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  1. #1
    Jim Zborowski's Avatar
    Jim Zborowski Guest

    Default here we go again, guys

    We just had this discussion not long ago, but we have an electrical inspector
    who has raised two issues. One is that the neutral wire absolutely must be one solid, non stop, length of wire from the drip loop to the main breaker.
    The other is that the maximum distance from the meter to the service panel is 8 feet ( which he says is really two feet, since the meter base is 5' 6" fromm finish grade to the center of the meter head ). Now I know I'm half blind, even with my bifocals, but I can't find any code to support his requirements.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: here we go again, guys

    You could nicely ask him for a code cite "so you can update your file" in case you run across this again. I have done this more than once when an AHJ is making arbitrary rules and changing codes on the fly. It usually stops them once they can't find the cite.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: here we go again, guys

    NEC 230.70 requires the service disconnecting means shall be installed at a readily accessible location either outside a building or structure or inside nearest the point of entrance of the service-entrance conductors.

    Around here that means a disconnect at the interior wall surface at the point of entry, otherwise you need to install an exterior service disconnect, which is usually done at the meter panel.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  4. #4
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: here we go again, guys

    What does the meter being 5'6" off finish grade have to do with the total distance from the meter to the panel??????????

    Meter base to finish grade but it has a weather head.

    I am looking in my brandy new book right now and I think he is mixing and matching numbers and no doing a complete reading.

    Like scott says, open the book and have him splain himself so you may have a better understanding.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: here we go again, guys

    Scott has provided the perfect reply to some numb-nutted code Nazi. Ask, with a smile, "Can you give me the code section to your call so I can look it up and make the necessary changes in my building code report library?"
    It's no different than the "Uncle Buck" or service-tech who tells your client or the agents that your call was wrong. Again, "Did they put it in writing, sign and date it like I did?"
    The sound of silence will be deafening.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  6. #6
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    Default Re: here we go again, guys

    Let me see if I can remember how this goes:

    From the 2008 NEC.

    Start with: (underlining is mine)
    - ARTICLE 230 Services
    - - 230.6 Conductors Considered Outside the Building.
    - - - Conductors shall be considered outside of a building or other structure under any of the following conditions:
    - - - - (1) Where installed under not less than 50 mm (2 in.) of concrete beneath a building or other structure
    - - - - (2) Where installed within a building or other structure in a raceway that is encased in concrete or brick not less than 50 mm (2 in.) thick
    - - - - (3) Where installed in any vault that meets the construction requirements of Article 450, Part III
    - - - - (4) Where installed in conduit and under not less than 450 mm (18 in.) of earth beneath a building or other structure

    If the conductors meet the above, they are considered "outside the building".

    Now proceed to: (underlining is mine)
    - VI. Service Equipment Disconnecting Means
    - - 230.70 General.
    - - - Means shall be provided to disconnect all conductors in a building or other structure from the service-entrance conductors.
    - - - - (A) Location. The service disconnecting means shall be installed in accordance with 230.70(A)(1), (A)(2), and (A)(3).
    - - - - - (1) Readily Accessible Location. The service disconnecting means shall be installed at a readily accessible location either outside of a building or structure or inside nearest the point of entrance of the service conductors.
    - - - - - (2) Bathrooms. Service disconnecting means shall not be installed in bathrooms.
    - - - - - (3) Remote Control. Where a remote control device(s) is used to actuate the service disconnecting means, the service disconnecting means shall be located in accordance with 230.70(A)(1).

    That means the disconnecting means is required to located "outside the building" *or* "inside nearest the point of entrance of the service conductors" - which we have already established above.

    Some AHJ use this to get a 5 feet distance: (underlining is mine)
    - III. Grounding Electrode System and Grounding Electrode Conductor
    - - 250.52 Grounding Electrodes.
    - - - (A) Electrodes Permitted for Grounding.
    - - - - (1) Metal Underground Water Pipe. A metal underground water pipe in direct contact with the earth for 3.0 m (10 ft) or more (including any metal well casing bonded to the pipe) and electrically continuous (or made electrically continuous by bonding around insulating joints or insulating pipe) to the points of connection of the grounding electrode conductor and the bonding conductors. Interior metal water piping located more than 1.52 m (5 ft) from the point of entrance to the building shall not be used as a part of the grounding electrode system or as a conductor to interconnect electrodes that are part of the grounding electrode system.
    - - - - - Exception: In industrial, commercial, and institutional buildings or structures where conditions of maintenance and supervision ensure that only qualified persons service the installation, interior metal water piping located more than 1.52 m (5 ft) from the point of entrance to the building shall be permitted as a part of the grounding electrode system or as a conductor to interconnect electrodes that are part of the grounding electrode system, provided that the entire length, other than short sections passing perpendicularly through walls, floors, or ceilings, of the interior metal water pipe that is being used for the conductor is exposed.

