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What are some of your inspection experiences?

I mean, what type of relationship have you been able to keep with the person, or agency who inspects your electrical work?




Are you an EC, or an AHJ, and were you an EC before taking on the job as an AHJ?

Have you inspected any hotels or hospitals, or Hazardous (Classified) Locations?

Are you interested in finding out more about becoming a certified electrical inspector?

I am looking for some comments from anyone who wants to add them.
Nice idea, Joe- especially if you take the term "inspect" broadly.

There is an attitude held by some that "inspector" is some sort of "rank" above "electrician." This is unfortunate, as there are separate skills for each trade. This misunderstanding can only become worse as the "inspector" racket both expands into the private sector (home inspections) and begins to get filled with 'instant inspectors;' that is, graduates of 'inspection technology' curriculae, who have never worked in any trade.

I think even the most committed contractor can beneift from learning how to systematically inspect a job.....most "walk-throughs" are so cursory as to be worthless!
There is also the issue of today's sparky planning ahead for the time when he is no longer up to the physical demands of the job.

Count me in..since I'm already "committed," I might as well be "certified" as well :-)
I'm leaving for Atlanta next Monday on what we call an Audit of a facility. I'll be part of a team that reviews every aspect of the facility - production, timekeeping, payroll, etc. I'll be doing the maintenance section of a highly mechanized plant of about 1/2 million sq ft. It will take us 10 days. When we finish, Headquarters will issue our findings and the facility will have to submit an overall plan to begin compliance with the recommendations. I am on the team because I have over 20 years with the company, a good portion of that in maintenance. I've done one other audit and that ten-member team had over 300 years combined with the company. Experience is necessary for us to be effective and reasonably efficient. "Instant Experts" wouldn't have a clue where to start.
Posted By: Radar Re: Have you made any Electrical Inspections? - 08/02/05 08:27 PM
My most memorable inspector experience? It would have to be one particular job on the Westside of Los Angeles several years ago. We had one particular material handler on the job who was the wife of one of the foremen, who had a pleasing figure, and was rather outgoing. When our inspector visited the jobsite, it was she who escorted him around. She would be briefed beforhand on what needed inspection, and she would let us other foremen know what needed fixing after the visit, and she made sure it was fixed for the inspector by his next visit.

This arrangement worked for us, but then again we never cheated intentionally with regard to code or contract requirements. Still, this is not the recommended method.

Reno ...

Count me in..since I'm already "committed," I might as well be "certified" as well

Look here to get started:

and then look for the: "Bulletin of Information"

On the experience item: We can thank our Dad's for being there long ago when we were kids.

I learned a lot from that electrician!

How does the inspector with experience help the person who just got an electrical contractor's license?

Does he tell him what is wrong, and how the Code requires the work to be done?


Does he say: "I was asked to make an inspection, I am not your teacher?"

PS: How many Electrical Inspectors are teaching now as well?

Big Jim:

Sure wish I could tag along! Don't forget to look behind the cord caps to be sure they are dead front, and not modified to fit into 20 amp rated single receptacles.

NFPA 70B, Electrical Equipment Maintenance is a good source for maintenance items and includes a nice basic checklist.
I'm not looking to Hi-jack your thread here but John's comments remind me of a job sevral years back. Breifly: The inspector walked into a gorund-up grocery store (75,000sq ft) to inspect my U/G work, the job super was with me as he had not met the inspector yet and wanted to. The inspector (who knew me) turned to the super and said "From now on you'll be doing all further inspections on this job, you do it right" and left to never return.

I had one inspector who definitely wanted me on the job site for inspection. If, I was there, I always passed inspection. He might ask to have something minor taken care of and would trust me to do it. If, I wasn't there, I never passed. It got to be a bit of a game. I would try to have everything perfect, and get a violation for workmanship or some very minor detail. He was a good inspector and never unreasonable other than sometimes it was not convenient to meet him at jobsite.
On a resi service change (my own house) back in '89:

Upgraded from 100 amp Zinsco (!) to a nice 200 amp surface mount Crouse-Hinds OH Meter combo.

Surface mount on exterior stucco wall with (2) Strut lagged into studs. 2" Galv. riser also strut times 2, lagged into studs and wall header. 3/0 copper THWN feeder, about 7 feet long overall. #4 ground to new rod and cold water pipe with no splices or doubled clamps.

Old circuits (6) tied in via 1" Sealtite, no shared neutrals, all hots/neuts number coded.
That run was about 2' from new panel to old. Old deadfront sealed with heavy gavl. steel, riveted and painted to match, old meter socket covered and sealed with POCO provided cover and ring.

New circuits (including 6/3 feeder to electric range) fed into bottom of panel through 30" of PVC conduit to crawlspace under house. Conduit ends under house with pvc fittings and bushings all cables secured within 4" of conduit entry.

