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Gas Pipe Bonding #127841 01/15/02 07:45 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 717
George Corron Offline OP
Guys, as a response to Don's "Water Pipe Bonding" I was asked to finish the story on the gas pipe. Figuring you guys may run into this, lemme post it as it's own section rather than adding to one already getting lengthy.

In the mid 90's, I was working at a local prison. Having just about taken myself out of the daily contractor/etc. game except for teaching the apprentices.

I was teaching grounding and bonding, going over the old way of using the gas pipe for an electrode and how that was no longer allowed because of outside plastics, workers being shocked, etc.. I also went over how the gas pipe still had to be bonded to prevent a fault lying on the pipe like something deadly.

A student spoke up, "Then why does (XYZ) county require me to isolate the gas pipe" "Isolate, says I, you've misunderstood" Well at break time the student goes to his vehicle and retrieves a rejection that said "Gas pipe bonded to electrical equipment, required to be isolated". I didn't know whether to hit the floor or the roof. I told the student I would look into it, and copied his rejection, covering over his name.

The next morning I call and talk to the Code Official for that county. You have an inspector who has rejected for not isolating a gas pipe, ya might need to fix that. Why, says the CO, that's what I told 'em to do?
This guy had read an article and decided to require complete isolation, what if there's a spark he said, it may blow up.

I talked him into letting me fax him some drawings, but the discussion got way to heated, and not from me, I was trying to persuade him in the errors of his ways.

A phone call after the fax was sent got abusive, up with which I will not put. He claimed he knew me, and who I work for, I attempted to explain, I told him who I was, and who I worked for, I also told him my dog wasn't in this fight, but he was making a wrong call, at which point he called me a liar and hung up the phone.

Pretty good thing I worked at a prison and understood the consequences of what I was thinking.

Next call to the State Regulatory agency, got the form, explained to them what had happened. They listened patiently and decided to expedite since according to them, we had "an idiot on the loose"

At that time, Article 250-80 (b) required the bonding of the gas pipe to the electrical service. 250-81 (I think) would not allow you to use the gas pipe as an electrode, and the fellow had gotten totally confused. 1999 reference 250-104(b)and 250-52(a) is the confuser, sorry, no 2002 references.

The county in question had required, apparently for some time, the electrician to completely isolate the gas pipe from the electrical service and drive it's own ground rod 'at least 6 ' away from the electrical service'.

What happens if the furnace shorts a conductor on the pipe? What happens if a wire rubs its way through over the years? If there is 20 ohms on the rod 120/20 = 6 amps worth of fault so the first one to touch it and any grounded object DIES!!!!!!

I explained this to the State, along with some help from (since I don't have permission to use anyones name here) some guy from Florida who owns his own Code Academy (TH), and an engineer from California who writes articles for Electrical Contractor magazine (WCS). The State not only reversed, but took a pretty well earned slap at the guy also.

What is the worst problem? I found out in this that the inspector is not responsible for his decisions. [Linked Image] That's right, in most states, the inspector can tell you what to do, as an official of the regulatory agency, but he cannot be sued in criminal or civil court for requiring you to do something unsafe. Hundreds of houses were wired this way before a stop was put to it. Who gets sued if someone dies in the houses no one went back to fix? The electrical master because he should have known better than to listen to the inspector.

That's what I'd like to know, how is it in your State? Do you know how to fight an inspector who is wrong? What would you have done in this situation, with a bunch of houses we can't get occupancy permits for if we stop to fight? Truth now [Linked Image]

Tools for Electricians:
Re: Gas Pipe Bonding #127842 01/15/02 10:11 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,389
sparky Offline
[( grasping straws mode)]but,but,but...what about the EGC to the gas furnace/stove etc..?[grsaping straws mode)]

The electrical master because he should have known better than to listen to the inspector.
where's the Tums??

That's what I'd like to know, how is it in your State? Do you know how to fight an inspector who is wrong? What would you have done in this situation, with a bunch of houses we can't get occupancy permits for if we stop to fight? Truth now

Hoooboy! we're diss'n the ten commandments of contracting here George.. [Linked Image], to forever be branded as 'Judas' is a bad thing, i've seen it happen.

I've been involved in similar scenarios , pursuing what i felt is right, only to concede @ the point of argument in the assumption (note prefix..) that the state is responsible for the call.

