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Re: The Kid refuses to do electrical work. (RANT) [Re: Elviscat] #166644 07/25/07 04:20 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 247
T
techie Offline
Member
I wired most of our second story addition when I was about 13, with some help from my dad.

3 bedrooms, bath, darkroom, 4 circuit subpanel (3 used, but I had the foresight to stub the 4th circuit up into a 4x4 in the attic.)

My bedroom had 3-ways for the ceiling light, and switched outlets for the bedside lamp, and the stereo (across the room, with pilot light).

We had to extend the service mast, so my dad and the next door neighbor moved the service drop (the neighbor was a supervisor for the city electric utility..)

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: The Kid refuses to do electrical work. (RANT) [Re: Elviscat] #166645 07/25/07 05:39 AM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
I
iwire Offline
Moderator
Originally Posted by Elviscat
oh, Bob, you can't force a minor to do anything illegal smile


Who said it's 'illegal'?

We don't know what the law is where Ian is.

I live in a state with licensing and permits and this job would require both if an EC was to do it.

However here homeowners are not required to pull permits and in fact some cities and towns will refuse to inspect homeowner work.



Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Massachusetts
Re: The Kid refuses to do electrical work. (RANT) [Re: iwire] #166651 07/25/07 08:11 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 329
I
IanR Offline
Member
Actually, to Will and Mike, cut Ian a break. I can honestly say that I was as capable and doing the same thing at 14. I have no EC's in my family either. The closest thing I have is an uncle who is an EE but, his skills are RF and digital, not mains wiring. I wanted to learn, so I had to read books and teach myself. It is not that difficult to do that, and become pretty knowledgeable, if you like to read and try.
Ian I have faith in you. I also applaude you for wanting to do it the right way. Yet, as some of the other guys have said, the permit may not even be reqiured in your area, check with your local building dept.

Re: The Kid refuses to do electrical work. (RANT) [Re: IanR] #166658 07/25/07 12:41 PM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 745
E
EV607797 Offline
Member
I would be afraid to do a project like that without a permit as well. Forget about the insurance part of it. At least having it inspected makes for a better chance that any errors or deficiencies will be corrected. By telling the inspector "hey, I'm just a kid", maybe there's a chance that the inspector will be patient and understanding.

My career story in this industry started out pretty much the same way as both Ians. My dad didn't know which end of a screwdriver to hold. Our family's real estate company had a regular EC they used and I got to know him pretty well at the age of 13. By 14, I was wiring my first total gut-job residential remodel and of course, I got busted. Our friend came over and smoothed-over the inspector. He did the new service and OK'd all of my work under his own permit.

When that job was done, he hired me at the tender age of 14 to work after school. By the age of 17 when I graduated from high school, he had me supervising two other men that were three times my age. We sure wired a lot of new houses because we got along well.

As with Ian and Ian, it's not just what's in your head, but what's in your heart. If you really want it, you have to go get it.


---Ed---

"But the guy at Home Depot said it would work."
Re: The Kid refuses to do electrical work. (RANT) [Re: Theelectrikid] #166659 07/25/07 12:41 PM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 100
J
JJM Offline
Member
I personally think Ian could do the job, no problem, and probably do it very well... something we'd all likely praise if pics were posted.

I have no doubt your work would meet and exceed NEC code requirements, and be very neat and workmanlike. But you should research local codes as well. For example, here in NYC local code requires #12 on 15A circuits.

Iwire makes a good point though that some municipalities won't even inspect [and approve] howeowner work. In order to get that permit, it might have to be applied for by a licensed EC and work done by a licensed EC. Here in NYC, short of replacing a light bulb, a homeowner can't do ANY electrical work... or plumbing work for that matter.

Ian, it appears your parents want you to do the wiring. Obviously, they have great confidence in your abilities. That home is the biggest investment your parents will ever make, so you should consider it a sincere compliment that they would entrust you to do this kind of work on it.

If your parents absolutely refuse to pull a permit, and you'd feel better if someone physically looked at your work, if you're friendly with a local electrician in your area, perhaps you can have him (or her) "inspect" your work... just don't expect them to give you anything in writing. Also don't be shocked if they find your work perfect... I wouldn't.

