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Service panel in tracking/control room - an issue?
Old 9th February 2014 | Show parent
  #121
Lives for gear
 
AwwDeOhh's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
As for the meat of the back -n- forth between you two (while very interesting) i cannot comment as electricity/connections/etc are all greek to me.
But what i can say is this:

"Inspectors" level of expertise range from the Word of God, to Forrest Gump...
I had one such "inspector" hold up an addition to my previous home (actually it was a garage...), and i suspect he was just wanting to be bribed... (or feel like he actually was doing something...)
He had me re-do the blueprints several times (un-neededly) and tear down framing etc... the last time he was "inspecting"-- after many many back-n-forths and me at my wits end...
his comment was-- "Why do you have the rafters running that way? It seems to me you could save on lumber by running them the other way, as you wouldn't need such long beams."
My response was "err..uhh.. yeah... it would save in lumber... BUT... WTF would hold the roof up!?!"
His response: "oh, yeah, i guess that makes sense..."

My palm holding my face, i got approved. I later learned he got his job, NOT because he knew anything about anything, but that he was a relative of a councilmen...
Granted mine was the 'building inspector' not the electrical code dude, but yeah...
Old 10th February 2014
  #122
Lives for gear
 
Rod Gervais's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Here in CT (and any of the states I've designed in to date) the term "building official" is all encompassing.......... and they are certified in all disciplines..... now, in locales where there is need they hire people who are often certified electrical inspectors/plumbing inspectors/etc. - but the term "building official" itself covers all disciplines.

While I can understand people who do this one time putting up with crap like that - I would not tolerate it for a single second.............

To begin with it is "verboten" for the official to suggest "means and methods" - they are simply suppose to enforce the code....... if they see a violation they are required to cite you "chapter and verse"......... they need to actually tell you why they are rejecting your plans..... why they are requiring you to redo work - and they are required to support those demands with the actual code they are using to make those determinations so that you might have a chance to review the code and determine whether you agree with them or not........

I've had inspectors make the mistake of saying to me "because I told you so" and, when the State Building Official pulls them up short and tells them they are wrong - they generally don't walk that particular line with me any longer.

Now - I know I sound hard arsed - but I actually get along with these folks more than we knock heads....... this (perhaps) because they know I really do want things done right - and if something is wrong that I missed (for some reason or another) I welcome them pointing it out to me........ just don't jerk my chain and pull this "in my town" crap...... that never ever sits well with me........ they are obligated to follow the same rules as I am...... and are not allowed to hold me to a higher standard than the code requires - regardless of what they might want personally.......

Rod
Old 10th February 2014 | Show parent
  #123
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ritelec's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rod gervais ➡️
the term "building official" is all encompassing..........
don't look behind that curtain !!!

Service panel in tracking/control room - an issue?-oz.png



the great and powerful..........
Old 11th February 2014 | Show parent
  #124
Lives for gear
 
jhbrandt's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod Gervais ➡️
Here in CT (and any of the states I've designed in to date) the term "building official" is all encompassing.......... and they are certified in all disciplines..... now, in locales where there is need they hire people who are often certified electrical inspectors/plumbing inspectors/etc. - but the term "building official" itself covers all disciplines.

While I can understand people who do this one time putting up with crap like that - I would not tolerate it for a single second.............

To begin with it is "verboten" for the official to suggest "means and methods" - they are simply suppose to enforce the code....... if they see a violation they are required to cite you "chapter and verse"......... they need to actually tell you why they are rejecting your plans..... why they are requiring you to redo work - and they are required to support those demands with the actual code they are using to make those determinations so that you might have a chance to review the code and determine whether you agree with them or not........

I've had inspectors make the mistake of saying to me "because I told you so" and, when the State Building Official pulls them up short and tells them they are wrong - they generally don't walk that particular line with me any longer.

Now - I know I sound hard arsed - but I actually get along with these folks more than we knock heads....... this (perhaps) because they know I really do want things done right - and if something is wrong that I missed (for some reason or another) I welcome them pointing it out to me........ just don't jerk my chain and pull this "in my town" crap...... that never ever sits well with me........ they are obligated to follow the same rules as I am...... and are not allowed to hold me to a higher standard than the code requires - regardless of what they might want personally.......

