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Inspector Backlash #44243 10/31/04 07:02 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 697
Dave55 Offline OP
I don't claim to be the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to the NEC. I could find anything in it in 20 or 30 seconds the day I took the big test, but that was years ago. Now I'm fairly well versed in those sections that apply to my work on a regular basis.

I learned form an electrical engineer/inspector who refered to the NEC often throughout the day. If I run into an inspector like that, he's probably going to teach me something about the NEC. I may get a phone call, or a correction notice, but either way I'll learn something new about the NEC. It's really not an ego issue for me. An inspector nailed me for pounding two ground rods next to each other. I looked it up and he was right.

This site has been very good for me to learn more about the NEC from sharp inspectors and instructors, even when there are varying opinions about the language or meaning of the NEC.

What bothers me are inspectors who don't know the NEC but have a King of the Hill mentality and refuse to be challenged about their understanding of it. As an EC, I don't want to spend any extra time on a job to satisfy an inspector for a correction notice that's not an NEC violation. My feeling is, "How would you like it if YOUR paycheck was $200 short this month?".

This isn't intended to be a rant, because I can count on one finger the time that an inspector had this attitude (with the backing of a deadbeat homeowner), but it cost me $1,000, so it was memorable. The other times I looked it up with the inspector, usually over the phone, and we figured it out. I also understand that it must be frustrating as an inspector to inspect a job done poorly, or deal with irrate homeowners.

My question in regard to this is..does that type of inspector create a backlash where good ECs end up telling people they should think twice about getting a permit because of the inspector?...and therefore end up hurting the community they're inspecting for?


Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: Inspector Backlash #44244 10/31/04 08:20 PM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
earlydean Offline
Of course it hurts the town. But, a lot of towns like it that way. If they can inhibit new construction, then they don't have to upgrade the sewer plant or the water treatment plant or build the new school or etc. Or maybe the agenda is to allow all contractors to have free rein and build without inspections, so they cut the budget to the inspection department or hire a doofus inspector who can get fooled easily or won't check for permits when he happen upon a concrete truck rumbling down the road.

Re: Inspector Backlash #44245 10/31/04 08:26 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 947
twh Offline
does that type of inspector create a backlash where good ECs end up telling people they should think twice about getting a permit because of the inspector?

Sort of. You learn which areas they patrol and raise the price in those areas. More people do the work themselves, and those who do get permits give the inspector some real problems to worry about.

Re: Inspector Backlash #44246 10/31/04 09:29 PM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
e57 Offline
does that type of inspector create a backlash where good ECs end up telling people they should think twice about getting a permit because of the inspector?
You're darn straight it does.... "Oh that is so and so's district.... PUNK Factor x 1.5" We used to have an Inspector that would show the hand, not speak to you until he walked the job looking for frayed cords on the site, and red tag you for another inspection, when he would expect them to be removed from the site. Then come back, pull out slips of paper with the supposed relevant code number on it and drop them on the floor near where he thought there was some type of violation, still not talk to you, then leave. After his DADDY retired, the Cheif Building Inspector, he thankfully became a thing of the past as well. That was the worst I have ever seen, but have seen only nearly equally bad ones since. Fortunatlely, they are few and far between. There is nothing like a power trip.

In saying that, I should mention that I have come across many good Inspectors, who don't just go for the job card and leave either, but actually Inspect work, and don't get all premidona about it.

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
Re: Inspector Backlash #44247 10/31/04 09:51 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 914
Electric Eagle Offline
Sometimes you just have to suck it up and do it the way they want it even if it really stupid.

The other day my best crew failed inspection on an overhead service. the inspector said we needed 1 more strap on the RMC riser. I looked at it and there was the meter base, then 18" up there was a strap, then 18" above that strap the pipe went through the soffit and roof. I called Mr Inspector and asked him where he wanted the strap, he said he just thought it would be better with one more strap rather than relying on the soffit to hold the riser. So we put another strap 6" from the other 1. Is it any more secure? No, but it made the inspector happy and we got our TPR.

[This message has been edited by Electric Eagle (edited 10-31-2004).]

Re: Inspector Backlash #44248 10/31/04 10:04 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 947
twh Offline
Sometimes you just have to suck it up and do it the way they want it even if it really stupid.
Like putting anti-shorts on teck cable.

Re: Inspector Backlash #44249 11/01/04 02:07 AM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
LK Offline
does that type of inspector create a backlash where good ECs end up telling people they should think twice about getting a permit because of the inspector?

Not a good idea to go without inspections, you take on all the libiality of any losses that may occur, to the property.
When you do, non permited work you leave the homeowner with the possibility of losing their insurance coverage.

Re: Inspector Backlash #44250 11/01/04 09:00 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 625
SolarPowered Offline
With the usual "I Am Not A Lawyer" caveat, it seems to me that, if your work ends up causing property damage or an injury, you're going to be legally liable whether or not there were permits and inspections.

If you did have permits and inspections, then that probably adds defendants--the inspector and the city/county. And arguably, if you have the "deep pockets" of the city/county sitting out the begging to be picked, that makes it more attractive to sue. So you might be in worse shape in that case.

Re: Inspector Backlash #44251 11/01/04 09:09 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,211
HotLine1 Offline
Ah, Les has voiced an opinion. Guys, here in NJ, IF a Lic EC works without a permit, that EC is seriously risking his Lic & Business Permit, along with an Administrative fine from the Board.

The HO working without a permit can be fined $2000 max.

As to "....the areas they (AHJ's) patrol"...well when something doesn't look right......OK, I get out the $500 stick.

Dave: Yes, we had our share of "My way or the hiway" AHJ's here, but...thankfully I feel most of them are long gone!!


[This message has been edited by HotLine1 (edited 11-01-2004).]

Re: Inspector Backlash #44252 11/02/04 01:31 AM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 86
Norstarr Offline
If you call your state insurance commissioner you will find that an insurance company has to cover a loss with or without a permit. Your contract with them states that a loss will be repaired. Had an inspector in my area condemn a service in a home that had an obvious diy sub panel installed and he told her she had better hope she doesn't have a fire prior to having the service replaced because her insurance company would not pay. I called the commissioner and he said, "wrong", it would be covered.
Myself, I like to pull permits in an area where I know the inspector does his job because it's a challenge to create a job where he cannot find a code violation. I respect inspectors that when they make a call and I look it up in the code I find they are right. No problem changing those kinds of mistakes.
My problem is a state that charges a state license and then allows every single community to also charge a license fee making it impossible to do the small jobs in communities we are not licensed due to cost. Just last week I missed doing a 250.00 job because the community wanted $150.00 for the license and $50.00 for the permit. How do I tell a customer it will be $450.00 for a $250.00 job. This is a small burg where I might get one or two jobs a year. Incredible. And they wonder why permits aren't pulled for a lot of jobs.

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