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Electrical Specifications

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Here is a rough copy of my first cut for Electrical specifications with totals for each electrical component in the house.  I haven't vetted this with any contractors yet, but hopefully will have some feedback soon.
Ross in Hillsboro, OR


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Michael in Smith, WI said:

As a building electrical systems engineer, there is one thing I have noticed throughout many of these documents.  The use of the term "As Built" is misleading.  The drawings used to perform construction tasks are called "Construction Documents".  The survey referred to as an As-Built Survey is a "Certified Site Survey".  Due to much construction litigation, the term "As Built" is being used less and less, as it implies that the documents show in detail exactly as it was built.  Even in post-construction documentation these terms are not used, due to some uncertainties of where each wire is run in a wall cavity.  Typically the final document is a set of complete drawings incorporating all Addenda, Construction Bulletins and RFI's into a single complete set called a "Record Document" set.

Since "As-Built" drawings drive the price of the contract up (due to the requirement of detailing work after each work day) a better alternative is proper labeling of systems (such as identifying all conductors in a circuit within an inch of the jacket removal with xyz data) and construction documentation (photos) and/or punch lists.  An example of a punch list is prior to covering the walls with sheetrock an inspection should be done on plumbing, HVAC and electrical to ensure workmanship is proper (all HVAC ductwork should be sealed properly, plumbing joints should show signs of proper installation and supply line should be pressurized, and all electrical should be run in a neat fashion).  This will help avoid instances of a pipe bursting after a wall is all finished or what I find a lot in homes and commercial buildings that did not go through proper inspection... a lot of debris in ceiling and wall cavities.

Also when writing specifications don’t just assume terms like "Contractor shall follow all applicable codes and ordinances" and think that covers you.  Workmanship is usually not covered in building codes.  When developing specifications, work with your equipment suppliers.  If you are purchasing an xyz A/C unit, the company might have a short spec for you to include as part of your contract documents.  These are not automatically part of the contract unless you specify them.

Also, avoid counting devices. Instead, submit the drawings as part of the contract documents.  This way it is in the hands of the contractor to count locations of switches, receptacles, etc.  Releasing these documents with the bid invite will also allow for contractors to call and let you know if there are any deficiencies in the plans (e.g. "There is not enough space in front of your panel").  When this is stated, ask for a code reference (NEC Art. 110.26-A-1).  If a change is made, notify other bidders and give enough time for all bidders to react.

Shawn in New Harmony, UT said:
I'm General "B" and Electrical "C-10" Contractor with 40 Years experience wiring/building/developing Residential and Commercial projects from Fairbanks Alaska to San Diego California. As a rule I can do things fast and cheap (always to code) by banging out a job without owner interference or slow and expensive (always to code) explaining every detail to the homeowner. I'm happy to take as long as you'd like to explain or provide "As Builts" but I need to be paid for every second of my time and expertise. My suggestion for As Builts is to thoroughly video record every step of the project. I record every job after the rough electrical is complete to prove I protected my electrical wiring and didn't damage other systems during my electrical installation and I use those recordings to find buried plugs and switches and to avoid plumbing and HVAC systems when adding to the electrical system after drywall.  Shawn
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