Rod
+1 [Emphasis added]
- John
Old 11th February 2014 | Show parent
  #125
Lives for gear
 
AwwDeOhh's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod Gervais ➡️
Here in CT (and any of the states I've designed in to date) the term "building official" is all encompassing..........
Gawd, i wish you were there to rip him a new "hole". As it was, i was quite young at the time, wasn't well versed in well.. many [most] things ...including codes (but i did know most of what was related to what i was doing along with having an architect friend help with the plans).

This fella was the most unprofessional un-(insert adjective) goofball i've ever dealt with in local government.
Old 15th February 2014 | Show parent
  #126
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Update

Hi guys,

Sorry for the silence (not that I had that much to contribute to the fascinating and ultimately civilized debate between Rod and Ritalec).

I changed my email, and had issues with it around the time the activation email was sent and was not able to post or get updates. Also insanely busy at work catching up from the black hole of time this project has created...

Have been working with John Brandt, who true to form has been supremely helpful.

My situation continues to evolve - will post a few updates below.

pr
Old 15th February 2014 | Show parent
  #127
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quebec

Quote:
Originally Posted by AwwDeOhh ➡️
Gawd, i wish you were there to rip him a new "hole". As it was, i was quite young at the time, wasn't well versed in well.. many [most] things ...including codes (but i did know most of what was related to what i was doing along with having an architect friend help with the plans).

This fella was the most unprofessional un-(insert adjective) goofball i've ever dealt with in local government.
The situation here is weirdly different. In Quebec, the Insurance lobby managed (perhaps wisely) to pretty much outlaw any kind of electrical work not done by a licensed electrician. At one point, it came close to making it illegal for Home Depot to sell wire nuts and electrical boxes (only wholesalers selling to licensed electricians would have been allowed). It is still illegal here to install a light fixture yourself (assuming you're not an electrician; contractors can gouge at will on this).

While this all sounds like it should enhance safety, I spoke with another electrician I know from work and he said the actual effect was not so great. In other provinces and much of the US, you *can* get a permit to do your own electrical work, and it *will* be inspected by someone from a government agency whose only agenda is to ensure code compliance. In Quebec, because everything is done by licensed electricians, there is *zero* inspection. The result has been that electricians here feel they can cut corners with impunity, and residential jobs are typically rife with code violations (stuff that will work, but is against code). There's also the fact that the guys doing the work are generally journymen and apprentices so the actual level of experience is somewhat uneven. To make a buck, these firms usually spread themselves way too thin and so the level of oversight by the actual master electrician is pretty much nil.

The other effect the rules have had is to drive a thriving market for "amateur" electricians who do residential work on the sly, with no worries about being inspected since inspections basically don't exist here. I called the city office who issued my building permit to ask if they ever do inspections, even at the homeowner's request/expense, and they said flat-out no. All they actually care about is valuation for property taxes... at the end of the day, the only potential consequence is that in the event of an electrical fire, the insurance company will investigate *very* thoroughly and if it's found that amateur wiring was involved, then forget about your coverage.

The journeyman electrician working at my site knows how to use the tools, but knows pretty much nothing about electricity. My work involves electricity and magnetism, in a laboratory and hospital environment (MRI). I will be the first to admit I know nothing about residential wiring coming into this, but understand the physics and know when someone is BS'ing me.

Anyhow, some of this will become clear when I post some of the other stuff that's been going on.

Gotta run now, and thanks to all for participating in the thread. I am really learning a lot (although it's the tip of the iceberg).

pr
Old 16th February 2014 | Show parent
  #128
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quebec (Canadian) code on bonding/grounding

[I'm getting weirdness trying to preview this, so apologies if post shows up empty]

Here's what our code says on bonding/grounding and connection in service panel.

First, residential systems (which meet a, b) have to be grounded:

Quote:
10-106 Alternating-current systems
(1) Except as otherwise provided for in this Code, alternating-current systems shall be grounded if
(a) by so doing, their maximum voltage-to-ground does not exceed 150 V; or
(b) the system incorporates a neutral conductor.
(2) Wiring systems supplied by an ungrounded supply shall be equipped with a suitable ground detection
device to indicate the presence of a ground fault.
but that was never really in question.

