HELP-Copper Theft-Need Answer Now!


Old 07-19-07, 07:01 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3
Question HELP-Copper Theft-Need Answer Now!

I am having a new home built. The Contractor was just starting sheetrock installation in the interior, when during last weekend, someone came in and gutted the house of the interior wiring. Should I:

(1) Accept the contractor's proposal of using 10 to 14 junction box splices to repair the wiring, or

(2) Ask that they install new home run circuits?

Your help is appreciated.
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Old 07-19-07, 07:05 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Do not accept junction boxes. That is an inferior solution. You are building a new house. Have it done right.

Every junction box will remain visible and is a possible failure point in the future. You don't want any.

Someone's insurance is responsible for the damage. It's either your insurance, or the builder's. (If it's yours and you didn't have any then you learned a valuable lesson.)
Old 07-20-07, 09:19 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3
Thank you Bob for the helpful information. That's the direction I took: the superior solution. They have been a very good builder and were going to complete the construction of the house in 4 months.

The builder was 4 to 6 weeks ahead of their 5-month base schedule, but this theft by miscreants will set us back a week or two. I did learn that these thieves may also target the outside condenser of a heat pump or air conditioning unit. I may have to fence it off to keep from feeding their meth habit. We are in a rural setting.

The construction is covered by the builder's insurance until I receive the house after final inspection.
Old 07-21-07, 07:26 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Harrisonburg
Posts: 744

I replied to your e-mail but figured I would post here as well.....

1.) I would NEVER accept the " junction box " solution to your problem, this simply opens up doors for additional problems in the future in regards to them being accessible and quite frankly opens up problems for potential connection errors and loose connections.....just not the choice I would make.

2.) As a EC myself and well known educator around the country I would be VERY upset if someone bought up that solution at one of my NEC is just a LAZY approach to an critical problem.

Sad to say this but it is up to the builder to ensure a secure work place, but this is not always possible as we see theft as a major issue in many of todays work environments...sad fact I guess......

I would demand new circuits be run, tested to make sure no other damage is evident and then time it with the sheetrockers to get it closed up as soon as possible...meaning this jobsite will need CLOSE attention..

That is MY advice....
Old 07-21-07, 09:42 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: CA
Posts: 2,041
I have often wondered why builders and insurance companies dont just spring for security at jobsites under construction. I am guessing for a grand a week they could have an onsite guard for 10 hours/7 days. I guess from an insurance standpoint, that doesn't pencil out. You collect premiums from dozens or hundreds of jobsites, then pay out one claim and are still ahead.

Copper theft is big, and I can tell you I have detailed knowledge of the split A/C sales business, and theft of condensors has become a big problem. There are two factors: theft of any unit for its copper value, and theft of a slightly older (10 SEER) unit, because 13 SEER condensors are about 40% higher, and you also have to replace the indoor unit.
Old 07-21-07, 05:43 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 1,839
Back when I was younger, I worked many a sub-division under construction as security. After dark, no one needs to be driving around the sub, even once a few homes get sold, you can tell who belongs there and who doesn't.

On a single site home though, adding security during non working hours would be *very* expensive. Easily $1500 a week per home in additional costs for a dedicated guard.

If it's your own home being built, I'd be inclined to get a small camper and just camp on the site at night.
Old 07-22-07, 05:47 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Near Buffalo, NY
Posts: 4,239
Seems to me that a motion detection alarm system would be a relatively inexpensive solution for a builder. Have it place a phone call instead of triggering an audible alarm. It takes a lot of time to rip out wiring and pipes, so the chances of catching them in the act are pretty good. When one site is finished the system could be moved to the next one.
Old 07-29-07, 03:45 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3
Thanks for the help, guys. I was out of town on business this last week. I took the opportunity to check on the house today.

The Contractor has fully rewired the home, reinstalled the insulation and gave me more sound insulation than I had before. They also had it reinspected by the county (another issue we discussed). The house is secure.

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