While cutting holes for outlet boxes in new drywall, my contractor (ahem, me) managed to damage some wires in one of the outlet boxes with his RotoZip. Now there's not enough undamaged wire to meet the 6" Code requirement (there's about 4" left). What's the correct way for my electrician (ahem, also me) to address the wiring? I have to imagine that there's some safe/per-Code remedy to address something like this in a new construction situation without tearing off multiple sheets of drywall for a new wire run?

Location is Seattle, USA.

Thanks in advance for your answers. Please cite Code if you can!

  • If it is just the insulation that is damaged, you could use heat shrink tubing. I wonder if the electrical inspectors would pass it with 4" of wiring past the drywall? Oct 8, 2017 at 3:49

1 Answer 1


I don't think that leaving a 4" tail in a box instead of a 6" is the worst code offense you can commit. The reason it is in the code is to match up with the NESC (National Electric Safety Code). This allows while doing maintenance on the device to pull it clear of interference and perform work on it safely.

You could do what Jim Stewart suggested, just make sure you have the right color code, you attached a pigtail to it, or you could check to see what the AHJ has to say about it and let him make the final decision on whether to allow it or extend it.

  • I know you said new construction , have you had your cover inspection and only have final left? If so pig tail. If not inspected you will need to replace the damaged sections of wire or pull some slack to provide 6".
    – Ed Beal
    Oct 8, 2017 at 15:07

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