Peter McCarthy Electric Co., Inc. - Specializing in Older Buildings in Chicago
Adventures in Old House Wiring....

No extension cords on Scaffold lighting, lease!

The things you can learn, just by having a building and waiting for city inspectors to show up and write up violations on it.

Apparently, in Chicago, it is against the law to have scaffolding around your building where it covers the sidewalk without providing lighting. And after a certain length of time (either 4 or 6 months, I believe,) the lighting can no longer be provided by temporary light sockets hung and powered by plastic cords or cables. It must be permanently hardwired in pipe.

I never knew that. That is, until I got a call from a condominium association on Hyde Park Blvd who had a court date for violating the rule coming up. Apparently, their tuck-pointing and masonry repair job was taking a little longer than originally expected. So They hired us to take down the extension cord type temporary lighting under the scaffolding and convert it to permanent hard-wired lighting. We were able to do so by installing an extension on one of the front entry light fixtures so that we had a take off point to run our conduit across the face of the building, and then jump to the front and side scaffolding. We were able to put our anchors in the mortar joints rather than drilling into the brick or stonework.  We did that because at some point this will all be taken down, and it would look kinda silly to have a bunch of random holes in the face of the wall. Since we drilled into the mortar, they can easily patch them over when the piping and anchors are removed, and it will look like we were never even there.

To quote my older brother Patrick, " a good scout leaves his camp site cleaner than he found it!"


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