Residential service call this am. Dogcrap here, catcrap there, house almost falling down. Then to the wiring, Harry Homeowner special DIY everywhere. Then I find the existing wiring, cloth wrapped, ungrounded, in terrible condition. I'm just thinking about the potential liability here, I know I'm not responsible for something unless I touch it but in retrospect I wish I would've just walked out and politely declined to do work. Harry Homeowner also used emt in the upstairs br's and the pipe was energized in 2 rooms, not properly grounded, of course because it was tapped from an ungrounded circuit and no attempt was made to ground the pipe. A hot was touching the tiny box used to mount the receptacle energizing the entire conduit run. I found that on my own, I wasn't even there for that problem. I wrote a book on the invoice documenting everything I found and had him sign it but I still wish I just would've walked out and asked him to call someone else, like maybe one of the handymen in my area who install services for $500 complete and do service work for $15 per hour. Opinions anyone?
I have walked on many. When I see aluminum wire on a mobile home, I walk. Many contractors will not even go to a moble home for fear of bad wiring. I check to see what's there and if it looks safe I do the repairs. I will not work if I find energized pipe, I'm afraid that someone will be killed before I get out of the drive way. I'm sure that I could prove that it's not my fault in a court of law, but at what cost. Every job like this requires a judgment call. Are you willing to assume the risk for the gain.
Re: Did you ever just walk out??#156811 07/09/0510:28 AM07/09/0510:28 AM
I did resolve the problem I was there for but I was asked to look at this and this and this while you're here. I don't think the modest gain was worth the risk on this one though. I haven't been on my own that long and still may have the mindset that if I complain or threaten to walk off a job, I won't have a job. Next time I think I'll walk if similar conditions/ situation are encountered. I can't see any good coming out of this one, I also had to violate my own c.o.d policy because it's a rent to own and the mortgage holder was in a different town so I sent the bill against my better judgement, hopefully I can still collect or lien the house and collect in 20 years. Live and learn.
Re: Did you ever just walk out??#156812 07/09/0512:11 PM07/09/0512:11 PM
BobH..That job sounds like what I refer to as a trap, you stick you foot in the door and it springs to closed position. It's hard to aviod these and you did the right thing with proper documentation. The one I like is when you're called to replace a bad receptacle and " by the way would you check out our basement that was wired by Fred the head, we were not sure he knew what he was doing and want a professional opinion". That's when you have to tell them that the AHJ provides such a service at a very reasonable price and that you can't take responsibility for the work of others. We all make mistakes and I wouldn't let one little service call bother me. I wish I could look back and say I was only on one job where I should not have been or I only lost money on one little job. They are out there and some won't be so obvious . Good Luck in the future.
Re: Did you ever just walk out??#156813 07/09/0512:11 PM07/09/0512:11 PM
Sounds like the owner was at least as responsible for this mess as the tenant....you're probably the 50th person he's had in there. (He called you after the first 49 self-appointed 'Mr Fix-its' failed, made worse, or added to the mess).
I once encountered a similar mess. I was simply stunned at what this clown had done. I left the place, called the owner, and we had a nice long chat about the major hazards found. I then returned, fixed what was broke, and disconnected virtually everything else at the panel. The owner assured me that things would get corrected; I don't know if the guy was evicted, or what- but the disconnection covered my tail! I could honestly say "it was to code when I left." Disconnect- I mean I also took the wires out of the panel, not just removed from the breaker.
In that case, I had "good vibes" from the owner- it was the tenant who had the attitude problems. Had I not had the backing of the owner, I would have walked. If it had been possible, I would have also had the AHJ shut the place down (No AHJ available).
Re: Did you ever just walk out??#156814 07/09/0510:58 PM07/09/0510:58 PM
Well, that's what one local handyman charges and the son of a bi!@# does a lot of them. He's been in business a while and has a lot of customers, well he only charges $15 per hour, I guess that's why. It is tough out here though, nobody wants to spend any money and with a lot of jobs leaving the area it's getting worse. With more and more layoffs happening, there's more and more handyman businesses being started and these guys will work for half-nothing. New York has no statewide licensing laws so some towns allow anyone to do electrical work. There's alot of station wagons with ladders tied to the roof around here, that's for sure. I have a background in HVAC-R so I'm keeping afloat for now at least. But I'm still a rookie in business for myself and still optimistic that I'll make some good contacts and get some steady clientele eventually. I knew it wouldn't be easy, especially in western new york.
Re: Did you ever just walk out??#156816 07/10/0510:03 AM07/10/0510:03 AM
Actually no, I don't think he does. He'll just screw rigid pipe together until he thinks the weatherhead is high enough, I'll have to get some pics. Some of the services around here are comical seeing a weatherhead 10 or 15' feet above the roof line (well I never actually measured) but they sure do look silly. There's alot of cut-throating around here and I would be afraid he would be offering customers his services on the side for less. Hiring a new recruit wouldn't be a problem around here because work is not plentiful and there a lot of guys that would do anything for a paycheck.