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Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Cat Servant
In other threads, I have described a local business, whose electrical feed to their road-side sign has, I believe, been done improperly, has been damaged as a result, and currently presents a hazard.

I though with "code enforcement" was in order, as the business owner had told me that it was a 'people issue,' rather than an improper installation. Now, I could be wrong, so I thought I'd float the issue past the folks at code enforcement.

My visit produced a rather interesting response. The town's "code enforcement" officer appeared to be completely unfamiliar with any electrical code. He seemed unaware that the code had any discussion of burial of conduit.

In the end, he agreed to visit the site, take pictures, and circulate them around the department to see if anyone there had any concerns.

I'm not sure what reception I expected at City Hall, but it wasn't this! I have to wonder what it is that 'code enforcement' actually does. Yes, these are the same folks who sold me my building permit and inspected my service change. (That inspector has moved on to another office).

Let's just imagine the situation: 1/2 EMT has been ripped out of a shallow groove in the parking lot. It now sits there, bent, kinked, and poking up in the air, with the live conductors wrapped in electrical tape and bridging the splits in the conduit. Various items have been placed alongside the damaged section, to prevent further traffic over that section. The balance of the run continues across the lot. This has existed for several weeks now.

Somehow, it just doesn't seem "right" to me laugh

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,289
[Linked Image from]

"I sure couldn't find anything wrong at all" grin

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,273

Out my way (Dunnigan, California) a major truck stop was bought out by foreign interests -- i.e. immigrant [xxxx].

(Ethnicity suppressed to protect the reputation of those causing and installing extremely non-code compliant work.)

Bottom line: because of their immigrant status Sacramento and its tributaries deem it highly improper to hold said owners to the NEC.

So even though said location is HIGHLY utilizied by all long distance truckers and is by most standards rolling in cash -- they were able to go from bottom to top in a seriously large re-hab without any building permits at all.

This 'upgrade' included a clone of your situation: a couple of EMT runs to the truck blocks were stitched into the asphalt right at grade -- with a mere cream of beauty mortar laid on top.

Because of their location, they would necessarily be run over top by about 300 eighteen-wheel trucks every 24 hours. Yes, it's that busy.

Near as I can tell the entire re-hab was done 'in house' -- i.e. by fellow. [XXXX]

...... removed .........

In case you're curious, SBA lending is just about the only lending that banks are willing to extend to small firms at this time.

For most SBA paper, the bank is protected up to a full 90% not the old traditional 80%. This change occurred because of the 2008 crisis. Last I looked this provision keeps being extended.

For the above reason, no bank posted serious losses in their SBA 'book' all during this Greatest Depression.


Heads up to Canadian electrical contractors: the Canadian real estate market shows epic signs of a bubble that wildly eclipses the American mania of 2006.

(Ditto for New Zealand and Australia.)

When the inevitable turn comes -- don't get caught out with loans to insolvent general contractors. This is the season to get the ship ready for the storm to come.

Last edited by electure; 05/09/15 03:23 PM. Reason: To remove political content
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,288
Likes: 4

Your sign feeder in a groove would buy a red tag, and an Unsafe Structure placard. A follow up from the office staff would be an official Notice of Violation, and Order of Penalty. The penalty is $2000, and $500 per week after 15 days.

IF the situation presents an Imminent Hazard, action can be taken immediately to make the are safe.

Before I get a reputation here, my usual approach to any situation is to have a 'chat' with the parties to arrange a compliant solution then and there.

The town I work in is very ethically diverse, and there are no 'look away' favorites as it seems Tesla has.

There are a few definitions of "Code Enforcement". My office enforces the NJ Uniform Construction Code. We do Electrical, Building, Fire and Plumbing inspections.

The DPW Office is down the hall. Sanitation, roads, sewer, etc.

There is a CCO Inspector, in our office, but he is not UCC

Zoning issues, Engineering issues, Planing Board are across the hall; Health, taxes, & others are on the second floor.

How many employees refer themselves as "Code Enforcement"??
It is an interchangeable title IMHO. None of us have a 'hat' like that.

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,289
There are dedicated Code Enforcement officials here in So Ca, but they deal more with Zoning, Land Usage, and Public Nuisances issues more than anything else. They can call in the various Trade inspectors as needed.

I'm surprised Reno's town even had a Code Enforcement official.

In 2013 only 31 building permits were issued in his entire County.

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Cat Servant
31? Really? I'm impressed!

Forgetting the line across the parking lot for the moment.... it sure looks like this place views code matters in a way that folks in more 'progressive' places will find impossible to believe.

Even in this economically depressed area - the poorest county of the poorest state - think of all the things that manage to get done without the enlightened guidance of a benevolent government functionary.

Kind of makes you question the value of any sort of code enforcement.

Tesla's story also has me questioning my instincts. If simply running conduit in a shallow groove is enough to protect it from the traffic of hundreds of trucks driving over it daily- doesn't that prove it is well protected? Could the NEC's burial requirements be based on a false assumption?

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 947
twh Offline
Originally Posted by Tesla
Heads up to Canadian electrical contractors: the Canadian real estate market shows epic signs of a bubble that wildly eclipses the American mania of 2006.
Thanks for that. I was through a downturn in the late eighties and I've been waiting for it to happen again since then. It might be starting now, but it's hard to tell the difference between a slow spring and the start of a slow decade.

Joined: May 2005
Posts: 984
Likes: 1
Our town had one EC who ran UF on top of the ground...and laid the sod on top of it.

...until he got caught...

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,288
Likes: 4
OK, we do on an average of 35 to 45 permits per day, and we take our job seriously.

We also find 'things' that are 'hard to believe'; some of which I post pics of here. I have a few recent pics in my phone, and time permitting, will share the hack work. BTW, most of this is NOT permitted work, but what is either stumbled upon, or 'ratted out' during a normal day.

Last edited by HotLine1; 05/13/15 10:15 PM. Reason: Removed grammar error

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,677
Likes: 9
Burial depth is one of the most common violations in Florida and there is no excuse for it. They are digging in sand. With one of those skinny trenching shovels I can get 18" at a rate of about a foot a minute without really working that hard and I am an old guy. A latino guy can go almost twice as fast.

Greg Fretwell
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