ECN Forum
Posted By: Trumpy Taking Pictures? - 07/30/04 09:32 AM
For those of us that own Digital Camera's?.
How on earth do you justify taking pic's of a really bad installation job?.
Also, how do you counter-act, the nasty comments from the owner of the installation, to bugger off and stop taking pictures of his wiring?
Joe T, has had things thrown at him, potatoes in fact!.
I tried to explain that I was with ECN in the US, that just made things worse, the last time I got pics from a bad site.
Joe and others, how do you settle this argument?. [Linked Image]
Posted By: Joe Tedesco Re: Taking Pictures? - 07/30/04 12:10 PM
Most of the pictures I take are where there is no one around, and others are those that I am asked to take to support the hazards others find. I even offer that as a service.

I have been writing articles in EC&M that covers this also.

I also receive many images and stories from readers and from people who visit our web sites.

I was caught once in a Kansas Holiday Inn in the kitchen taking pictures, and was asked to leave the hotel.

I did, but later sent a message to the manager (who was the installer of some of the misery) advising that he had some serious problems.

I will come back, and add some of those hazards here when I locate them.
Posted By: sabrown Re: Taking Pictures? - 07/30/04 02:12 PM
I hate to say this, but I am constantly taking pictures of bad installations that are owned by my employer. As such I don't get yelled at... well... some exceptions, such as taking pictures of installations done ay others who are permitted to use the facilities, and then only after the report telling them to clean things up. I was asked one time at the orange store to ask before I took pictures, but they were OK with it (I was working on some training for maintanence personnel and was just taking pictures of uninstalled devices).
Posted By: Lostazhell Re: Taking Pictures? - 07/30/04 04:27 PM
I've yet to have someone balk about the pics... I even had one guy who insisted I take pics for the site of stuff from the previous HO [Linked Image]

When people do ask questions, I tell them they're simply for my personal archives & that I'm required to photo any electrical hazards I come across, per my company, for proof of existing conditions... I always assure them no names, addresses or faces will appear [Linked Image]

Posted By: Trumpy Re: Taking Pictures? - 07/30/04 11:09 PM
Thanks for the comments guys!.
I'm not sure, this could be a purely New Zealand thing.
People here just don't like you taking unsolicited photo's of their property, which some people feel is a breach of their privacy. [Linked Image]
Sure, I do take a lot of pics related to existing conditions, but if people think there could be something wrong with something they have installed or such, they can get pretty "wound-up" when you start taking pictures of it!. [Linked Image]
Posted By: electure Re: Taking Pictures? - 07/31/04 12:57 AM
I usually get pictures "on the sly".
I'm pretty clumsy at being clandestine, so I get caught a lot. I've been thrown out of a few places, and there are some guys that just hate to see me show up, 'cause they know I've got the camera.

Generally people just can't figure out what you're taking a picture of, or why.
(As I overheard from a group of electrical contractors going into a trade show in LA:

"Look at that Freak taking a picture of the lights")
Posted By: twh Re: Taking Pictures? - 07/31/04 01:26 AM
My camera stays at home. Do unto others...
Posted By: Trumpy Re: Taking Pictures? - 07/31/04 10:44 AM
I must say, that I do need to buy a better camera.
and there are some guys that just hate to see me show up, 'cause they know I've got the camera.
I can see it now, "Quick, hide all that wiring, it's that Scott guy again, what's he after this time?".
Mind you Electure, EC's and other people outside of ECN just don't realise how important these pics are to us, it's a demonstration to a certain extent, that you really CARE about the Trade that you work within.
I ask the Question, how many other Trades have a BB that works as well as ECN?.
My camera stays at home. Do unto others...
Sure you can come and take all the pics you like of my home installation and in the slim chance that you do find something, I'd be right beside you taking a pic of it myself!. [Linked Image]
Posted By: necbuff Re: Taking Pictures? - 07/31/04 03:13 PM
As an agent of the state, Deputy Electrical Inspector, I do take alot of pictures. I feel this is "evidence" so when the electrician complains it's not horrible to supervisors, you inspectors know exactly what I am talking about, I can plop the photos down and say " do what " ???. It it is perfectly legal. The job was permitted and I have a legal right to be there as long it is in plain view OR in a place the general public frequents. How do you think tabloids get away with some of their manuvers. You never know when you may need them for a court case.
Posted By: twh Re: Taking Pictures? - 07/31/04 04:34 PM
The pictures are educational and sometimes entertaining. Standing beside a customer and looking at another electrician's work is something different.

If I needed to document something for litigation etc., I might use a picture. As to giving a customer the impression that another electrician did such poor work that it belongs in a record book - never.

This is a small city and I see the same electricians many times, and have worked with some more than once. I have borrowed tools from them, asked them for advice, bought material from them, and received work referrals from them. Posting their mistakes on the internet would be a pretty ****ty way of showing my gratitude.

it's a demonstration to a certain extent, that you really CARE about the Trade that you work within.

