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Old 12-03-2019, 11:01 PM   #1
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Default Inspector wants updated grounding?

Hi everyone,
I am replacing 40 old Federal Pacific Main Lug panels. (1 in each apartment). Inspector said he wants me to update the grounding because I am changing the distribution but I stated I am not changing the meter bank or switch gear and it's existing conditions changing like for like..So far I installed 28 Main Lug Panels and each I placed a bonding bushing from the BX feeder to the ground bar because of the concentric KO. That takes care of that but other issue is the main bonding he is referring to. The service hits a 300 KVA transformer. From there it hits two 800 amp main breaker panels and 1 owner panel (400 amp which serves hall lighting, heat, washers dryers, elevator etc.) ( 1 800 feeds 20 apartments and the other 800 feeds the other 20 apartments.

The inspector wants me drive two ground rods, bond each 800 amp switch, the 400 amp owner switch, the sprinkler pipe and the water main. He said I can use the Erico electrical buss bar and run everything to it. My understanding is I run my #6 from my rods and hit the buss bar and from the buss bar I hit each switch. For each switch would I be using #6? In each switch there is a double lug on the neutral which 1 is open so would I use #6 or do I need to use 1/0 (they are 500's for service) from my Erico bar? Next, what about the sprinkler pipe? Is it okay to use #6 for it? I know my water main and jumper is 1/0 based on the 500.

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!
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Old 12-03-2019, 11:13 PM   #2
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Don't you have to use the grounding electrode conductor chart to size those 800A, and 400A service ? How are you coming up with #6 ? or do you mean the 100A meters to each unit ? I would use 1/0 , but maybe i'm missing something

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Old 12-03-2019, 11:23 PM   #3
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Don't you have to use the grounding electrode conductor chart to size those 800A, and 400A service ? How are you coming up with #6 ? or do you mean the 100A meters to each unit ?
Hi and thank you for the response. Per 250.66 A states that a GEC doesn't require anything more than a #6. The meters are part of a meter bank attached to the switch so I am just required to bond the switch but I am not sure from the 2nd lug off the neutral if I need to use #6 or 1/0 from my Erico bat to the lug.
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Old 12-04-2019, 12:10 AM   #4
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Hi and thank you for the response. Per 250.66 A states that a GEC doesn't require anything more than a #6. The meters are part of a meter bank attached to the switch so I am just required to bond the switch but I am not sure from the 2nd lug off the neutral if I need to use #6 or 1/0 from my Erico bat to the lug.
A grounding electrode that is a rod doesn't require anything larger than #6. Other electrodes, like water mains, are sized according the the service entrance conductors. In this case, 800 amp switches would usually need a 2/0 copper or 4/0 aluminum.
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Old 12-04-2019, 12:37 AM   #5
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A grounding electrode that is a rod doesn't require anything larger than #6. Other electrodes, like water mains, are sized according the the service entrance conductors. In this case, 800 amp switches would usually need a 2/0 copper or 4/0 aluminum.
I have to run #4cu for a 200A service here to the rod, and then to water, and gas bond ?
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Old 12-04-2019, 12:52 AM   #6
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I have to run #4cu for a 200A service here to the rod, and then to water, and gas bond ?
Lots of utilities require #4 in their specs. It's so common for me that I don't even bother with #6 bare any more. It's also a common spec for engineered plans to call for a larger conductor to the rod. I did a 1/0 copper cadwelded delta ground for a 1600 amp service a few months back. Code says I could have used #6, spec says 1/0.
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Old 12-04-2019, 07:11 AM   #7
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Hi and thank you for the response. Per 250.66 A states that a GEC doesn't require anything more than a #6. The meters are part of a meter bank attached to the switch so I am just required to bond the switch but I am not sure from the 2nd lug off the neutral if I need to use #6 or 1/0 from my Erico bat to the lug.