Regarding where connections are made:

Quote:
10-204 Grounding connections for alternating-current systems
(1) When a consumer’s service is supplied by an alternating-current system that is required to be grounded in
accordance with Rule 10-106(1), the system shall
(a) be connected to a grounding conductor at the transformer or other source of supply;
(b) be connected to a grounding conductor at each individual service, with the connection made on the
supply side of the service disconnecting means either in the service box or in other service
equipment
; and
(c) except as provided for in Rule 10-208, have no connection between the grounded circuit conductor
on the load side of the service disconnecting means and the grounding electrode.
(2) Where the system is grounded at any point, the grounded conductor shall
(a) be run to each individual service;
(b) have a minimum size as specified for bonding conductors in Table 16;
(c) also comply with Rule 4-022 where it serves as the neutral; and
(d) be included in each parallel run where the service conductors are run in parallel.
(3) Notwithstanding Rule 12-108, the size of the system grounded conductors in each parallel run shall be permitted to be smaller than No. 1/0 AWG.
I think my electrician is violating 10-204(1)(b)

Here's 12-108, which covers outbuildings (i.e. the doghouse to which I'm going to be banished if I don't finish this project soon):

Quote:
10-208 Grounding connections for two or more buildings or structures supplied from a single service
Where two or more buildings or structures are supplied from a single service,
(a) the grounded circuit conductor at each of the buildings or structures shall be connected to a grounding
electrode and bonded to the non-current-carrying metal parts of the electrical equipment; or
(b) except for buildings housing livestock, the non-current-carrying metal parts of the electrical equipment in
or on the building or structure shall be permitted to be bonded to ground by a bonding conductor run with the feeder or branch circuit conductors.
pr
Old 16th February 2014
  #129
Lives for gear
 
Rod Gervais's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Based on:

Quote:
either in the service box or in other service
equipment
I can't see how a separate (dedicated) ground panel (from which which a grounding cable then ties to the main ground conductor prior to the ground) would violate that requirement.

But I also can't see how the installation violates 10-204(1)(b) - what has he done in that regard that seems wrong to you?

Rod
Old 16th February 2014 | Show parent
  #130
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod Gervais ➡️
I can't see how a separate (dedicated) ground panel (from which which a grounding cable then ties to the main ground conductor prior to the ground) would violate that requirement.
I don't have a separate ground panel - he just runs the insulated ground conductors directly to my water pipe. They are not bonded to anything inside the panel (they pass through the panel, but are not connected to anything within).

Quote:
But I also can't see how the installation violates 10-204(1)(b) - what has he done in that regard that seems wrong to you?
Although there is no specific definition in the code for "service equipment", other definitions relating to "service" generally indicate connections made inside enclosures that are protected and capable of being locked ("service box", "consumer's service", "service room"). Having the safety ground connection depend - solely - on an exposed clamp on a water pipe in my garage does not seem consistent with this, or like a great idea.

A dedicated ground panel, as you describe, would probably meet the definition for "service equipment". I don't think a pipe and a clamp in my garage qualifies.

I will try to post some pictures of what he's done -

pr
Old 16th February 2014 | Show parent
  #131
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Some pics

Attached are to photos that show how my electrician has tried to wire "insulated ground".

One shows the insulated safety ground from receptacles, connected to a #6 cable that leads out of the panel and to the water pipe (at the far other corner of the house). Electrician insists this is not, and should not, be connected to anything else inside the panel (i.e. it's not bonded to the neutral bus). To be clear, it's the big wad of wires wrapped in green tape.

The other photo shows the insulated ground conductors at an electrical box. They have red insulation, taped green at the ends.

In my mind, this whole setup is:

- useless
- sloppy
- probably against code
- probably unsafe

I have a meeting with the electrician on Thursday where he's going to explain why this is a helpful for audio, and to code.

pr
Attached Thumbnails
Service panel in tracking/control room - an issue?-img_0631.jpg   Service panel in tracking/control room - an issue?-img_0624.jpg  
Old 17th February 2014 | Show parent
  #132
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
More electrical craftsmanship

There's a 120V wall-mounted heater for the bathroom, for which the GC has had the specs forever. He was explicitly told it's 120V, not 240V, and I had this discussion with the electrician as well.

For some reason, the electrician ran Heatex cable for this heater, which is intended for 240V units with no neutral (black and red wires). I guess he remembered it's 120V, because he repurposed the red-insulated conductor for neutral (see pic).

I guess this is why there's a red conductor connected on the neutral bus in the panel (see other pic).

I mentioned this to the GC, but these guys have an excuse for everything...

pr
Attached Thumbnails
Service panel in tracking/control room - an issue?-img_0623.jpg   Service panel in tracking/control room - an issue?-img_0632.jpg  
Old 17th February 2014 | Show parent
  #133
Lives for gear
 
Rod Gervais's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhaseRoll ➡️
I don't have a separate ground panel - he just runs the insulated ground conductors directly to my water pipe. They are not bonded to anything inside the panel (they pass through the panel, but are not connected to anything within).
OK - now I understand - that is a code violation based on my interpretation of your code....