We are never going to fully agree on that.
Posted By: Bjarney Re: Taking Pictures? - 07/31/04 04:54 PM
One possible retort is, “Would you prefer the local news van with live satellite link?”
Posted By: twh Re: Taking Pictures? - 07/31/04 05:34 PM
Bjarney: Good one. I prefer to deal with problems tactfully.
Posted By: electure Re: Taking Pictures? - 08/01/04 12:56 AM
Tactfully it is.
Posted By: Bjarney Re: Taking Pictures? - 08/01/04 02:47 AM
Agreed that tact is in order. But—as if this planet needs more litigation, surely it will bring court battles along the way.
Posted By: Lostazhell Re: Taking Pictures? - 08/01/04 04:30 AM
One thing that we all seem to do, which I feel is number 1 at keeping things 'tactful' is the anonimity we post out pics with...
No one's here posting pics saying "XYZ Electrical installed this at 123 Main St.." & I'm sure the moderators here wouldn't allow it in the first place..
I take a picture of a defect of workmanship or material, simply to show what someone can dream up out there... Not to bash anyone else.... If someone were to see something they did on here that wasn't up to par... Maybe they might learn something so they don't repeat the same mistake [Linked Image] & they'd be learning without making a spectacle of themselves... Just my 2¢ worth


Posted By: pauluk Re: Taking Pictures? - 08/01/04 07:58 AM
I can't say anyone has ever questioned my taking pictures of electrical systems, although my very tiny (and poor, sorry!) camera is readily hidden. I must say that I did feel a little a little like a spy when sneaking a photo of a DIY store's "How to" display a while ago.

No one's here posting pics saying "XYZ Electrical installed this at 123 Main St.."
Quoting the name of the outfit who did the work could, I suppose, lead to litigation in today's world. It would also be rather bad form to reveal the address of a private establishment -- After all, in many cases the owner is not the one to blame.

How about a dangerous situation appearing in publicly owned property though? If I were to post pictures of bad wiring and say "This is in the ****** Building in *****" would that be considered more acceptable to most people do you think?
Posted By: PCBelarge Re: Taking Pictures? - 08/01/04 03:37 PM
I have been taking pictures for about 3 years. I have been harassed, but lately 2 things have helped me. One is that I usually ask and tell them the pictures are for educational purposes. Two, is when I go to a job location as an inspector, I use that as my reason for taking pictures. I am known as the inspector with the camera, it does help. One time for a fair, if it wasn't for the pictures I took, I would have had a hard time convincing some of how bad the situation was.

The plus side to all of this is when I use the pictures for classes/seminars. They have a big impact - some pictures I use for humor, they work very well.
Pictures are here to stay, so guys will have to get used to it. I generally find most are not unhappy about it, as they do good work!!!

Posted By: DougW Re: Taking Pictures? - 08/02/04 12:19 AM
I have taken three types of pictures.

Type 1 - where I have been called to repair/replace an existing shoddy install, and I take "before and after" pics to show the HO and any inspectors.

Type 2 - While conducting inspections with the FD. Since our fire inspections cover the whole premises, and a lot more than just wiring & methods, the pics can either serve as "evidence" (not really since IL hasn't recognized dig as evidenciary yet IIRC) for follow up inspections, and as reminders for the "certified" inspectors to check the Code when they get back to the station.

Type 3 - The "No s***, there I was, minding my own business when a ten foot tall code violation jumped me, and forced me to take a picture of it..."

Obviously, with #1, I'm there to fix the problem, so having consent usually isn't a deal. #2 is in the context of a legal inspection by sworn officials in the performance of their duties (Howdy, AHJ's!), so it's usually never mentioned. #3 is covered by the same general principles that others have mentioned: Don't say
EC "x" installed this )(!(&*^$( work at John Doe's house, at 1234 Main Street in Anytown, USA... come see!

As long as there are no damages (including financial from a "bad rap" resulting in drop in business for an EC, or 'mental and emotional suffering' due to libel/slander for a HO) litigation is more difficult to successfully pursue.

They're a great learning tool - even used afew for "in-service" for the inspectors at the FD. Don't name names or addresses, but keep the pics comin'!
Posted By: Dave55 Re: Taking Pictures? - 08/04/04 02:02 AM
I'm back in remodeling work, so I'll have to put my camera back in the truck, Mike. Sometimes I tell people & sometimes they're not around, but I haven't had anyone comment about taking pictures yet. I could see someone being upset if it was their bad weekend warrior work, but usually it's from a previous homeowner. The weekend warriors rarely call me unless there's a fire.

