Categories: Code change of the week
This weeks section is the fourth of the top ten series, and is being overlooked on almost every job. It has made my job harder to do since I have to look at almost every box installed for a switch on each job to see if the neutral has been installed. In 404.2 Switch connections, this new requirement makes us supply a grounded conductor at switch points for the control of lighting on jobs, both commercial and residential. The GROUNDED CONDUCTOR is the Neutral Conductor the white, the gray or the wire with three white stripes on other than green insulation. Yes install a neutral wire at all switch points, and like most sections there are exceptions! In order to meet the exceptions you have to comply with one or the other, you will “not” have to install the Neutral only if you meet one of the two exceptions.
The first exception has to do with having a “raceway” to the switch box. A raceway is a conduit of some type such as EMT, ENT, FLEX, PVC, RIGID and so fourth. If you do not have a raceway you can not use Exception #1. The raceway has to be installed and has to provide enough room for the future wire, the neutral to be installed if needed.
The second exception is when you are able to access the switch box when cables are used such as MC, AC, and NM cable systems from above or below or from behind the box. So if you have drywall walls and ceilings and there is no way to get to the box from above or below, then you can not use this exception. There has to be a way to fish down the wall to the box to add the neutral conductor, or if the back side of the wall is open.
These two exceptions appear to be straight forward, so if you can not meet either Exception 1 or 2 then you have to install a Neutral Conductor in the Box. If you have guys out there working who have not been to a 2011 NEC Code Change class or seminar how do you expect them to know what NEW sections are going to be enforced. Please pass these weekly observations and changes on to all your help so that they will pass their inspections and not hold up the job progress. When I cited a job for this reason the General Contractor was surprised, and upset that his Sub-contractor (the Electrical Contractor) did not know the changes that have been in effect for the last 5 months. See the CODE section below.
What has been taking place out in the field is that the neutral of these switches has been attached to the equipment grounding conductor which adds objectionable currents into the grounding system of the building or residence. So no more dead ends of two wires for a single pole switch or three wires for a three way switch, a neutral is required, whether you need one or not.
Till the next time be safe work safe
PS. Any questions please email them to me at email@example.com