The below are excerpts from a research paper of about 30 years ago. Has there been much change over the years? What type of electrical construction gets the least inspection? 1. Medium Voltage Distribution (By EC) 2. Heavy Industrial. 3. Medium Industrial. 4. Light industrial. 5. Large Commercial. 6. High Rise Office. 7. Major Shopping Centers. 8. Medium Commercial. What gets the most detailed inspections? Dwelling Occupancies. I have inquired of several ahj’s over time and, collectively, they informed me that the EC’s, foremen, and journeymen on these larger projects knew more about code and safe installation than they did. They also rely on the engineer to prepare proper plans and specs. There were a number who even said that they primarily inspect dwellings as the other types of construction are few and far between and it was not economically feasible for the counties and municipalities to train inspectors in these as the code changes every three years. I was also enlightened that many times the dwelling plans don’t have circuitry, outlet, switch, or fixture locations and it is left to the EC to design and install the system. Rowdy
Rowdy, I have found in my years as a inspector that there are good contractors and there are poor contractors out there regarding the code and installation of electrical products. I inspect everyone equal and fair regarding who they are and what type of job it is. I have found however on industrial and large commercial project, the contractors do not call in for as many inspections, so I give unanounced inspections quite a bit in my jurisdiction. This sometimes catches more code violation this way when they dont expect you. And through my years both in the field and inspecting I have learned never to rely on a engineer for proper plan specs. Tell me how many engineers do you know that have actually worked out in the field to put together a project before becoming a engineer. A very few. Doug
Rowdy, I was a Forman for a small company and now for a large company, and there is no doubt that large companies are treated differently by many inspectors. This is not to slam the inspectors, most times this is exactly what you describe, we are exposed to the work we do more than the inspectors are.
Some of the leeway is granted by our reputation, other times you can see it in the way they are looking that they are not going to ask questions because they think we "know" the code better than them. Most times we are just following a print in the belief that the engineer must "know" the code better than we do, not to say I will not send an RFI but you can not question every detail on the print and get the job done.
Doug, The drop in inspections are the best thing you can do in my opinion. As for not calling in enough, each inspector has different ideas of how often is enough. Some guys will say I'll be here every week or call me for everything, another guy comes a couple times and gets a "feel" for what we are doing and the rest of the rough inspections are by phone, it can be tough to remembers everybody's style.
One positive note is that for the larger jobs owner reps, the different architects and engineers are all regular visitors with cameras so we are watched over more in some ways that the inspector can not.
The inspector can only enforce the code and with the exception of 110.12 does not have tools to enforce quality, but engineers armed with specs can make sure the quality issues are enforced, this kind of over sight for dwelling units does not exist that I know of.
Bob Badger Construction & Maintenance Electrician Massachusetts
Typical in this region! From a newspaper article (shortened)
City warned about repairs Defying federal laws could bring suit
A $585 bill for unnecessary wiring changes resulted in a warning from a state official Friday to the city of Belleville: obey national regulations for manufactured homes or face a federal lawsuit. The warning resulted from an inspection in November by city electrical inspector Robert Dohm. He insisted on wiring changes and failed to grant an occupancy permit. Belleville requires that only certified electricians from their list can do such jobs. An electrician finally showed up in January to do the work. This was more than two months after Dohm's inspection. Rick Brown, an advocate for mobile and manufactured home dwellers, said the inspection of Cullen's home is only one of numerous inspections of manufactured homes where city officials have required unnecessary repairs. It's illegal for city inspectors to require more than the federal statute. Brown took photographs of the wiring changes to Cullen's home and compared them to illustrations in federal regulations. He sent the photographs to Metz. Metz said Friday that the photographs showed that changes required by the city were not needed and that city officials could not require them to be made. He said federal manufactured and mobile home regulations take precedence over any local regulations. Kern admitted that Dohm "may have erred." Dohm could not be reached for comment. Rowdy
RowdyRudy: Here in NJ, the AHJ has to do "Plan Review" prior to issuance of a permit, and we do go over all plans, large and small, except those that are "checked & approved by the State" That in mind, yes there are errors and omissions on plans. And not bashing the Arch's and Engineers, some lack field experience, but that's another thread.
We perform inspections on a "As called: type basis. The contractor (or homeowner DIY'er) calls the office to schedule an inspection. Dependent on the job, we can make one, two, or multiple inspections. A resi service can/should be only one insp. unless it fails. A 25k Sq Ft car dealership can be 10-15-20 inspections. ie: foundation, slab, trench, walls, ceilings, service, TCO, CO, final, etc. "Drop-in" inspections are OK, if we have time. Surprise, the AHJ's here. And, yes the approved (stamped & signed) plans MUST be on the jobsite, both large and small.
The "big" contractors have there share of "bo-bo's" as well as the small guys and the DIY'ers, but those jobs are usually smooth sailing. As to workmanship, I believe that "comments for a nice job" should be said. The "other comments are on a "one-on-one" basis only.
I can only speak for myself, I work for a large TWP on a PT basis, and my comments do not reflect on other areas. John