Joe

Re: The Kid refuses to do electrical work. (RANT) [Re: JJM] #166660 07/25/07 12:58 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
L
LK Offline
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Originally Posted by JJM


That being said, there is no issue with respect to insurance coverage, permitted and inspected or not. If your house (heaven forbid) burns down as a result of un-permitted or un-inspected work, the insurance carrier still has to write the check. As long as the fire wasn't arson, fire is covered loss, and the insurance carrier is on the hook in accordance with the legally binding insurance contract.

I have yet to see a homeowners or (building owners) policy have an exclusion for un-permitted or un-inspected work.

Remember, just because work is permitted and inspected does not guarantee the house won't burn down either. As a practical matter, particularly if a home or building has changed ownership a number of times, who is to say what work was original, what work was done, permitted, and inspected as part of renovations in say 1965, then in 1980, and again in 1995? Who knows what was done over the years.

What if un-permitted work was done prior to your parents taking ownership of the home? Does your insurance company rip out the walls and inspect the wiring as a condition of coverage prior to binding? Of course not. If previous owner(s) had un-permitted or un-inspected work done that resulted in a fire, do you think the insurance carrier would have any legal recourse against the prior owner(s)? Again, of course not, the previous owners aren't even a party to the insurance contract!

Remember, just because some bureaucrat signs off on a job doesn't necessarily mean it's safe - or even code compliant for that matter. You've read enough about inspectors here. Heck, here in NYC if a job is red-tagged, all you have to do is fill out a "self-certification" form and mail it in... no questions asked, no further inspection ever follows. There have been a lot of abuses of this process by unscrupulous contractors, but the practice continues.

Joe


"That being said, there is no issue with respect to insurance coverage"

Depending on the state he is in, and the insurer he has, the exclusions will differ, there is a big issue with insurance companies and cities that require permits, and inspections, In the last 5 years there have been plenty of insurance, and required permit related problems in my area.

"As a practical matter, particularly if a home or building has changed ownership a number of times, who is to say what work was original, what work was done, permitted, and inspected as part of renovations in say 1965"

When the home was purchased from the previous owner, the current owner usually obtains Title insurance which would cover the past defects. Once the new owner takes title, they are responsible with obtaining permits for any new work, when and where required.

The permit and inspection process is not to enrich the city, most states have laws that do not allow inspection agencies, to profit from inspection services, the permit and inspections are to insure safety, and reduce risk from construction deficits.

"Remember, just because some bureaucrat signs off on a job doesn't necessarily mean it's safe - or even code compliant for that matter. You've read enough about inspectors here. Heck, here in NYC if a job is red-tagged, all you have to do is fill out a "self-certification" form and mail it in... no questions asked, no further inspection ever follows."

How the inspection was preformed is not the owners concern, filing a permit where, and when required is.





Re: The Kid refuses to do electrical work. (RANT) [Re: Theelectrikid] #166664 07/25/07 03:15 PM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 810
Theelectrikid Offline OP
Member
I got a lot of replies to make...

Originally Posted by Trumpy
Exactly how much electrical work have you done in the past?
I find it hard to believe (and no disrespect to you) that a guy of your youth could be responsible for a job like this, permit or no permit.
Have you served your time as an Electrician?, considering that this is all fixed wiring.
I mean are you connecting to existing circuits or are you adding new circuits to a panel?
Has there been any allowance made in the Mains for the new expansion?


Mike, no I haven't served anytime as an electrician. Any previous work? Do traffic lights count? That's not exactly 'fixed' though, as although they're tied together, the controller is plugged in. Also, switches, recepts, and fishing TV cables. (I know, not electrical, but still a skill.) As that (kinda-bad) plan shows, new circuits to the panel, no POCO work.

Originally Posted by Elviscat
Just where did you learn how to do the work?


Hmm, started taking in those DIY books to read in 5th grade (I'm now going into 9th), watching people do work (IE various peoples' renovations), and of course the many fine guys/gals here at ECN. And yes, I've since tossed the DIY books. Then again, I was able to point out the errors in them the second I opened them.

Originally Posted by Elviscat
"home improvments valued at <$XXX.XX ($500 I think?) need not be permited" so it might be perfectly legal for Ian to do this job sans permit


Reason #1 I love this forum: you learn something new everyday. Now someone has to call Falls Township


Originally Posted by IanR
I can honestly say that I was as capable and doing the same thing at 14. I have no EC's in my family either. The closest thing I have is an uncle who is an EE but, his skills are RF and digital, not mains wiring.


