Born under a bad sign

Sign testing and preparation phase

We received several pallets of signs and related equipment.
I recommended we setup a test stand in our equipment garage where we could stage and test signs prior to deployment.  This was done by our Electrician. 
During the installation of the test sign a number of questions were raised about the signs and the associated equipment.  The Electrician noted a number of potential safety and suitability issues.
The Sign controllers are powered by a 110-240v power supply.
There is no visible testing lab sticker on the sign or the controller. (Who is UL anyway?)
The signs themselves had rugged enclosures but they also had openings on the top sides. These enclosures were not rain tight or suitable for mounting in wet or damp locations .
The example photos sent by DRI  illustrated signs attached to Poles and in open shelters.
I began asking THE project manager "J" questions about safety and suitability of the supplied signs for the intended application.
The first dispute was J's explanation the Signs were intended for indoor application and that they were suitable for indoor shelters.
Of course the supplied application examples Photos of signs attached to on street lamp posts were certainly not "indoor shelters"
J suggested we look up the definition of shelter in the dictionary .
I suggested he look up the sections on the requirement for listed equipment on  public  installations of electrical equipment in the National electrical code. NEC
We asked our local municipal electrical inspector to inspect the test stand and make a determination of its legality.
He (inspector Waters) took a look at it noted it was not approved by any testing lab and flat rejected it.
J's response, "that is a local inspector and we are not required to comply with local determinations'
After extensive research I found the National code sections the State code sections the county code and the local code sections which all concurred . I even found sections which required the installation of listed equipment over unlisted equipment if there were listed equipment available.
Eventually DRI  determined they needed to send us a completely different set of signs. and we could install them when the testing labs finished testing and approving them.
After several months we received legitimate Testing lab certifications on the new sign.
  • What is a sign?
  • There are shelter signs.
  • What is a shelter?
  • What is NEMA 3
  • Who the hell is UL?
  • Shipping too and fro.
  • How many did you send?
What is a shelter?
We even had a dialog on the minimum dimensions of a Shelter.
Would a rain shield  provide the minimum requirements for a "shelter"?
I found a number of "Nextbus" signs which were installed in the public space and used a metal rain shield to protect them from direct rainfall. Ultimately I reviewed the precise wording of the sign specification in the Contract and found the words "NEMA enclosure" The signs supplied were not NEMA 3 rated and clearly unsuitable for the intended and represented application.
My question to J and DRI, Why are we having an argument about this stuff? You need to send us approved and appropriate equipment so we can have a successful outcome.
His response, "Talk to Sales " Sorry J we already talked to Sales and we already bought signs.  Now send us some that meet minimum requirements.
The Sign Saga will continue.  At this point in the project I had already spoken to an attorney to discuss what seemed like a potentially deal breaking dispute.
Initial discussions with leadership about alternate paths to ending the contract were begun.
Two years after we started the 9 month Project we got the certification.
Question to other DRI "Properties"  Are your Advisory Signs approved or listed? Does it matter?
If someone is hurt because of this oversight will you have to pay?


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