I have a problem

I have my own thoughts on this but would like to hear what others think so I will tell my story.

New construction client is worried about location outside of city limits no city inspections. I have been following the construction stages of this home and client wanted a full structural and mechanical inspection before close of escrow and called me to do it. To make a long story short the interior of the home has not been completed to the point of inspection. The plumbing contractor was trenching for the septic system and cut the main electrical feeds to the home. The electrician came and made a temporary splice to allow construction to continue. The plumbing contractor tells the owner that the size of the incoming electrical feeds are not the proper size for the home and they should be replaced anyway. This home has one main 225 amp rated panel being fed with 4-0 copper wire in buried plastic pipe and two additional sub-panels that are fed from the main. According to what I read in the IRC 3-0 is the size for 225 amp main so I basically don’t have a problem with 4-0. My problem is I am afraid the electrican is not going to re-run the main feed and just bury the temp splice. My thinking is the plumbing contractors insurance should pay for the replacement of the complete line I would not want a underground splice on new service. Here are some pics of the splice and all three panels tell me what you think.

Who does the underground feed belong to, the utility or the future homeowner?

Why does the plumber think the wires are the wrong size?

If it were me I would want the wires replaced at the plumbers expense.

Also 225 is an unusual size for a main breaker. Was it really a 200 amp main?

I seen lots of 225 Amp , Any way i would think the plumber needs to pay for the cut wires ( should of got a locate before digging) . i would inform the owners and tell them whats going on and that the wires and broken conduit be replaced

How are they going to bury a splice box and remain in compliance?

That conduit looks like under rated PVC for that application? Or am I seeing things?

Also, the wire in the service panel is not the same as underground. Where is the meter can? From the looks of things, it changed somewhere along the way.

That is a direct bury splice on direct bury cable. NO splice box is required or necessary. Heck, the conduit is not even necessary.

That said, there is no way in hell I’d allow this on a NEW job if I were the electrician. HE has to warranty his work and HIS name is on the job, NOT the plumber.

So if the plumber knocks down the house, he can say “it wasn’t built right to begin with,” and that relieves him of any responsibility? I don’t think so.

The plumber should pay to have it restored to its original condition.

Maybe state what happened, in your report, and recommend client verify in writing that the splice is adequate (I can’t tell how deep the trench is.)and guarantied by the electrician. He fixed it.

Let others fight it out.

Ok I am back had to run do a IR scan for a plumber contractor water leak in the ground.

My thinking and I could be wrong was the plumbing contractor that cut the service just told the home owner that the wire size was improper hoping the electrician was dumb enough to replace at his cost I think the plumber was trying to avoid liability. I don’t feel a new service should have a spliced of any nature and yes the plumbing contractor should of had the service located before digging but he did not, his problem and he should pay for it.

Hi Jeff I think we are on the same page

I luv a good fight

Ok I am going to have to eat crow here been looking at my own pics there is a splice in the main panel indicating that the buried cable is aluminum and has a copper pig tail to the top of the main. The 4-0 aluminum is only rated for 200 amps so in essence we have a 200 amp service even though the main breaker is 225. I have not performed the inspection on this home yet I was just there sneaking a peak as requested by the owner.

even though it maybe direct buried wire , now it is in conduit which is broke and has sharp edges showing i would think it should be repaired or when it is back filled it may cut into the insulation . Besides that the electrician should state that the main water line coming in is not big enough.

Not sure why anyone would not just bring the AL into the panel lugs. Could have just rotated the panel 180 and gone straight into the lugs.

Since the 4/0 AL is only good for 200 amps the main breaker is oversized and should be changed.

Jim a lot of strange thing happening in this home I will have a much better look when I go back for the real inspection and If I have to will look at the connection at the on ground transformer box where this buried feeder connects. I see a lot of electricians here not connect the aluminum to the top of the main they use a squeeze connection on the aluminum to copper and then take the copper on to the main

If this underground cable is connected directly to a transformer at the back of the yard, this cable most likely belongs to the power company. That stated the sizing of the USE cable is covered by a different code. Granted the one splice looks good but the taped up one doesn’t. I would want it entirely replaced at the plumbers expense.
Another point is underground utility locaters typically don’t locate private lines. So if this line is homeowner owned, they would usually have to hire an electrician to locate it.

Randall we have a service here in Ok called (call OKIE) and they will free of charge come spot all utilities for a home owner so things like this don’t happen

Up date on my problem house met with the electrical contractor this morning and he and the plumber have agreed to replace the total service with the proper amp rated feeds. His excuse for the wrong size wire was two different workers were working the job as the reason for the mistake. I let that stupid reason fly over my head and did not call him on it in front of the client. What he did not know was this was not my first Rodeo and I am getting for my client the proper sized feed wires and he got to save a little face with the client but he also does not know he will not be getting any more contract work in this housing project. ;-):wink:

Thanks for your input

It don’t matter how you get there, just get er done!