After a laundromat burned down, and the fire attributed to the wiring above the bar, the owner had me check out his other launderomat. This pic is what I found.
Rather than use conventional methods, someone had run power using romex, extension cord material, zip cord- whatever would "work." Support, strain relief, conectors, and ampacity tables were something this guy never heard of. In several places, boxes were removed, and conductord exited the EMT directly- no bushing, no fitting, flying splice, the works.
Funny thing I've noticed since moving to Central CA from the south.. Seems romex is common (or was common) to use in commercial buildings. As far as I've ever known, this wasn't allowed. Is that another geographic thing?
#121903 - 09/06/0508:17 PMRe: It Finally Happened - Fire!
No, you guys are correct- it was never legal to use Romex here in a commercial install....just another example of the reckless disregard the "maintenance guy" had for the code. Please note one thing, though....the romex in this pic is white, and pre-dates the colored stuff....the yellow cord you see is an extension cord.
#121905 - 09/18/0509:21 AMRe: It Finally Happened - Fire!
Help me out here guys. I always beleived that the limitations on the use of NM or Romex were based on the construction type, height, and size rather than on the type of occupancy. Why would it be a good idea to forbid NM cable in a small commercial building such as a one story detached used car sales office? -- Tom Horne
"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous for general use" Thomas Alva Edison
#121906 - 09/18/0510:37 AMRe: It Finally Happened - Fire!
The original intent, by the folks who make the stuff, was to market it for home construction. This was reflected in the early NEC language which directly limited it to residential construction, and (indirectly) to balloon-frame construction.
Part of this was because it seemed obvious that this was not as good a method as pipe- and part fears of adding to the "fire loading" of the structure. There is also the very practical consideration that any cable limits the types of wires inside; you can pull what you want in pipe.
Current NEC rules do limit romex use, based upon the type of construction.
Something that you'll have to check out for yourself are the local ordinances. Many places still ban romex anywhere; out west, it is common for a local rule to proscribe the use of romex in commercial or industrial buildings.
Code rules aside, different wiring methods are somewhat exclusive. In the place these pics were taken, the building had been originally built using pipe- hence the neat offset, made by a pro. The tenant then willy-nilly made changes, often simply removing a box, and tying in whatever wire was handy with the famous "flying splice." No strain relief, no protection, no support, and complete ignorance of the amp tables.
It took the burning of his other location to convince the tenant that maybe his short-cuts weren't so clever, after all.