I wouldn't rule out the use of Sch40 PVC here. In fact I would consider a length of sch40 PVC glued to the hub of a PVC box all well fastened to the wall a far superior choice, and it's virtually allowed per 334.15(B) "...or other approved means..."
EMT and metal boxes mounted to damp below grade masonary walls have way too many issues for me: possible sharp edges, proper grounding, corrosion.
Could you imagine an authority wondering if sch40 PVC used in this manner is strong enough in a residential basement workshop? I certainly couldn't.
By not listing it 334.15(B) doesn’t explicitly approve sch40 PVC, but it doesn’t explicitly prohibit it either. If the code listed it here as approved, it would be used everywhere and obviously NEC doesn’t want that. But, at the same time, the code doesn’t say, “Sch40 PVC cannot be used “, that would be explicit. What it does say is, “or other approved means”, which means that it’s up to the inspector to decide.
And Speedy Petey, I realize that the thought of leaving something up to an inspector’s discretion can be a frightening thought, and, with that said, I think you’re 100% right if you prefer to be safe and to advise others to be safe than sorry. But if the code says it’s the inspector’s call than I have to standby what I originally said which is, “I wouldn’t rule out the use of sch40 PVC.”
I’m going to include the word for word, complete commentary for this code section from a NEC 2008 Handbook. This is probably what stuck in a couple of my brain cells and even though it supports my case it still doesn’t stop my head from spinning:
Section334.15(C) was revised for the 2008 Code to include crawl spaces. Crawl spaces pose dangers similar to those of unfinished basements and in some case are more dangerous due to limited height. The means of providing physical protection required by 334.15(B) includes specific protection techniques. Notice that Type PVC, Schedule 40 is omitted from this list unless it is judged as an “approved” means by the authority having jurisdiction. Also, where NMC is installed close to the surface in masonry, concrete, or adobe-type construction, physical protection must be afforded to the cable by using steel plate-type protectors as described in 300.4(F)
For exposed work in unfinished basements and crawl spaces, as described in 334.15(C), physical protection for nonmetallic-sheathed cables run on unfinished walls can take the form of any listed conduit or tubing (including polyvinyl chloride conduit, Type PVC, Schedule 40).
As illustrated in Exhibit 334.1, nonmetallic-sheathed cables installed in an unfinished basement or crawl space can be through joists and attached to the side of joists or beams and running boards. Section 300.4(D) requires cables that run parallel to framing members be installed at least 1-1/4 in. from the nearest edge of studs, joists, or rafters.