Article 600 Section 600.3 says: Signs are to be Listed unless otherwise approved by Special Permission. My question is what would a contractor or sign builder do to get a sign approved by Special Permission? The State of Michigan Inspectors are not approving a sign unless it is Listed.
The jurisdiction I work for tells the contractors to go to www.osha.gov and look for the list of NRTL's Nationally Recogized Testing Labs. ( click on the letter "N" in the site index) Then to call us when it's been taken care of. We want everything listed!
George: Again you have a knack to drag out subjects like this.
Signs come in a few varities; UL listed and a collection of components that all may or may not be UL listed. Some non-listed signs are fabricated well; some are brutal. The non-listed ones show up at small stores.
Hence, as I have explained to a few sign fabricators, them assembling UL components into a 'box' does not a 'UL Sign' make.
Some have gone as far as doing a 'cut-n-paste' with a UL label from one of the components.
"Special permission" does not happen; a Notice of Violation is issued, and compliance is required.
BTW, the worst offenders are the 'nighttime neon phantoms'; skelton outline lighting & lettering in many, many languages; installed betewwn 4:00PM and 7:30AM. No permits, etc. This is also the one, IMHO that is the most dangerous.
Okay, so I'm seeing that the signs by law (Code) need to be Listed but it a hit and miss situation with the inspectors. In Michigan it is probably a case of what the AHJ want's to enforce. I have the luxury of a good Building Department that supports me in asking for signs to be Listed and that field installed components of a neon tubing outline lighting type installation uses Listed components.
I am a little bit uncomfortable with this requirement that signs be listed.
Not that listing is a bad thing; it's just that listing - of either the entire sign, or it's components - is only a small part of the entire installation.
I've seen some pretty elaborate local 'sign ordinances' that go into great detail as to the placemant, anchoring, bracing, etc. of signs. When you consider the surprising weight of many signs, the effect of wind & weather upon them, and the chance they have of being mounted over the exact place where folks are likely to be standing or walking, you can see the need for this. None of these issues, though, are going to be addressed in the listing.
Then, lest we forget .... there are plenty of signs for which listing is not appropriate. For example, a simple painted sheet of wood, with a spotlight shining on it.
At the other extreme, we have several signs here so large that they have their own service installed, with multiple panels and nearly countless circuits. In such a sign, the listing addresses only a fraction of the code issues.
I'm not exactly 'comfortable' with it either, but it's a code that I have to abide by.
I have to agree with your points above. Yes, there are many 'good' sign fabricators that build a 'box' and use listed components like ballasts, sockets, wire, etc. They make a 'good' product..but, it's not a listed finished product. Yes, a UL label is not going to prevent the sign from being improperly mechanically installed, our building insp. has that job.
Yes, we have monster signs over here also, nothing like Las Vegas, but for here they're big.
George: Yes, the 'neon guys' use 'listed components' (that's basically the only available components to get their hands on); but...the installation of said 'listed' components is brutal! have you seen any neon components that were not listed? I see mis-use, no understanding of 110.3 (b); no concept of GTO strapped to metal window mullions; xfrs above ceiling tiles,etc.