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Absolutely Ridiculous Greenhouse job, long read, Funny, I have to laugh about it or I will cry....

1030 Views 24 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  DK77
So, get hired to wire up a greenhouse in a new development, sounds fun, something new and cool. Get started planning, they want 10 plugs, 6 small LED lights (10W, not for growing), and 6 ceiling mounted fans. Also need to wire in two ceiling mounted propane heaters, and corresponding thermostats. Sounds good! Do some reading and learn PVC is not a good choice as the pvc melts and turns brown in the sun/heat. Can't use EMT, as it gets damp and rusts and corrodes. Decide I will do 1" PVC around the cement base of the greenhouse (approx 24" high base) to service all the plugs, and then in the middle of each area do 1" stubs to 1.5 meters and have NMWU coming out and along the rafters to service the lights and fans. Developer tells me the lot is zoned residential, and it's a residential greenhouse, also is a temporary location for now, in two years the entire greenhouse will be moved, ok, get started on the service. Mount a 100 amp meter base outside on some treated plywood, Drill a hole through the base of the greenhouse and run a #6 teck cable through the cement wall to a 60 amp D/C inside and from there connect a 1" pvc to a 100 amp sub-panel with 12 spaces. I wire up the lights, plugs, heaters, and fans. GFI protect all of them. Then put in the ground plate and run a bare to the 60 amp D/C Neutral and think everything is lovely. Call for an inspection.

FAIL, Inspector doesn't like the connectors I used for all the JB's I needed for the lights and fans, wants cord grip connectors, also wants the bare copper ground to be protected. Is also super pissed about the address of the building. I was given an address of the greenhouse by the developer and apparently it didn't correspond to where we were. Yells on the phone about this being a legal document and it's not his job to figure out addresses.

Take apart all the JB's and put in the cord grip connectors, put the bare gound inside a PVC pipe, and get a new address for the building. Call for another inspection.

FAIL, NMWU "is not UV rated" and has to be taken out and replaced. Address is not in the city system, so FAIL for that too, and now decides the Bonding is wrong and FAILS that too (still not sure why lol). Fight him on the NMWU, get a spec sheet from the manufacturer saying that NMWU is in fact UV rated (it's allowed to be outside for **** sakes), win that one. Get the address used for the gas (propane) permit and change things to that address, do nothing to the bond as I have no idea wtf he is talking about. Call for another inspection.

FAIL, 1.5 meter stubs don't have the proper connectors on the ends (they are only there for protection for **** sakes), Bonding now goes to the deficiency category, no fail for address this time, but has decided the greenhouse is now a COMMERCIAL property and FAILS for not having cold sequence metering. OK, take out all the NMWU so I can put some cord grip connectors on the ends of the stubs, pull NMWU back in, remove the 60 amp D/C from inside and place it beside the meter outside (it's 3R) and run new teck cable from D/C to meter, and Meter to Panel (inside).

Get a call from developer that Enmax has done their thing in that new section of development and can we please get the power on. OK, talk to Enmax, apparently they left me a 30M coil to bring to the greenhouse, Sweet! Developer gets a crew to dig the trench for me from the service drop (everything underground), approx 40ft away. Trenching crew bashes my D/C to bits, and hits the propane line, delays things by about a week. Get a call they are done, go check things out. Underground Enmax has left me a 30M coil of ****ing 4/0 wire. OK, get some 2 1/2" PVC pipe stick it in the trench and pull that **** through (Pipe required by the city even though it's SEC cable). Bring it up by the D/C, but wait....60 amp D/C cannot accept 4/0 wire. Go to 3 distributors, can't even find a 100 amp outdoor rated D/C that can accept 4/0 wire.

Well, I'm not going to get a 200 amp D/C for a temp greenhouse that uses not even 1000 watts of actual power, that is just crazy! PLUS it's like $2000. Decide I will run the Enmax wire to PVC JB and use lugs to size them down to #3, run that in PVC pipe to the D/C, then keep the #6 teck from D/C to meter and meter to Panel.

FAIL, can't splice the Enmax wires in the JB, provides a point where people "could possibly steal power". No viable options left for me.

