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  1. #1
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    Default Service entrance proximity to pergola

    Got a call today from an agent that had just had his listing inspected. The inspector called out the service conductors as being too close to the pergola over the deck (about 3" from the pergola). They are not over the pergula but to the side. The agent's electrician said that there was no violation as NEC 230.24 only applies to roofs and a pergola does not satisfy the definition of a "roof". But he would add a "button" to prevent the wind from slapping the wires against the pergola. The agent asked if I thought a pergola was a roof.

    Just wondering if any of you have run into anything like this or have insights into whether a pergola would be a "roof" under 230.24.

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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    Got a call today from an agent that had just had his listing inspected. The inspector called out the service conductors as being too close to the pergola over the deck (about 3" from the pergola). They are not over the pergula but to the side. The agent's electrician said that there was no violation as NEC 230.24 only applies to roofs and a pergola does not satisfy the definition of a "roof". But he would add a "button" to prevent the wind from slapping the wires against the pergola. The agent asked if I thought a pergola was a roof.

    Just wondering if any of you have run into anything like this or have insights into whether a pergola would be a "roof" under 230.24.
    Unless that pergola is quite high or the deck is quite high ... that causes me to ponder the height of the service entrance conductors and that the service entrance conductors may well be too low above the ground or walking surface (deck walking surface) ... also sounds like they are too close to the pergola for horizontal clearance from the deck too (230.9).

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 04-30-2015 at 09:18 PM. Reason: added "(230.9)" referece
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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    Update: Turns out the service conductor is actually the overhead conductors between the house and the garage. However, I think that 230.24 is applicable, so the question for me is whether a pergola is a roof in the eyes of the NEC? Some pergolas can be fairly substantial, but this one was described as "decorative" by the electrician.

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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    Lon - you have a difficult situation

    The electrician is a friend of the realtor (who stands to make money)

    It's not really a roof but It could be considered similar to a roof

    here is what I think. (use each item as a test to weigh it out)

    1) Take some pictures and ask a couple of electricians what they think - I might even pay one for an expert opinion (written so as it is attached to your report) (buy someone dinner at the stake house and ask your client for a few more dollars as you need to seek expert opinion to clarify this )

    2) Is it permanent part to the house

    3) can it conduct electricity

    4) is there any danger to the wires

    This might be one of those times when - you have enough knowledge to question but not enough specific education - seeking the consultation of another does not mean you don't know what you are doing - in fact in this case you see the need to protect your customer and not just go with the realtors electrician - which I am sure s/he is not willing to put that into writing. I also think you have two issues - code and practical risk

    practical risk example - a large tree in the yard has a significant crack from the last storm - there is no code that says this is not allowed but you still have a risk which you should share with your customer.

    Jerry Peck is better at wording than I, but I might state in my report that given the position of the power line coming into the house there is a potential hazard to the wire rubbing on the pergola which might create a fire hazard [and an electrical inspector should asked to inspect and advise] or [ after consulting with Master Electrician Sparky lis, no 123564 his opinion was .......]


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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    A pergola is a building.

    A pergola has a number of building openings.

    What is the horizontal clearance from building openings and decks ...

    What is the vertical clearance too ...

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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    A pergola is a building.

    A pergola has a number of building openings.

    What is the horizontal clearance from building openings and decks ...

    What is the vertical clearance too ...
    Horizontal clearance reported to be 3".
    The wires are not above the pergola and no one has made a comment about how high the wires are from the ground.

    Since, I haven't seen this, it's an easy one for me to punt. I told the agent that if the electrician is willing to put his money where his mouth is, then let him.

    But I'm still interested if there is any precedents or an applicable definition of a "roof" that includes or excludes a pergola. Does the nature of the pergola matter? What if it is made of netting or plastic lattice? Or does almost anything over head constitute a roof?

    Since a pergola does not offer protection, shed rain water or snow melt, or keep the wind out, a pergola doesn't seem to have many properties in common with a roof except being above us. In fact, they seem to have more in common with tree branches.

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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    Horizontal clearance reported to be 3".

