NM in Firehouse

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  #1  
Old 12-11-14, 06:56 PM
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NM in Firehouse

I'm in the process of upgrading/moving the service at the fire house, as well as correcting dangerous stuff and bringing it up to code. I see a lot of Romex in there, does it all need to go, or is it grandfathered? It's a wood-framed building but is capable of more than 100 persons. I know MC cable is required today, but is the Romex grandfathered or does it all have to go? All work done after the mid-1990s is in MC cable or in conduit.
 
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Old 12-11-14, 07:12 PM
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I can't answer your question Justin (PA is almost as bad as NYC or Chitown)....but how the heck are you allowed to do this? How about a new thread in chats to give us an update on school, training, and such?
 
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Old 12-11-14, 07:16 PM
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It sounds like it's technically grandfathered but it wouldn't hurt to move towards removing it.

I run into the same problem at older churches.
 
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Old 12-11-14, 08:52 PM
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I can't answer your question Justin (PA is almost as bad as NYC or Chitown)
That's not true, we're allowed Romex for residential. (Although I despise the stuff)

but how the heck are you allowed to do this?

It's PA. Anyone with a rusty screwdriver and pocketknife can be an electrician.

It sounds like it's technically grandfathered but it wouldn't hurt to move towards removing it.

That's what I'm thinking. I know any of the yellow romex (Installed by well-meaning but uneducated members) needs to go but if I can get away with not ripping the drop ceilings down it'd be great.
 
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Old 12-11-14, 09:00 PM
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I run into the same problem at older churches.
Churches around here are pretty bad. I've even seen a newer church, with a 600A 480Y277 service wired with Romex. My new circuits there stuck out like a sore thumb.
 
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Old 12-11-14, 09:19 PM
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The wiring needs to be protected. In the drop ceiling is better than being stapled in sight on the walls.
 
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Old 12-12-14, 04:22 AM
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Tongue in Cheek.......at least your response time will be short in case of an electrical fire
 
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Old 12-12-14, 05:14 AM
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I run into the same problem at older churches.
I heard that! I used to attend a church that was built in 1903 but didn't get electricity until about 1960. Romex was stapled to the outside of the beadboard interior walls with all receptacles surface mounted and the exterior lighting had the romex stapled to the soffit We usually cut the main breaker off when the church wasn't being used. The bldg was hard to heat too as there was no insulation in the walls .... but that is another story
 
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Old 12-12-14, 05:19 AM
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Exclamation

It's PA. Anyone with a rusty screwdriver and pocketknife can be an electrician.
Sorry Justin, this just isn't so.
Permit requirements.
You seem to have a different system from what I am used to where permits for the specific city you are in are handled by city authorized permit agencies which appear to be contractors.

IN YOUR AREA YOU NEED TO BE LICENSED AND YOU NEED TO TAKE OUT A PERMIT TO DO ELECTRICAL WORK!!!
What appears to be lacking in your area is enforcement, not regulations.

What you say you are doing is completely wrong.
You appear to be enthusiastic in doing electrical work but from your own admission are only a student.
These forums support work that is done by homeowners and homeowners are allowed to take out permits to work in their own dwellings.
What you are doing is "under the table", wrong and only makes it difficult for those in the industry who abide by the rules.

You can not keep posting here admitting you are flaunting the law.
The church you are proposing to work at is in grave danger, not necessarily from bad work but from the complication of you doing this illegally.
Your problems could start simply from an unrelated trash can fire that exposes what you did.

Do the right thing Justin.
Get the he** out of that public building and commercial electrical, become licensed and follow the rules.
 
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Old 12-12-14, 09:36 AM
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Churches around here are pretty bad. I've even seen a newer church, with a 600A 480Y277 service wired with Romex.
If there are permits required I am wondering how something like this was ever approved and connected to the local utility.
 
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Old 12-12-14, 01:01 PM
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IN YOUR AREA YOU NEED TO BE LICENSED AND YOU NEED TO TAKE OUT A PERMIT TO DO ELECTRICAL WORK!!!
What appears to be lacking in your area is enforcement, not regulations.
I am not so sure. Yes, permits are required, but I didn't see anything about contractor licensing. I have seen many smaller rural communities that required permits (to get the work on the tax books), but only required a business license, not a trade license, in order to commercially take out a permit to work on someone's home or even a commercial building. My fear for Justin is that he would do a good job in an older building that later caught fire and he got blamed and didn't have the necessary liability insurance to protect himself.

The last small town I remember having these policies had a population of about 10,000 and was very strict about requiring building permits; electrical and plumbing were integrated into the building permit. There were no footing, foundation, framing, rough electrical or rough plumbing inspections. When the structure was completed the building office promptly sent out the dogcatcher/code enforcement guy to take a look. If the lights came on and off by the switches, the electrical passed. If the toilets flushed and the water went down, the plumbing passed.
 
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Old 12-12-14, 03:10 PM
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I think that's what Greg is saying. Justin is putting himself in a bad situation without the formal training, license, insurance, etc.