Rod
Old 17th February 2014 | Show parent
  #134
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod Gervais ➡️
OK - now I understand - that is a code violation based on my interpretation of your code....
Thanks - here is a picture of my "ground electrode". It's the water pipe entering the house - it's copper in this section. Nobody knows how far it's copper under ground. The city actually sent out letters a couple of years ago saying that, in some parts of my neighbourhood, sections the pipes between the water main and houses may be lead (they said we should all use water filters to be safe).

Note that the ground electrode conductor for the "IG" wiring has not yet been added. The clamp you see if for the original, standard GEC. Before somebody asks, we do not have water meters in Montreal.

In the event of a shorted equipment chassis in my home studio, fault current would have to flow along the dedicated GEC to this pipe, through the pipe to the original GEC, back to the panel, then via the neutral bus to return to the transformer winding (hopefully tripping the breaker in the process). The pipe is exposed in my garage, and sometimes freezes during cold weather - it could conceivably burst; the electrician added a heating coil, which has not been correctly installed - another story.

pr
Attached Thumbnails
Service panel in tracking/control room - an issue?-img_0818.jpg  
Old 20th February 2014 | Show parent
  #135
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhaseRoll ➡️
For some reason, the electrician ran Heatex cable for this heater, which is intended for 240V units with no neutral (black and red wires). I guess he remembered it's 120V, because he repurposed the red-insulated conductor for neutral.
Seems like painting the neutral is allowed under our code:

Quote:
4-028 Identification of insulated neutral conductors up to and including No. 2 AWG copper or aluminum

(1) Except as permitted in Subrules (2), (3), and (4), all insulated neutral conductors up to and including No. 2 AWG copper or aluminum, and the conductors of flexible cords that are permanently connected to such neutral conductors, shall be identified by a white or grey covering or by three continuous white stripes along the entire length of the conductor.

(2) Where conductors of different systems are installed in the same raceway, box, or other type of enclosure and the identified circuit conductor of one system is coloured by a white or grey covering, each identified circuit conductor of the other system, if present, shall be provided with a specific identification, and the identification shall be permitted to be an outer covering of white with an identifiable coloured stripe (not green) running along the insulation.

(3) The covering of the other conductor or conductors shall show a continuous colour contrasting that of an identified conductor; however, in the case of those flexible cords where the identified conductor is identified by a raised longitudinal ridge(s), the other conductors shall have no ridges.

(4) For multi-conductor cable, the insulated neutral conductor shall be permitted to be permanently marked as the identified conductor by painting or other suitable means at every point where the separate conductors have been rendered accessible and visible by removal of the outer covering of the cable, and the painting or other suitable means of marking the identified conductor shall not be permitted to render illegible the manufacturer’s numbering of the conductor.
The "identified conductor" means "neutral" in the QEC. I found this reading up before meeting the actual master electrician tomorrow. The manufacturer still discourages use of Heatex in 120V installations though.

Will see what he says about the IG... still seems silly and off-code to me.

pr
Old 20th February 2014 | Show parent
  #136
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Update

Met with the electrician this morning and main topic of discussion was the IG.

I pointed out what seem to be the deviations from code, and why it's likely of no value in residential wiring with plastic jacketed cables. He would not budge on either point, although when I whipped out the two copies of the code I got from the library (English and French) he seemed a bit flustered.

In the end, everybody agreed that rather than engaging in an endless academic debate about the technical merits of IG and interpretations of the code, it was probably best to do what the client wants.

I accept the responsibility for saying yes to it initially, but my conversation from the master electrician left me with the feeling that there was some stuff he really didn't know but should, such as:

- he kept insisting that the connection to earth at the water pipe is the only thing that matters for safety, and that this entirely adequate for ground fault protection (this is debunked in a whole bunch of reputable sources)

- also would not relent on how the IG setup his journeyman ran *was* better, because the studio ground was isolated from the other grounds

- but then went on to also insist that the IG setup *was* code compliant because the studio ground was connected to the other grounds and the neutral bus in the panel (which kind of contradicts the previous point)

Anyhow, I know I'm starting to be a pedantic jackass about this and there are way more important things to spend time on. The lesson learned has been that, while we depend on these licensed tradespeople for professional advice, it's still important to be an informed consumer (which means sometimes being a pain in the ass).