Brings us to today, where now I have to get a 200 amp D/C to accept the 4/0 wires from Enmax. Get new 4/0 wires to run from the D/C to the meter base, Drill a giant hole in the base of the greenhouse so I can run 4/0 wires from the meter to the panel inside. ALL FOR 6 LED LIGHTS, 6 FANS, and 10 PLUGS that no one will ever use. AND IT'S TEMPORARY LOL.
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I did a reno job in Calgary years back. When the inspector showed up for final I was not there. We had a big commercial project going elsewhere and I was needed there.

Get an angry call from my boss saying the inspector has some issues. Simple ****
How could I have screwed it up?

Get down to the reno, inspector is waiting. Says I didn't labe the smoke alarm circuit... first breaker in the panel says "smoke + livingroom" (old Westinghouse panel with not much room for big descriptions.)

Ok he looks a little sheepish and moves on. Goes to show me that I mislabeled the washer and dryer. I say "how could I put the dryer on a 15a single and a washer on a 30?" send him upstairs to watch appliances as I flip breakers. He starts yelling the dryer goes off when I flip the 15. I go up and calmly point to the front of the washer where it says "washing machine". Both front loaders. What a simpleton.

Tail goes between his legs, I get my green sticker and call the boss. We both laugh at what an idiot the guy is. Get back to the big site and guys ask what happened. Tell the story, we all laugh. One old guy asks who it was. I tell him and he rolls his eyes, says he's had similar problems with that guy before.

Can't remember the inspectors name at this point.

That all said, putting a splice box ahead of a hot sequence meter is never allowed. You can apply for an exception from enmax if they see no other way and are able to tag it out. I have seen it once in my life, existing on something very old..

I hope your customer is understanding and pays up!
 

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I was working for Eaton as a field engineer when a new construction building 3 story building was scooped up buy a medical company. So all of the fused disconnects had to be replaced with breakers. The contractor hires us to remove and install the new equipment.
The power was not connected yet, I called a buddy at the POCO to verify that the wires were not landed on their end. Yep they were. Removed and isolated same. Gang lock on the transformer and we go to work. Replacing disconnects to breakers is pretty easy if you have all the parts, which we did. Almost done I stop by the local Eaton MFG plant and get all the new stickers needed. I get to the job and some City of Phoenix inspector had showed up and he was screaming about shutting the job down. I asked him why, you are not allowed to make these changes, Really why not? You are not authorized by Eaton, Really? Why does my shirt say Eaton Engineering Services. Why does my truck have the same sign if I am not from Eaton. You cant do this in the field. Yes we can.
The inspector says I am calling the Chief electrical inspector and tomorrow I will shut you down. Tomorrow comes, COP trucks show up. I am standing there and the two guys working with me say you had better be right. I counter with, Watch this.
The chief inspector shows up with the COP engineer along with the inspector.
I call the inspector by his first name and then turn to the engineer and ask about his new baby. See I have know these men for 20 years. We talk, I explain the plan of events and that we will be testing the gear tomorrow and handed Mr. sky is falling the invite to witness test the procedure. The chief inspector and engineer never even look at the gear. We finish up and the next morning we wait until 10 am for the 9 am test. Do our tests and set the breakers to engineer of records specs. I had the electrical contractor call for an inspection and some one new shows up to give us the passed tag. Never did see that first electrical inspector again. All of a sudden when anything went wrong in the COP with the companies gear, guess who got the job. Fine with me most of the gear was new.
 

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Have you talked to Enmax about the wire? My local PoCo will allow something like that as long as it is a metal, 3R rated enclosure and pad-lockable. No different than a disconnect and CT cabinet in a CT metered service. They lock and tag it the same way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Are you making money or losing? Some of these jobs you could only shake your head and wonder.
Making money so far!
But now I am this point where I have to tell the developer it's going to cost another 5K+ to get this power on when he thinks the job is 95% done already. it's not going to go over well and it's going to be tough to explain the stupidity to someone who is not an electrician
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I did a reno job in Calgary years back. When the inspector showed up for final I was not there. We had a big commercial project going elsewhere and I was needed there.

Get an angry call from my boss saying the inspector has some issues. Simple ****
How could I have screwed it up?

Get down to the reno, inspector is waiting. Says I didn't labe the smoke alarm circuit... first breaker in the panel says "smoke + livingroom" (old Westinghouse panel with not much room for big descriptions.)

