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#90910 - 12/18/04 02:52 AM Electrical Inspections
Joe Tedesco Offline
Member

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 3325
Loc: Boston, Massachusetts USA
Question: What experiences have you had with third party electrical inspection agencies?

I heard from one person who wore that hat who said that they were in competition with other agencies, and that the tough guys lost work if they called items such as the support of the wiring systems above a suspended ceiling!

Is that true?

Hint: See 300.23 and Search for "denied" in the NEC
_________________________
Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant

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#90911 - 12/18/04 09:05 AM Re: Electrical Inspections
Tom Offline
Member

Registered: 01/01/01
Posts: 1069
Loc: Shinnston, WV USA
Joe,

I'm on both sides of that question. I hire 3rd party inspection agencies to inspect my work as I am prohibited from doing so. The ones I don't hire again are the ones that aren't thorough. After all, I'm relyiing on them to ensure that I didn't make any errors of commission or omission.

I have personally lost business as an inspector because I insist that electricians comply with all the requirements of the NEC. I may cut a homeowner a little slack, but if you're doing it for $$$, you should do it right, including all the "minor" things.

I'm fortunate that I do not have to rely on the income I make from inspecting, so I really don't care if I do lose business. I do sympathize with those inspectors that get into this situation, since they end up taking on liability for themsilves or their agency by not enforcing all parts of the code.

Tom
_________________________
Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.

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#90912 - 12/18/04 10:14 AM Re: Electrical Inspections
George Little Offline
Member

Registered: 01/18/04
Posts: 1492
Loc: Michigan USA
Tom, I'm somewhat offended by your selective enforcment approach to inspections. So if I understand your statment- You'll let the homeowner slide with respects to code and make the contractor comply. So we have the homeowner taking work from the contractor, not having to comply with the code 100%, and possibly putting himself/herself in harms way due to lack of code compliance and your approving it??? Please say this isn't happening. You also say you hire people to inspect your work? I wonder if there would be any bias here? I would think a person should be either an inspector a contractor to elimnate any possible appearance of improprieties. I've been an inspector for more than 20 years and I take pride in being very consistent.

[This message has been edited by George Little (edited 12-18-2004).]
_________________________
George Little

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#90913 - 12/18/04 05:03 PM Re: Electrical Inspections
HotLine1 Offline

Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6804
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
Joe:
The only complaints re: 3rd party AHJ's has, in the past been scheduling. More often than not, scheduled days/times were not kept. It was not uncommon to sit on site for the day, and noone showing up. No, noone called the EC to say 'the inspector is sick' or 'he didn't show'.

That was the past, and the recent past. Seems the DCA made some 'noise', and it got a lot better.

No, here in NJ we (EC's) cannot 'hire' an inspector, which could easily lead to some situations that noone needs. All inspections have to go thru the local town/municipality.

I also work as an AHJ, and I see both sides of the fence. No, I cannot do EC work in the town that I am AHJ in, NOR any town that 'touches' my town.

Also, as to cutting slack...everyone gets the same rules, the NEC. (period) Yes, a missing plate on a final is a minimal item, but I have to say EVERYONE gets equal enforcement.

John
_________________________
John

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#90914 - 12/18/04 05:54 PM Re: Electrical Inspections
Tom Offline
Member

Registered: 01/01/01
Posts: 1069
Loc: Shinnston, WV USA
George,

In the area I live in, it is next to impossible to make a living as an independent inspector. The only mandate for inspection in most unincorporated areas comes from the power company and only applies to the service entrance. The Mountain State is not heavily populated, so a full time independent inspector is not making much of a living & is putting in quite a bit of windshield time.

When I drive 15 or 20 miles,to do an inspection, it can easily take 1 1/2 hours round trip, not counting the actual inspection time. I can't see charging a homeowner a return fee of $70 to $100 (I only get a percentage of the fee) just to make sure he put green tape on the equipment ground of the feeder from his service disconnect to the panel. The same applies to straps that may be wee bit too far apart or a GEC that has not been secured to the structure. I always tell them what needs to be fixed & if it involves minor material that I have on my truck, I give them what they need. but I don't go back to check that the problem was corrected. That is the extent of the slack. If it is a substantial violation (this would be an opinion) then they do have to fix it & pay me to come back.

