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#31205 - 11/13/03 07:45 PM Rant

Ok I know a lot of us who do old work find a lot of stuff that makes us shake our heads in disbelief or even holler out "Holy S--t!" in the presense of the homeowner but what do you do when you happen upon improper and dangerous work that was just done by the guy before you? Here's what I mean. A regular customer wants a motion light installed on the back porch (high dollar home). There's a handy box 5 feet away that was just installed by a reputable roll up shade intaller with the switches in another box. Shook my head at the 4 motor cords jammed into a romex connector which didn't have a locknut on it so the whole mess was falling out of the handy box, where it was all spliced into two more cords which were fed thru the 1/2" emt which was connected to the handy box with a compression COUPLING and to the switch box (exposed to weather) with a set screw connector. The "Holy S--t" part came when I opened the switch box to find ALL THE NEUTRALS SWITCHED!!!. There was even a switch for a pond pump in the neutral line!
Add to this all the grounding wires had been cut back and unused in each box! Of course I fixed it all before I used the circuit for the light, but I am wondering if I should report this to the registrar. Maybe they aren't even supposed to be wiring their shades themselves. This kind of thing really annoys me, especially when these kinds of installers have the notion that "wiring is simple" and "why pay an electrician?". And of course the homeowner will agree with them. What would you do?
Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
#31206 - 11/13/03 08:39 PM Re: Rant
Edward Offline
Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 308
Loc: California
Same thought here. I think we should report them to AHJ.
Similar story here. Client asks me to wire her garage for power. I said $$$. then she did not agree. then after 6 months i get a call from her that the inspector does not pass my garage because the electrical is not upto code. She asks me to get it up to code and get it passed. When i arrive H%%y S**t. the place looks like crap and guess what i found in the panel. the business card of the person who did it.

John Doe
"we do window shutters, flat screen TV installation and cable."

What kind of crap is this. I think the inspector has not seen the inside of the panel yet so i am going to inform the inspector about the panel and how it is done.

#31207 - 11/14/03 02:46 AM Re: Rant
sparky Offline
Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5303
So what do you do if these atrocities are an everyday affair, and there is no AHJ?

Trust me, you could easily 'Rant' yourself right outta business folks, because nobody is going to back you up!

If i wear blinders on the job, i come by it honestly, because the doctrine of doing so is daily practice by the NFPA, IAEI, OSHA (et all unfunded mandates)
#31208 - 11/14/03 03:32 AM Re: Rant
nesparky Offline
Registered: 06/21/01
Posts: 642
Loc: omaha,ne
The only time to complain is IF you have an AHJ that will take effective action. If you have no AHJ or one with little backup or intrest in getting rid of these cheesy jerks, it is a waste of time to complain. If you do not know how your AHJ will react to a complaint, try it once. If the result is action then keep it up, if the result is beaurocratic bull then do not waste your time.
We will never get rid of fly by niters with more regulation, more rules, more code or anything else but strong actions by AHJ. Those action must include large enough fines and jail time for those whose junk work place people at risk of fire or electrocution. Any thing short of those type of actions just make the AHJ an accomplice of the fly by niters.
#31209 - 11/14/03 03:45 AM Re: Rant
walrus Offline
Registered: 07/25/02
Posts: 680
Loc: Bangor Me. USA
I say, its my job to do what I'm supposed to do, neatly, safely and up to code. Its not my job to do code enforcement. Frustration certainly arises when you see some of the crap thats done out there but what can you do. I fix what I can within the bounds of the job and note on the invoice what I see thats wrong if I believe it could cause a problem down the road that I could get blamed for.
#31210 - 11/14/03 04:19 AM Re: Rant
rowdyrudy Offline
Registered: 11/02/02
Posts: 169
Loc: Mascoutah, IL USA
Put your compliants to the AHJ in writing. Too many times I have listened to an AHJ on the stand swear that "No one brought it to my attention". If it's in writing, action must be taken in some form, even denial.
#31211 - 11/14/03 06:49 AM Re: Rant
Doug Scott Offline
Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 24
Loc: Jonesville, Michigan, USA
Good news boys, here in Michigan where I am the AHJ, I do pay very close attention to complaints from by homeowners and contractors.
I work along a bordering state that does not require licensing for electrician and I do run into these guys coming into the area working for homeowners that do not know the code or their work is very poor taking advantage of the homeowner. To tell the truth, I thrive on catching these fly by nighters, and I do prosecute them.
The local contractors know this, and most back me on this since it does help their workload down the road.
#31212 - 11/14/03 03:55 PM Re: Rant
BuggabooBren Offline
Registered: 11/15/01
Posts: 328
Loc: NM
What if you took a camera and snapped a couple of photos of the wiring and especially the business card of the person who performed said work (and all other components) prior to touching any of it yourself? Then you write a simple, short report to document the conditions and you potentially could share said report with a) AHJ, b) Homeowner, c) local regulatory body, and/or d) Fire Dept or similar.

At a minimum, a good business practice would be to keep a record of the 'before' condition and an 'after' photo when your own work is done (in case someone else modifies your work after you're gone, too).

If said property (or other property with the same character's work) is ever involved in a spark-related crisis, you have some valuable information that helps clarify what work was done and the manner in which it was done and you'd probably be an over-achiever in the eyes of a claims adjuster.
#31213 - 11/14/03 04:38 PM Re: Rant
Jim M Offline
Registered: 08/10/01
Posts: 457
Loc: Chestertown, MD, USA
I got a call to replace a service cable between the UG meter and the panel. I start to loosen the lugs after killing the power. The folding allen wrench doesn't budge the lug, so I get a 1/2" ratchet. It still doesn't move. The lug screw is cross threaded and has never placed any pressure on the wire. The wire on the other lug only extended about 3/16" into the lug. This is 4/0 AL on a 200 amp main breaker.

Will post photos later.
#31214 - 11/14/03 05:13 PM Re: Rant
kyme2 Offline
Junior Member
Registered: 10/16/03
Posts: 6
Loc: kentucky
last night i got a call to check a light
fixture that had fell. when i got there i
found a 4" 4 bulb wrap fixture that was on the floor. the electrician who had installed it used only the little self screwing drywall anchors. the ones that you can screw in with a phillips screwdriver. i could not believe that anyone would think that 2 of those would support a light fixture.
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