    .
    .
    But I'm still interested if there is any precedents or an applicable definition of a "roof" that includes or excludes a pergola. Does the nature of the pergola matter? What if it is made of netting or plastic lattice? Or does almost anything over head constitute a roof?
    You keep going back to "roof" ...

    I keep trying to point you in a different, but applicable, direction.

    Building. A structure that stands alone or that is cut off from adjoining structures by fire walls with all openings therein protected by approved fire doors.

    "A structure that stands alone ... "

    Structure. That which is built or constructed.

    A pergola is a structure and a building.

    230.9 Clearances on Buildings.
    (A) Clearances.
    (too much to type on my phone)

    The above code section should answer your question.

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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    You keep going back to "roof" ...

    I keep trying to point you in a different, but applicable, direction.

    Building. A structure that stands alone or that is cut off from adjoining structures by fire walls with all openings therein protected by approved fire doors.

    "A structure that stands alone ... "

    Structure. That which is built or constructed.

    A pergola is a structure and a building.

    230.9 Clearances on Buildings.
    (A) Clearances.
    (too much to type on my phone)

    The above code section should answer your question.
    You are correct. I have been looking at 230.24. 230.9 does not look applicable to me. It seems to apply more to openings or egress points.

    230.9 Clearance From Building Openings
    (A) Clearance From Windows. Overhead service conductors must maintain a clearance of 3 ft from windows that are designed to be opened, doors, porches, balconies, ladders, stairs, fire escapes, or similar locations.

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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    You are correct. I have been looking at 230.24. 230.9 does not look applicable to me. It seems to apply more to openings or egress
    It is applicable ... ask the voltage and current if it cares whether it is within 3 feet of a balcony, porch, or a deck ...

    ... a pergola is basically a deck with beams over it.

    Hopefully, no accident happens when you give the wrong answer to the agent.

    Here is another one for you, let's see how you address this:what is the minimum clearance above residential yards (except driveways)? Most get that one wrong too.

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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Wood View Post
    Interesting reading on definition.
    Garden Structure Definitions
    Yes ... quite interesting ... "open roof" ...

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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Wood View Post
    But not a building ...
    Incorrect - per the NEC a pergola IS a "building" by definition.

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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Wood View Post
    Interesting reading on definition.
    Garden Structure Definitions
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Yes ... quite interesting ... "open roof" ...
    Yes.... However, this definition and others look more like definitions of convenience than technical definitions. Still all definitions include the word "roof" and in my very old beat up copy of Merriam-Webster, the 2nd definition of roof is "something suggesting a roof of a building" as in "roofed". I think that a pergola probably is something suggesting a roof, even if a pergola is barely a roof.

    Jerry,
    I didn't get it wrong because I didn't offer an opinion to the agent. Since then, I've tried to find a definition of "roof" that would be applicable to the NEC. If the NEC called and asked me to edit 230.24, I'd modify "roof" to "roof like structures" to remove any confusion.

    As for as vertical clearance to the service entrance, since I read that while looking up 230.24, I know the answer and agree that most would get it wrong. It's 12' above the residential property but 10' above grade at the point of attachment including the drip loop.

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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    Jerry,
    I didn't get it wrong because I didn't offer an opinion to the agent. .[/QUOTE]


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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    I didn't get it wrong because I didn't offer an opinion to the agent. Since then, I've tried to find a definition of "roof" that would be applicable to the NEC. If the NEC called and asked me to edit 230.24, I'd modify "roof" to "roof like structures" to remove any confusion.
    Lon,

    The reason I said "wrong" is because you kept going to, and still are at, "roof" ... instead of building.

    As for as vertical clearance to the service entrance, since I read that while looking up 230.24, I know the answer and agree that most would get it wrong. It's 12' above the residential property but 10' above grade at the point of attachment including the drip loop.
    Close, but not correct.

    Most say that it's 10 feet, however, as you said, it is 12 feet ... except at the drip loop (as you also said) ... and ... except over areas subject only to pedestrian traffic - a fenced yard with only a walk through gate is only subject to pedestrian traffic ... have a drive through gate and the fenced yard is no longer subject only to pedestrian traffic.

