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It Happened Again


Brian G
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For the second time in my young career I've had an electrician refuse to correct multiple neutrals in one terminal and/or grounds & neutrals mixed in one terminal, in a main panel. Both said in writing that it was "common practice" and "not a potential hazard", and the second guy backs this with a phone call to a local AHJ who agreed with him (he says). I don't doubt the guy probably said it.

I can't help wondering if these guys were paid to refuse to make the repair. I mean hell, you're hired to go to some house and correct the electrical stuff in an inspection report (the only such item in this case), but you go out there, have a look, and decide for yourself not to do it...but bill for your time anyway? How can I get a job where I refuse to do what's asked but still get paid?

Anyway, could someone with the new NEC stuff post the exact part of the current code where they say you can't do this?

And correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that old "interpretation by the local AHJ" thing only where the code isn't clear or definitive? If it plainly says you "must" or "cannot", etc., can the local guy overule the code (technically speaking, of course)?

Gotta love these guys...they know better than the people who make the equipment or those who write the NEC. I'm in such rarified company here...[:-dunce]

Brian G.

Miffed in Mississippi [:-irked]

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I feel your pain Bro.

At one time, uninsulated KT, 3 prong 220V outlets, 2 prong non grounded outlets were all common. (Still see a lot of 3 prong 220V outlets in new construction)

I'm not sure if it's in the New NEC version or the old, but what I use is 110.14(a), the manufacturers sticker on the cabinet plus a UL listing which, I can not find right now but I'm sure someone has handy, perhaps Bro Katen or Douglas.

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Brian, it happens. All you can do is advise your client. The client has to make the final decision.

Here's what I tell my clients about the disagreement issue.

DIFFERING OPINIONS

Don't be surprised when a contractor or real estate agent says something is okay when I said it isn't. Home inspectors are generalists conducting an essentially visual inspection and recommending specialists in the appropriate area for specific repairs. Some specialists, and other people, will disagree with my opinions. I always defer to specialists opinions, since as a matter of law, they are supposed to know more than I do. I've put my opinions in writing. I feel you should have those who disagree put their opinions in writing also. Ask them to include their license number, if applicable, and guarantee that the item is safe or OK to operate as it is. If they refuse to do so, you need to establish what weight to give each opinion. The one time I am aware that this happened, a plumber said a water heater was safe and would continue to operate OK when I said it wasn't and wouldn't. When he was asked to put it in writing he refused. The water heater was subsequently replaced.

And here's a photo showing why two neutrals under one screw isn't a real good idea. Don't know the photo source. Show it to the client, electricians, AHJ.

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif BurnedNeutralsandBus2.jpg

92.51 KB

408.21 Grounded Conductor Terminations.

Each grounded conductor shall terminate within the panelboard in an individual terminal that is not also used for another conductor.

Exception: Grounded conductors of circuits with parallel conductors shall be permitted to terminate in a single terminal if the terminal is identified for connection of more than one conductor.

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Originally posted by Erby

Some specialists, and other people, will disagree with my opinions. I always defer to specialists opinions, since as a matter of law, they are supposed to know more than I do.

That's a little farther than I can go Erby. I'm not deferring to specialist who's just plain wrong when I can prove it. The gentleman in question may have qualifications stretching from here to the coast and back, but he's wrong.

408.21 Grounded Conductor Terminations.

Each grounded conductor shall terminate within the panelboard in an individual terminal that is not also used for another conductor.

Question: Is an equipment ground considered a "conductor"?

I remembered after posting the topic that this is actually the third time, but the guy in-between didn't put anything in writing.

And at the risk of drift, I also had a HVAC contractor today who declined to install the correct size of breaker on a condenser unit. That one stunned me for a second or two...it's stamped right into the label fer cryin' out loud.

Brian G.

In the Land of Genius Contractors [:-boggled

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Originally posted by Brian G

408.21 Grounded Conductor Terminations.

Each grounded conductor shall terminate within the panelboard in an individual terminal that is not also used for another conductor.

