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You know how we always complain about violations, so I saw a job in a very large custom home the other day.

This home is about 7,000-8,000 sq. ft. with 5 car garage, home office, maid's quarters, etc.

The job has been going on for 2 years now. I gave it a 2nd floor rough inspection, then a 1st floor rough inspection.

I haven't even done the basement or the service yet.

The man who is doing the wiring here is very neat in his workmanship.

I have sent you 3 pictures of just how neat his work is.

[Linked Image from]

1. Neat Wiring shows a run of about 10-12 Romex wires running around a curved ceiling. Each wire was laid flat and neat next to each other.

[Linked Image from]

2. Neat Wiring 2 shows how he lays each wire along side each other in a
dropped ceiling area next to a curved doorway.

[Linked Image from]

3. Neat Wiring 3 also shows how he lays out his wiring inside of a domed

Just thought you would like to see these.

Have a Great Holiday.

Thank you Harold!
While I am impressed by the neat cable runs the pancake box looks like it is over filled with 2 12-2 cables in it. Unless there is a local prohibition against more than one cable in a hole, he would have done less structural damage by drilling fewer and larger holes. I can't tell what he has drilled through in pic #2 but there is only about an inch or so between most holes.

[This message has been edited by Jim M (edited 09-05-2004).]
Posted By: e57 Re: Here's a Neat and Workmanlike Installation! - 09/06/04 02:36 AM
Doesn't look all that bad....

Could stand to invest in some stackers though, and leave some room for everyone else.

I'm sure there is some sort of Homeworks, or other sort of dimming/swithing system that reqired all of that 2-wire. Where all that 2-wire is going should be some site?!

But the pancake is a no-brainer, or aught to be!
Posted By: CRM Re: Here's a Neat and Workmanlike Installation! - 09/06/04 02:51 AM
Its a good installation, just admit it, instead of trying to rip it apart. I think thats why a lot of people don't post pictures of their own installations, because there is always somebody ready to rip it apart.
must have taken a case of staples for that job
I do agree with the others, The #12s in the pancake box is troubling. A pancake is only good for one 14/2 romex (6cu/in)
If the pancake box is his only issue, he has done very well. Most installations I see would have draped the cables over the framing in the space above the ceiling and called it a day.

I see a lot of pride here - something I would like to see more of.

When a residential job takes a long time to complete, it is hard to keep the work as neat as this.

I agree with PC in that its obvious there is alot of pride in that work. I'll admit that I doubt I would take as much time to lay it out like that.
To play the devil's advocate, someone taking pride in cable layout, and meticulously dressing the runs like the pics......damn straight he has a canopy fixture or possibly a fan going on that pancake box.

Hey Harold, you are a stand-up guy for taking the time to take the pics, and post them here on a real nice professional, pride type job.

Posted By: BigB Re: Here's a Neat and Workmanlike Installation! - 09/07/04 03:21 AM
Would the fixture canopy bring the pancake into compliance?
Judging by the nice, solid piece of wood that was installed just to mount the pancake box on, I'd say a fan is probably of good guess. Either that, or a really big chandelier.
Nice looking work but ...

The pancake box issue observed by others.

In the first picture to the left it appears that 2 cables go through each hole. Elsewhere it appears there is only 1 cable through each hole.

The staples appear to be spaced at 16".

So many wires, so few subpanels?

Issues like those brings up questions about the competence of the worker that can only be resolved by being on site.
If I could inspect work like this everyday, it would make my day a lot easier.
We can only look at the pictures as we see them and not make any assumptions as to panels and whatnot. Lets give this guy credit where credit is due.
I have yet in all my years seen the perfect job.

I wonder who the slob was that ran the fire and LV in the first picture?

Would the fixture canopy bring the pancake into compliance?

Probably not. Only if it is listed with its volume can it be used for the purpose of box fill. I don't have my book here, but I know there is an exception in art. 314 (exception 4???) that says that a non-listed domed fixture can be used to deduct up to four conductors and 1 EGC that originate from the domed fixture, but even still I very, very seldom see a light that is listed with its capacity.
The wiring is some of the neatest i've ever seen. This guy is a Craftsman for sure.