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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    If the OH conductors are supplying power from the house to the garage, they are not service entrance conductors. SE conductors are unfused from the PoCo transformer.


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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    Quote Originally Posted by Rollie Meyers View Post
    If the OH conductors are supplying power from the house to the garage, they are not service entrance conductors. SE conductors are unfused from the PoCo transformer.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    The inspector called out the service conductors ...
    However, those conductors still are "service conductors", as in 'overhead service ... * ... conductors', with the "*" being ' overhead service "drop" conductors, overhead service "entrance" conductors, could even have been 'overhead "branch circuit or feeder" conductors' ...

    The original post implied, to me anyway, that the inspector was referring to 'overhead service "drop" conductors', nonetheless, though, the code sections refer to "overhead service conductors" without specifying which type.

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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    Quote Originally Posted by Rollie Meyers View Post
    If the OH conductors are supplying power from the house to the garage, they are not service entrance conductors. SE conductors are unfused from the PoCo transformer.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    However, those conductors still are "service conductors", as in 'overhead service ... * ... conductors', with the "*" being ' overhead service "drop" conductors, overhead service "entrance" conductors, could even have been 'overhead "branch circuit or feeder" conductors' ...

    The original post implied, to me anyway, that the inspector was referring to 'overhead service "drop" conductors', nonetheless, though, the code sections refer to "overhead service conductors" without specifying which type.
    I thought I would clarify some definitions:

    - Service Drop. The overhead conductors between the utility electric supply system and the service point.

    - Service Entrance Conductors, Overhead System. The service conductors between the terminals of the service equipment and a point usually outside the building, clear of building walls, where joined by tap of splice to the service drop or overhead service conductors.

    - Service Point. The point of connection between the facilities of the service utility and the premises wiring.

    - Service Conductors, Overhead. The overhead conductors between the service point and the first point of connection to the service-entrance conductors at the building or other structure.

    - Service Conductors. The conductors from the service point to the service disconnecting means.

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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    Update: Turns out the service conductor is actually the overhead conductors between the house and the garage. However, I think that 230.24 is applicable, so the question for me is whether a pergola is a roof in the eyes of the NEC? Some pergolas can be fairly substantial, but this one was described as "decorative" by the electrician.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    However, those conductors still are "service conductors", as in 'overhead service ... * ... conductors', with the "*" being ' overhead service "drop" conductors, overhead service "entrance" conductors, could even have been 'overhead "branch circuit or feeder" conductors' ...

    The original post implied, to me anyway, that the inspector was referring to 'overhead service "drop" conductors', nonetheless, though, the code sections refer to "overhead service conductors" without specifying which type.
    Based on Lon's follow up post I am assuming those conductors are not service conductors but rather a feeder to the garage. But only LON can clear that up.
    If they are indeed feeder conductors to the garage then section 230 does NOT apply. Article 225 does apply. (Article 225.19(C) states 3 feet horizontal Clearance from buildings)

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    Update: Turns out the service conductor is actually the overhead conductors between the house and the garage. However, I think that 230.24 is applicable, so the question for me is whether a pergola is a roof in the eyes of the NEC? Some pergolas can be fairly substantial, but this one was described as "decorative" by the electrician.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    However, those conductors still are "service conductors", as in 'overhead service ... * ... conductors', with the "*" being ' overhead service "drop" conductors, overhead service "entrance" conductors, could even have been 'overhead "branch circuit or feeder" conductors' ...

    The original post implied, to me anyway, that the inspector was referring to 'overhead service "drop" conductors', nonetheless, though, the code sections refer to "overhead service conductors" without specifying which type.
    Based on Lon's follow up post I am assuming those conductors are not service conductors but rather a feeder to the garage. But only LON can clear that up.
    If they are indeed feeder conductors to the garage then section 230 does NOT apply. Article 225 does apply. (Article 225.19(C) states 3 feet horizontal Clearance from buildings)


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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    Quote Originally Posted by jack davenport View Post
    Based on Lon's follow up post I am assuming those conductors are not service conductors but rather a feeder to the garage. But only LON can clear that up.
    If they are indeed feeder conductors to the garage then section 230 does NOT apply. Article 225 does apply. (Article 225.19(C) states 3 feet horizontal Clearance from buildings)
    Apparently, they are "feeders" to the garage.