    The interpretation being that "(5 ft) from the point of entrance to the building" can be interpreted over to the service entrance conductors "nearest the point of entrance of the service conductors", i.e., 5 feet of service entrance conductor is allowed inside the building.

    Some AHJ use this to get 8 feet (rounded off to 8 feet length of conductor to accomplish the stated limitation shown below, simply because the conductors cannot be 'run straight', that 'they must bend around the interior of the panel, and that bend must be allowed for'): (underlining is mine)
    - ARTICLE 240 Overcurrent Protection
    - - 240.24 Location in or on Premises.
    - - - (A) Accessibility. Overcurrent devices shall be readily accessible and shall be installed so that the center of the grip of the operating handle of the switch or circuit breaker, when in its highest position, is not more than 2.0 m (6 ft 7 in.) above the floor or working platform, unless one of the following applies:
    - - - - (1) For busways, as provided in 368.17(C).
    - - - - (2) For supplementary overcurrent protection, as described in 240.10.
    - - - - (3) For overcurrent devices, as described in 225.40 and 230.92.
    - - - - (4) For overcurrent devices adjacent to utilization equipment that they supply, access shall be permitted to be by portable means.

    Let us presume that the service entrance conductors run down and underground, coming up through the garage / house slab at the garage / house wall. The conductors are considered "outside the building" until the conductors are up to a height of being 2" below the concrete slab, at which point the conductors are now considered "inside the building" and that 2" down point becomes the "point of entrance of the service conductors". Now though, the service disconnect main those conductors run to and connect to is allowed to have its handle at 6 feet 7 inches above that floor surface. Add the 2 inches depth down to the 6 feet 7 inches and you get 6 feet 9 inches, add the length of conductor it takes to bend around the panel interior, making the proper large radius bends required for those conductors at the bottom and at the top main disconnect breaker and it adds - as a round number - 1 foot of extra conductor. Add that 1 foot to 6 feet 9 inches and you get 7 feet 9 inches, so, what to heck, maybe it took an extra 3 inches of conductor to make those bends, so ... 8 feet of conductor - not "height, but "conductor length" - is allowed from the floor up.

    Now though, let's presume another installation where the service equipment is on the inside the wall of the garage and the meter is on the other side of the wall, where they are back-to-back.

    The maximum service entrance conductor length is no longer "8 feet", it is only as much as is required to go through the back of the enclose (as soon as the conductors go through the back of the enclosure for the meter can outside, the conductors are considered "inside the building", and what is the length of the conductors allowed inside the building?

    Answer: "nearest the point of entrance of the service conductors", i.e., *as short as possible to get from the meter can, through the wall, into the service equipment, and up to the main service disconnect*.

    Let us consider yet another all too common installation where the meter can is outside the building, the service entrance conductors run in a conduit up the wall to the attic (or down the wall to a basement), then across the attic to a hall where the service equipment panel is located in the wall below, then down the wall to the service equipment panel (or similarly run when in a basement).

    Anyone see a problem with either of those?

    The service entrance conductors "point of entrance" into the building was when the conduit turned into the wall. As-soon-as the conduit penetrated into the wall, the service entrance conductors are considered "inside the building", and where is the service disconnect required to be? "nearest the point of entrance" into the building.

    Creates a bit of a problem, doesn't it?

    Final answer to the question: How long are the service entrance conductors allowed to be "inside the building"? Answer: *No longer than necessary from the "point of entrance" into the building and yet allow for the maximum allowable height of the main disconnect handle.*

    Complicated?

    No one said code was easy.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: here we go again, guys

    That is why every single new home I inspect has the meter mounted on the brick exterior and the panel directly behind it in the garage. No more questioning how long for what. Problem solved. No one questioning the other.


