In over 30 years wiring houses and almost 10 years reading opinions on Mike Holt's forum I have never heard of anyone interpreting that a cable stapled to a sill plate is subject to physical damage.
Response: This has come up before, and the code is not as clear as it should be. Depending on where the sill plate is in relation to the wall is really the question. If it’s somewhat recessed and up high then that’s open to interpretation, however the inspector of the AHJ has the final say regarding the interpretation. If it’s low, not recessed, and accessible then it can easily be claimed that it needs protection. NEC 334.12(B) clearly states that for exposed work for this type of cable, “The cable shall be protected for physical damage where necessary” That’s why I asked for photos.
And if he allows cables run perpendicular to joists through bored holes than how he could possible say one is subject to damage and one is not? It is pretty much impossible to substantiate.
Response: Because the code clearly states that cables can be run perpendicular to the joists in bored holes. See NEC NEC 334.12(C) which states “Smaller cables shall be run either through bored holes in joists on running boards” The reason for running boards is to prevent people from “clothes hanging”, or in other words preventing people from hanging items from the cable. Granted, people can still hang items from the cable through the bored holes, but for some reason the code felt this wouldn’t be as much of an issue as when the cable is directly on the bottom of the joists.
The point being with my post is the inspector is not necessary out of bounds with his request. The code is not as clear as it should be for this type of installation. I’m a professional electrical engineer who works in the industry and you’d be surprised what can come up in a lawsuit. And it doesn’t matter what’s in the code. If I was to design this installation, and if someone damaged the cable and got electrocuted, the first item the attorneys’ would bring up would be “The code requires physical protection of the cable, and obviously you didn’t provide it as someone got electrocuted”. At that point in time my Errors and Omission’s insurance kicks in $50K as opposed to trying to fight it and paying substantially more after a trail. This could be the inspector’s company policy for this type of installation. It cost no money to them to implement, and can save a potential lawsuit from occurring in the future against them.
Last edited by kkkeating; 11-20-2013 at 06:41 PM.