Hmm, I have the same exact situation. My uncle's an EE for Comcast, used to work with my father, and after the township (in NJ) telling him 'NO' a few times, is telling everyone to eschew the permits.

Originally Posted by Napersvillesoundtech
Stick with it and keep a cool head and you will most likely get accomplished what you want.


Takes a sip from Squishee Will do.

And thanks for the compliments guys. Also thanks to Les for that info. Now I can tell my folks they might not need a permit/inspections.

Oh, one last thing: on that plan where it says 'bug light,' I mean a motion-sensor floodlight (one of the ones that kinda-sorta-maybe looks like bug-eyes.)

Ian A.

Last edited by Theelectrikid; 07/25/07 03:17 PM. Reason: Added last bit

Is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?
Re: The Kid refuses to do electrical work. (RANT) [Re: iwire] #166666 07/25/07 04:22 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
L
LK Offline
Member
Originally Posted by iwire
Originally Posted by Elviscat
oh, Bob, you can't force a minor to do anything illegal smile


Who said it's 'illegal'?

We don't know what the law is where Ian is.

I live in a state with licensing and permits and this job would require both if an EC was to do it.

However here homeowners are not required to pull permits and in fact some cities and towns will refuse to inspect homeowner work.



Ian,

With this being the internet, we have posters from all over US, and in other countries. Bob tries to remind everyone, to be cautious when posting issues, where laws, or regulations apply, because they differ for every area.

For example: In Mass,
"However here homeowners are not required to pull permits and in fact some cities and towns will refuse to inspect homeowner work."

In Jersey,
homeowners are required to pull permits, and in some New Jersey cities, and towns they will refuse to permit some homeowner work. Edited: (If the owner can not show how they intend to do the work)

Last edited by LK; 07/26/07 06:40 PM.
Re: The Kid refuses to do electrical work. (RANT) [Re: LK] #166668 07/25/07 05:10 PM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 810
Theelectrikid Offline OP
Member
Les,

Like I said, a call to Falls Township is in order to figure out the laws here.

I have a feeling the township's policy is <$1000 = no permit, as that's they charge $147 for the first $1000, then up. Like I said, I don't know. Gotta call Falls.

Ian A.


Is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?
Re: The Kid refuses to do electrical work. (RANT) [Re: Theelectrikid] #166671 07/25/07 06:02 PM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 100
J
JJM Offline
Member
Quote
When the home was purchased from the previous owner, the current owner usually obtains title insurance which would cover the past defects.


ALTA and CLTA title insurance, which is standard in almost every real estate transaction, does not cover any physical defects with respect to the property, all it does is insure against title defects. If a home or building with title insurance, but no fire insurance, burns down due to previous un-permitted or un-inspected work, the title insurance company doesn't pay a single penny; they might feel bad, but they're not cutting a check.

Some title insurance companies now offer coverage for un-permitted or un-licensed work - at extra cost of course - but only to the extent that it affects title. For example, if a illegal work prevents a home or building from getting a valid CO and the illegal work has to be torn out as a condition for obtaining the CO, that would be covered since this affects title of the property with respect to occupancy and use. But again, this is extra and is not typical in most real estate transactions.

Ironically, if the home or building burns down subsequently as a result of illegal work (and it wasn't caught), that wouldn't be covered because it never affected the transfer of valid title.

Quote
How the inspection was preformed is not the owners concern, filing a permit where, and when required is.


Then what's the point of a permit then, if not for safety? Is it just to bust the chops of the EC and/or home or building owner? I hope we're not getting caught so caught up in the process that we're forgetting what the end result is (or should be) and that is safety. More and more though, it seems the primary focus of permits is to more efficiently increase property tax assessments - at least that's what we're seeing around here. As soon as a job is signed off on, owners get an increased notice of value. Disgusting. Maybe this is why Ian's parents don't want to get a permit for the electrical or the deck for that matter - they don't want to get the increased tax bill that may invariably follow.

Still gotta give Ian lots of credit though, how many folks his age are even aware of permit requirements and work like this? The only permits most folks his age seem to know about are drivers permits, and that's about it.

Joe

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