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Thread: Too many cables in conduit

  1. #1
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    Too many cables in conduit

    Your opinions please
    A client, of the non paying kind, is refusing to pay because she said "her electrician" told her there are to many cables in the conduits going down to the DB board. When we started the job we were asked just to do the kitchen wiring which went in the existing conduits easy, then she added some extra sockets, the cables still go in easy enough, then a supply to the alarm, getting tight. The walls are now plastered and painted. A 6mm sub is then required for the cottage.

    Now the conduits are tight so i pull out a some cables and rearrange so that the 6mm can fit. All the cables are flat twin and earth. The conduits are now very tight now but because the run is only about 60cm and the cables are not even close to being fully loaded so there is no problem with cables getting heated, so there is no heat to dissipate, I decide not to smash open the freshly pained wall to put in more conduits. Not one of the cables will ever been run at even half capacity. The 6mm stove cable only has to hand 16 amps.

    I'm aware of conduit capacity, supposed to be 45% space etc, but because the cables are not loaded, I made a judgement call and consider it ok, I admit its not ideal but had I know at the start of the job that so much would be added I would have made provisions but because there there is no chance of the cables ever getting even close to capacity I don't consider it a problem. That coupled with the fact that if every building with over full conduits was considered unacceptable then we would have to condemn every building in South Africa

    I went to the ECA and asked them to come and inspect the place and I told the customer I would abide by there decision.

    She won't let them in.

    What would you think, I don't believe that those conduits are a problem. I mean, if I was doing a COC on the house, I'd assess the load, are the cables loaded to the point where its a problem, no. OK I can pass it. If it was long run I'd be more picky.

    What do you think, would you sign it off or chase into the wall?

  2. #2
    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    I know this isn't what you want to hear but the regs state clearly what percentage you can fill a conduit and they don't allow for deviation from that figure depending on expected loading or diversity etc.

    Please don't get me wrong, I do sympathise with you if that was the only reason they could come up with not to pay you. If they have an electrician I would demand the problem to be conveyed in writing by the electrician along with the regs that are being contravened and the electricians registration details. If they won't give you the claim in writing I'd persue the outstanding amount through the usual legal channels. If they do give the issue in writing I'd go back and re-route some of the cabling through surface trunking as a remedy then demand payment.

    Another option that worked well for me many years ago was a thinly veiled threat to report the property owner to SARS for undeclared income if they intend to rent out the cottage and also to the planning department for have an undeclared second dwelling on their plot.
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    Gold Member Sparks's Avatar
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    Spot on as usual Andy, as for a possible solution, house-wire to the ceiling with a large jucction box mounted directly on top of all the droppers. An even easier solution, considering how low the loads are maybe you can reduce the number of lighting or plug circuits by connecting in the roof.

  4. Thank given for this post:

    AndyD (04-Dec-12), Dave A (04-Dec-12)

  5. #4
    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    It's actually very simple: You should do what the rules require.

    What would you do if you go for a hip replacement and the doctor says, damn, I don't have titanium screws today, no worries, I'll just use a couple of wood screws.

    You can't do everything to the letter of that book
    You waste so much energy justifying doing something BADLY. If you spent half as much time doing it properly, the way it should be done according to Andy and the regulations, you would have been finished already.

    You are a qualified person who claims to be a professional who is giving an entire industry a bad name. I will NOT hire you to do work for me because I cannot trust that you will uphold the standards which your own profession requires you to do. I would hire Andy in a flash because he stands by the standards.

    You either try and do it to the letter and never get any work or you use a bit of common sense and , as long as its safe in your own opinion, you have to what you need to do to make it work.

    HORSE $H1T - This is exactly why electrical installations look the way they do - You are a disgrace to your profession.


    Imagine if pilots operated like you, oh I forgot, Nationwide techs did and an engine fell off during take-off. I can see you standing there saying 'F_it, a new engine mount bolt will cost R300, nah, I'll rather pocket the cash and put the old one back"
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
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    I'll go a run a 2.5mm cable for the 13 amp stove that's going in. Its to the book. That should save some space in those conduits.

  7. #6
    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    Its very simple: just do what your rule book tells you to do.

    Like I said before: I will pay somebody like Andy a premium because I can trust that he will do it the right way. You must realize that people rely on your integrity as a professional to do things correctly. This sort of nonsense is exactly why when a house gets sold three quaters of the wiring has to be redone.

    You know that you are going about it the wrong way and that is why you are looking for support to justify your actions. Come on, you don't want a mechanic to do half a job on your car in the same way as you are trying to justify doing to your client. In your line of business there is no JUST GOOD ENOUGH, there is simply RIGHT OR WRONG. Your rule book explains in detail what is the right way, what is your problem: just do it.

    If you can't make a living by keeping within the boundries of the rules of your profession then you are doing something wrong, maybe you are marketing incorrectly, maybe you should hire more staff, I don't know, but never take short cuts on quality, especially if your shortcuts can lead to somebodies house burning down or worse them getting killed through your neglegence.
    Last edited by adrianh; 04-Dec-12 at 08:56 AM.
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
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    So how many wires do you have in the conduit?

  9. #8
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    It's a pity some posts in this thread were withdrawn by the poster concerned. It would have been interesting to hear an intelligent solution suggested to the problem posed.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  10. #9
    Gold Member Sparks's Avatar
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    Adrianh, I think that was a bit harsh under the circumstances. The way I read it a quote was given and accepted. The work was done and now that the job is finished the client wants more circuits without having to chop open the newly painted walls. Skatingsparks asked for advice. Clients can be difficult on their best days and I will certainly attempt whatever I can within the regs to accommodate them. The suggestions which I put forward are totally legal and if done correctly will pass any legitimate inspection.
    As for putting in the minimum requirement for the stove circuit now Skatingsparks, I would rather not. The next time the stove is replaced nobody is going to check the circuit carrying capacity.

  11. #10
    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    Yes I agree that I am being harsh. The point that I am trying to make is that you can do something right or you can do it wrong. The guy clearly said that he takes shortcuts because he feels that it is difficult to make money if he doesn't. Of course there are many solutions to a problem and of course some are better than others, but I still think that one should find solutions that are within the boundries of the regulations.

    I understand that the client possibly changed their mind and that they added more circuits...but, as a professional 1. you should be able to foresee the problems that may be encountered, 2. you should be able to go back to your original quote and say that you were able to do what was required given the circumstance under which the first quote was given but that the addition of the circuit would incur all these issues.

    Look, I also understand that we get ourselves into positions where we underestimated the consequence of our agreeing to do something, I think that the answer lies in learning from the experience, do a quote, stick to the quote and handle all additions as seperate issues.

    With regards to the specific problem, I don't know what the answer is, you guys work in the field every day. I am sure that one of you can come up with a novel solution that would be acceptable in terms of the regulations.

    MY beef is really with the brazen sort of I do as I please attitude justified by an inability to make enough money if the regulations are applied correctly. Look, we are all clients in some way or another and we can all be difficult at times, but if one operates within the bounds of the appropriate regulations and your agreed to quotations then there is very little that a client can complain about.
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
    ~GS Elevator

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