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Would you write this up?


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Square D sub-panel. Instead of using the grounding kit to isolate the neutrals and grounds, the sparky chose to cut out a section of bus bar (not sure that's the right term)

It serves the purpose of isolation, but I look at it as modifying the panel, so I write it up. An old time sparky (whom I respect) says it's a non issue. Opinions?

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From a practical point of view it doesn't bother me at all. I'm very conservative, but I don't think I'd write it...what's that you say?...you were looking for someone who's done more than 8 inspections to offer an opinion? Fine then, be like that.

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Chad,

I banish you to the depths of Hell, for even offering an opinion, grasshopper![:-dev3]

That being said, I always try to think about getting my ass sued. If, God forbid, there is an electrical catastrophe (I did find a scorched wire in the main panel) I try to anticipate where the finger will point. I guess I'm leaning toward "the manufacurer supplies a grounding kit, so they probably don't want you cutting up their perfectly good panel."

I'm still on the fence about reporting it.

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Inasmuch as most codes point to mfg's. equipment being installed to mfg's. spec's., I'd say you were right in reporting it. Of course it's functionally OK, but it gets into personal opinions instead of the right way to do it.

It's like when electrical engineers start coming up w/ new ideas & rules for wiring a house; sure, I get it, it's safe, but can't you just do it like everyone else so someone 10 years from now knows what's going on?

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Chris,

It's not something that I'd get excited about by itself, but if I'd noticed something else that required an electrician's attention, I'd probably tell my client to get the sparky to look at the issue in your photo as well. Like you imply and Kurt said, altering the panel is wrong, wrong, wrong. Every time.

That said, electrical is my weakest area. I'll be interested to read some Katenic verses on the subject.

Jim "When in doubt, be conservative" Morrison

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Originally posted by chrisprickett

Square D sub-panel. Instead of using the grounding kit to isolate the neutrals and grounds, the sparky chose to cut out a section of bus bar (not sure that's the right term)

It serves the purpose of isolation, but I look at it as modifying the panel, so I write it up. An old time sparky (whom I respect) says it's a non issue. Opinions?

It's technically incorrect, but I can't in my wildest dreams, imagine this causing any problem whatsoever. From a functional standpoint, it's equivilent to installing the grounding bar. I would ignore it and move on.

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Maybe I was concentrating too much on the "cutting out a section of the buss bar" part; my mind went to a Sawzall alteration. Did they just remove a portion of the bar by removing screws or readily accessible (and removable) components, or did they "cut it out"?

If it was a simple removal that the design of the panel accomodated, I wouldn't probably notice it if the wiring was all correct.

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Originally posted by mcramer

It's technically incorrect, but I can't in my wildest dreams, imagine this causing any problem whatsoever. From a functional standpoint, it's equivilent to installing the grounding bar. I would ignore it and move on.

The only problem I can imagine is if the terminal bar were made loose by removing it's connection to the crossover bar. If it were secured to the panel less well as a result of this tampering, that would be a problem.

Otherwise, I'd just note it as passing strange and move on.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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One of the ways I explain my findings to my clients is to have them visualize three boxes; the box on the right is the absolute school anser - the middle box is for things that aren't perfect, but aren't really problems - and the left box is for things that really should be corrected.

I also tell them that in writing I will always give them the school answer - but in this case I would tell them in my out loud voice that while it doesn't appear to be a design feature from the manufacturer - it's probably not an issue.

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All very good points, and have valid arguements to support them. I guess I tend to be more conservative, because in my neighborhood, there is an incredible turnover in homeownership.

I've been in the position several times of having to explain myself, for letting something ride that was "technically wrong", but in the real world, wouldn't make much difference.

Electrical stuff tends to freak people out, so I always lean toward, disclosure, disclosure, disclosure.

What I basically wrote was that while the risk was minimal, the panel had been modified contrary to the manufacturer's instructions, which could void any warranty. I did explain to the client that this was not the worse thing in the world, but could come back to bite them, when they sold.

Just for clarification, Scott is correct, it is not a removable jumper. They cut it with bolt cutters. Square D says right on the inside door that if you use the panel as a sub-panel, that yo must install the grounding kit. The funny thing was, the grounding kit was installed, they just chose to do the extra work of modifying it.

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I agree,with Mark, from a practical standpoint there's little to no chance this will result in a negative situation. From a technical standpoint, however, the listing and labeling of the panel has been negated which is a violation of the NEC. See NEC2002 articles 90.7, 100 I, 110.2, and 110.3 A&B. I report such violations only because I hold a state certificate as a residential electrical inspector and could be held to that qualification in a court of law. CYA I guess.

NORM SAGE

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I agree with you guys. However, I run my obs based on the 'manufacturer's labeled instructions'. In other words, if they list the 'equipment ground bar' kit to use for this panel, then this is 'unorthodox' (according to the panel manufacturer's labeled instructions) in order to make sure it was noted. I always read the label to look for ju-ju notes on these issues. If it says 'use this equipment ground bus', they you should. Because "they" (the manufacturer) tested it in 'scenarios' for safety. (This was word-of-mouth per Square D engineer who emailed me a few years ago on a similar issue).

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For me this sort of issue has always been real simple. (1) Is it right as it is??? (2) If they sold the house tomorrow and another inspector points it out as wrong - do I like the buyers well enough to want to buy it???

If the answer to either question is "NO", I report it!! In some instances, I might verbally tell them although the XXXXX is not technically correct, it will probably function as is - BUT it is wrong and its their decision to REQUEST REPAIRS or ACCEPT it as is.

Dan Bowers

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Originally posted by DLRambo

For me this sort of issue has always been real simple. (1) Is it right as it is??? (2) If they sold the house tomorrow and another inspector points it out as wrong - do I like the buyers well enough to want to buy it???

If the answer to either question is "NO", I report it!! In some instances, I might verbally tell them although the XXXXX is not technically correct, it will probably function as is - BUT it is wrong and its their decision to REQUEST REPAIRS or ACCEPT it as is.

Dan Bowers

That's about what I did, in a nutshell.

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An electrical panelboard is a listed tested piece of equipment. IMO, any alteration should always be reported whether one thinks it could cause a problem or not. That is unless you enjoy having your behind hanging out there as a target for somebody's lwayer. They sell the house 2 years from now and I do a listing inspection for them you may be buying a new electrical panel.

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