  8. #8
    Jim Zborowski's Avatar
    Jim Zborowski Guest

    Default Re: here we go again, guys

    thanks for the input guys. he actually gave me a diagram with specs on it, which do not make any ref to what he is asking for. in fact, he said " well, the sheet isn't complete as far as what I want ". in other words, he makes up his own rules as he goes. it turns out the elect. insp. has an electrical contracting company in the same town, so unless he did the job, it's automatically wrong.


  9. #9
    Brian Thomas's Avatar
    Brian Thomas Guest

    Default Re: here we go again, guys

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Zborowski View Post
    thanks for the input guys. he actually gave me a diagram with specs on it, which do not make any ref to what he is asking for. in fact, he said " well, the sheet isn't complete as far as what I want ". in other words, he makes up his own rules as he goes. it turns out the elect. insp. has an electrical contracting company in the same town, so unless he did the job, it's automatically wrong.
    Or he wants his company to be the one to change it out. That, my friends, is what we like to call a conflict of interest!


  10. #10
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    Default Re: here we go again, guys

    Fritz,

    That's that thread discussion we just had recently where the neutral is landed on a terminal which allows the neutral to be stripped back, un-cut and un-broken, inserted into the neutral terminal in the meter can, and continue on to the service equipment.

    There is no code requiring it, but, yeah, I know, but ... some AHJ somehow contort the code to where they think it states that. I think what they are doing is reading the part about the service entrance conductors not being spliced, except at bolted connections, and then reality hits them and they realize that if the hot phase conductors are continuous through the meter can, the meter will not read anything, so they accept that the hot phase conductor *have to be* cut, but in doing so, refuse to accept that the neutral conductor *may also be cut* at those bolted terminals with the bus par connecting them (yeah, that is in the code as being allowed). Somewhere in there I suspect they are not grasping what it is saying ... the same code section which *allows* the hot phase conductors to be cut and connected to terminals at bolted connections also *allows* the neutral to be treated the same.

    Oh, well, that is what some AHJ do, and there is a method for them to do it. Whatever rocks their boat, I guess.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: here we go again, guys

    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz Kelly View Post
    I remember the thread. I was commenting on the neutral to the main breaker rather than the bus.
    Fritz,

    I am *assuming* that his "to the main breaker" actually is describing "to the service equipment", which is where the main breaker is, not that the neutral actually goes "to the main breaker". Although it could if designed and intended to, and with the correct breaker for that purpose.

    I could be wrong, I've been wrong before and will be wrong many more times, and, I am *ass-um-ing* that.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: here we go again, guys

    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz Kelly View Post
    Maybe so, that is what I meant by an arrangement I haven't seen.
    Understood.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: here we go again, guys

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Thomas View Post
    Or he wants his company to be the one to change it out. That, my friends, is what we like to call a conflict of interest!
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Zborowski View Post
    thanks for the input guys. he actually gave me a diagram with specs on it, which do not make any ref to what he is asking for. in fact, he said " well, the sheet isn't complete as far as what I want ". in other words, he makes up his own rules as he goes. it turns out the elect. insp. has an electrical contracting company in the same town, so unless he did the job, it's automatically wrong.
    In New Jersey, any code inspector cannot be a part of any company that does business related to the building code in the town he works in OR any surrounding town that touches his towns border.

    Yes, some people have tried to skirt the issue; as a result they got fined AND lost their licenses.

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
    'Whizzing & pasting & pooting through the day (Ronnie helping Kenny helping burn his poots away!) (FZ)

  14. #14
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    Default Re: here we go again, guys

    Quote Originally Posted by Darren Miller View Post
    In New Jersey, any code inspector cannot be a part of any company that does business related to the building code in the town he works in OR any surrounding town that touches his towns border.

    Yes, some people have tried to skirt the issue; as a result they got fined AND lost their licenses.

    If I am recalling correctly, in South Florida (Miami-Dade and Broward counties, or maybe it was just Broward County) the inspectors had to put their licenses on "inactive" status. Means they were not allowed to work anywhere in the state.

    To me, it just makes sense. If you are inspecting, you are "inspecting". If you want to have a company licensed to do "the work", then you are not out there "inspecting". Plain and simple - eliminates the conflict of interest stated above Jim's post.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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