My Bro-in-law just bought a 100x500' parcel of land that has
only a well and a 10x15' garage currently. He's going to build
on the footprint of the home that was ripped down several years ago.
He mentioned to me that he _HAS_ to blow at leat $1000 for an
electrician to run electric service to the garage (so theres juice
onsite while he's building the home).
My general understanding is that he/we should be able to mount a
service entry (box that the power company's meter goes in) and
a breaker panel on a pole or on the garage, and call in the power
company to connect service. A neighbor of mine (since moved)
had "power on a pole" while he built his place.
I/We have no problem with the cost of an electricans services, but
prefer to spend that $ on an electrician wiring the house, not on
simple 1-drop, 1-panel, 2-outlet, temporary install.
The wiring/job is simple, and let's assume our work will be within
Why Shouldn't we be able to DIY it? What are the roadblocks?
I built more than one 'temporary service' power pole and set it, as a kid,
for construction sites. Operative words being 'construction sites'. In
central Indiana at the time, the rules were that meters on poles would only
be hooked up for sites with current and valid building permits, and for
code-permitted trailers that were not solid enough for a meter base to be
attached to. Not sure if it was a local law or power company policy. The
guy who hooked up the drop decided if it was solid enough to take the strain
or not. (ie, he would grab it at meter height and try to rock it back and
forth.) He also wanted the weather head to be at least 10' off the ground,
and the pole spotted where the drop would not cross the driveway where the
tall trucks would hit it. In those simpler times, we had never heard of
GFCI, but the breaker box and outlet panel had to be weather-rated, usually
via one of those boxes with a top-hinged lid with cord notches and rubber
grommets at the bottom. I would build the poles using a prefab kit for the
wiring, that was assembled from weather head to outlet box- just attach it
all to a flat board lagged to the pole itself, which usually consisted of 3
12-foot 2x8s nailed together in a T cross-section. The local electric
wholesale supply house kept the kits in stock.
Aside from ensuring that power company and/or licensed electricians get
work, not allowing DIY poles in your area is probably a public safety
decision. Yeah, 9 ot of 10 competent DIYs could probably build and plant one
with no problem, but that 10th one may fall over, arc, and start a grass
fire that takes out the neighborhood. They may also want to make sure
somebody just doesn't live in an RV on the site for years- 'owner built'
houses are notorious for never getting finished and becoming eyesores and
Here:Similar but 12 feet above ground. Supposed to be able to drive
truck under it?
Many years ago my neighbour a maintenance tech./electrician at the
local airport installed a pole mounted meter and weather head and got
it hooked up by the power co. To finish construction 100 amps AFIK.
He afterwards ran something from that pole into his basement power
panel and left it that way!
I did something similar by having 60 amp AC service provided to a
workshop shed at back of our property.
We then both built our houses doing much of the work ourselves.
Ours later became a proper o/head 200 amp hook up to our house.
He left his UG section in place and many years later it leaked into
the ground you could feel potential on our well grounded dryer washer
in our basement over a 100 feet away!
Agree it all depends on local rules and the power co. If you had moved
a construction trailer already equipped with a meter socket and
mashead from another location doubt it should cost a $1000! And the
power co would possibly hook you up for free as a new customer!
As others have said, you need to check with the local jurisdiction. There
may not be any road blocks. You could also work an arrangement with the
electrician that's going to wire the house, to allow you to install the
temp, which he will guide , oversee and file any papers
On Sat, 01 Sep 2007 00:19:03 -0700, " firstname.lastname@example.org"
If you can't diy power on a pole, consider power on a garage.
I am not an electrician and have no idea what the issues are, but the
garage seems less likely to fall over, and cheaper, than a new
Thanks to all responses, the thoughtful and well composed
reasons why building codes exist, and the valuable information
in all of the responses. (That was meant as sincere, not snide. )
As far as the project itself is concerned.. How's this sound?
o Mount a P/T 4x4 on the outside of the existing garage.
o ServiceEntrance box at chest level, with conduit running
up the 4x4 to 10'. Conduit goes another 2' above 4x4 to 12'
(1' above peak of garage, appx 6' lateral clearance from peak
of roof to mast-head)
o Install a weather head/boot and leave 3' hanging for the power
company to connect to.
o Grounded properly to rebar driven into the earth
o Assuming 100a service, we wire the mast-conduit-meterbox
with 4 gauge exterior-grade wire .. 10' run from masthead to
o 100a panel will be on the interior side of the garage ,appx 2'
wire run from meter box to 100a panel. 4 gauge as well.
o weatherproof where wire passes from outside to inside
o 100a panel will have master breaker and no circuits or breakers
at time of power-co turn-on.
As far a building codes go. if theres no interior wiring, and it
concern a occupied dwelling, the local building inspector has no
issue with running service to a garage on an otherwise vacant lot.
So how's the above plan sound for site-power?
This has more to do with local jurisdiction than anything someone from
another jurisdiction can tell you. For example, if your mast is 2' above the
support timber, the temp service drop would have to be attached to the
mast, not the 4X4, which is fine provided the mast is 2" or larger IMC or
galv pipe. These rules are local, ymmv
easy near free solution:)
If there are any neighbors nearby hook onto their service, and pay
their electric bill during construction. have your bereaker a bit
smaller than their breaker, so you cant trip their breaker ever.
this is a very common solution during home construction has been done
locally a neighbor got free electric while a bunch of new homes were
being built, and has been on this old house.
On Sun, 02 Sep 2007 23:47:37 -0700, " email@example.com"
100a means 2 ga. not 4ga. This is not the service to a "dwelling unit"
but in real life you can probably get by with 6ga and a 60a breaker on
a T pole. Be sure all the 120v receptacles are GFCI protected.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.