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Old 03-18-2009, 11:49 AM   #1
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Electrical codes from 1970's -- Old work frustrations...

Can anyone tell me if there was ever a time in the past 40 years that it has been acceptable for someone to a) not use junction boxes for splices; b) not use cable clamps; c) use undersized electrical boxes; or d) no mechanical means for a splice?

I live in an old home with a somewhat modern (1970ís) addition. The addition was supposedly built to code and it was inspected (a permit was pulled) when it was completed. I finally got around to replacing the fluorescent fixtures, as well as the switches and outlets (they were all very cheap brown, backstab devices from the original install).

I thought it was going to take a few hours but it turned out that every single electrical box or junction box had something wrong with it. None of the boxes were grounded (neither were the devices, they didnít even have ground screws), many were undersized for the # of conductors, white wires were never marked in any way to indicate they were hot (switch loops), wire nuts were often omitted (or crapily done if present), random runs of UF was present (the installer obviously had trouble working with it/many conductors had clear damage from an exacto knife), and most of the boxes only had a few inches of workable wire present.

I spent the entire weekend cleaning up the mess and then had an electrician come by for the stuff I wasnít comfortable with.

Were there electrical codes from the 1970ís and somehow the previous owner was able to sneak it through? I canít believe any of what I saw could possibly, in any way have been acceptable practice.


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Old 03-18-2009, 12:06 PM   #2
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Most of the items you mention were not to code in the 70s. The switch grounds were probably not present at that time. Boxes if metal should have been grounded. Flourescent fixtures are considered junction boxes so a cable can still be brought into the fixture with the proper connector and no box is required.


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Old 03-18-2009, 04:50 PM   #3
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First of all national code like the NEC is a recommendation not the law, it must be adopted locally as the law. Although not as prevalent today as it was 40 years ago a lot of jurisdictions had no requirements for a building permits, in others it was nearly a formality to collect a fee and to have additions added to the tax roles and had no inspectors, still others required permits and had inspectors who merely checked the structure and not the electrical or plumbing. You would have to look at the codification history to find out what was required or inspected in your area. Changes in the NEC or other national codes may take years before they are codified locally.
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Old 03-18-2009, 06:35 PM   #4
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People have been doing schitty work since way before the 70's. Most of your issues were not code related.

Just because it passed an inspection doesn't mean much. Inspectors can't look at everthing. The "contractor" is the one to blame here. Probably a homeowner or handyman.
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