As usual, never consider the following commentary associated with these photos as a formal interpretation of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Without criticizing anyone or any product, the following scenarios present us with serious safety questions.

All references are based on the 2005 NEC.

Missing Covers, Improper Mounting,
and More

Phil Davis, a data center designer with Bank of America MBNA, took these pictures inside a commercial office building in Dallas. “If the wires don't fit, just remove the cover,” Davis says. “As for the panelboards, so much Type SJO flexible cord was used that the only solution was to leave the covers off and build a closet around them. Hopefully, the building has been torn down by now.”

Besides all of the missing covers, we can call attention to the overcrowding of the junction box and cite 314.16. As for the lack of compliance with the rules for wiring systems support above the dropped ceiling, we can reference 300.23. The same condition exists for the low-energy type wiring — where the removal of the dropped ceiling tiles will deny access to equipment. The sideways mounting of the panelboard violates the requirements of 240.33. In addition, the Code requires you to install overcurrent devices in a vertical position in a vertical enclosure, unless this is shown to be impracticable. Circuit breaker enclosures shall be installed horizontally where the circuit breaker is installed in accordance with 240.81.

Found a Code Violation? E-mail your photos to Joe Tedesco at