Looking for your opinion on concrete encased electrode

woodduder

Senior Member
Location
West Central FL.
In the picture below you can see a 1" PVC conduit (protective sleeve) with our 1/0 copper wire that is connected to the footer steel. You cannot see the connection but it is adjacent to the pipe and just above the vapor barrier. I know that the code 250.52 (A) (3) informational note states that the vapor barrier would make the concrete considered not in direct contact with earth, but every slab we do has a vapor barrier and that is the "way it has been done for years" here in SW Florida. The footer inspector is responsible to confirm there is an electrode attached, which he did and inspection passes.

Move ahead 9 months and we are now trying to get a final inspection. The electrical inspector asks about the footer ground. The picture below is shown to him and he says "no good" because of the vapor barrier. He wants another footer poured next to building or a 3rd party ground test performed even though we have three 10' ground rods in a triangle just outside which makes us code compliant anyway. He is being unreasonable in my opinion.

Now my question: The vapor barrier is only at the bottom of the footer. The footer is 24" deep and 16" of the footer's side (where the plywood form was) is in direct contact with earth. Do you think our footer is "in direct contact with earth"? IMG_1075.JPG
 

mikeames

Senior Member
Location
Germantown MD
Occupation
Teacher - Electrician - 2017 NEC
If the vapor barrier is under the footer then I agree that it does not meet the expectation of the code. So the vapor barrier is under the slab and the footer? Is it also on one side of the footer? If that's the case being only 24" deep to begin with and having 2 of the 3 sides isolated by a vapor barrier wont cut it.

Having only a 24" depth make it more difficult to argue the sides of the footer are sufficient, but then again there is no definitive goal that can be proved or documented. Its all so vague and that makes it difficult to build a strong case. The most important words in the code related to your situation are "informational notes" . Technically the sides of the footer are in direct contact. I assume??? Are both sides of the footer in contact or just one? Ideally the footer was poured without a vapor barrier.

The ground ring has a min depth of 30 inches, if your footer was deeper I would feel good with that, but in my opinion the codes perspective is getting below the permanent moisture level. My opinion means nothing. Ultimately I don't think this qualifies.
 
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winnie

Senior Member
Location
Springfield, MA, USA
Occupation
Electric motor research
Do you have a local requirement or a job specification that you _must_ have a CEE?

Under the NEC, _if_ you have a CEE you are required to use that CEE. And if you have a CEE there are requirements about how you connect to it. But there is no requirement that you actually _have_ a CEE.

As I see it, the vapor barrier means that your concrete and rebar might not be a valid CEE; not sure how the exposed side alters things. If it is not a CEE, then your 1/0 connected to the footer steel is simple a permitted bonding to some rebar, nothing more. If it is a CEE then you've bonded it.

If you don't have a CEE, then you are required to have something else as a grounding electrode. This could be a single ground rod demonstrated as better than 25 ohms, or 2 ground rods. You have _three_.

From what I see your install meets the NEC regardless of weather the footing is a CEE. If there is a local or job spec requirement to have a CEE then you might have a problem.

-Jon
 

woodduder

Senior Member
Location
West Central FL.
I just got off the phone with the inspector. He has sited the Florida Building code which I am going to read now. He told me that the side of footer in direct contact with earth will not suffice since future erosion of the soil may take away the direct contact with earth. I will be back after I read the Florida Building Code.
 

steve66

Senior Member
I'm not familiar with the Floridia Code, but I agree with Winnie. There is no requirement for a CEE if you don't have a footing suitable for a CEE. It was never the intent to require additional footings just for grounding.

Think about it like this: If the water service was made with a plastic water pipe, would the inspector be able to require another water pipe made of copper ran out to the road or even back to the treatment plant? No, of course not. But the "if available" language is basically the same for both CEE's and water pipes.
 

myspark

Senior Member
Location
SCV Ca, USA
Occupation
Retired EE
. . . .Move ahead 9 months and we are now trying to get a final inspection. The electrical inspector asks about the footer ground. The picture below is shown to him and he says "no good" because of the vapor barrier. He wants another footer poured next to building or a 3rd party ground test performed even though we have three 10' ground rods in a triangle just outside which makes us code compliant anyway. He is being unreasonable in my opinion.

View attachment 2552441

I don't know how your AHJ handle your inspection. I had done many commercial and residential work in CA. . .not in Florida.
I'm a bit flustered when you said "trying to get a final inspection."
Which means the project had gone through a rough-in inspection and the inspector had signed it off.. . ready for concealment.

By this--it is safe to assume that when you requested for final inspection, everything is all covered up-- e.g. concrete poured, walls drywalled and ready for POCO hookup.

I will avoid being judgmental because I have not done projects in FL. I have no idea how you guys operate over there.

All these corrections he was bringing up should have been signed off during rough-in inspection. . .not during final inspection.

Is he the same inspector who signed-off your rough-in?
 
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