Is this weatherhead placement OK?

Inspected a 3 unit condo (new construction) and the service drop goes to the weatherhead at the same level as the 2nd floor (my client’s level) back porch deck.

I could easily reach out and tough the conductors without even touching the railing. Drip loop bottom was 4’11" above the porch deck floor level.

The back porch (structure) is steel and the decking is treated lumber.

Remember, this is in Chicago, where the porches themselves are dangerous :mrgreen:



I think you would be hard pressed to find anything prohibiting that installation except for maybe this. . .

I believe it needs 10 feet from the walking surface. However, I don’t have my books in front of me right now.

One point is that the POCO hooked up to it. You would think that they would not have if it was bad. Probably like the idea of not haveing to use a ladder or basket. Just connect it from the back porch.

2003 IRC E3504.1 Clearance from building openings. Open conductors and multiconductor cables without an overall outer jacket shall have a clearance of not less than 3 feet (914mm) from the sides of doors, porches, decks, stairs, ladders, fire escapes and balconies, and from the sides and bottom of windows that open. See figure E3504.1
I can scan and post the figure if needed.

Michael, that code section is basically NEC verbatim. It applies only to conductors along side these areas.

The area in question, if applicable, would fall under NEC 230.9(B) & 230.24(B).

This requires 10’ vertical clearance, and this 10’ clearance must extend 3’ out horizontally around the area.

I agree and was thinking the same thing. Someone inspected it and passed it, or it would not have been hooked up.

Maybe I misunderstand the photo. I was under the impression that this picture was taken while standing on a 2nd floor balcony. The cables would then be somewhere around 15’ off the ground below so the >10’ requirement above a walkway would be met it would seem. Now, I’m not sure what the technicality is regarding ‘sides of these areas’. It would sure seem to me that the cables don’t meet that requirement at all. They are “along side of those areas”, aren’t they? If this photo is taken from ground level then never mind, my assumption is wrong.

Here is a similar one.

Stairway leads to access for a 2nd Floor apartment. Service cable is attached at the top of the Stairwell (Fire Escape) just above and to the left of the entry door.

This is After the Repair was Completed.

Work performed by a Licensed Electrician.

Permitted and Inspected by the Local Municipal Inspector.

Underwriter Seal from the Independent Electrical Inspector was affixed to the Main Panel confirming code compliance.

What say you?

Great repair Joe :roll:

I would hate to see what it looked like before the “repair.”

Here is a the Handbook graphic showing a very similar setting:


While not as bad as William’s it is just another example of what the poco can do because they can. bottom of drip loop is just under 8’ 6"


Just because the ‘apparently’ inspected it andpassed it and hooked it up, does not, necessarily, mean it is right.

This is Chicago, for goodness sakes!

When was the last time that a POCO or a municipailty (at least around here) was held liable for not doing thinsg according to their own code.

Answer: Never.

Different areas, different codes and no one takes responsibility.

Except good home inspectors.

Hope they are NACHI home inspectors.

(That ought to please Nick, eh :mrgreen: .)

Some inspectors may not be aware of the code sitations that have been posted.

This is a very good question by the OP and as an inspector myself, I would not pass any of the 3 different situations presented by the different posts here on this thread.
Good catch by you guys!

To clarify. One picture was taken from the ground level and the other one from the 2nd floor porch level.

Sorry for the lack of clarity.

Sorry, it seemed that came out wrong.
I was pointing out that even though it is an obvious violation it was still hooked up.

It is truly amazing some of the things I see that were “just inspected” by an AHJ.

That’s because in many areas the AHJ is only a general building inspector and may or may not be up to speed on all of the trades. Just this month I saw a county inspector pass a subpanel that had grounds and neutrals mixed, no panel bond, 3 neutrals crammed into each hole, and no ID on the neutral. They (HO) had ran a 4 wire feed but didn’t understand how to make it up at the sub. All he said was to clean out the drywall dust at the bottom of the can.

If we pull an electrical permit, we get an electrical inspector, who will know his stuff (and then some).
He will go strictly by the NEC.

But for a new house at final, we will get a general inspector who will go by the IRC.

Code - - - Schmode
Who cares, it’s unsafe.


Realize, when you cite “code” most people (especially the general public) asume you are talking about their own particular AHJ code.

In Illinois, any municipality over 10K population has the ability to set their own, local, code. I have seen villages, right next to each other, that have totally different ‘codes’ and some even contradict each other (like right across the street, fer gosh sakes!).

Chicago is the 900 lb gorrila, around here. To be a licensed electrician in Chicago and many of its surrounding suburbs, you HAVE to be union educated and a member of the union (IBEW) to even be considered to sit for the exam.
Thus, we have requirements like these:

  • All wiring (including low voltage, except 12V or less, DC, in EMT.
  • No “Mini-Breakers” (a device that fits in one panel lug, but has two seperate breakers).
  • AC whips of 3’ or less only.
  • No requirement for distribution panels (like in condos) to have a floated neutral. (as in bonding of ground and neutral only at the SE).
  • No requirement for bonding jumpers over water meters (most houses do not have water meters.
    I have seen old 60 amp drops with 60 amp meter boxes (and SECS) with 200 amp panels. The codie says its OK.

My point is that the general public believes that “code” (i.e. local code) inspections are good enough. They don’t care about the NEC or changing safety standards, and neither do most sparkies around here.

BTW: In my example, the builder and his electrician and the local AHJ said this was OK. Why? Because they said that Commonwealth Edison hooked it up, so it must be “Code”.

How do I explain this to my client is someone gets zapped?

Hope my calling it out as wrong gets me off the hook with the jury.

Hope this clarifies.

For your purposes, If you can stand, stoop or lean over anywhere and touch a service conductor it is a hazard. Let the sparky who evaluates it figure out where the violations are.

They just say that there are no violations. After all, “It passed the code inspection.”