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 2008 NEC.

ABORT LIFTOFF!

John M. Batavich of Stewart Engineering Consultants in Sarasota, Fla., found this lift station equipment at a project site he visited recently. “Although the luminaire mounted to the control panel appears to be listed for wet locations, the incandescent lampholder adjacent to the fence beside it is not,” says Batavich. “This control panel is located outdoors, and the ENT is exposed to direct sunlight. According to my interpretation, the installation is subject to physical damage. Type NM cabling appears to have been used for the incandescent lampholder, and is also serving as its sole means of support.”

The use of electrical nonmetallic tubing (ENT) is restricted in many locations. For example, it is not to be used in any hazardous (classified) location, except as permitted by other articles in the Code, or in exposed locations, except as permitted by 362.10(1), 362.10(5), and 362.10(7). It also cannot be used where exposed to the direct rays of the sun, unless identified as sunlight resistant, or where subject to physical damage. See 362.12 for a full list of restrictions. In addition, there are restrictions on the use of nonmetallic sheathed cable (334.12). This type of cable cannot be used in wet or damp locations.

WHAT LURKS ABOVE THE CEILING?

“Joe, here are some nice pictures on how not to hang pendant fixtures over tables in a restaurant,” says Fred Cocks, an electrical inspector with Commonwealth Electrical Inspection Service, Inc., Monroe, N.Y.

The space above this drop ceiling reveals a pretty scary and dangerous situation. The wiring method lacks proper support, there are missing covers on the handy boxes, and the fittings that are present aren't of the proper type. The list of Code requirements violated in this particular location are too numerous to list here. However, the list would begin with rules in Articles 300, 334, and 410.

Found a Code Violation? E-mail your photos (no cell phone images, please) to Joe Tedesco at joetedesco@comcast.net