Underground wiring conduit not deep enough.

steve340September 17, 2012

Well, I hired an electrician to install power with it's own meter in my detached garage. The electrician had a guy he uses to dig the ditch to the power pole. It turns out the inspector from the county said it was not up to code because he only installed the conduit 24' to 30' deep and it is suppose to be 36' deep. I have paid almost $6000 so far in getting a 200 amp panel and meter base and having a 340 foot long ditch dug plus some trees removed. After all this, I still do not have power. Who's fault do you thing this is? Who is responsible? I am done spending money on something that should have been done already.

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Electrician, he is supposed to know what is code. Don't pay him till you have it approved.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 3:14AM
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Ron Natalie

You might want to check that inspector/code. I've never heard of 36" being required. Even the direct buried 13KV underground lines feeding the transformers here are only down 24". While the NEC doesn't apply to service drops (which it sounds like you have here), nothing in the NEC needs to be more than 24" down.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 4:24AM
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Inspector is off his rocker, or his meds.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 11:10AM
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Electrician's issue, not yours. You paid the electrician to do a job, which should be to code. No wiggle room there. Did the inspector cough and hold his hand out when he told you? Just kidding.

Is the ditch filled, or not? Theoretically, if there's enough wire slack they can add enough conduit vertically to lower it, when they dig it out more. 340 is a long ditch, though. Tell them to get busy.

Downside is, if they refuse, and you refuse to pay, they could put a lien on your house. On the other hand, if they're doing work not to code, you should have some recourse against them. He doesn't want to lose his licence, or you wouldn't think so, anyway.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 3:00PM
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"You paid the electrician to do a job, which should be to code."

It IS to code.

24 inches in as deep as the NEC goes down.

And the POCO has a different set of rules for distribution lines.

The NEC does NOT apply to POCO lines on their side of the meter since that is still distribution wiring.

Even the size of tri-plex lines from pole to weather head are outside the NEC.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 9:40AM
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I agree that the inspector is way out of line.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 2:40PM
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If the meter is on the shed/garage then the line going to it will have to meet the POCO's requirements which ours is 30" minimum to the top of the pipe which is basically is a 3' minimum trench depth. I know this is a county inspector being discussed but if its not to depth by the inspector here you either make it deeper or pour a specified depth of red concrete over it and unless one or the other is done no power is run.

Its up to your electrician to fight that fight and you to tell him to do it or not get paid.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 9:13PM
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It is not uncommon at all for the utility to require distribution cable/conduits to be deeper than branch circuits or feeder requirements in the NEC. Either way, that is between your contractor and the utility. Let him fix it or don't pay. He should have known the required depth before he even started.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 11:04PM
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Ron Natalie

The 24" isn't limited to branch circuits or feeder (though as I and brick have poitned out the NEC Has no bearing on this) and as I said, it's rare that a utility requires/authority requires that for even over 600V direct buried stuff let alone stuff in conduit. But as pointed out in the first reply (and several others) it really should be encumbent on the electrician to argue this with the inspector or correct it.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 6:13AM
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