What’s Below the Surface is Unknown

One time a fellow electrician was telling me about a situation where he felt unjustly treated.

He had been sent to dig a ditch with a ditching machine and install underground wiring along a future fence line.  He was given the exact line of the fence, the wire size, etc.

It was summer time when he did the ditch ditching, wire installation, and ditch-burying.  It was fall when the fence was installed.

One of the steel fence posts was driven through the wire buried the summer before.

The Union ruling on such occurrences was that: If you make a mistake and it is definitely your mistake, you must make it right.  When correcting the mistake, it must be done during normal working hours.

By the time the mistake was established as his mistake, it was winter.  He said that the week before Christmas he had to shell out the extra money to fix the mistake from his own pocket.

His real complaint about the whole situation was that, as he put it; “I was distracted for one moment while I was riding the ditcher.  It was obvious that there was only one portion of the electrical line that was out of line with the rest of the installation.  Why would someone drive a steel fence post in that one spot?”

I was sympathetic, but there was nothing I could do to help.  I did take a lesson from it.

Don’t presume that anyone else will be thoughtful about what they do on your job.  Think ahead and try to prevent other people from damaging your work.

I have seen many cases where ground rods, which are 8 or 10 feet long, have been driven through gas lines, water lines, sewer lines and electrical lines.

Each of those instances carries its own type of disaster.  However the biggest problem with ground rods is solid rock.  There are ways around a solid rock conundrum.  Driving a ground rod at an angle will often times allow it to slip by an underground obstruction.  You can also lay a ground rod in a ditch if it is of the proper depth.  Some inspectors have objected to that in the past, but it is allowed by code.

I had one job on the side of a mountain one time where driving a ground rod was problematic.  There was no rock involved, it was solid sand.  And I do mean SOLID sand.  You could dig a ditch easy enough and the sides would hold up straight.  However there was something in the makeup of the sand that after a short distance, it was impracticable to drive a ground rod.

What I came up with for a solution on that job is probably classed as proprietary information.