Posted By: nesparky Re: Taking Pictures? - 08/04/04 02:32 AM
Almost all the picture I take are on job site walk thru's I tell any one questioning me that the pictures will be used for my bid preparation. If I send some in I delete any Identifing notes or pictures. After a bid most pic are deleted if I did not get the job. Only the real good or rotten are kept and maybe sent in. The rotten one are given to the AHJ if the owner does not do any repairs. If I am under bid and the repairs are done by some one else then there is no need to keep the pictures. If I do the the job then I keep before and after pics for warrenty purposes only. A few times those pic's have setteled arguements about who did what and when.
Posted By: Gloria Re: Taking Pictures? - 08/11/04 04:52 AM
Maybe offtopic, but what can you do when you see something very dangerous? I mean f.ex. Mike would see the situation as a possible fire cause. Do you go to the owner or you go to some inspector?
All I know, here the network is terrible, no change since 20 years.
Posted By: twh Re: Taking Pictures? - 08/11/04 06:21 AM
Gloria, I don't think that's off topic. It's a natural progression of the topic.

Everything I do is, or can be, inspected. If I think something is dangerous, and the owner won't deal with it, I can phone the inspector to give him a "heads up". The inspectors are free to find other problems while they are in the building, even if it has passed a previous inspection.

[This message has been edited by twh (edited 08-11-2004).]
Posted By: Gloria Re: Taking Pictures? - 08/11/04 07:04 PM
Okay, Thank you.

I have heard that in the USA the cause of housefires mostly are electric problems.

[This message has been edited by Gloria (edited 08-12-2004).]
Posted By: DougW Re: Taking Pictures? - 08/13/04 02:33 AM

No offense to my comrades in the fire service, but "electrical in origin" was once touted as an easy catch-all cause & origin determination for lazy fire investigators... I don't think that the real stats (properly investigated) would hold them up as high.

As far as what to do if you see a dangerous condition? Notify the H.O. in writing of a condition that needs attention. If he ignores it, it'll land on him instead of you should he try to pin it on you if the S hits the F.

A call to the AHJ is always an option, but usually the H.O. can figure out who did it, which could result in him bad-rapping you to his friends... despite the fact that you might have saved his house, or his life.
Posted By: Trumpy Re: Taking Pictures? - 08/13/04 10:15 AM
Hi there Doug!,
No offense to my comrades in the fire service, but "electrical in origin" was once touted as an easy catch-all cause & origin determination for lazy fire investigators... I don't think that the real stats (properly investigated) would hold them up as high.
And as a front-line Fire Officer, I would tend to agree with your comments, I've had arguments with the Fire Safety (Fire Investigation) Department of the NZFS here until I'm blue in the face, about certain fires, but, no, they don't dig any deeper than scratch the surface these days.
And the nasty thing about it, they aren't overworked either, they are the people that couldn't make it in the Operational side of the job so they get a Station-Officer rank with 3 years experience and tell me how fires start!. [Linked Image]
Posted By: pauluk Re: Taking Pictures? - 08/13/04 09:00 PM
I'm sure some investigations work on that principle. They can't find the proverbial smoking gun (or burnt match in the bed perhaps would be a better term!) so the cause must be electrical, right? [Linked Image]

Maybe offtopic, but what can you do when you see something very dangerous?
In England, the answer is "Not much."

You can tell the home-owner, and that's about it. There are no electrical inspectors to report anything to. Power companies have a clause to the effect that they reserve the right to disconnect service to premises where the wiring constitutes imminent danger, but that would be extremely rare. These days most of them take the attitude that if it's on the owner's side of the meter, they don't care anyway.

Ultimately local councils have the power to condemn a building as unfit for human habitation, but such actions are also very unusual and are generally only ever implemented due to imminent structural collapse or something like a place being absolutely infested with rats.

I suppose someone might be able to convince the local council that a place be declared unfit for habitation due to extremely dangerous wiring, but I've never heard of such a case.

Councils ("City Hall") here have never had any interest in wiring whatsoever, although that's set to change next January (see the "part P" threads in the non-U.S. area).
Posted By: Gloria Re: Taking Pictures? - 08/15/04 08:21 AM
Paul, see, that is what the situation is here. Still not an electrician, but I live on the 7th floor of a concrete 10 storey house and I'm extremely afraid of the smallest fire in the house.
Once I have seen the fire car at the house at 2am and I packed my bags and went down the stairs, cause I know when a big fire starts, I can only go up, and that is the roof and no other way down then but to jump. See? It may be only my nightmare fantasy, but I really don't know, what would I do in a fire.
The stairs are in the middle section of the house, so if a fire will break up, that is the first that would be filled with smoke.

[This message has been edited by Gloria (edited 08-15-2004).]
Posted By: Kennyvp Re: Taking Pictures? - 08/15/04 02:16 PM
Well, as a fire officer myself, i would have to say that in a situtation such as your's all the doors leading into the stair well should be fire rated with automatic closeing devices. That hall way has to have a rating of sometime if it is a means of escape! should should also have emergency lighting to light your way out. if all the doors are closed in the stairwell it should take quite awhile for the somke to fill it. it may also have a emergency fan in the top of the stair well to extract the smoke if there is a alrm activation.
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