The annoying thing now is a couple of loudly humming breakers, which I should probably just address by building a cabinet around the panel. The electrician claimed it was because they had a high load, but the breaker in question (bedroom) was only running a clock radio at the time (and it's an old breaker, not AFCI).

pr
Old 20th February 2014
  #137
Lives for gear
 
Rod Gervais's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
A breaker should never hum if they are within their rated load - and no circuit should be overloaded by design........ so I can't buy that particular argument....

A breaker will often "buzz" when they are approaching capacity...... but this should not be a normal occurrence, and I would be highly suspect of any breaker that was buzzing when the only load on it was a clock radio...... I would have to suspect that there was either something else on the circuit that I was unaware of, the clock radio is on it's way out and (perhaps) it was time to replace it, the breaker itself was going bad, or there was a faulty connection somewhere in the chain of that particular circuit......

Personally I would be looking to solve the problem and would build the cabinet surround for the sake of the visual alone...

Rod
Old 21st February 2014 | Show parent
  #138
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod Gervais ➡️
A breaker should never hum if they are within their rated load - and no circuit should be overloaded by design........ so I can't buy that particular argument....

A breaker will often "buzz" when they are approaching capacity...... but this should not be a normal occurrence, and I would be highly suspect of any breaker that was buzzing when the only load on it was a clock radio...... I would have to suspect that there was either something else on the circuit that I was unaware of, the clock radio is on it's way out and (perhaps) it was time to replace it, the breaker itself was going bad, or there was a faulty connection somewhere in the chain of that particular circuit......

Personally I would be looking to solve the problem and would build the cabinet surround for the sake of the visual alone...

Rod
Thanks Rod,

Yeah that response is pretty questionable. The guy (master electrician) clearly just does not want to deal with this.

Some of these breakers may be pretty old, and in the excavation phase of this project they were been exposed to a lot of dust and vibration (even though the panel was covered with plastic sheeting, it's been dust armageddon).

The journeyman was pretty game to look into the buzzing breakers - we found one loud one and he swapped it for a new one which seemed to stop/reduce it. There was a lot of other loud work going on, which made it hard to assess properly (and I was already late for work).

Will look into the breaker issue - would probably do it with a different electrician when the dust settles from this construction phase.

pr
Old 21st February 2014
  #139
Lives for gear
 
AwwDeOhh's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Sounds like you're having fun up there in Canada...
Were these the 'original' breakers (ie, before the reno, off the old panel.. i know you had the panel moved/ but not sure if it is the same one put back in a new place or a totally new one) or were they added after?
Old 21st February 2014 | Show parent
  #140
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AwwDeOhh ➡️
Sounds like you're having fun up there in Canada...
Were these the 'original' breakers (ie, before the reno, off the old panel.. i know you had the panel moved/ but not sure if it is the same one put back in a new place or a totally new one) or were they added after?
These are largely the same breakers we had when I moved in in 2006. A couple were added for new circuits.

Pr
Old 21st February 2014 | Show parent
  #141
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AwwDeOhh ➡️
Sounds like you're having fun up there in Canada...
I love living in Quebec, but as you might have guessed from my posts our second national sport after hockey is complaining... one of the biggest and most longstanding bellyaches is about the quality of construction here.

When you drive across the border into Quebec from Ontario, New York, or Vermont, the quality of highways suddenly plummets. We're into our second year of a major inquiry on corruption in public works, which has involved pervasive bid collusion, corrupt practices like diluting materials (cement, gravel) with cheaper substitutes (which can reap millions on large projects), and pervasive bribing of public works inspectors and engineers. We've got a litany of sad stories in the newspaper about people getting killed by chunks of concrete falling from overpasses, buildings, and one guy who had a massive steel plate slip off a crane onto him. In residential construction, the concept of an inspection is a joke. Does not exist. Maybe part of the problem is that we're so isolated here by language and politics. When we do major projects in my hospital/laboratory job (things that *have* to work), we get contractors from England and Germany.

I know I probably sound like a spoiled brat, but I'm getting sick of this. My electrician yesterday (the master) was spouting complete BS at me like he was god.

The good thing is that, for arts and culture, Montreal is really a great place to be (the whole purpose of the freakin' room was to make music). Also, I really believe that what I've learned in this odyssey, thanks largely to GS members, will pay back manyfold in the coming years.

Cheers,

pr
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