Justin...please don't take offense, but there is path that needs to be followed in any career/trade, like it or not.

I worked 24 yrs in the Navy as an electronics tech after almost 2 yrs initial training and continuing specialty schools. That includes functional nuclear reactors. I probably spent 4yrs of those 24 yrs in schools. I still would have needed licensing and additional training if I had pursued those fields in the civilian world.

My neighbor back in VA told me it took almost 10 yrs of work and schools to become a master commercial/industrial electrician (he kind of looked down on residential only licenses). He now is owner of a very large commercial construction company, but it took 30 yrs to get there.
 
  #13  
Old 12-13-14, 01:51 AM
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Well this turned into an interesting thread.
Sorry Justin, this just isn't so.
Permit requirements.
You seem to have a different system from what I am used to where permits for the specific city you are in are handled by city authorized permit agencies which appear to be contractors.

IN YOUR AREA YOU NEED TO BE LICENSED AND YOU NEED TO TAKE OUT A PERMIT TO DO ELECTRICAL WORK!!!
What appears to be lacking in your area is enforcement, not regulations.

Greg, The link you have there isn't my town. (Thankfully)
What you say you are doing is completely wrong.
You appear to be enthusiastic in doing electrical work but from your own admission are only a student.
These forums support work that is done by homeowners and homeowners are allowed to take out permits to work in their own dwellings.
What you are doing is "under the table", wrong and only makes it difficult for those in the industry who abide by the rules.

You can not keep posting here admitting you are flaunting the law.
The church you are proposing to work at is in grave danger, not necessarily from bad work but from the complication of you doing this illegally.
Your problems could start simply from an unrelated trash can fire that exposes what you did.

Do the right thing Justin.
Get the he** out of that public building and commercial electrical, become licensed and follow the rules.

I see your point there.
If there are permits required I am wondering how something like this was ever approved and connected to the local utility.

I was wondering the same thing...I also found it ironic how it was in one of the harder towns to pull a permit. (more paperwork)

I am not so sure. Yes, permits are required, but I didn't see anything about contractor licensing. I have seen many smaller rural communities that required permits (to get the work on the tax books), but only required a business license, not a trade license, in order to commercially take out a permit to work on someone's home or even a commercial building. My fear for Justin is that he would do a good job in an older building that later caught fire and he got blamed and didn't have the necessary liability insurance to protect himself.

Joe is right. Permits are required, licensing isn't required. I figure I should add in that permits are pulled, and the service passed inspection. I also had a good long talk with the inspector. (who likes my work) I also know that I do legally need a business license and liability insurance which I don't have.

The last small town I remember having these policies had a population of about 10,000 and was very strict about requiring building permits; electrical and plumbing were integrated into the building permit. There were no footing, foundation, framing, rough electrical or rough plumbing inspections. When the structure was completed the building office promptly sent out the dogcatcher/code enforcement guy to take a look. If the lights came on and off by the switches, the electrical passed. If the toilets flushed and the water went down, the plumbing passed.

That's rather scary.

I think that's what Greg is saying. Justin is putting himself in a bad situation without the formal training, license, insurance, etc.

Justin...please don't take offense, but there is path that needs to be followed in any career/trade, like it or not.

I worked 24 yrs in the Navy as an electronics tech after almost 2 yrs initial training and continuing specialty schools. That includes functional nuclear reactors. I probably spent 4yrs of those 24 yrs in schools. I still would have needed licensing and additional training if I had pursued those fields in the civilian world.

My neighbor back in VA told me it took almost 10 yrs of work and schools to become a master commercial/industrial electrician (he kind of looked down on residential only licenses). He now is owner of a very large commercial construction company, but it took 30 yrs to get there.

I understand this. I know I need at least 2 years of training, as well as quite a few other classes and certifications. But if there's something I know I can do well, I just can't say no.

I'm going to bed, it's been too long of a day. Goodnight/morning everybody. I'd like to talk about this more.

Edit: One of the mods should probably move this over to the general chats page, it's turning from an electrical question to a discussion about training, permits, etc.
 
  #14  
Old 12-13-14, 06:23 AM
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One of the mods should probably move this over to the general chats page, it's turning from an electrical question to a discussion about training, permits, etc.
Nah. This is all electrical based anyway.

Whether or not NM cable can be used (or could be used in the first place) will also depend on the buildings construction/classification. You may not have NM cable behind a suspended ceiling except in a dwelling

I also know that I do legally need a business license and liability insurance which I don't have.
If you are doing work for others you need to take care of this. Time to go big time my friend.
 

Last edited by Tolyn Ironhand; 12-13-14 at 06:51 AM.
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Old 12-13-14, 06:32 AM
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Yeah, it's staying here. It may sorta be general discussion, but it's electrical in every way.
 
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Old 12-13-14, 07:17 AM
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Yes, post should stay here. Makes for an illuminating cautionary tale for anyone coming here for electrical advice or help.

