct if the nature of the act to be performed goes to the public welfare, if the failure to act might impair rights or cause injury to the public or private individuals, or if the phraseology of the statute indicates that the officer is limited in his powers by the acts called for by the statute.

    Since manufacturer's instructions are written to the private citizen the language is advisory in nature. As to compliance with statute, and the inspection/approval/enforcment activites of the authority having jurisdiction, they are mandatory in nature, in both the determination of appropriateness of use by the AHJ and in an enforcment action by the AHJ upon the private citizen or entity. If the private citizen wishes to avoid an enforcement action by the AHJ, they best comply to the statute.

    "Shall" is mandatory; "may" is permissive. In practice, some drafters also use "must" as a verb of mandate even though it is not defined by statute.

    A complication that is almost a contradiction is that "shall" is often construed as directory rather than mandatory; and "may" in some contexts is construed as mandatory. Context nearly always determines the meaning more surely than does the verb alone. While drafters should know that the definitions exist, they should not rely on them as a substitute for care in drafting. For advice on choosing wording for mandates, directions, permissions, and entitlements, see Reed Dickerson, Materials on Legal Drafting (West Publishing, 1981), p. 182.

    Know the Common Problems of Construction
    The words used do not guarantee the way a specific rule will be read. Readers of statutes, and courts in particular, take a variety of approaches to the text. They can decide whether the statute has a "plain meaning" or needs to be construed. They can choose whether to supplement their understanding of the text with other materials: things said and done during the proceedings of the law's passage, the history of the amendments to the text, statutory precedents, the views of an administrative agency, and common knowledge. Even if they limit themselves to the text of the statute alone, they have a choice of many, sometimes opposing, canons of construction.
    A good source for the study of all these matters is Statutes and Statutory Construction, an exhaustive multivolume set. The work is commonly cited as Sutherland Statutory Construction after its original author.
    Some other comprehensive works on interpretation are these:
    Dickerson, Reed. The Interpretation and Application of Statutes. Boston: Little, Brown, 1975.
    Hart, Henry M., and Albert M. Sacks. The Legal Process: Basic Problems in the Making and Application of Law. Cambridge: tentative edition 1958

    What Makes a law Unclear?
    Although judges can declare any statute plain, they will always have a rich fund of ways to declare it unclear. English has a multitude of ways to be vague, or over-general, or ambiguous, or all three, although the differences are important.
    Ambiguity exists when words can be interpreted in more than one way. For example, is a "light truck" light in weight or light in color? Vagueness exists when there is doubt about where a word's boundaries are. If a law applies to the blind, who exactly is blind? What degree of impairment counts? Over-generality exists when the term chosen covers more than it should. If a law applies to "communicable diseases," is it really meant to cover the common cold? Legislatures sometimes choose to be vague or general and to let administrative agencies supply the specifics. They rarely choose to be ambiguous.
    Readings on ambiguity and vagueness:
    Dickerson, Reed. "The Diseases of Legal Language," 1 Harvard Journal on Legislation 5 (1964).
    Christie, George C. "Vagueness and Legal Language," 48 Minnesota Law Review 885 (1964).
    Evans, Jim. "Ambiguity" (chapter 4) and "Vagueness" (chapter 5), in Statutory Interpretation: Problems of Communication, Oxford University Press 1988.
    Readings on specific problems leading to ambiguity:
    Dickerson, Reed. "Substantive Clarity: Avoiding Ambiguity" in Fundamentals of Legal Drafting, 2nd ed., 1986.
    Child, Barbara. "Choosing Language: Vagueness, Generality, and Ambiguity," in Drafting Legal Documents: Materials and Problems, West Pub. Co., 1988.
    Of course, not every case of ambiguity, vagueness, or over-generality arises from drafting errors. The many participants in the legislative process, and the need for compromise among them, sometimes produce indefinite wording. A case in point is the 1991 Civil Rights Act (105 Stat. 1070, 1991); its passage was complicated by a fight to create competing legislative histories to bend later interpretation of language left uncertain (New York Times, Nov. 18, 1991).
    Sometimes, too, new ideas, inventions, and situations appear that the legislature did not foresee, so that they are not clearly included under a statute, or are included when reason says they should not be. A classic example of this sort of unclarity is an ancient law of Bologna, forbidding the spilling of blood in the streets. Logically it forbids emergency surgery at the scene of an accident, but history tells us that violence, not surgery, is what its drafters had in mind.