The political climate in this state is such that we are lucky to be looking at service entrances at all. The legislature is loathe to pass any law that might infringe on the rights of a man and his castle & if it wasn't for power company requirements, there would be virtually no inspection in non-incorporated areas. Maybe someday in the next 20 or 30 years, we might actually require an inspection of the entire electrical system of a building, regardless of its location in this state.

I have a friend who is an AHJ in a certain county. As such, he collects an hourly wage from the county and he frequently makes six or eight visits to inspect a service entrance. The homeowner only had to pay one fee for the buiding permit and we taxpayers subsidize his wages because all those trips cost a lot more in wages than the minimal permit fee that was charged to begin with. Even he allows a homeowner a little slack.

I don't know what it is like in your neck of the woods, but I have been verbally abused & threatened with physical harm for trying to get serious violations corrected on homeowner installations. I don't really care to find out what would happen if I busted every homeowner's chops with a list of minor violations.

So, if you can't forgive me for a slightly uneven enforcement of the NEC, I can live with that, the key word being "live."

Tom
_________________________
Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.

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#90915 - 12/19/04 06:52 AM Re: Electrical Inspections
George Little Offline
Member

Registered: 01/18/04
Posts: 1492
Loc: Michigan USA
Ya Tom I can forgive you for giving the homeowner a break as long as the job is safe. But you need to give the contractors breaks also. I've marked panels and done minor things for the contractor so he didn't have to make a trip back. I'm a team player and I've been able to sleep at night. Sometimes I'll tell the homeowner you don't get the Gold Metal but we'll give you the Bronze.
_________________________
George Little

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#90916 - 12/19/04 11:51 AM Re: Electrical Inspections
Joe Tedesco Offline
Member

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 3325
Loc: Boston, Massachusetts USA
Tom:

Do you know Wally Harris, Corporate Chief Inspector for Atlantic Inland?
_________________________
Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant

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#90917 - 12/20/04 06:19 AM Re: Electrical Inspections
Tom Offline
Member

Registered: 01/01/01
Posts: 1069
Loc: Shinnston, WV USA
George,

I haven't ever had to write a violation notice on a contractor. Between us, we've usually had the right materials on our trucks to bring everything into compliance. Of course, 98%of my inspections involve installations put in by DIY'ers or employees of the property owner, the most dreaded of which is a service & feeder inspection for a20 year old mobile home.

Joe,

I haven't met Wally. Corporate offices are so far from my house, it is unlikely that I ever will. I actually get some face time with Bob & Jeff Fitch about every 2 years or so, but they do the traveling.

Happy Holidays to all

Tom
_________________________
Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.

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#90918 - 12/29/04 04:12 PM Re: Electrical Inspections
tdhorne Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 344
Loc: Maryland, USA
I used the Middle Department Insection Agency in Clarke county Virginia. They do the inspections on behalf of the county. They seemed pretty sharp to me. They kept their appointments to. I found them very reasonable to work with.
--
Tom H
_________________________
Tom Horne

"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous for general use" Thomas Alva Edison

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#90919 - 12/31/04 06:29 AM Re: Electrical Inspections
harold endean Offline
Member

Registered: 02/16/02
Posts: 2248
Loc: Boonton, NJ
I have to agree with John, When I was an EC I used to have to wait all day for the 3rd party and there was no way to get in touch with them. The toqns couldn't help either because they were 3rd party. Plus if you had an emergency on a weekend, you were out of luck. For example a service goes down and you need a "cut-in" card to give to the POCO so that they will hook you back up. GOOD LUCK in trying to reach the 3rd party. The poor store owner had to wait till the next day that the 3rd party was in town.

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