Just curious,what's with all the Ferncos on the plumbing?

It is cast iron pipe, that is why all the no hub bands.
In defense of the pancake box, the EC wasn't sure of the finished edge of the ceiling. The were talking about plaster, sheetrock, etc. The are also talking about a large decorative medalion around the box. He can protect the wires using an Arlington plastic extension ring that can be trimmed down and will add cu. in. to the pancake box. We will just have to see on the final inspection.

I figured the Caper had a plan on those pancakes. I was thinking "ring" too or maybe that was just a place holder for the box they will end up with.
" It is cast iron thats why all the no-hub bands"

I guess things are different there. We can't use no-hubs concealed like that.

If you cant use no hubs, what do you use?
there is no SLACK at any of the need at least 6" loop outside each box for NM cable..if you pull it tight into the do not leave any saviour for yourself or the next guy..

the installation needs some stackers..and it would look better..lot of work there keeping all those cables lined up..

i do not wire any house where i do not leave slack OUTSIDE the box..

i think it is required in the new code..

just my two cents..

very neat looking..


[This message has been edited by mustangelectric (edited 09-09-2004).]

you need at least 6" loop outside each box for NM cable..

i think it is required in the new code..

There are no code requirements for what you describe. They are personal preferences, and as such are not required by the NEC.

i will look up the article for you and post it here..
the article is similar to 334.30 (C)..if anybody else knows about this please respond..

i always leave about 6" of free cable OUTSIDE the box so that you can pull extra cable in if you need i the only one who does this?





[This message has been edited by mustangelectric (edited 09-10-2004).]

[This message has been edited by mustangelectric (edited 09-10-2004).]

Again, there is nothing in Article 334 that requires this.

All the code says is that NM must be supported within 12" of every box (334.30), and within 8" of every single gang non metallic box. (314.17 (C) Exception)

In fact, if your loop is longer than 8" with single gang boxes, you have a violation of 314.17 (C) Exception.

i guess you are the authority on it but i am pretty sure i saw it in the code...maybe it was an older edition..

i do not see where having a 6-8 inch loop is a violation of any kind..the cable can be stapled correctly and still have a loop..i use stackers whenever there are more than two cables anymore...i do not do the line-em up across the side of the stud method as seen in the photos..i am not putting down the work but i have never seen two electricians do the same job the same way..

i prefer to leave a little slack on the outside of the looks better and it serves a purpose..when you pull romex tight into a box it is a BAD installation in my book..i used to do it that way back in the late seventies and on through the late eighties..but experience and the code guided me to what i do now..

i am pretty sure there is a rule about how much extra cable must be left outside the box..we all know the 6" free wire rule for residential..but i am not talkin about that..

the better job is one with slack..

thanks for the replies



[This message has been edited by mustangelectric (edited 09-10-2004).]

[This message has been edited by mustangelectric (edited 09-10-2004).]
What are these stackers you speak of? By stacker, are you referring to the NM that is stacked on top of each other and held in place by longer staples, or is a stacker a seperate item used to hold the NM?

Yes, it is a nice looking job. I would imagine the GC knows the EC, and knows his quality work, because there is no way an EC could bid in for the extra time involved in running that clean installation, and still get the job. That is where reputation wins the job, and not the price. I'm still in the residential remodel stage of my freshly started business. It's pretty tough convincing these homeowners that hiring the cheapest guy is NOT the best thing to do.

[This message has been edited by royta (edited 09-10-2004).]
The stacker's are made by many
manufactures and space the cables
out from the studs.

Mustang Peter (CT Wireman) is
correct there is nothing in the
NEC about leaving slack outside the
box. That is not to say you may not
have a local code about this.

I have to ask how you can leave any
usable slack and meet the
requirements of 334.30

334.30 Securing and Supporting.
Nonmetallic-sheathed cable shall be secured by staples, cable ties, straps, hangers, or similar fittings designed and installed so as not to damage the cable at intervals not exceeding 1.4 m (41/2 ft) and within 300 mm (12 in.) of every cabinet, box, or fitting. Flat cables shall not be stapled on edge.