Neat feature of that panel was split neutral buss, so each neutral landed directly in line with the breaker of it's hot feed. Everthing a work of art, anyone could go into that panel and find anything.

Inspector was quite pleased with my work, had many nice compliments about quality of workmanship. But he wouldn't sign off. Why?

He said the NM for the new circuits couldn't be run through conduit! I agreed, but also pointed out the exception which allows lengths up to (I think it was 3 feet back then) to be in conduit for physical protection. I also showed him the article I'd referenced in my '84 Code book.

He pointed out that my book was out of date, So I said fine, what does the new code say about it? Same article, same wording, he still said no way. Hmmm....bear in mind, this was a quite amicable debate, I was sure he was mistaken, but open to his input. I asked what he would like me to do to correct the situation.

His answer was to install a pull can or gutter under the house (access was thru a hatch in Master bed closet, on far side of house BTW) and splice in THHN to land in the breaker box. I disagreed, on the position that splices are traditionally a weak link and I didn't want to splice the 6/3 in particular. He stood firm, and I suggested that I'd like another opinion from another inspector as well. (Again, all done politely.) He said fine, you can call my boss and ask him. He left and I called his boss and explained the dilemma. Mentioned the weak link idea. His boss saw no problems and said he would question the inspector when he came back to the office.

The next morning at 9am I got the call from the inspector who said "I talked to my friends at the office and they agree that if I think it's safe anyway we can sign off." And he did! I thanked him for his time.

As a side note to the festivities, when the POCO came out to do the hook-up they were very impressed. Why? First, they said it was the cleanest resi they'd ever seen (aw, shucks) they were impressed with the use of the galv. riser (Why? I asked. Seems that for a while, PVC (!) risers were allowed.) And finally, I'd left the cover off of the meter socket area. When asked, I explained since they would hook up hot and stuff the meter, I wanted them to see for themselves that everything was clear and tight.

Then they unrolled the #6(?)AL triplex. I laughed and said, no-no. I have electric range, garage workshop and central air coming in later, and would really hate to have to call them out to replace the burned-down drop. They laughed and gave me what I'm guessing was #2AL triplex, really monster stuff. Believe me, even with the range going full tilt, A/C cranked and me working in the garage shop, never had flicker or voltage drop issues!

Of course, that was before the utility deregs, and thier customer service was top notch! The last few service changes I was involved with about 7+ years after I was surprised when POCO crew grumbled because we didn't transfer the drop ourselves. Huh? I always thought it was a huge no-no to touch the drop! (I didn't mind doing it hot. I was always careful and used proper PPE.) But they said to do it if the existing drop was adequate for the load and would reach. Used rated "split-clamp" type connectors and taped well. Go figure. I think the same POCO has a different stand on the issue now.

Sorry this was so long guys. But overall, virtually all my encounters with inspectors have been positive, even when we disagree. [Linked Image]
Posted By: Ryan_J Re: Have you made any Electrical Inspections? - 08/16/05 01:06 PM
PS: How many Electrical Inspectors are teaching now as well?

I am.

Regarding hotels, hospitals and hazardous: I have inspected hotels and hazardous, but I have never inspected a hospital. In a neighboring city they are building a hospital as we speak, and I am told that they want me to look at it on contract for them. That should be interesting.
Brief update on the Atlanta job I mentioned earlier. The plant was in remarkably good shape electrically (even though it took a contractor over 2 days to replace a breaker off the bus feeding a large lighting panel). The hotel was something else again.I have a few pictures I'll try to get up soon but, as an example, I tried to plug the charger for mu camera battery into the outlet above a convienent counter. It simply fell back out of both sides of the duplex. Can you say, "Worn out"?
I'm living in another state now and building under county jurisdiction. All of the inspectors (both of them) are very friendly, always cite the code refrence, and really make you feel like they are working with you. If you give them an hour they'll meet you on site to discuss an issue. Rather refreshing after the megaopolis I was working in...
Posted By: Redsy Re: Have you made any Electrical Inspections? - 09/03/05 05:49 PM
In the fall of '03, just before I quit my day job, I bacame NCPCCI certified for Residential and Electrical, General (2A & 2B).
I was hoping to have something to fall back on in case my business was slow.
Thakfully I haven't had to, but after speaking to a couple local inspection agencies, it was comforting to know that if I needed, I would probably be able to pick up some work doing inspections.
I would recommend getting certified.

Now, if I can find the time to test for Plan Review (2C)!

[This message has been edited by Redsy (edited 09-03-2005).]
I was taught, as a youngster coming into the trade, that it was important to maintain a good relationship with the local inspection authority. It was an important work habit right up there with taking care of your tools and taking pride in your work, and it served me well in my years as an electrician and electrical contractor. It continues to serve me well in my position as an AHJ. I've said this more times than I can count, but I'll continue to repeat it: There needn't be an adversarial relationship between electricians and electrical inspectors. We are all concerned with the same thing. The safety of electrical installations. We're the most professional of all trades and if we want to maintain that level of professionalism a good, strong, working relationship between inspectors and electricians is an absolute necessity.