In the 2005 edition, that's section 408.41.

Question: Is an equipment ground considered a "conductor"?

I think it would be hard to consider it anything else.

I've attached another tidbit for you that might come in useful. Check it out.

But you know, it isn't about what is and isn't correct. These guys aren't really arguing about the code. They're arguing about you (or more accurately, us). It's like when you walk into a bar and sit down and the guy next to you says, "That seat is already taken, " when you know damn well that it's not. You can react in a couple of different ways. Your reaction will affect how that person addresses you the next time you walk into that bar and sit down.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Download Attachment: icon_word.gif NEC_Code_Panel_Log.doc

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

I've attached another tidbit for you that might come in useful. Check it out.

That's an extremely useful tidbit. Thanks Jim.

You can react in a couple of different ways. Your reaction will affect how that person addresses you the next time you walk into that bar and sit down.

I hear you. I didn't fire off on anyone, I just never would agree that it wasn't a potential problem. I can't believe they put this stuff in writing, on their letterhead.


I've been thinking more about the general concept of getting paid to not do what is asked. Picture this conversation...

Client: "Mr. Goodman, this is Bob Jones calling. I was wondering if you had that inspection report ready. We'd like to move things along here, if there were no big problems."

Me: "Well Mr. Jones, I went and took a quick look around, but once I did I quickly realised you don't really need a home inspection. Heck the house is only 5 years old, and it was inspected by the local building department then. It's a lovely place, I'm sure everything is just fine.

Client: "Umm...you mean you didn't do the inspection?"

Me: "Nah, you're good to go. I'm sending you a couple of sentences to that affect on my letterhead, along with the bill. If you could get that check to me this week I'd appreciate it."

I may have stumbled onto a whole new source of income here boys. Just think how...popular...I would be (in certain circles) with that approach.

Brian G.

Alternate Home Inspection Pioneer [^]

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Brian

I agree with you on how frustrating it is when a problem has been identified and the support that you expect from so called experts drives a nail into your assessment of that problem. The AHJ person might agree with your position but is powerless to enforce that position because he can only enforce code requirements that his locality had adopted in the year that the construction of the permit was issued.

As for the document that Jim provided, it agrees with your position but it is most likely not a code requirement for your area “YETâ€

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Originally posted by monte

The AHJ person might agree with your position but is powerless to enforce that position because he can only enforce code requirements that his locality had adopted in the year that the construction of the permit was issued.

As for the document that Jim provided, it agrees with your position but it is most likely not a code requirement for your area “YETâ€

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

408.21 Grounded Conductor Terminations.

Each grounded conductor shall terminate within the panelboard in an individual terminal that is not also used for another conductor.

(Brian G.) Question: Is an equipment ground considered a "conductor"?

I think it would be hard to consider it anything else.

I meant to come back to this. Does this mean that two equipment grounds also cannot be placed in the same terminal (unless they meet the parallel conductor exception), not just two neutrals or neutrals & equipment grounds mixed?

Brian G.

Man of a Thousand Questions [:-masked]

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From the 2002 NEC.

250.142 Use of Grounded Circuit Conductor for Grounding Equipment.

- (A) Supply-Side Equipment. A grounded circuit conductor shall be permitted to ground non–current-carrying metal parts of equipment, raceways, and other enclosures at any of the following locations:

- - (1) On the supply side or within the enclosure of the ac service-disconnecting means

- - (2) On the supply side or within the enclosure of the main disconnecting means for separate buildings as provided in 250.32(B)

- - (3) On the supply side or within the enclosure of the main disconnecting means or overcurrent devices of a separately derived system where permitted by 250.30(A)(1)

- (B) Load-Side Equipment. Except as permitted in 250.30(A)(1) and 250.32(B), a grounded circuit conductor shall not be used for grounding non–current-carrying metal parts of equipment on the load side of the service disconnecting means or on the load side of a separately derived system disconnecting means or the overcurrent devices for a separately derived system not having a main disconnecting means.