I can only find 1 reference to the loop of wire for NM. 334-30(C). It requires 12 in. loopor 6 in. of cable end available on the interior side of the finished wall for replacement. BUT...
It deals with devices without a seperate box. So, it doesn't help with normal wiring methods used in most residential applications. I don't see where there is(or ever) was a requirement for the loop.
Why would you want to space NM from the stud? It's not to protect against the stray nail or sheetrock screw that misses the stud is it?
The requirement of 12 in. from a box doesn't say as measured along the sheath of the cable, just 12 in. form the box, cabinet, etc.
Posted By: e57 Re: Here's a Neat and Workmanlike Installation! - 09/10/04 11:04 PM

Stackers are for allowing multiple cables to be stacked, so they take up less space.

search "3m stackers"

[This message has been edited by e57 (edited 09-10-2004).]
The requirement of 12 in. from a box
doesn't say as measured along the sheath of the cable, just 12 in. form the box,
cabinet, etc.

So you would be OK with 10'
of free NM between the staple
and the box?

How about the 4.5' requirement?

Can I have 20' of loose NM hanging between
staples 4.5' apart?
I have heard of an electrician who leaves a 6" loop on the outside of the box so he has slack when the drywallers nick his wire with their bleeping router,If a prohibition were proposed on useing routers to cut openings for electrical boxes what do you think its chances would be? Any inspector with average intelligence should able to tell if one has been used. (That statement is not meant to insult inspectors.)

I had one inspector around here who yelled at you if you left any slack outside of the box. Don't get me wrong, I feel that a little slack around the box is a good thing, However there some inspectors out there who do not have common sense.
Stackers are for allowing multiple cables to be stacked, so they take up less space.

search "3m stackers"

The two residential EC's I worked for just stacked up to two 14-2 or 12-2, or combination of both, and used a regular staple. I don't recall if they did the same with 14-3. Perhaps a 14-2 and a 14-3 together. Definitely not more than a single 12-3 though. Was I taught an incorrect way? The 3M website mentions, "putting an end to...the potential heating that could occur when cables are held together tightly under a single fastener." I see the value of using one, but there is no code violation if you don't use one, is there?

[This message has been edited by royta (edited 09-11-2004).]
They use the stackers here to space the romex away from furring strips horizontally when they can't get 1.25" back on a 3/4" furred block wall.
I don't agree but I am not the AHJ.
The policy used to be that had to be in EMT.
The rocker may not hit the wire but the homeowner might.
NORCAL: We very seldom use cast-iron here in residential,but if we do,we've got to use regular hubbed fittings,assembled with compression gaskets.

iwire, other sections dealing with NM specify measured along the sheath. I am sure the intent of the section is to measure as the cable flys, but the verbage leaves the possibility for the loop outside of the box to be legal. But it would be hard to keep the cable in compliance with 300-4(D). I am just throwing ideas out there to see if the loop above the box would be legal or not. I don't see that practice in this neck of the woods.
I can see the value of having a little extra wire for the next guy. I think neatness would be the deciding factor. If the wire was placed so it was not likely to get damaged I would move on.
After I first saw this post,I had dreams all week about staples. My wife woke me up and said; you just kept repeating staples. staples staples....
Posted By: e57 Re: Here's a Neat and Workmanlike Installation! - 09/11/04 08:54 PM
Time for a vacation!?

i guess you are the authority on it

I am not an authority on anything. I only go by the rules in the NEC. In this case I am very knowledgeable about NM cable and article 334 because I use it all the time.

Unless your loop is shorter than 8" or 12" depending on your box type, then you are in violation of the NEC. And yes, that is my opinion.

If someone left a small loop ( and let's not go crazy about how big a loop it is. [Linked Image])outside of the box, and it was stapled with in the proper distance 12" or 8" as per 314.17 (C)and 314.17 (C)exception, then in my area, I believe I would pass that job. (Of course I would have to see it first. There is as we all know an exception to every rule.)
To me, there is not enough information from the pictures to make any judgement about subpanels. This is a huge house and likely, highly electrified with requirements for many special circuits. I'd bet there's a minimum of a couple of 42 circuit panels and probably 4.
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