Underground electrical cable and new garage


Old 02-24-06, 03:00 AM
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Underground electrical cable and new garage

I just want to make sure I am not getting bum doped.

We are in the process of building a detached garage and there is a potential problem. The electrical supply cable runs under where we plan to build the garage. When I called our co-op, I was told it should not be a problem, the cable is 2-3' deep and code only requires a footer 18" deep. The co-op engineer also said if the slope is such that if need be, a "step" can be put over the cable if the lot is sloped (it is not sloped much, but there is a slight slope, about 18" over 30 feet).

Is the co-op engineer correct? I would like to get an idea now before the inspections begin and do not want to have to move the cable after construction begins. (I hope I am asking the question correctly).

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Old 02-24-06, 12:42 PM
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I assume you mean the cable from the power company transformer to your house meter.

Technically, the cable belongs to the co-op so theirs is the only opinion that matters on the subject; power companies do not have to follow electrical codes, but have internal policies instead. The wires beyond your meter are not your responsibility, and you have done what you were supposed to by asking them. You should make sure that whomever digs your footings knows it's down there though.
Old 02-24-06, 01:22 PM
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get it in writting and have the cables located before digging. photograph the locating marks and excavation.
Old 02-24-06, 01:58 PM
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The portion under the building should be encased in concrete if possible, particularly if it is that shallow and you are grading down the surface.
Old 02-24-06, 08:36 PM
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Underground electrical cable and new garage

If you do not want to encase the cable in concrete, which the utility may not allow, try a proven protective system.

Excavate down below grade, but not down to the cable. Lay the cheap 2x8x16 COLORED patio stones down to protect the cable and alert anyone digging that there is a burried utility there. Some utilities require this or something similar to be used as a warning/protection.

Old 02-25-06, 05:50 AM
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Thanks for all the input. Here in VA, there is a requirement to use a service that marks all utility lines (free to the homeowner). There are requirements about digging by "hand" within 2 feet of the markings (and other requirements).

My real concern was just putting the foundation over the cable (I admit, I do not know that much about building a foundation, so I do not know exactly what it will look like, that is the part we are contracting out). Anyhow, it sounds like it will not be a problem, provided the cables are at least 2 feet deep.

I would be concerned about encasing the cables in concrete (if they did manage to get exposed) without using another material between the concrete and cable. Concrete is pretty corrissive and has the potential to eat away at the cable, especially if there is a flaw in the cable (so says the utility).

Thanks again,

Old 02-25-06, 05:23 PM
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I would have some concern that if that cable ever fails. how do you replace it. The power company will say it is not their problem. Your co-op ( whatever that is ) will say it is your problem because you built on top of the cable.
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