Ok he looks a little sheepish and moves on. Goes to show me that I mislabeled the washer and dryer. I say "how could I put the dryer on a 15a single and a washer on a 30?" send him upstairs to watch appliances as I flip breakers. He starts yelling the dryer goes off when I flip the 15. I go up and calmly point to the front of the washer where it says "washing machine". Both front loaders. What a simpleton.

Tail goes between his legs, I get my green sticker and call the boss. We both laugh at what an idiot the guy is. Get back to the big site and guys ask what happened. Tell the story, we all laugh. One old guy asks who it was. I tell him and he rolls his eyes, says he's had similar problems with that guy before.

Can't remember the inspectors name at this point.

That all said, putting a splice box ahead of a hot sequence meter is never allowed. You can apply for an exception from enmax if they see no other way and are able to tag it out. I have seen it once in my life, existing on something very old..

I hope your customer is understanding and pays up!
Some of these guys are ridiculous lol.

Enmax said it was it fine if I do it, they understood the situation and were ok with it. Problem lies in that Enmax's domain ends where they leave the coil of service wire. From that point on the city is in control and it's this inspector that won't allow it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Have you talked to Enmax about the wire? My local PoCo will allow something like that as long as it is a metal, 3R rated enclosure and pad-lockable. No different than a disconnect and CT cabinet in a CT metered service. They lock and tag it the same way.
My thoughts exactly! I did talk to Enmax, they said it's fine, it's the bloody city inspector that won't allow it and technically anything on private property is his domain.
 

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Making money so far!
But now I am this point where I have to tell the developer it's going to cost another 5K+ to get this power on when he thinks the job is 95% done already. it's not going to go over well and it's going to be tough to explain the stupidity to someone who is not an electrician
Been there, I feel the pain. Sometimes you think you plan for everything and then some unexpected thing pops up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So, get hired to wire up a greenhouse in a new development, sounds fun, something new and cool. Get started planning, they want 10 plugs, 6 small LED lights (10W, not for growing), and 6 ceiling mounted fans. Also need to wire in two ceiling mounted propane heaters, and corresponding thermostats. Sounds good! Do some reading and learn PVC is not a good choice as the pvc melts and turns brown in the sun/heat. Can't use EMT, as it gets damp and rusts and corrodes. Decide I will do 1" PVC around the cement base of the greenhouse (approx 24" high base) to service all the plugs, and then in the middle of each area do 1" stubs to 1.5 meters and have NMWU coming out and along the rafters to service the lights and fans. Developer tells me the lot is zoned residential, and it's a residential greenhouse, also is a temporary location for now, in two years the entire greenhouse will be moved, ok, get started on the service. Mount a 100 amp meter base outside on some treated plywood, Drill a hole through the base of the greenhouse and run a #6 teck cable through the cement wall to a 60 amp D/C inside and from there connect a 1" pvc to a 100 amp sub-panel with 12 spaces. I wire up the lights, plugs, heaters, and fans. GFI protect all of them. Then put in the ground plate and run a bare to the 60 amp D/C Neutral and think everything is lovely. Call for an inspection.

FAIL, Inspector doesn't like the connectors I used for all the JB's I needed for the lights and fans, wants cord grip connectors, also wants the bare copper ground to be protected. Is also super pissed about the address of the building. I was given an address of the greenhouse by the developer and apparently it didn't correspond to where we were. Yells on the phone about this being a legal document and it's not his job to figure out addresses.

Take apart all the JB's and put in the cord grip connectors, put the bare gound inside a PVC pipe, and get a new address for the building. Call for another inspection.

FAIL, NMWU "is not UV rated" and has to be taken out and replaced. Address is not in the city system, so FAIL for that too, and now decides the Bonding is wrong and FAILS that too (still not sure why lol). Fight him on the NMWU, get a spec sheet from the manufacturer saying that NMWU is in fact UV rated (it's allowed to be outside for **** sakes), win that one. Get the address used for the gas (propane) permit and change things to that address, do nothing to the bond as I have no idea wtf he is talking about. Call for another inspection.

FAIL, 1.5 meter stubs don't have the proper connectors on the ends (they are only there for protection for **** sakes), Bonding now goes to the deficiency category, no fail for address this time, but has decided the greenhouse is now a COMMERCIAL property and FAILS for not having cold sequence metering. OK, take out all the NMWU so I can put some cord grip connectors on the ends of the stubs, pull NMWU back in, remove the 60 amp D/C from inside and place it beside the meter outside (it's 3R) and run new teck cable from D/C to meter, and Meter to Panel (inside).

