Equipotential Bonding requirements for spas

I recently installed power to a new spa that was placed on a 20 year old pool deck that is enclosed by a screen enclosure. The spa was located greater than 5 feet away from the pool and two of it's sides were butted up against the pool enclosure. We bonded the spa to the pool enclosure and thought that was all that we need to do to meet the art 680.24 requirements... so much for that thought!

The local building inspector arrived on site and required us to install an equipotential bonding grid around the spa area. We are still in the 2008 code cycle and the existing conditions for the pool deck construction indicate that is a fiber concrete installation (no deck wire). The inspector required us to install a #8 solid copper wire under the slab 24" away from the inside edge of the spa, on both sides of the spa that had concrete deck space that was accessible up to the spa, and we were required to bond them both back to the EBG of the pool system. Well this turned out to be easy to do (not part of the bid or course), we jetted 1/2" PVC under the slab inserted the wire and pulled the PVC out thereby placing the wire in contact with the ground under the slab and we terminated accordingly.

My situation worked its self our but here is where I am worried for future jobs...

Suppose the spa is not in an accessible corner where we can easily jet under the slab and insert the wire for the grid? Do we have to have the area (concrete slab) cut out to install the grid? Does grandfathering have a role in this decision? Are we ultimately seeing our regulations become so overreaching that these jobs will not be done at all by contractors. Is safety the ultimate concern because as we all know cost drives jobs and cutting slabs apart to install a grid will surely steer these types of installations away from licensed contractors and drop these jobs in the hands of DIY mechanics or worse yet homeowners.

Our inspector was willing to concede that, for example, a spa mounted on a wood or composite deck that was 4 foot above finished grade would not make sense to attempt to bond as ART 680.24 suggests, even though the code book requires us to bond Perimeter Surfaces. The perimeter surface shall extend for 1 m (3 ft) horizontally beyond the inside walls of the pool and shall include unpaved surfaces, as well as poured concrete surfaces and other types of paving. Perimeter surfaces less than 1 m (3 ft) separated by a permanent wall or building 1.5 m (5 ft) in height or more shall require equipotential bonding on the pool side of the permanent wall or building. Bonding to perimeter surfaces shall be provided as specified in 680.26(B)(2)(a) or (2)(b) and shall be attached to the pool reinforcing steel or copper conductor grid at a minimum of four (4) points uniformly spaced around the perimeter of the pool. For nonconductive pool shells, bonding at four points shall not be required.

I have a job where the spa is against the house and 30 - 40 feet away from any accessible point where I could try to wire in from. Our inspector wants us to provide a 5 foot barrier of non-conductive material around the entire spa area in order to comply with the code. I think I have found a solution that will meet the intention of the code book but fails to meet the current written code restriction. We are going to suggest that we coat the surface with a non-conductive epoxy coating verses trying to install matting or wood deck or worse yet cut the existing patio apart. Has anyone had a similar idea or experience that they would care to share? I need viable solutions and hope someone else has managed to overcome this problem.
Thanks, Steve
 
I'm in Vero Beach Florida, were the tropics begin!

This is the first time I have seen a TIA. This looks like it covers the question at hand, I will offer it to our AHJ and see if they will accept this for future installations.

Thanks, for your feedback!
 
Our AHJ is willing to accept the TIA. Our head electrical inspector questioned the safety that apparently the distance from the ground to the top of the spa entrance offers. I am inclined to agree with his question. Couldn't an individual be standing on a surface that is at a different potential located below a spa and place their hand in that spa which is greater than 28" above the surface and still be at risk?
 

GoldDigger

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Staff member
Our AHJ is willing to accept the TIA. Our head electrical inspector questioned the safety that apparently the distance from the ground to the top of the spa entrance offers. I am inclined to agree with his question. Couldn't an individual be standing on a surface that is at a different potential located below a spa and place their hand in that spa which is greater than 28" above the surface and still be at risk?
Possibly that is not considered as risky as the step potential of stepping out of the tub one foot at at time and getting hung up there by shock. You could not fall away from the contact in that case.
 
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