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#187774 - 07/09/09 08:55 AM Defect on work I didn't do!!
mr_electrician Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/07
Posts: 106
Loc: London, Ontario
I did a small kitchen renovation that involed fishing in a couple new plugs and ganging up some switches. As a good contractor would do I pulled a permit and had an inspection done on the scope of my work. To my surprise I received 3 defects for other areas of the house that were outside the scope of the inspection and were not part of the work I had performed. Has anyone else had a similar experience with ESA inspectors doing this? Pretty sad and unenjoyable when you do the right thing by taking out permits, just to be nailed for defects on other items that did not involve you. I am not sure about anyone else but I strongly feel that some ESA inspectors are out to get the little guy instead of working with them! I hope someday ESA is not the only agency that is approved to do electrical inspections.


Edited by mr_electrician (07/09/09 08:56 AM)
Edit Reason: spelling
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#187777 - 07/09/09 11:23 AM Re: Defect on work I didn't do!! [Re: mr_electrician]
mikesh Offline
Member

Registered: 06/07/06
Posts: 614
Loc: Victoria, BC, Canada
Mr. E
What would motivate an electrical inspector to pick on you? I know that in any relationship where one person has "Authority" over someone else there is huge potential for acrimony. Having more than 1 authority might seem like a good idea but I can only imagine it makes things even more complex.
The inspector cannot ignore a safety concern or obvious violation and you have some obligation to report it too. I know you are in Ontario but the law in BC could make you responsible if you were the last guy in and did not bring the situation to the attention of the inspector. I regularly note deficiencies when I am in a house to inspect work under permit. If for example a contractor was just there to change a service. He might not have authority from the owner to also install a plug where an extension cord is being used instead of permanent wiring or there are open splices or other signs of unsafe wiring. If the contractor is present I might be able to ascertain what the contractor is responsible for and instruct him he may not reconnect the unsafe parts of the system until they are repaired or upgraded if necessary. Even if i don't go, the contractor is responsible for anything he reconnects so he should at the very least walk through the entire house and identify these problems with the owner. Bottom line is you are the best person to identify these things when you are there. The inspector is in no position to ignore it and unless you are present during the inspection how is he to know you did not do it? He has to write it up and if these are existing problems your presence at inspection can help him to ensure the notice is written to the party responsible. I have had occasion that an owner would not repair deficiencies and I wrote a correction notice to him and not the contractor.
The inspector might need to be challenged politely. You did do it correct but maybe the inspector is unaware of all the circumstances. Perhaps there was work done by a less than reputable person who left deficiencies. In fairness it is reasonable for the inspector to note all deficiencies but they don't always get the truth when the customer says I don't know who did that. It must have been the contractor. You get the correction notice against your permit. If the customer pays you to fix it great, we get a safer situation. If the ESA keeps a score on your work then it is also important the inspector understands these are existing conditions for which the customer won't authorize or pay you to fix. The inspector should then write the correction notice against the owner and give a repair by this date notice to the owner.
I know that not every inspector is reasonable but I find it very difficult to accept he is out to get you unless maybe your work is not what you think it is. Assuming that is not the case then the inspector should have the facts brought to his attention so that it gets fixed. It is not reasonable for you to get saddled with existing deficiencies but you'd help yourself a lot if you told the inspector the deficiencies you already have discovered exist and they are not part of your contract to fix. I know it can add to the workload and I know there are thing completely outside your control. I hope this helps and I trust the Inspectors in Ontario are focused on applying their authority and responsibilities fairly. If you walk into a code disaster be quick to make clear what part of the mess you are there to fix. If you take on a job without looking at the general condition of the wiring it can open you to responsibilities you did not agree to. A written scope of work is also protection for you from bad customers who might be looking for some free work.
Chose your customer as carefully as you'd choose an employee.


Edited by mikesh (07/09/09 11:27 AM)

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#187801 - 07/09/09 10:01 PM Re: Defect on work I didn't do!! [Re: mikesh]
twh Offline
Member

Registered: 03/11/04
Posts: 898
Loc: Regina, Sask.
Just call the inspector and tell him you didn't do it; and he'll take it off your list. It happens all the time. The inspector probably just missed the defect on a previous inspection.

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#187804 - 07/10/09 05:49 AM Re: Defect on work I didn't do!! [Re: twh]
leland Offline
Member

Registered: 08/20/07
Posts: 856
Loc: Lowell area, Ma. USA
I have had this happen before.
solution: A quick call to the AHJ,and the home owner was sent the defect notice. Turned into more work (money) for me.

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#187815 - 07/10/09 12:17 PM Re: Defect on work I didn't do!! [Re: leland]
mr_electrician Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/07
Posts: 106
Loc: London, Ontario
Originally Posted By: leland
I have had this happen before.
solution: A quick call to the AHJ,and the home owner was sent the defect notice. Turned into more work (money) for me.


Thats exactly what I did. Turns out the daugter told him all of the work that has gone on over the last year. Most of which was long before I showed up. Anyways had the defects removed and now the defects are on the owners. Same thing will happen for me. More work, and more money!
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