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.

Maintenance: Not in This Installer's Vocabulary

An apartment maintenance technician recently asked Roger Zieg, owner of Zieg Electric in Council Bluffs, Iowa, to check out this service panel. The technician said another contractor told him it was okay to put the water meters below the panel because “…. there's a 2 × 4 header under the panel.” So much for dedicated electrical space, huh? There is also an issue with the hidden 90° flex connector running from the panel to the water heater.

This is a clear violation of 110.26, Spaces About Electrical Equipment, which in part states, “Sufficient access and working space shall be provided and maintained about all electric equipment to permit ready and safe operation and maintenance of such equipment.” This working space shall “comply with the dimensions of 110.26(A)(1), (A)(2), and (A)(3) or as required or permitted elsewhere in this Code.” In addition, 110.26(A)(1) states, “The depth of the working space in the direction of live parts shall not be less than that specified in Table 110.26(A)(1) unless the requirements of 110.26(A)(1)(a), (A)(1)(b), or (A)(1)(c) are met. Distances shall be measured from the exposed live parts or from the enclosure or opening if the live parts are enclosed.”

A Fine Line Between Creativity and Stupidity

Bill Beeler, assistant business manager, IBEW Local 14, La Crosse, Wis., was kind enough to pass this photo along, which was taken by Robert Strand, an employee of Wettstein Brothers Electric in La Crosse, Wis. This section of ¾-inch electrical metallic conduit (EMT) was removed from a motel that was being converted to an assisted living center. It's a little difficult to make out, but two of the No. 8 THW stranded conductors were spliced, and the third was not.

This is a clear violation of 300.15, Boxes, Conduit Bodies, or Fittings — Where Required, which in part states, “Fittings and connectors shall be used only with the specific wiring methods for which they are designed and listed. Where the wiring method is conduit, tubing, Type AC cable, Type MC cable, Type MI cable, nonmetallic-sheathed cable, or other cables, a box or conduit body shall be installed at each conductor splice point, outlet point, switch point, junction point, termination point, or pull point, unless otherwise permitted in 300.15(A) through (M).”

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