It's good you have a good relationship with the inspector. I'm glad you do. That you are pulling permits eases concerns but please make getting a business license and insurance a priority. Its for your protection.
 
  #17  
Old 12-13-14, 08:56 PM
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Was the original work, Romex and all, done to code at the time it was installed?

If it was not legal to begin with then it would not be grandfathered.

Something that could be a singular honest small mistake, such as two too many conductors in one box, if signed off on by the inspector, may be considered legal. But something blatant such as Romex used where never allowed and where it appears as if the inspector and electrician were in cahoots to circumvent the law, might not be considered legal or grandathered.

Note that some insurance companies will decline to insure property with certain kinds of wiring, notably knob and tube, even when that wiring was legal at the time it was installed.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 12-13-14 at 09:19 PM.
  #18  
Old 12-13-14, 09:16 PM
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Churches around here are pretty bad. I've even seen a newer church, with a 600A 480Y277 service wired with Romex. My new circuits there stuck out like a sore thumb.
A 277 volt hot to neutral leg wired with 250 volt rated Romex might well work for a long time, but a 277/480 volt multiwire branch circuit wired with 250 volt rated 12-3 or whatever gauge Romex could suffer a flashover right through the plastic wire insulation.
 

Last edited by PJmax; 12-13-14 at 09:46 PM. Reason: removed board added link
  #19  
Old 12-14-14, 12:17 AM
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Whether or not NM cable can be used (or could be used in the first place) will also depend on the buildings construction/classification. You may not have NM cable behind a suspended ceiling except in a dwelling

The building is a wood-framed building. It's registered as a nonprofit, so I'm assuming commercial but I'll check the county's website. I opened the drop ceiling in the banquet hall and it's all either cloth-covered romex, or the old NM with 60C conductors, so that's all getting replaced. The original tin ceilings are still up there, so I might do it all in EMT because there's talk of pulling the drop ceiling, but I'm not sure yet.

The kitchen area is all modern MC cable.

The bar is a mixture of older NM and modern MC. I made sure there was no NM above the drop ceiling, and put all of the old circuits on GFCI breakers.

The engine room is all THWN in PVC conduit. Nothing too major to fix there.

If you are doing work for others you need to take care of this. Time to go big time my friend.

It's good you have a good relationship with the inspector. I'm glad you do. That you are pulling permits eases concerns but please make getting a business license and insurance a priority. Its for your protection.

It's on the list of things I need to do! I was talking to another electrician over the summer and he said it's around $600 per year for $1M coverage. It definitely seems like a good investment, I just need time to get all the paperwork and stuff done.

Was the original work, Romex and all, done to code at the time it was installed?

If it was not legal to begin with then it would not be grandfathered.

Something that could be a singular honest small mistake, such as two too many conductors in one box, if signed off on by the inspector, may be considered legal. But something blatant such as Romex used where never allowed and where it appears as if the inspector and electrician were in cahoots to circumvent the law, might not be considered legal or grandathered.

I have no idea if it was legal at the time of being installed. Everything in the building "looks" as if it was done properly according to the time period, but later butchered up at spots by well-meaning, but clueless members.

My plans as of now are to remove as much as I sanely can, and only leave what would be rather difficult to replace.

When was Romex banned above drop ceilings and in buildings that can occupy over 100 people?

Note that some insurance companies will decline to insure property with certain kinds of wiring, notably knob and tube, even when that wiring was legal at the time it was installed.

I know one thing they had trouble with the insurance was because of a now-deceased FPE panel. There is also knob and tube in the building, but I haven't been able to check if it's live.

A 277 volt hot to neutral leg wired with 250 volt rated Romex might well work for a long time, but a 277/480 volt multiwire branch circuit wired with 250 volt rated 12-3 or whatever gauge Romex could suffer a flashover right through the plastic wire insulation.

I believe the romex was rated 600V, but I didn't check, or what voltage it was carrying. It was all over the drop ceiling, and the church appears to be built in the 1980s. All of the cables originating from the service equipment was SER cable, and all the cables coming from the 120/208 panels was Romex.

As for my work in the building, I ran 2 12-2 MC cables to 2 20A Square D GFCI breakers, to feed 2 receptacles for 2 freezers. This was volunteer work to help a fellow scout on his Eagle Scout project which consisted of adding freezers to his church's food pantry. I believe, but don't quote me on this, scouting projects are covered under BSA's insurance.



Thank you all for your input! It means a lot reading your advice.
 
  #20  
Old 12-14-14, 06:10 AM
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A 277 volt hot to neutral leg wired with 250 volt rated Romex might well work for a long time, but a 277/480 volt multiwire branch circuit wired with 250 volt rated 12-3 or whatever gauge Romex could suffer a flashover right through the plastic wire insulation.
I have never seen NM cable rated for less than 600 volts including fabric covered NM cables from the '50s and '60s where the markings were barely legible. SEU and SER cables up through the '70s and early '80s however were only rated at 300 volts, but today are rated at 600 volts.
 
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