During construction, most jobsites don't have built-in electricity, so builders often have to rely on a temporary power source. Here are three options to provide electricity to your jobsite during construction:
- A power pedestal, which is incorporated into the home's final electrical system. The pedestal and an electrical meter are mounted on a permanent post and a power cable is run underground to the main electrical panel. The meter is usually installed immediately after the foundation is completed. The electrical panel can be temporarily installed on the pedestal, protected from the weather, and later moved into the home, if necessary. You generally won't have to pay a fee for this temporary hookup, but there are strict rules about where the pedestal can be placed and what equipment must be used for installation.
- A gas-powered generator, which is a stand-alone, portable unit that you can take and place anywhere on the jobsite. Though relatively inexpensive, these units can be noisy and require time to fuel and maintain. Also, gas-powered generators may not supply sufficient amperage for an electric compressor, so you may also need to purchase a stand-alone compressor unit.
- A temporary service, which can be set up and used to power more than one site. These services may be more expensive and time consuming than using a power pedestal or a gas-powered generator. Temporary services can be set up in two different ways. The first way brings the power underground to a temporary location, and the other way provides temporary power by setting up a power pole. The height, depth, and bracing of the power pole are all determined by local codes, and the minimum height if the pole comes in over a road is 18 feet. Both methods of providing temporary power through a service require an electrical panel, a meter socket, and a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), all of which need to be protected from the weather.
When choosing a temporary power source, make sure you select the option that best suits your jobsite and complies with local and national safety code.
For more safety-related Best Practices®, check out BuildIQ University’s online courses, Jobsite Safety I and II, as well as this related article, "Using temporary power systems safely."