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  1. #1
    4x4grey88's Avatar
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    Default Disputing "Service Disconnect" with General contractor

    Working on a city housing complex with side by side condenser units and the general contractor wants to install the service disconnects [for condenser] 18" {AFF} outside(15" to center of disco) and also wants to install the "whip" upwards to 7' - 8' from the condenser while offering 12" distance from the wall, which offers almost no area for service. They state that the 'city inspector' said that the 18" from the ground was allowed. I can't find anything to dispute that in the code books. I know that the current contractor's requirement locations are giving almost no space for maintenance or repairs not to speak about the disconnect locations so close to the ground with the sprinklers so close offers a dangerous situation.



    INPUT ???
    With codes would be great.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Disputing "Service Disconnect" with General contractor

    There is no minimum height above grade for the disconnect to be mounted.

    There are, however, minimum working space size requirements for in front of the disconnects and for the condenser units.

    The mechanical code requires a minimum 30" by 30" service space for the service access area of the condenser unit, however, being as the condenser units are also electrical equipment, and the electrical code requires a 30" wide by 36" deep working space in front of the electrical service area at the condenser units, the more restrictive electrical code applies and the minimum working space at the condenser units would need to be at least 30" wide by 36" deep.

    Now, with a minimum of forethought, it should be relatively easy to locate *one* 30" wide by 36" deep working space in front of the two disconnects and between the two condenser units, with access to that working space between the condenser units, such that only that *one* working space is required as it would overlap and serve all four electrical equipment working spaces.

    Now, if your area is subject to flooding (such as you have to buy Flood Insurance for your mortgage), then the bottom of the condenser units and the disconnects would need to be elevated to be above the elevation used for your area (typically, but not always, this is the interior floor level for areas subject to flooding as contractors seem to dislike spending any more money than they have to just to elevate the equipment above flood elevation).

    Just some additional things for you to consider and not get hung up on the height of the disconnects (which is likely the lesser of the issues I mentioned).

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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Disputing "Service Disconnect" with General contractor

    He wants me to install both condensing units 16" from the wall and 16" apart (with a bush in front of them) while installing the disconnects 15" center AFF (concrete slab) both discos next to eachother and about 7.5' from the second units service area, or place the second unit service area too close to the first unit.

    So, as it seems, I either work in the bush, on top of unit #1 to access unit #2 service area; or turn the unit and it is 7.5' from the disco to service area.


  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Disputing "Service Disconnect" with General contractor

    If you have the condenser installation instructions, you will find minimum required space for installation and service. This may yield a little more information and required space than the more generic code. The manufacturer's requirements are "code".

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Disputing "Service Disconnect" with General contractor

    Quote Originally Posted by 4x4grey88 View Post
    He wants me to install both condensing units 16" from the wall ...
    That should not be a problem.

    ... and 16" apart (with a bush in front of them) ...
    Most manufacturers want 12" or so clearance for air flow, and twice that between adjacent units. I have seen installation instructions which allow that 24" separation to be reduced to 12" where two units are placed near each other.

    keep in mind, though, that if the space between the units is less than 30" then the required safe working space will not be in front of the two disconnects placed next to each other between the two condenser units.

    As Jim said, the key is in the installation instructions, those are code by reference as the code requires the two condenser units to be installed in accordance with the installation instructions *and* the code, whichever is more restrictive.

    So, as it seems, I either work in the bush, on top of unit #1 to access unit #2 service area; or turn the unit and it is 7.5' from the disco to service area.
    Turn the units so their service areas face each other and not the bushes, the disconnects are allowed to be as much as *50 feet* straight-line sight from the condenser units, so 7-1/2 feet is not bad.

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

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