Get a call from developer that Enmax has done their thing in that new section of development and can we please get the power on. OK, talk to Enmax, apparently they left me a 30M coil to bring to the greenhouse, Sweet! Developer gets a crew to dig the trench for me from the service drop (everything underground), approx 40ft away. Trenching crew bashes my D/C to bits, and hits the propane line, delays things by about a week. Get a call they are done, go check things out. Underground Enmax has left me a 30M coil of *ing 4/0 wire. OK, get some 2 1/2" PVC pipe stick it in the trench and pull that * through (Pipe required by the city even though it's SEC cable). Bring it up by the D/C, but wait....60 amp D/C cannot accept 4/0 wire. Go to 3 distributors, can't even find a 100 amp outdoor rated D/C that can accept 4/0 wire.

Well, I'm not going to get a 200 amp D/C for a temp greenhouse that uses not even 1000 watts of actual power, that is just crazy! PLUS it's like $2000. Decide I will run the Enmax wire to PVC JB and use lugs to size them down to #3, run that in PVC pipe to the D/C, then keep the #6 teck from D/C to meter and meter to Panel.

FAIL, can't splice the Enmax wires in the JB, provides a point where people "could possibly steal power". No viable options left for me.

Brings us to today, where now I have to get a 200 amp D/C to accept the 4/0 wires from Enmax. Get new 4/0 wires to run from the D/C to the meter base, Drill a giant hole in the base of the greenhouse so I can run 4/0 wires from the meter to the panel inside. ALL FOR 6 LED LIGHTS, 6 FANS, and 10 PLUGS that no one will ever use. AND IT'S TEMPORARY LOL.
Going to call today about a lockable 3R JB with Rocket Splice on the hots, no splice on the Neutral (apparently city has an issue breaking the neutral), should be able to fit the Neutral in the 60 amp D/C with a pin connector (it's a #1).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Have you talked to Enmax about the wire? My local PoCo will allow something like that as long as it is a metal, 3R rated enclosure and pad-lockable. No different than a disconnect and CT cabinet in a CT metered service. They lock and tag it the same way.
I'm going to attempt something like this, hopefully I can get Enamx and the city on a call and explain this and they will allow it. Thanks for the input!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Would they allow you to use pin adapter/reducer? Would save the grief about a splice box.
Can you change the lugs in your disconnect?
Been looking for pin reducers that will work, but can't find anything so far that will drop sizes enough. Also not sure if I can physically get the 2 1/2 PVC connector and wire inside the 60 amp D/C box. Can't swap lugs in the D/C is all one unit.
 

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Been looking for pin reducers that will work, but can't find anything so far that will drop sizes enough. Also not sure if I can physically get the 2 1/2 PVC connector and wire inside the 60 amp D/C box. Can't swap lugs in the D/C is all one unit.
There's a set screw splice reducer on this page that goes from 4/0 to #6 and costs less than $5, you might be able to find something locally. This may work in some places where there's no room for the pin reducers. Look at the P250 on down, for a few dollars more you can get them with hex set screws or double hex screws.

Buy Splicer - Reducer Wire Lugs at LugsDirect.com
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
There's a set screw splice reducer on this page that goes from 4/0 to #6 and costs less than $5, you might be able to find something locally. This may work in some places where there's no room for the pin reducers. Look at the P250 on down, for a few dollars more you can get them with hex set screws or double hex screws.

Buy Splicer - Reducer Wire Lugs at LugsDirect.com
nice! I will check it out, thank you
 

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ELECTRICIAN!!!
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Making money so far!
But now I am this point where I have to tell the developer it's going to cost another 5K+ to get this power on when he thinks the job is 95% done already. it's not going to go over well and it's going to be tough to explain the stupidity to someone who is not an electrician
How much did you originally think job would bill out at? And how much is it likely to wind up costing?
 

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The strangest greenhouse I ever work on was full of baby ostriches, about 60 of them. At that age they aren’t dangerous. They peck at everything including me but it didn’t hurt.
Most difficult part was not dropping any small item because they can swallow it before you can get off your ladder.
Adult ostriches are dangerous & can kill you.
They kick forward unlike a horse. They run at up to 40 MPH.
 
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