A grounding electrode that is a rod doesn't require anything larger than #6. Other electrodes, like water mains, are sized according the the service entrance conductors. In this case, 800 amp switches would usually need a 2/0 copper or 4/0 aluminum.
Hi Will and thank you. So what about inside the 800 amp services switches from the double lug of the neutral? I'm still not sure if #6 is okay. I understand the sizing for the water main just not from my erico bar to the neutral buss for bonding. Thank you
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Old 12-04-2019, 07:54 AM   #8
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Hi Will and thank you. So what about inside the 800 amp services switches from the double lug of the neutral? I'm still not sure if #6 is okay. I understand the sizing for the water main just not from my erico bar to the neutral buss for bonding. Thank you
The conductor going to the neutral can't be smaller than the largest size wire bonding to some electrode. So let's say you bond the water main with 2/0 back to your bus bar. The conductor going from the bus bar back to the neutral has to be at least 2/0.

So take a 2/0 to the bus bar, then 2/0 to the water main, then #4 to the Ufer or #6 to the ground rods, etc. Check the local utility specs concerning earth grounding. They may have a say beyond the code.
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:00 AM   #9
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I'd be more than happy to correct any deficiencies that you would like, Mr. Inspector, however; since I'm contracted with the building owner to only replace the apartment panels, I'll need to know how you'd like to pay for the additional work.

Also, before I start, you'll need to get authorization from the owner, since, well, it is their building.
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:06 AM   #10
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Hi Will and thank you. So what about inside the 800 amp services switches from the double lug of the neutral? I'm still not sure if #6 is okay. I understand the sizing for the water main just not from my erico bar to the neutral buss for bonding. Thank you
The conductor going to the neutral can't be smaller than the largest size wire bonding to
some electrode. So let's say you bond the water main with 2/0 back to your bus bar. The conductor going from the bus bar back to the neutral has to be at least 2/0.

So take a 2/0 to the bus bar, then 2/0 to the water main, then #4 to the Ufer or #6 to the ground rods, etc. Check the local utility specs concerning earth grounding. They may have a say beyond the code.
Thank you Will. 250.122. I have to use 1/0.
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:07 AM   #11
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I'd be more than happy to correct any deficiencies that you would like, Mr. Inspector, however; since I'm contracted with the building owner to only replace the apartment panels, I'll need to know how you'd like to pay for the additional work.

Also, before I start, you'll need to get authorization from the owner, since, well, it is their building.
Good point. The building owner is paying for the additional work 😁
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:23 AM   #12
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Thank you Will. 250.122. I have to use 1/0.
250.122 if what your bonding isn't an electrode.
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:32 AM   #13
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Thank you Will. 250.122. I have to use 1/0.
250.122 if what your bonding isn't an electrode.
Seems like the EGC table is the appropriate table considering I am bonding the switches sprinkler water and troff none of which is a GEC
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:46 AM   #14
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Seems like the EGC table is the appropriate table considering I am bonding the switches sprinkler water and troff none of which is a GEC
If the water main is metal and in contact with the earth for more than 10 feet, it is an electrode.
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Old 12-04-2019, 09:25 AM   #15
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I'd be more than happy to correct any deficiencies that you would like, Mr. Inspector, however; since I'm contracted with the building owner to only replace the apartment panels, I'll need to know how you'd like to pay for the additional work.

Also, before I start, you'll need to get authorization from the owner, since, well, it is their building.
Why do you feel the inspector is responsible for the cost and not the customer? It sounds as if the service was never grounded or was grounded incorrectly in the first place.

Let's change this around a little. For a job I'm quoting right now. I'm doing work around a ranch and I notice no one ran a ground with a 900' feeder to a well building. Say I don't want to touch it, the customer doesn't want to deal with it but during the course of an inspection for other electrical work, the inspector sees it for the hazard it is. And requires it fixed.

You feel the cost for correcting this issue should fall on the inspector because he found it and pointed it out, rather than the property owner?

Second example, a well known tire/suspension shop with a good reputation sees a car come in with parts worn making it unsafe to drive. This is noticed doing their multi-point inspection while performing other work on the car. They don't allow the customer to take the car without correcting the issue first.