Not one to pull the lions tail, i'd probably bond the G-pipe after the powers that be left, permit in hand.

Re: Gas Pipe Bonding #127843 01/15/02 10:25 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 717
George Corron Offline OP
In an IAEI meeting one day, a similar scenario came up, I told the electrician asking the question to "wait until the idiot left and fix it" GEEEEEEZ did I start an argument with one guy claiming "The inspectors ALWAYS right, because he is the rep of the State" Problem with that is, he has NO liability in the matter. Yeah, it is hard to rock the boat to that degree. I was happily ensconced as a gummint worker and was hoping I would never have to work under this guy.
I do think, in a lot of cases, you are absolutely correct. I would never have left that situation, I would have bonded it after the guy left, but I am wondering how many in this forum would have,
New guys??????????

Re: Gas Pipe Bonding #127844 01/15/02 12:21 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline
Hmm, not the sort of problem I'd face as there are no residental electrical inspections here, but I'd certainly complain to the appopriate State or County having jurisdiction, quoting the relevant NEC rules etc.

If I was desparate to get an approval certificate I think I'd do it the inspector's way then go back and bond the pipe after he'd left. It seems incredible that an official of the local govt. cannot be held responsible for his orders.

As Steve said, what about the ground wire to the furnace controls? Trying to isolate the gas piping seems futile (as well as potentially dangeroous).

There's no piped gas around here outside the couple of larger towns, but bottled LPG and oil-fired heating are common. Now that I'm leaving, I've just about convinced the local plumber that I need to bond these lines, and to tell me if he's going to use plastic couplings so I can bring along enough clamps.

Bonding of gas (& water) lines is conspicuous by its absence in many houses around this area.

Re: Gas Pipe Bonding #127845 01/15/02 12:31 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 717
George Corron Offline OP
In this case, the inspector actually checked to insure the grounds were removed, and it was isolated. Then would check with an ohm-meter to make certain again. Incredible, huh?

Re: Gas Pipe Bonding #127846 01/15/02 07:34 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,960
Bill Addiss Offline

I've been meaning to take a poll here on whether the local AHJs are employed by some Municipality or are 'free' agencies that are recognized and authorized to do inspections.

We have several different Agencies to choose from in many areas of Long Island. I don't know details, but believe they must post bond and carry an appropriate amount of Insurance. I have heard of an Agency getting sued recently, so ut seems that they can be held responsible to some degree. There is a member(s) of one of our local Agencies frequenting the boards here now and then.


Re: Gas Pipe Bonding #127847 01/15/02 11:01 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 717
George Corron Offline OP
Roger that Bill, some states do work that way. The law in VA is if you are an employee of the county or state, you are held harmless in a lawsuit. I don't think that applies to outside agencies hired temporarily though. They are not used too often in at least the upper half of VA. I agree with Paul that a civil servant should be responsible for their interpretations.

Re: Gas Pipe Bonding #127848 01/15/02 11:19 PM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 270
Elzappr Offline
In Oregon the inspector has personal immunity. If there is a bad call, its relatively easy to call the state Chief and get it over-ruled..or even the municipal department head over the inspector. If they are both wrong..then its no-man's land! Our signing supervisor electrical license holder ("master" electrician) is responsible for the electrical installation..even tho he seldom sees any of the work that anyone does!
I'm familiar with arrangements where temporary inspection services are performed by independents, and now that you brought up the liability thing, I'm wondering if THAT might not be a good thing. Perhaps the inspectors would do their job instead of rubber-stamping jobs all the time.

Re: Gas Pipe Bonding #127849 01/16/02 07:12 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 717
George Corron Offline OP
El, I'm not sure rubber stamping jobs is the worst part, I think rubber stamping some half baked idea by the Senior Code Official may be the most dangerous. I find that, on their own, most electricians (I mean trained, this is MY trade types) will do an adequate job at best left to their own devices. I guess I'm just a dinosaur, you make the call, you oughta be man enough to eat it. In Other Words, THINK before you act. [Linked Image]

Checked my brand new copy of the International Residential Code last night, daggone, section E3509.7 & .8 say you're gonna bond the gas pipe to the electrical service, how 'bout that? [Linked Image]

Re: Gas Pipe Bonding #127850 01/16/02 08:33 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,389
sparky Offline
International Residential Code

[Linked Image].... any links to this George??


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