- - Exception No. 1: The frames of ranges, wall-mounted ovens, counter-mounted cooking units, and clothes dryers under the conditions permitted for existing installations by 250.140 shall be permitted to be grounded by a grounded circuit conductor.

- - Exception No. 2: It shall be permissible to ground meter enclosures by connection to the grounded circuit conductor on the load side of the service disconnect if

- - - (a) No service ground-fault protection is installed, and

- - - (b) All meter enclosures are located near the service disconnecting means, and

- - - © The size of the grounded circuit conductor is not smaller than the size specified in Table 250.122 for equipment grounding conductors.

- - Exception No. 3: Direct-current systems shall be permitted to be grounded on the load side of the disconnecting means or overcurrent device in accordance with 250.164.

- - Exception No. 4: Electrode-type boilers operating at over 600 volts shall be grounded as required in 490.72(E)(1) and 490.74.

408.21 Grounded Conductor Terminations.

Each grounded conductor shall terminate within the panelboard in an individual terminal that is not also used for another conductor.

Exception: Grounded conductors of circuits with parallel conductors shall be permitted to terminate in a single terminal if the terminal is identified for connection of more than one conductor.

Richard R.

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Originally posted by Brian G.

Originally posted by Jim Katen

408.21 Grounded Conductor Terminations.

Each grounded conductor shall terminate within the panelboard in an individual terminal that is not also used for another conductor.

(Brian G.) Question: Is an equipment ground considered a "conductor"?

I think it would be hard to consider it anything else.

I meant to come back to this. Does this mean that two equipment grounds also cannot be placed in the same terminal (unless they meet the parallel conductor exception), not just two neutrals or neutrals & equipment grounds mixed?

Brian G.

Man of a Thousand Questions [:-masked]

No, it doesn't. It just says each grounded (not grounding) conductor must end in its own terminal.

The panel instructions I've read say that you can place two and sometimes three grounding conductors under a designated terminal. These would be the equipment grounding conductors of which you speak.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

No, it doesn't. It just says each grounded (not grounding) conductor must end in its own terminal.

The panel instructions I've read say that you can place two and sometimes three grounding conductors under a designated terminal. These would be the equipment grounding conductors of which you speak.

Ah-so! That's the way I've understood it and written things up in the past, but with a fine distinction in language like that a second opinion is always good. Gracias, Lord Jim.

Brian G.

Houston, We Have Confirmation...[:-alien]

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A footnote to this episode...

Among the other items I was asked to check the repairs on (same house) was shingles that had slipped out of place and exposed / uncaulked nails on the roofing. When I looked they had missed a couple of the shingles and all of the nails. I was asked to call the guy and clarify, which I did. Today I was engaged yet again to see if those repairs were satisfactory. This time they got all of the shingles, but only one out of at least ten nails I saw. In the morning I'll pass that along to the client's agent, who'll call the sellers agent, and the poop will encounter the propeller once more...and it'll be all my fault again.

Brian G.

Bad Guy [:(!]

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Originally posted by Brian G.

A footnote to this episode...

Among the other items I was asked to check the repairs on (same house) was shingles that had slipped out of place and exposed / uncaulked nails on the roofing. When I looked they had missed a couple of the shingles and all of the nails. I was asked to call the guy and clarify, which I did. Today I was engaged yet again to see if those repairs were satisfactory. This time they got all of the shingles, but only one out of at least ten nails I saw. In the morning I'll pass that along to the client's agent, who'll call the sellers agent, and the poop will encounter the propeller once more...and it'll be all my fault again.

Brian G.

Bad Guy [:(!]

Precisely why I don't do reinspections! I tell'em to use licensed, qualified people and get receipts, warranties, etc. The repair person is responsible for his work and he just bought all the liability. When I was doing reinspections a proper repair was a thing of wonder. It almost never happened.

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I'm with Mr. MacLean. I can not recall a single reinspection that I've been paid for where the correction has been completed properly if at all.

I'm getting close to implementing a 'no reinspection' policy.

I'm also with you Brian - it is difficult to not feel 'responsible' for being the bad guy.

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