Should the tire company be responsible for the burden of the cost since they pointed it out and required it to be repaired? Or should that cost fall on the customer?
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Old 12-04-2019, 10:52 AM   #16
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Seems like the EGC table is the appropriate table considering I am bonding the switches sprinkler water and troff none of which is a GEC
If the water main is metal and in contact with the earth for more than 10 feet, it is an electrode.
It's buried in the Earth And then comes up into a Room where the water main is. It's still needs 1/0 if I'm correct given the size of the service in size of the conductors
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:13 AM   #17
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Why do you feel the inspector is responsible for the cost and not the customer? It sounds as if the service was never grounded or was grounded incorrectly in the first place.

Let's change this around a little. For a job I'm quoting right now. I'm doing work around a ranch and I notice no one ran a ground with a 900' feeder to a well building. Say I don't want to touch it, the customer doesn't want to deal with it but during the course of an inspection for other electrical work, the inspector sees it for the hazard it is. And requires it fixed.

You feel the cost for correcting this issue should fall on the inspector because he found it and pointed it out, rather than the property owner?

Second example, a well known tire/suspension shop with a good reputation sees a car come in with parts worn making it unsafe to drive. This is noticed doing their multi-point inspection while performing other work on the car. They don't allow the customer to take the car without correcting the issue first.

Should the tire company be responsible for the burden of the cost since they pointed it out and required it to be repaired? Or should that cost fall on the customer?
I don't think anyone expects the inspector to pay for anything. But it does illustrate the point that when inspectors "want" things because they think it is better or prefer it that way, maybe they should pay for it?

So the ultimate question is: in the OP's situation, does the inspector/AHJ have the authority/jurisdiction to require the grounding to be brought up to current code?

I am assuming that he does, which means the customer has to have it done and pay for it.
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:21 AM   #18
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So the ultimate question is: in the OP's situation, does the inspector/AHJ have the authority/jurisdiction to require the grounding to be brought up to current code?

I am assuming that he does, which means the customer has to have it done and pay for it.
I would assume that an inspector would have the authority to throw a flag on a service that was never up to code. But would be limited on what he could force on an old service that was built to the code of the day. Just like they can't force every house to be rewired for grounding receptacles.
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:24 AM   #19
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I would assume that an inspector would have the authority to throw a flag on a service that was never up to code. But would be limited on what he could force on an old service that was built to the code of the day. Just like they can't force every house to be rewired for grounding receptacles.
That's probably true.

At one point NJ's Rehab Subcode allowed us to change out a service panel without touching the grounding, even if none existed. I believe they changed it now to say that it does not have to be brought up to current code but it does have to have at least the normal water pipe ground.
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Old 12-04-2019, 04:00 PM   #20
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I don't think anyone expects the inspector to pay for anything. But it does illustrate the point that when inspectors "want" things because they think it is better or prefer it that way, maybe they should pay for it?

So the ultimate question is: in the OP's situation, does the inspector/AHJ have the authority/jurisdiction to require the grounding to be brought up to current code?

I am assuming that he does, which means the customer has to have it done and pay for it.
I only pointed it out because the way CTshockhazard stated it in his post, it sounded very much like he expected the inspector to foot the bill.

My own personal standpoint is, if it's a legitimate safety issue it needs to be addressed. This is always easier when you first look at the job and hopefully catch any issues before you start, giving you an opportunity to go over them with the customer. But things happen and sometimes you don't know until later.

I have a couple of exclusion I use in my quotes:

-Any work required beyond the scope of this quote required to pass inspection will be done at T&M rates in addition to the quoted price.

-Anything not specifically included, is excluded.

I am very specific and bullet point all the work we are going to do in our inclusions. I have seen too many quotes with broad scopes of work spiral out of control when things weren't spelled out and any issues that came up were assumed to be under our scope to "just take care of"." That can really cause a strain with customer relations. I'd rather cover myself and clearly define it on the front end then deal with problems and who covers what on the back end.
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