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How closely do you have to follow the permit plans?

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  • How closely do you have to follow the permit plans?

    I realized that I cant mount the combiner box where the plans specify it will be mounted. And instead I want to mount it on another wall, is the inspector going to have a problem with that? Or is that one of those things thats understandable if things deviate a little? (assuming other rules arent broken, like disconnect still being within 10 feet and visual distance of breaker panel etc).?

    Red is location specified on the plans, green is location I want to mount it. - https://imgur.com/a/HXilY2u

    Untitled.png
    Last edited by Duxa; 01-24-2020, 08:26 PM.

  • #2
    I'd make a trip down to the office and ask, because even though it might technically be OK, it will probably irritate him if you make the change on your own and might make him wonder what else you've changed.

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    • #3
      Sdold is right that it is safer to confirm the change ahead of time.

      But it's almost inevitable that any final build will be slightly different than the original plans for any construction project. You don't want to piss off the inspector by cutting corners or doing something completely different, but from my experience in my little town with our building inspectors, as long as you follow code and follow the intent of the original play, you're going to be OK. To me, the change you mentioned falls into the category of inevitable differences, but I'm not the inspector.

      In most cases, the inspector won't try to match box on drawing to box on wall. They don't have time. Instead, they will look at the work you have done and make sure that it is done correctly and meets their needs.

      But again, it is safer to do as Sdold suggested and confirm the change with the inspector in advance. The inspector may have a reason for not putting the box close too something you didn't think of or putting the box too far from something else you didn't think of. You never know. They don't know everything, but have a lot of experience.

      When I had my final inspection, the inspector found one thing I did just-plain-wrong (used the wrong color wire) and waived it as a non issue. That was fortunate, because it would have meant a trip to the store and some serious rework to fix it correctly, followed by another inspection. Then he found something that I considered a silly nit (adding one more sticker) and asked me to fix it. Fortunately, I had spare stickers and I could do it while he watched. He may have had that in mind when he waived the first thing and asked me to fix the second.

      After the inspector left, I changed the wire to the correct color. Had I left it unfixed, it would have bothered me forever.
      7kW Roof PV, APsystems QS1 micros, Nissan Leaf EV

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      • #4
        Moving a box a foot or two, no big thing, but you are going to need to re-calculate the wire loss for that extra length. Check with the inspector before you vary much.
        Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
        || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
        || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post
          Moving a box a foot or two, no big thing, but you are going to need to re-calculate the wire loss for that extra length. Check with the inspector before you vary much.
          The run remains the same, Im just putting the box on the far end of the run as opposed to run's start. So overall run length from panels to the beaker panel doesnt change.

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          • #6
            For safety, you follow the permit plans to the spirit as well as the letter. That may require some education. As a practical matter, you follow the approved plans as far as the inspector says you follow them. No less.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Duxa View Post
              I realized that I cant mount the combiner box where the plans specify it will be mounted. And instead I want to mount it on another wall, is the inspector going to have a problem with that?
              Plans are commonly revised as work progresses.

              On big projects (commercial scale) there's usually a final set of "as-built" plans.

              In your case, I'd make the revision to the plan - explain why it's being revised, and take it to the building dept and tell them you have a minor revision you need to make to your plan.
              Probably they'll think you're doing more than you really need to. Worst-case they'll look at your revision and point out a problem with your revised plan. (in which case, better to know that sooner than later)

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              • #8
                Originally posted by foo1bar View Post

                Plans are commonly revised as work progresses.

                On big projects (commercial scale) there's usually a final set of "as-built" plans.

                In your case, I'd make the revision to the plan - explain why it's being revised, and take it to the building dept and tell them you have a minor revision you need to make to your plan.
                Probably they'll think you're doing more than you really need to. Worst-case they'll look at your revision and point out a problem with your revised plan. (in which case, better to know that sooner than later)
                Agreed, you should be able to submit a plan revision. Should be a simple process.

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                • #9
                  The big advantage of using a local contractor is they know the local building dept and all the ins and outs of what is needed or not needed and they've earned their trust and can get away with way more than you can. Building inspectors vary greatly (from you need to dot the "i" there on the fine print of your plans to "just bring down the inspection card to the office and I'll sign it") Seriously, do your best to follow the rules, and persevere though anything they hit you with and you'll always get your project through. Just remember the phrase "Yess masser, I does what you say" - (don't actually say that though)
                  BSEE, R11, NABCEP, Chevy BoltEV, >2500kW installed

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                  • #10
                    Using a contractor got my first array quickly approved and erected. I made drawings myself
                    that were more professional than they expected. Still I later had to later bring things up to
                    my own standards, often working on the ground array at night. AC outlets helped. Bruce Roe

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                    • #11
                      Thanks all for feedback, I had the plans revised. Sounds like it was worth the extra effort of going down to the city.

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