Take a Cautious Approach when Making Wall Penetrations
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Type:  Lessons Learned

Publisher:  Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA

Date: 

Topics:  Electrical, Operations, Maintenance, Work Management/Planning

After measuring for and marking the location of a planned penetration on the outside of the building, the electrician created a pilot hole by drilling into the exterior metal wall. The electrician used a hole saw to create the penetration for the conduit and co-worker inside the building noticed that the hole saw was penetrating a wall-mounted electrical circuit.

When making wall penetrations, accept the possibility that the location marked on one side of the wall may be aligned with something (e.g., conduit) on the opposite side of the wall. Independent verification of this marks location reduces, but does not necessarily eliminate, the chances of this. The first true verification that the penetration was properly placed occurs when the pilot hole is drilled. If a cautious approach is used when drilling the pilot hole and the pilot hole is used to verify the correctness of the penetrations location before making a larger hole, unintended damage, expense and delays can be avoided.

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