    Language-related Canons of Construction
    Besides the text of the laws itself, judges can make use of canons of construction, and are useful for drafters to know:
    Noscitur a sociis (associated words). The meaning of doubtful words may be determined by their reference to associated words.
    Readings: Sutherland Statutory Construction, sec. 47.16; State v. Suess 236 Minn. 174 52 N.W.2d 409 (1952).
    Ejusdem generis. General words following a listing of specific words are interpreted to be limited to the same sort of words specifically listed.
    Readings: Sutherland Statutory Construction, sec. 47.17 to 47.22; State v. Walsh 43 Minn. 444 45 N.W. 721 (1890); but see also Olson v. Griffith Wheel Company, 218 Minn. 48, 15 N.W.2d 511 (1944).
    Last antecedent. When a series of words of general meaning is followed by words of limitation - grammatically, a relative clause or phrase - their limitation will apply to the last antecedent on the list. For instance, in a statute providing "Licensees may hunt moose, deer, geese, and ducks which are not on the endangered species list," the words "which are not on the endangered species list" will apply only to ducks, the last antecedent on the list.
    Expressio unius est exclusio alterius. The expression of one thing is the exclusion of another.
    Readings: Sutherland Statutory Construction, sec. 47.24; Northern Pacific Ry. Co. v. Duluth, 243 Minn. 84, 67 N.W.2d 635 (1954).

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 12-19-2009 at 11:58 AM.

  47. #47
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    HG: The biggest problem with the use of any terminology in this country is that most of the citizens do not have a working knowledge of the language. Most have merely the vocabulary they had when the left high school, at least those parts they can remember, and one out of ten has a clue of how to put the words together properly.

    As for the writers of the various model codes, it is obvious that none of them is an educated technical author. All of the terms you mentioned in your post are mandative subjunctives which amount merely to varying degrees of politeness in ordering something to be done.

    At least 75% of an HI's job is communication. If HIs would spend the one-tenth the time and effort learning the language that they do buying near-useless tools like IR cameras and flashlights that will fry eggs, they would reap tremendous benefits.


  48. #48
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Cutting and pasting is a wonderful thing, but good gawd man, don't be pasting 10 pages of code.

    Is anyone bothering to take the time to read it all?

    Joe Klampfer RHI
    www.myinspection.ca
    Pacific Home Inspections

  49. #49
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Klampfer View Post
    Cutting and pasting is a wonderful thing, but good gawd man, don't be pasting 10 pages of code.

    Is anyone bothering to take the time to read it all?
    JK: JP may hold the record for code citations posted. HG is gaining on him though.


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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Answer to the original question:
    The AHJ cannot or should I say, should not, create code requirements.
    The AHJ can only 'enforce' the code(s) adopted for his jurisdiction.
    The AHJ is responsible for interpreting said codes.
    The AHJ can make exceptions and/or alternate special permissions if HE deems the aforementioned does not compromise the safety and function of the intent of the code requirement.

    I personally don't understand how the assumed AHJ could justify an overcurrent device with the handle; Up_off, Dn-on.
    Having said that, I wasn't there to do the inspection.
    I've permitted installations where I've had to choose the least of the evils.
    I've also made deals w/the contractors to fix something egregious that was existing for something that perhaps didn't meet the technicalities of the code.
    It's always easy to be an after the fact inspector......Who was there?

    As an AHJ, I must say that if anyone lives in a community or state that allows the AHJ to 'make code' as he see fit, God help him.
    Bob Smit, County Electrical Inspector


  51. #51
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Well said Bob. You sound like a person that is able to balance the code requirements with situations that are not always cut and dried and can still reach a rational solution.

    Sounds like you understand the code and the complexities of balancing real world trade practices and the Code and not just recite a cut and paste version.


  52. #52
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    A few years ago hundreds of adults in their 20'sand 30's packed themselves into a one storey nightclub (bar) to booze it up and subject their auditory organs to dangerous levels of noise from a musical group calling themselves the "Great..."

    The owners of this bar installed flammible insulation to suppress the noise that was the standard "music" that the rock bands played.

    By statutes, this place had to be inspected several times a year by AHJ's.