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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    [QUOTE=Lon Henderson;257253]Apparently, they are "feeders" to the garage.[/QUOTE

    Lon, 3" is too close to any structure. I would of call it regardless. For one, could a child climb the pergola?

    Suze

    - - - Updated - - -

    [QUOTE=Lon Henderson;257253]Apparently, they are "feeders" to the garage.[/QUOTE

    Lon, 3" is too close to any structure. I would of call it regardless. For one, could a child climb the pergola?

    Suze

    - - - Updated - - -

    [QUOTE=Lon Henderson;257253]Apparently, they are "feeders" to the garage.[/QUOTE

    Lon, 3" is too close to any structure. I would of call it regardless. For one, could a child climb the pergola?

    Suze


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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    Interesting wrinkle to this thread for Colorado Inspectors. Yesterday, 54 home inspectors in the Denver metro area attended a seminar on electrical inspections and code changes. One of the things that we heard was that Xcel, the largest provider of electricity in the metro area, has started requiring electricians to limit the service mast height above low slope patio/deck covers so that the service drop is no higher than 5' above the cover. For most installations, this means that the weather head is about 7' high. Their reason is that any higher, it's difficult to reach the weather head without ladders or cherry pickers. And the local AHJ's have agreed to allow this.

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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    Jerry,
    Can you cite the part of NEC where they define pergola, and also define it as a building? I couldn't find it, but I can't find my way around NEC as well as I can IRC.
    Thanks!


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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    Interesting wrinkle to this thread for Colorado Inspectors. Yesterday, 54 home inspectors in the Denver metro area attended a seminar on electrical inspections and code changes. One of the things that we heard was that Xcel, the largest provider of electricity in the metro area, has started requiring electricians to limit the service mast height above low slope patio/deck covers so that the service drop is no higher than 5' above the cover. For most installations, this means that the weather head is about 7' high. Their reason is that any higher, it's difficult to reach the weather head without ladders or cherry pickers. And the local AHJ's have agreed to allow this.
    Lon,

    I just sent an inquiry to Excel Energy to verify if what you were told was correct or if you were given misinformation at your class - hopefully ... I will receive an answer tomorrow - I will post it here when I receive it.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Jerry,
    Can you cite the part of NEC where they define pergola, and also define it as a building? I couldn't find it, but I can't find my way around NEC as well as I can IRC.
    Thanks!
    Jack,

    Look in the definitions for "Building" and Structure" - they are in Chapter 1.

    From my post on 05-01-2015
    Building. A structure that stands alone or that is cut off from adjoining structures by fire walls with all openings therein protected by approved fire doors.

    "A structure that stands alone ... "

    Structure. That which is built or constructed.

    A pergola is a structure and a building.


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    Default Re: Service entrance proximity to pergola

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Lon,

    I just sent an inquiry to Excel Energy to verify if what you were told was correct or if you were given misinformation at your class - hopefully ... I will receive an answer tomorrow - I will post it here when I receive it.
    Dear Jerry Peck:

    Thank you for contacting Xcel Energy.

    We apologize that we’re not able to assist you directly, but your email inquiry has been forwarded to the appropriate department for a response. You should hear back shortly.

    If you need further assistance, please reply or call our Customer Contact Center at 1-800-895-4999.

    Sincerely,

    Wendy W
    Xcel Energy | Responsible By Nature
    Customer Service - Correspondence Dept.
    Attn: Correspondence P.O. Box 8, Eau Claire, WI 54701
    P:
    800-895-4999 F: 800-895-2895
    E: Inquire@Xcelenergy.com
    I will update when I receive additional information.

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