What is a conduit termination?

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Coltin's picture
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Joined: 2013-10-29

Have Federal Contract on Air Force Base. Reference 358.30.(B) where it states horizontal runs of EMT securely fastened within 3 ft of termination points.  Inspector is stating a conduit termination is the end of a conduit -  here is his reasoning:
Although the code does not list a specific defininition for termination point, the specified TIA-569 does. The Steel Tube Institute discusses it in their manual also.  The contractors conduit manufacturer discusses it in his installation guide.
1. NEC 358.30(B) states to securely fasten the conduit within 3' of termination points.  The code handbook has a picture and not one coupling or fitting has a support shown in the picture that is more than 3'.  The picture even has dimensions on it.
2. TIA 569-V paragraph 8.8.3.1 states metallic conduit shall be terminated with an insulated bushing.  The end of the communication conduit does not have to be installed in a junction box or a device.
3. The Steel Tube institute paragraph 4.4.1 notes that a "termination point" is not limited to outlet and junction boxes, device boxes, cabinets and conduit bodies.  The Steel Tube Institute also considers conduit and tubing as the same item as the title of section 4.4 states. ("Support of Raceways")
4.  The contractors conduit manufacturers code interpretation on supports states to support the conduit within 3' of a conduit termination.  They did not say 3' from a conduit termination with a box or device on it.
 In summary, the conduit should be supported within 3' of the conduit/tubing termination point.  Where the conduit ends is a termination point.  If you cut a 10' piece of conduit, the end of that conduit is the termination point.  If you install a coupling on the end of the cut piece (termination point) you need a support within 3' of that termination point.
 
We have never had an interpretaton such as this on any project - ever.  Does anyone have any experience with this issue - stating that every coupling is a termination point of a conduit?
 

KSsparky's picture
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Joined: 2014-03-18

Per Dictionary.com, Termination: the place or part where anything terminates; bound or limit. The conduit run does not terminate at each coupling. The individual stick of EMT may stop, but the complete system referenced in NFPA 70 358.30 does not. When surface mounting you may wind up strapping within 3 ft of each coupling by virtue of securely fastening the system every 10 ft. (I would suggest that this rule being the same distance as a length of conduit is no accident.) If you are running through metal studs, the every 10 ft fastening is not required. I have had inspectors make some interesting claims over the years, and have even dealt with the Corps of Engineers on occasion, but I have never had one try to apply the secure fastening requirements on couplings. Good luck to you!

AdamBomb41's picture
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Joined: 2013-11-08

I think an inspector is stretching the termination point definition to involve support at couplings. As an inspector, I've never heard that interpretation before, nor do I agree with it.

Dr. Shock's picture
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Joined: 2014-03-21

First, tell him you would like to discuss this and look up the definition of termination.
I have had to call the chief electrical inspector on occasion and as long as you are courteous this should work. Do not give up on it if at first you don't succeed.
What are locknuts and connectors for? To terminate the conduit into a box or gutter or wireway, etc.
A coupling is used to JOIN things together.
Good luck!

dpiper's picture
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Joined: 2014-05-28

The commentary to 358.30(A) references 344.30(A) commentary, which states "Couplings are not considered conduit terminations".

B.C's picture
B.C
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Joined: 2013-10-28

WOW, I can actually now see what the inspector meant when he said the conduit ends are Terminations. I would have never thought of it that way without this article. We, as electricians, think of conduit as segments that collectively become a pipe run. We have been taught to do that since the beginning of time. From what I have gleaned from the above information, the manufacturer considers Conduit, the single segment. They do not make 100 foot runs, we do. From the manufacturers point of view, every cut end of the segment is a termination point. The one segment of pipe ends, and therefore, must be supported. Then if we add another segment, so on and so on.
Many years ago, I worked for a municipality here in Michigan. It had its own inspection system and its own wants and needs. Then, we put two straps on every 10 foot run. One by the box and one within 12" of the coupling. I had long written this off as the desires of an ex-Navy officer, who had a control complex. Perhaps, his training some 60 plus years ago, taught him that the end of the pipe where the fitting goes, is a termination point.
Unfortunately for us, our Code is understood, or misunderstood, based upon the colloquialisms of our region and our training. We have all seen conduit runs that suffer from coupling sag. If we considered the coupling a termination point and had a strap nearby, coupling sag would not happen.

dpiper's picture
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Joined: 2014-05-28

A coupling is not a tubing or conduit termination. It is a continuation of the tubing. See my comment above.

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