Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Gerry Bennett's Avatar
    Gerry Bennett Guest

    Default Deck around meter

    Hello everyone, Merry Christmas. I haven't posted here in quite some time so feel free to beat me up if necessary. A friend called me to fix the electrical portion of his home being sold. (I'm an electrician) There was one double tap and a mention about 3 foot clearances for the electrical conduit. When I walked outside to look at the service I saw they had built a deck and notched around the meter which was partly above and below the deck. There were a couple of short boards directly in front of the meter that apparently were put there to remove if you had to take out the meter. The report mentioned nothing about correcting the situation. What it did mention is that there was a deck built in the back (where the service is) without a permit. The owners neighbor built it when he was out of work. So I fixed the double tap and wrote on my invoice that the service was done with all the proper permits and is code compliant. (was done 13 years prior by an electrician I knew who is deceased, an upgrade from 100 to 200.) So the new owner called me and grilled me saying the poco said the meter should be a certain height off of the surface and I said yes but then they built an illegal deck. The reason I wrote what I did was because I had two recent jobs where a house was being sold and the owners had to take out permits for work they did unpermitted before they could sell. The old owner will pay to move it if need be, but seems to me the new owner will open up a can of worms with the deck with no permit.(and maybe she should be more worried about the deck falling down then the inaccessable meter.) What do you guys think. I know I stretched it, but it's the deck that is not code compliant and making the meter non-compliant.

    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Posts
    1,078

    Default Re: Deck around meter

    If you are an electrician, then you should be offering opinions regarding electrical components and systems. Stateing or writing a deck is illegal, not code compliant, or installed without permits is outside your knowledge. Do you have first hand knowledge there is no permit for the deck? Do you know the deck is not code compliant? What codes and were those codes adopted by the local code enforcement official at the time of contruction? Or are you overstepping your boundaries as an electrician?

    Recommend you state the specific issues regarding the electrical components. Modifications can probably be made to the deck to provide the needed/required access to the meter and still provide a viable deck. Access panels may be a valid solution to the electrical access.

    Addressing permits and code compliance of the deck is a seperate issue. You could suggest the deck be further evaluated against the American Wood Councils free online publication Prescriptive Residential Deck Construction. Unless you are familiar with building codes enforce at the time the deck was constructed, I would limit your responses regarding the deck.

    If you are acting as a home inspector, then hopefully you are already familiar with the referenced document as well as the lack of specific rules regarding deck construction in the IRC codes prior to the 2012 version.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,549

    Default Re: Deck around meter

    I think there needs to be some clarification as to what was agreed between the seller and the buyer. If the selller offered to make the electrical installation compliant, because he has a buddy that's an electrician , then maybe the buyer understood that the service was going to be moved away from the deck? It sounds like there was a misunderstanding there.

    I saw a similar situation where the deck had an access door in it for the meter. In that case, there was not enough clearence from the deck to the drip loop, so I recommended reducing the size of the deck. Of course my client the buyer could have insisted that the electrical service be moved instead. So it is back to what was agreed between the two parties.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  4. #4
    Gerry Bennett's Avatar
    Gerry Bennett Guest

    Default Re: Deck around meter

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    If you are an electrician, then you should be offering opinions regarding electrical components and systems. Stateing or writing a deck is illegal, not code compliant, or installed without permits is outside your knowledge. Do you have first hand knowledge there is no permit for the deck? Do you know the deck is not code compliant? What codes and were those codes adopted by the local code enforcement official at the time of contruction? Or are you overstepping your boundaries as an electrician?

    Recommend you state the specific issues regarding the electrical components. Modifications can probably be made to the deck to provide the needed/required access to the meter and still provide a viable deck. Access panels may be a valid solution to the electrical access.

    Addressing permits and code compliance of the deck is a seperate issue. You could suggest the deck be further evaluated against the American Wood Councils free online publication Prescriptive Residential Deck Construction. Unless you are familiar with building codes enforce at the time the deck was constructed, I would limit your responses regarding the deck.

    If you are acting as a home inspector, then hopefully you are already familiar with the referenced document as well as the lack of specific rules regarding deck construction in the IRC codes prior to the 2012 version.
    \
    Thanks for the reply. It was actually in the Home Inspection report that the deck was added without a permit, so I assume the inspector checks that with the town. And then it mentioned the clearances, which as I said weren't an issue until the deck was built. The previous owner said it wasn't on his "to do" list, but as Mr Kogel replied it would be whatever the two parties agreed to.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,251

    Default Re: Deck around meter

    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry Bennett View Post
    The report mentioned nothing about correcting the situation. What it did mention is that there was a deck built in the back (where the service is) without a permit. The owners neighbor built it when he was out of work. So I fixed the double tap and wrote on my invoice that the service was done with all the proper permits and is code compliant. (was done 13 years prior by an electrician I knew who is deceased, an upgrade from 100 to 200.)
    Not knowing exactly what you said, but if you said what you posted, then I think you short-changed everyone with what you said.