How does the inspector with experience help the person who just got an electrical contractor's license?

Does he tell him what is wrong, and how the Code requires the work to be done?


Does he say: "I was asked to make an inspection, I am not your teacher?"

This is a prime example of that relationship. I was fortunate as I worked my way up through the trade to deal with many good inspectors who were more than willing to discuss code issues rather than just cite an infraction. As an AHJ, I make every effort to do the same thing. An inspector is also a resource for the contractors to use whether it's a question about a proposed installation or how to comply with the code after a correction notice has been issued.

Experience in the field is as essential for inspectors (if not more essential) as it is for electricians. I have certifications from NCPCCI in Electrical General, One and Two Family, and Plan Review. The certifications are helpful and important, but they don't replace the experience that time in the trade with the tools on gives a person.
Posted By: Redsy Re: Have you made any Electrical Inspections? - 09/05/05 04:22 PM

Your thoughts on field experience resonate well.
I spoke to one agency about doing some inspection work and they said some thing like...
"it's beneficial to have an inspector with some field (electrical installation) experience" ?!!
Joe, and Gentlemen:

I have been an EC for 20+ years, and a while back I took the AHJ tests, thinking of the "future"; yes, some of us get 'old & tired'.

I took a PT insp position <4 years ago which recently turned to a 40 hr week. I see both sides of the fence.

Yes, FIELD experience is very important. It should also be a pre-requisite fr the Elec Engineers and Arch's who layout electric power. (That's another story)

I got my IAEI certification, along with my NJ Licenses.

Ryan: Yes, I also teach PT at a County Vo-Tech (Electrical Trades) Ya have to keep the trade going.

Posted By: VAElec Re: Have you made any Electrical Inspections? - 09/20/05 09:38 PM
My best experience with an inspector was talking about a classified location. The work was for a gas pump and the first to hook it up used liquid tight, and 3R junction boxes, no seals, no rmc. There was also a pole light 8' away from the pump that he to be re-done I was called to fix it.

I grabbed my code book and some paper, he got his code book and handbook, and we talked through how to make sure that it was done right. His experience showed as we talked method, and his knowledge showed when we talked code.

The repair was a pain, but when he came back to inspect, it took him about thirty seconds and he said "I figured that's what it would look like" [Linked Image]
I am the AHJ, but that is only a small part of my duties being the only EE over a multi-state area for the federal government and yes I inspect many Hazardous (Classified)Locations along with Resi/Comm/Indust.

I took and easily passed all 3 IAEI Electrical Inspector tests on the same day. The only reason I took the tests was to keep my mind sharp by giving myself this requirement. I have since let my certifications per IAEI expire (it had no value for me once the tests were passed). I never got certified with our states when they began to require such about a year later, I am exempt (the federal government has their own certification program). The Federal Government does not keep track of these individual certs, and defer to me for electrical as I am the expert in this Region (geographical area).

I could pass the tests without having the foggiest what I would be looking at in the field. This to me is very sad and I feel practical experience (in some form) should be required. As such I have tried to work in the field with the electricians I supervised at least once each year; it is their opportunity to train me, while I can judge directly the work they do; and then attend IAEI and state trainings when possible.
Im working in an housing development right now "200+ single fam." .just finished #17.the inspector that we had was just elec.and realy knew his stuff.becouse i am working in the some housing development that he is inpecting he always called me to walk the house with him.During the inspection he would show me diferent ways to do the job, to make it faster or look better and was always full of helpfull advice everyone else thought he was a picky &^#$ but I never failed an inspection becouse I was always there to fix any little thing he found before he even left .most times he would stand and watch as I did the fix.----NOW he has been replaced with a general inspector for the whole house,,,I am verry uncomfortable with him becouse, I come over to the house during the inspection and he barly even looks at the elec.the most he ever even looks at is wether the fire stop insulation is filing the holes were the wires pass thru.this inspector is loved by everyone and it it afecting workmanship.things are getting guys get a little pissed when I tell them I dont care what the ispectore will pass you still have to do it the right way...any advice???

Well I have known you for many years, so I think you know me well enough. However for the others. I started out 1975 working for an alarm company. Worked for an EC, got my own lic. and worked in my own bus. for 15 years, and now I am a working AHJ.(in NJ) In my own business, I usually did res. work and com. and some light ind. We did a lot of maintenance(sp?)work for business, resteraunts, schools. As an AHJ, I inspect mostly res, but my towns cover new car dealers, hospital (and 517 locations), farms, airport, gas stations, some Haz. (not too much), generators, PV installs, pools, FA & BA systems, fire pumps. You name it, Here in NJ we don't do elevators, the state does. I am lic. in NJ and certified by IAEI. Did I miss anything? Oh yeah, been on these web sites since *P* with the "SS"!
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