A little more than a month ago, I started this thread about code violations that I found after taking over a job where the electrical contractor had split. Immediate concerns of liability came into play since these houses are being leased for about $1M and customers with that kind of money sue people regularly as a hobby. I could only imagine the Fire Marshall sifting through the ashes and myself receiving a subpeona to appear in court for negligence.
So I reported what I had found, and they told me to continue with my report. So I took more pictures of random receptacles and other violations I had come across, and gave them a report, with a little help from you kind folks here.
Well, the guilty culprit shows up on my job today, with a look that could kill demanding another report from me stating that the last report was merely my opinion and not fact, and that a certain employee of the General Contractor's persuaded me to do the report... "or all h*ll will break loose" he says.
So, I'm thinking he either wants to kick my @$$ or he has a slander lawsuit in mind.
So I'm freaking at this point, and I call my favorite local inspector, who tells me in so many words that "we all make mistakes, we're all doing the best we can, none of us are perfect, you should only be concerned about yourself and I would NOT have done anything like what you did, and I don't want to be involved."
Called another inspector and "I can agree with your liability concerns for why you did this, but I won't inspect the place for you to back you up on it..." Oh, and he regulary uses those little boxes too... I called him on it and said "for what? Phone wire?" and he got a little miffed. Guess I've really been putting my foot in my mouth alot lately.
So anyway before I continue, I solemnly promise to Bill that I will NOT proceed with the following plan until I have permission from him to do so... I don't expect that he'll want to get involved in a slander lawsuit, but here goes.
My choices are either to lie about the violations, apologize, and help persuade the General Contractor to pay this guy and get him off my back...
Or... (here goes) with help from the plethora of professionals here to back me up, I'll stand my ground and give him a report stating that it is not only my opinion, but the opinion of several other electrical contractors, inspectors, etc and here are their names and credentials.
My idea is to get some posts on the other thread from you guys and gals to help me point out that most of these aren't just nit-picky violations, but real fire and electrocution hazards exist here.
Or am I just plain wrong?
[This message has been edited by sparky66wv (edited 07-10-2002).]
-Virgil Residential/Commercial Inspector 5 Star Inspections Member IAEI
sparky66wv, The way I see it a code violation is a code violation until it is corrected. Mistakes do happen just like that old saying "S**T Happens" But when they are pointed out they should be corrected. May be the ECN lawyer could offer some well needed advice here. ( I can't seem to remember his user name ) I am with ya on this one, but unfortunately in court just because you are right does not mean you will win. If all you did was point out the violations and write them up I don't really see why this is a big deal, it happens everyday. Is the GC holding back a large some of money owed because of this?Wirewiz
#11359 - 07/11/0206:09 AMRe: Has ECN created a "Monster"?
Virgil, There is nothing legally, nor morally, wrong with pointing out code violations prior to assuming a half finished contract. I've batted it around with you long enough on this forum to pretty much guess you did not go off half-cocked, and what I saw were certainly non-standard and sloppy trade practices. I'm sure Rob (our attorney) will tell you that truth is a defense against slander, or libel, it is also a defense against being charged with it. IOW, you pointed out code violations that were obvious and pointed them out with no malice aforethought, so tough on him. Wirewiz - That's "CA-CA Occurs" in polite company
#11360 - 07/11/0207:13 AMRe: Has ECN created a "Monster"?
hmmm, a meticulous electrician such as yourself Virgil, having to stand his ground alone......a sad commentary on the state of affairs.
Allow me a similar rant....
A 7 unit slum, owned by absentee landlords, filled with section 8's ( welfare) is fed by a number of old (main range & four) panels , all are stuffed with 30A fuses, K&T, BX and older cloth RX throughout. Open splice boxes, hanging wires ( used ad clotheslines in the basement), generally no-no's that the average Joe( nec aside) would consider...
This, a customer of a few years, is sheltered from me by a live in F.Gumplike manager. Thus my concerns are stifled...
One day the state Fire Marshal shows up, requesting Smokes & GFI's throughout. He PASSES BY ALL OF THESE BLATANT VIOLATIONS. On my inquiry, i am informed that the building has been on the states list 8 YEARS!. A permit is pulled, the work is done, there is no one that follows up to look at my work,(or note anything else life-threatening) and this is one of many similar scenarios i have had .....
Yesterday, i responded to a 'smoking fixture' in an adjacent building owned by the same landlords. My assessment revealed that there is indeed a smoking K&T joint above a kitchen cieling. The circuit is original, and under load, despite my eliminating the kitchen fixture.
This place is not 'smoked' , nor are thier GFI's, it is the best example of a fire waiting to happen that i can possibly post here. I have informed F.Gump in strong words. I have , in the past, called the Fire Marshal with little to no fanfare, nor do i feel obligated to if they are luke warm , or do not back me up. I could care less if i retain said customer, my company is not 'Slums-R-Us', yet i have a number of permits pulled on very similar situations ,some are worded to the extent of "have wiring checked by electrician". Well if the state is never going to hear me out, back me up, or come back to inspect anything i can blow chucks until the cows come home....
I do advocate the concept of the AHJ, indeed why i am an IAEI member, it just bums me out when they continually drop the #$%& ball....
#11361 - 07/11/0204:16 PMRe: Has ECN created a "Monster"?
When I find violations as you have and are asked to make a report, I do as you have done by taking pictures and citing the code section that it violates.
You should not need the support of anyone else because you are citing FACT. It is not only your opinion.
If you refer to the proper code articles and sections, etc. There should be no question as to who is right or wrong. Just be D*MN sure YOUR right.
It may take you some time to look up all of the violations but you should have no problem proving your case.
You can give a copy of your report to anyone that is affected and if they don't agree they can try to find someone to prove your wrong.
Now all of this doesen't take into account the "a** kicking" factor. so, weigh your options and take into account all possible risks. Maybe you might just want to walk away from the job.... Your decision, good luck!
#11362 - 07/11/0206:00 PMRe: Has ECN created a "Monster"?
Go here to see an HTML version of the report. The photos are the same and the words are copy-n-paste straight from the document. The layout is a little different 'cause I haven't figured out cell spacing and padding yet.
Brian, I'd love to have you or George or Joe or WattDoc or anyone here to come down and see this. I'd be happy to let you see my work too...
We were actually threatened with a fire marshal visit, but I said "I'd be happy to show him my work and licenses."
wirewiz, yes, I am to believe that payment due depends on the outcome of all this for him, but that is the doing and choice (as per contract) of the General Contractor.
-Virgil Residential/Commercial Inspector 5 Star Inspections Member IAEI