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I had been taking classes to become an electrician at one of the bigger community colleges in my area (specifically LBCC) and my brother had been doing some renovation on his own home and asked me to help out so I wired up the boxes and switches and receptacles and while we grounded the switches and receptacles we forgot to ground the metal boxes them selves and the inspection failed but my brother tells me that the inspector said we're not allowed to pigtail the grounds between the boxes and devices that we have to use a long ground wire loop it around the boxes ground screw then run it up to the ground screw on the device ... can he do that? this runs counter to what I was taught which is to pigtail the wires to the devices and ground screws

  • I don't think there's anything that says the ground has to be continuous in NEC, but it could be a local ammendment. – Tester101 Apr 14 '17 at 23:07
  • What happens where you have more than one device in a box? – DoxyLover Apr 15 '17 at 1:02
  • Are you sure there isn't a misunderstanding of the inspector's words through your brother? I could definitely see an inspector telling your brother you cannot just add another pigtail between the box and the ground screw on the device to fix the problem (because you cannot have multiple wires under a single ground screw/terminal--which just adding a pigtail would do). Perhaps that is what the inspector meant? However, if you rewire to where you have a single pigtail running to each grounding screw, then there shouldn't be a problem unless there are ridiculous local amendments in force. – statueuphemism Apr 15 '17 at 1:55
  • When you screwed down the switches and receptacles to the metal boxes, are they fully seated hard flush on the metal boxes (not suspended out on drywall ears)? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Apr 15 '17 at 5:42
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    If LBCC is in Oregon, I am sorry for you. Our inspectors really mess with home owners. There are some fine points on grounding I have seen them cite, yes the boxes have to be grounded and there are 3 ways they will pass locally. First the long ground looped to the screw as your brother said. Second crimped iriversable pigtail. Third a pigtail with a listed green grounding wire nut that the ground lug comes out of the top of the cap. There may be other ways but these are the methods I have seen that will pass in the Lynn, Benton and lane counties (LBCC) – Ed Beal Jun 13 '17 at 13:23
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If you are taking training this can be found in the NEC section 90.4 "Enforcement" the second sentence states he is the legal jurisdiction having authority for the enforcement of the code and he has the responsibility for making interpretations of the rules, ...

So in answer to your question yes.

The only thing you could do is to appeal it to his employer (the city council or whomever) or try and reason with him. Personally I wouldn't try and tick him off.

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Like the 'Retired Master Electrician' said, yes they can as per the NEC....but too the fact is that the NEC are standards, and are accepted by the individual city as guidelines, but the code that you live by ULTIMATELY depends on the LOCAL regulations...and specifically where the NEC contradicts local regulation, local regulations are the only thing that anyone give a hoopla about. Generally the inspector will be under what is known as a "Project Engineer" or "Project Manager" for the jurisdiction under that governs the applicable inspection of electrical in the area. The other thing though to be aware of is that even if the inspector is a moron.....make sure you have your ducks in a row before you call him one....because they can have quite a bit of power and authority (it depends on the situation of course, but I am telling you this from experience as an Electrical Inspector for the State of Alaska for several years on quite a few multi-million dollar projects. My boss would back me even if I was wrong if he could have excused it politically. It is just how things work ....its a game in many ways that you have to play to be successful (imho)...

  • If LBCC is in Oregon a supervising electrician is the same as a master + engineer in other states. A supervising electrician can design and install any electrical project in the state of Oregon. – Ed Beal Sep 10 '17 at 20:36
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Electric inspectors are about the only trade that has that authority. Inspector Jeff ICC/FL/SC licensed combination building inspector and building designer

  • I think that there's really no question that the inspector in question's an electrical inspector -- also, there's no need at all to sign your posts. – ThreePhaseEel Aug 8 '17 at 0:25
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A wirenut/clamp is a continuous connection. Crimpclamp a ground connection in there and you're good to go. I do agree with your inspector - pigtails are worthless except in commercial work where you may run into alot of BX/MC cabling.

One thing you should learn in contracting - always know where to find it in the book. That trumps all inspector's opinions. You can politely point out discrepencies with your inspector, and earn respect.

  • If the AHJ says it is wrong and won't sign off it may be a local issue or a questionable call. They have the authority to have power disconnected from the service If there is a safety concern. I had a contractor friend bring me in to get power restored after a PISSING contest that he won but the customer was shut off for almost 1 week because the AHJ is just that they have the authority even over a supervising electrician in my state or in other states an electrical engineer + a master electrician. – Ed Beal Sep 10 '17 at 22:15

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