    I think you should have said something more like this: " ... and wrote on my invoice that the service was done with all the proper permits and is code compliant ... " '... at the time it ... "... was done 13 years prior by an electrician I knew who is deceased, an upgrade from 100 to 200... " 'but the deck which was constructed at a later date made the service installation non-compliant, the correction would be to obtain a demolition permit to remove the deck, after which the service could be inspected to verify that no other non-compliant work had been done.'

    Something to that effect as it would show the problem is 'the deck' and that the apparent problem of 'the electrical meter and service' was not the main problem.

    When I read what you wrote I took it as you saying that the electrical service 'was compliant as installed now', I had to go back and re-read what you posted to understand what you were meaning.

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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Louisville, Colorado
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Deck around meter

    For what it's worth that document "American Wood Councils free online publication Prescriptive Residential Deck Construction." can be found here: http://www.awc.org/publications/dca/dca6/dca6-09.pdf

    Here is a link to all of the American Wood Council's free documentation: American Wood Council

    Happy Reading!


  7. #7
    Gerry Bennett's Avatar
    Gerry Bennett Guest

    Default Re: Deck around meter

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Not knowing exactly what you said, but if you said what you posted, then I think you short-changed everyone with what you said.

    I think you should have said something more like this: " ... and wrote on my invoice that the service was done with all the proper permits and is code compliant ... " '... at the time it ... "... was done 13 years prior by an electrician I knew who is deceased, an upgrade from 100 to 200... " 'but the deck which was constructed at a later date made the service installation non-compliant, the correction would be to obtain a demolition permit to remove the deck, after which the service could be inspected to verify that no other non-compliant work had been done.'

    Something to that effect as it would show the problem is 'the deck' and that the apparent problem of 'the electrical meter and service' was not the main problem.

    When I read what you wrote I took it as you saying that the electrical service 'was compliant as installed now', I had to go back and re-read what you posted to understand what you were meaning.
    Yes, you're right, it was misleading. I was trying to accommodate the seller and I'm sorry I did that. At the same time I did think the deck issue would be dealt with first and would initiate the service relocation. I looked at the website about the decks and made me think of this deck a builder just installed on a job. He did the deck with the taut guy wires. It was on the second floor and the inspector passed it saying it's legal but he doesn't like them because it's like a ladder for little kids. Could a kid climb that or are those wires supposed to break with a certain amount of weight that someone told me?


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,251

    Default Re: Deck around meter

    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry Bennett View Post
    He did the deck with the taut guy wires. It was on the second floor and the inspector passed it saying it's legal but he doesn't like them because it's like a ladder for little kids. Could a kid climb that or are those wires supposed to break with a certain amount of weight that someone told me?
    The code addresses openings in guardrails as not allowing a 4" sphere to pass through, and the load is 50 lb/sq. horizontally to the in-fill panel of the guardrail (those wires in your case) - a 50 lb load will push a 4" sphere through those wires unless the wires are spaced quite close together.

    However, if one goes back to the ASTM standards on the way the guardrails are tested, the wires will never fail as the guardrail is laid horizontally, a specified weight is dropped from a specified height (to equal the 50 lb/sf load), the weight removed and the guardrail checked to make sure that a 4" sphere will not pass through ... I am sure you see the problem with wires under tension - they go back to their original spacing when the weight is removed.

    If you go by the wording of the code, apply a 50 lb/sf load to the 4" sphere ... it will pass through those wires with little resistance - that is more like the real world when a small child falls against those railings.

    The other part of your question, though, is, no - definitely not, those wires should not break ... if they did break then there would effectively not be any guardrail there at all because the in-fill panel is now gone.

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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    South-West Michigan
    Posts
    469

    Default Re: Deck around meter

    Seems the problem is the deck, then. Based on the information in the original post, it seems the proper corrective action would be removal of the improperly constructed deck. The owner bearing the cost of this work may have a claim against the previous owner. That is something an attorney can help determine.

    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
    Housesmithe Inspection
    www.housesmithe.com

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •