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#44356 11/02/04 05:21 PM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 156
I hired a new EC about a month ago from recommendation from another Cell Phone company. I awarded him with a contract to install the electrical in six cell towers sires that I was building in his area to try him out.

Since these are rural sites and for a phone company, there was no permit required, so I inspected each site after work is completed, blah, blah blah.

I went to the first site and was impressed with the work, very strict attention to workmanship. Then I went out to the AC service frame to inspect meter and disconnect switch. I noticed the 2/0 GEC was missing from disconnect switch, but the PVC was there for it. I found that strange, as I knew the cable was in the specs, and I had seen it there stubbed up, as it is part of a huge grounding ring/grid. So I dug into the crush-n-run and found it buried. OK, maybe a minor mistake or oversight took note for punch-list.

Went to the next site, same thing, buried GEC. OK now I am seeing a pattern. Third site same thing, now I am pissed.

Went to the forth site where EC was working to confront him. He stated he did that at all cell sites for added lightning protection and so he could work the system bare handed at a later time if need be.

Fired him on the spot, reported him to AR State licensing board, and to the engineers at the cell phone company that recommended him to me. I understand that Verizon checked his worked and found the same thing. They are suing to cover the price of re-work at multiple sites, and solved the mystery of why the were constantly loosing rectifiers and HVAC.

Sorry to vent just had to get it off my chest, as I can’t talk about it around work, too embarrassing.

#44357 11/02/04 07:01 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 1,716
Dereck, good for you, these type contractors take work from the others who are willing to adhere to the contract documents.

It's amazing how many people I've talked to that think their way overides specifications.

The bottom line is the contractor that would bid to the spec looses a good contract, the owner gets a substandard installation, the designer is frustrated as you are here, the offending contractor looses money if he is forced to redo the work, so overall these people cause all to loose.

I guess I'm drifting into a vent myself so I'll stop here.


#44358 11/02/04 07:35 PM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,294
I can't figure off of the top of my head how the GEC would cause you to lose your HVAC [Linked Image]

#44359 11/02/04 07:56 PM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 156
electure, tower sites are magnets for lightning strikes and the controllers get taken out.

#44360 11/02/04 08:12 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 697
I'm not familiar with this installation, but from your description, the wire was there, but he didn't make the connection? So now he's lost his reputation, probably his bread & butter work...because he thought he knew better???

I guess he knows better now.


#44361 11/02/04 09:59 PM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 886
... for added lightning protection and so he could work the system bare handed

Even though you had the urge to strangle him I still would want to hear his explanation for that one! [Linked Image]


#44362 11/02/04 10:24 PM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 156
Hal, I did get his explanation. The meter service and disconnect are installed on an “H” frame inside the fenced perimeter but away from the building. It is a typical 200-amp single phase service. The “H” frame is cad welded to the ground grid, and the EGC uses a bonding bushing on the enclosure. Feeders leave the “H” frame, all 4/0 copper including EGC and go underground to the building main panel. The main panel ground bus has a supplemental connection to the grid with a 2/0 cable. His explanation was since the “H” frame was bonded to the grid, and the ground bus in the main panel was bonded to the grid, another connection at the service would create loop and was not needed. He said it violated the single point ground window I created in the radio building.

I was really disappointed, his workmanship was incredible. If he hadn’t insulted my intelligence and re-worked the GEC at all sites, I would have used him again on a short leash. I can’t understand how he obtained a Masters liscense.

#44363 11/02/04 10:58 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 615
So then, as he had it, the bond of the service to the ground grid was through the frame bond (strap/screw/lug etc.) and then again through the EGC via the main panel ground bus lug?

I can't blame you for firing him, if he thought he had a better idea he should have put it past you, etc..... all kinds of wrong on many levels on his part, one of which I would bet was his attitude (I am guessing because you sound pretty peeved, and an arrogant jerk can really set off fuses).

But (and my intelligence is the only one intended to be insulted here) would the service, although improperly grounded, still have had adequate ground potential? I know I am missing something. Was the lightning path too high of impedance? Was lightning and gradient voltage being routed through the main panel?

This might get into lightning protection, which as far as I'm concerned is a different cousin of the field than the one I'm in.

#44364 11/02/04 11:22 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 518
I'm way over my head here- I can't even fix my car's antenna- but:
-A 4/0 wire has to be a lot more conductive than any incidental metal connections; and,
-I'd reallt think long and hard before I ignore something that large and pricey.

I've had my share of stupid specs, but those are always issues to discuss with the customer- not to ignore and bury!

#44365 11/02/04 11:51 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,443
Likes: 3
I'm only sort of guessing here, but wouldn't the Earthing system for the Tower be a Grid system, made up of bare copper?.
Also, running a bare wire under the ground here is a pretty acceptable way of effecting an Earth, you only require a certain resistance.

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