    Permits were issued despite the exposed flammible insulation.

    100 people died from the smoke and fire that pyrotechnics ignited.

    Both owners were devastated.

    One got jail time.

    The AHJ's kept their jobs.

    MORAL FROM THIS TALE: I relate this story to my clients when the topic of codes and permits rears its ugly head. Home inspectors who unsheath their swords (Like Toshiro Mifune,et al) to defend their clients are fools. We can't win. Period. Amen. Forgeddaboudddit.


  53. #53
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    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    MORAL FROM THIS TALE: I relate this story to my clients when the topic of codes and permits rears its ugly head. Home inspectors who unsheath their swords (Like Toshiro Mifune,et al) to defend their clients are fools. We can't win.
    KB: Not so fast there. I help clients and attorneys slay at least one or two of these paper dragons each year. AHJs only have the appearance of being indestructible. For those who buy into that story: shame on you.


  54. #54
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Snowbird (this means I'm retired and migrate between locations), FL/MI
    Posts
    4,086

    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Before you accuse the AHJ of having ignored the NEC - I'd make sure there was proof that THIS orientation was really signed off on. So far its second hand hearsay.
    IIRC in this string, the seller's realtor claims the seller said it was allowed. DT has properly inquired for evidence of same.

    Since an HI is inspecting and reporting safety issues, it was and is properly reportable. His client (buyer) can do with that information what they wish. It is an unsafe condition (breakers in wrong orientation - OFF or OPEN UP not DOWN as they should be) and reportable - as not consistant with the Listing Standard. With out a field inpsection label it most likely wouldn't be coverable by the Insurance underwriter either and used as an escape to pay on a claim.

    The cost of a field evaluation would be more expensive than a correction - and would have to be repeated when/if a replacment for breaker was required. I seriously doubt a certifying NTL would stick their corporate neck out and label/approve the wrong operable orientation of the molded case circuit breakers.

    If the CBs in question also function as one of the two required disconnects for installed appliances - it would also fail as to orientation (i.e. garbage disposer, dishwasher, furnace, water heater, etc.).


  55. #55
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Rochester, New York
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Thanks everyone for your contributions to this thread.

    This generated a lot of interesting dialogue on a topic that we all deal with on a too frequent basis.

    To bring some closure to this --- as it turns out, no permit was ever issued for this work. (I learned this by calling the town - I think I actually heard the representative's eyes rolling when I mentioned the property address - they've had past issues with unpermitted work with the current property owner)

    My buyer walked, as they were uneasy about purchasing a home without a credible disclosure statement from the seller.

    (Which is really too bad, as it was a nice home.)

    The home search is back underway, and it sounds like I'll have another inspection for this customer soon.

    Thanks again and happy holidays!

    Dave Tontarski
    Act in haste....repent in leisure

  56. #56
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Snowbird (this means I'm retired and migrate between locations), FL/MI
    Posts
    4,086

    Default Re: Horizontally Installed Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by David Tontarski View Post
    I called this out and advised that this installation be verified as permitted and inspected.

    I have just learned that this was inspected by the local code inspector and approved.

    Question - does the local code inspector have the authority to ignore the NEC and allow this?
    Quote Originally Posted by David Tontarski View Post
    I have not seen the documentation. I received a call from the irate owner of the home I inspected.

    He told me that this work had been inspected. I told him that my buyer would require a copy of the documentation.
    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    "Electrical inspections shall provide for conformance to the referenced version".

    Before you accuse the AHJ of having ignored the NEC - I'd make sure there was proof that THIS orientation was really signed off on. So far its second hand hearsay.
    Quote Originally Posted by David Tontarski View Post
    Thanks everyone for your contributions to this thread.

    This generated a lot of interesting dialogue on a topic that we all deal with on a too frequent basis.

    To bring some closure to this --- as it turns out, no permit was ever issued for this work. (I learned this by calling the town - I think I actually heard the representative's eyes rolling when I mentioned the property address - they've had past issues with unpermitted work with the current property owner)

    My buyer walked, as they were uneasy about purchasing a home without a credible disclosure statement from the seller.

    (Which is really too bad, as it was a nice home.)

    The home search is back underway, and it sounds like I'll have another inspection for this customer soon.

    Thanks again and happy holidays!
    Thank you for the update. The seller's false claims were exposed, good job.


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