Joe Tedesco uncovers faulty installations involving section 314.29, article 440, and section 110.26 of the National Electrical Code.
Hit and Run
This hit and run victim revealed itself after some spring cleaning was performed by a landscape crew. Unfortunately, this exposed splice box looks like it has been this way for quite a long time. The circuits were energized and serve year-round tree lighting and receptacles throughout the parking lot.
Although this type of box is permitted for outdoor locations, it has been installed much too close to this low curb edge. As such, vehicle tires have more than likely made contact with this on more than one occasion. The installer should have located this box in a better protected location.
One section of the Code comes to mind when reviewing this installation. As noted in 314.29, “Boxes, conduit bodies, and handhole enclosures shall be installed so that the wiring contained in them can be rendered accessible without removing any part of the building or, in underground circuits, without excavating sidewalks, paving, earth, or other substance that is to be used to establish the finished grade.” An Exception to this requirement states, “Listed boxes and handhole enclosures shall be permitted where covered by gravel, light aggregate, or non-cohesive granulated soil if their location is effectively identified and accessible for excavation.”
Too Close for Comfort
Okay, so how does one go about accessing this disconnect? I know the photo angle skews this a bit, but we can clearly see this equipment arrangement does not allow for proper working space.
The provisions of Part II in Art. 440 outline the disconnecting means of air-conditioning and refrigerating equipment. As noted in 440.14, “Disconnecting means shall be located within sight from and readily accessible from the air conditioning or refrigerating equipment. The disconnecting means shall be permitted to be installed on or within the air-conditioning or refrigerating equipment. The disconnecting means shall not be located on panels that are designed to allow access to the air-conditioning or refrigeration equipment or to obscure the equipment nameplate(s).”
In addition, Sec. 110.26 states, “Access and working space shall be provided and maintained about all electrical equipment to permit ready and safe operation and maintenance of such equipment.” As per 110.26(A), “Working space for equipment operating at 600V, nominal, or less to ground and likely to require examination, adjustment, servicing, or maintenance while energized shall comply with the dimensions of 110.26(A)(1), (A)(2), and (A)(3) or as required or permitted elsewhere in this Code.”