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Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 764
KJay Offline OP
Any idea why the 18" unsupported allowance for short raceways was removed. I cant imagine it was that big of a safety hazard. Its going to be a pain to have to install a strap or pipe hanger on every short run, even with RNC.

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Joined: May 2005
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My initial guess is that someone abused it by using it as a loophole to install 35" lengths of conduit everywhere that they possibly could.

Personally, I find that a lot of the Code gets written because there are just "a few people who spoil it for everyone" (to quote our parents).

Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,148
It was removed because many inspectors were permitting 36" nipples between enclosures to be supported only by the conduit terminations. This is exactly what the original proposal for the 2008 code would have permitted, but the CMP changed the length from the proposed 36" to 18" when the accepted the proposal.
8-24a Log #2200 NEC-P08 Final Action: Accept
Submitter: James W. Carpenter, International Association of Electrical
Recommendation: Delete this provision. Also, delete the clause or permitted to be unsupported in accordance with 342.30(C) from the last sentence of 342.30.
Substantiation: The concept of a special support rule for short lengths of raceway run between enclosures of various sorts was added to the 2008 NEC for the first time in the history of the NEC with negligible technical substantiation and no evidence of loss experience, and remains at variance from routine trade practice. The existence of a coupling now immediately provokes a support requirement, even on a 6-inch and a 4-inch long heavy-wall 4 trade size steel nipples put together to make an 11-inch (approx.) combined raceway. A 90 degree sweep roughly 2 trade size or larger (any centerline length over 18 in.) now requires intermediate support. The literal text now requires support to structure on a 3-in. nipple if even one of its ends encounters a concentric knockout. Although there are those who believe the new rule simply offers limited relief from a rule that required all raceways to be independently supported, routine field experience throughout the history of rigid raceway wiring methods does not substantiate such assertions. We are unaware of any significant attempts to require supports on short nipples. All rigid raceways under NEC rules must be listed, including their couplings; is it conceivable that a coupling between two segments of a short (3 ft or less) nipple so seriously degrades the stability of the raceway that such a support is needed? Concentric knockouts in enclosures are reviewed as part of the UL 50 process, and as anyone working these enclosures recently should be aware, those standards have been strengthened and these knockouts are now more robust than in previous decades; is this the time to require even more support? Raceways generally require support within 3 ft of terminations, and when the entire length is just that long or shorter, no additional support should be needed. In effect, the locknuts and bushings or connectors and locknuts at each end are supports. This is not a new concept for the NEC: CMP 7 just added the wording (wiring method) fittings shall be permitted as a means of cable support in a number of cable articles. If carried to its logical conclusion and routinely enforced (however unlikely), this new support rule will likely drive the market in the direction of cabled wiring methods without any technical justification.
It should be remembered that supports to structure are not infallible. Many raceways hang from threaded rod of indefinite length every 10 ft or so and within 3 ft (5 ft. in some cases) of enclosures, depending on the specific rules for the size and character of the supported raceway. Such support clearly meets the rules in this section, but would it add anything to a nipple between enclosures? Further, even when rigid supports such as one-hole clips are used, the raceway beyond the last clip can have an indefinite number of couplings and enter the center knockout of an indefinite number of concentric knockouts; how is this arrangement so inherently more secure than a nipple between enclosures? This new NEC provision was without precedent, and addressed a nonexistent problem.
Panel Meeting Action: Accept
Panel Statement: CMP-8 does not necessarily agree with the submitters substantiation. Securement requirements are found in 342.30(A).
Number Eligible to Vote: 12
Ballot Results: Affirmative: 11 Negative: 1
Explanation of Negative:
GRIFFITH, M.: IEEE does not agree with the concluding statement in submitters substantiation that This new NEC provision (in the 2008 NEC)addressed a non-existent problem. During the 2008 NEC cycle Panel 8 fully
considered the need for adding the section which the submitter proposes to delete. The Panel determined that the present language was needed to clarify that short nipples do not require additional support and that this was not
universally understood by AHJs, especially in remote & rural areas.
Comment on Affirmative:
DABE, J.: The base rule under.30(A) for IMC, RMC, PVC, RTRC, and EMT, remains in force. The conduit systems shall be securely fastened within 3 feet between termination points.

Last edited by resqcapt19; 11/08/10 07:34 PM.

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 764
KJay Offline OP
Okay, so if I understand this correctly, we can now have up to a full 36" [3-Ft.] of unsupported raceway if needed to go box to box, etc.?

Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,148
Actually, the wording of the code requires raceways of any length to be supported. Contrary to the statement of Mr. Carpenter, in his proposal, there is nothing in the code that permits the raceway termination to be the support for the raceway. The panels acceptance of the proposal was to permit inspectors to go back to what they had been doing prior to the 2008 code....ignoring the support rule for raceways under 3' long.

Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 15
The IAEI 2011 NEC Analysis of Changes book shows that we can now go to under 36 inches with no support and with couplings if need be. They have a diagram to that effect. When the trans Alaska pipeline had that $400 million electrical Code upgrade project in 1993 this was a big ticket item. At that time the interpretations varied but generally required some kind of support for those thousands of short nipples in Classified areas that were found with no support. It was a killer!

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,441
Likes: 2
Cat Servant
The NEC has "forever" required that pipe be supported within 18" of its' termination. This seems simple enough, but some folks will try to debate the meaning of "is."

That termination is itself a support seems self-evident. That you need space for your box offset, etc., also seems obvious. Finally, that you might want to mount to wall framing- and such framing is typically on 16" centers- seems reasonable.

The debate begins when you start to make inferences from that rule.

The first issue for Wormtongue is "termination." Does the pip 'terminate' at it's end? Would not every coupling then require a support? To make such an inference would require that every stick of pipe required two supports. Since pipe typically comes in 10-ft., lengths, there would be no need for that other code rule requiring supports not be more that 10-ft. apart.

(Remember now that part of Article 90 that says the code is not an instruction book, and pre-supposes that you already know the trade?) Alas, we're getting more and more 'experts' and 'authorities' who never pulled a wire or bent a pipe.

The next inference was: if I'm going from box to box, and the boxes are less than 36" apart ... then every point of that pipe is within 18" of a termination .... so I don't need a support. That's the inference that this code change attempts to address. I'm not sure it has - or if it has only confused things further.

IF I were to go by past experience, I would guess that the panel was trying to enshrine the existing trade practices.

What they really need to do is to find a way to exclude codebook commandos from the mix.

BTW ... not addressed anywhere in the code is the effect a change in direction has on support. That is to say that after you change direction 90 degrees, you have exactly zero support left. Ever see a shower where the shower rod was bent around a corner? It's pretty basic math. I'll bet those who went through an apprenticeship were taught some manner of 'rule' about this- but it's not in the book.

I've already seen one person distribute pictures of two cabinets 24" apart with unsupported conduit, asserting 'violation!' My take is: if that's the worst thing you can find, it's a pretty good install!

Oddly enough, I have something in my shop where the 'pipes' are supported within 18" of their terminations.' I call it a ladder.

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