I would consider local inspectors to provide a closer relationship with the consumer; this is not to question the professionalism of State or County Inspectors (the job is tough enough as it stands). In my state local inspectors are mostly appointed by the selectmen or town or city officials depending on the type of government some are civil service such as in the larger cities. Over-sight is through our Board of Examiners. Where each municipality has a local inspector I would expect the AHJ can respond in a timely manner to site inspections, they are also available to the local Fire Chiefs during fires (public safety). Additionally as a local inspector you have an opportunity to develop a professional relationship with local contractors, this is a double-edged sword and in many circumstances requires a degree of tact you get to know the inspectors and they get to know you. . The down side of the local inspectors may be more inspectors. By that I refer to inconsistencies when formulating interpretations, no one wishes to be wrong and egos’ can muddy the water. Following several strings on this site illustrates how difficult it is to develop a consensus (I think everyone here who contributes is reasonably civil), Attend an Inspectors meeting (if you don’t already). They do not always agree with what the Code or State Regulations mean. That being said I know many local municipal inspectors personally and they all do a good job.
The same book is enforced differently across the country.
Here in MA the town or city inspector is appointed by the local govt. They are not the AHJ.
The AHJ is the state Fire Marshall, all official interpretations have to come from that office.
You are right each inspector has their own ideas of what is important. And while it can be frustrating at times most of these inspectors are only concerned with safety, very few I have met would I consider bad inspectors.
Bob Badger Construction & Maintenance Electrician Massachusetts
Thanks but I disagree with your statement that local inspectors in MA are not the AHJ. Section 3L of chapter 143 General Law’s states that the Board of Fire prevention Regulations shall make and promulgate, and from time to time may alter, amend and repeal etc. Section 3P provides a means for Appeals but as you know it is not the BFP that handles appeals it is the State Board of examiners and such appeals so granted or denied, are applicable to that one and only case. Also as you stated the Board of Fire Prevention is responsible for interpretations, such a request must be in the form of a yes/no question and often the response is in kind.
Chapter 166 of the General Laws of the State of Massachusetts Section 32 requires each city of town by ordnance to establish a position known as Inspector of Wires. This section further states that each inspector shall supervise every wire over or under streets or buildings as well as every wire with in or supplied from buildings or structures.
That is partially why notification of installation of wires must be made to each municipal inspector prior to or within five days of commencement of such work for all conductors installed to provide power, lighting, fire protection, security, communication circuits, etc. (with out quoting chapter 141 section 1A)
Municipal Inspectors in each city or town take a solemn oath to enforce the laws and regulations of the commonwealth, and are tasked with the responsibilities laid out in Ch 166 .32, such inspectors are tasked with notifying installers as to the outcome of all inspections (pass / fail), and they must indicate in writing what laws and regulations are violated in such instances that an installation is found to be non-code compliant.
Also 90.4 Enforcement. States This Code is intended to be suitable for mandatory application by governmental bodies that exercise legal jurisdiction over electrical installations, this section further tasks Massachusetts municipal inspectors with the ability to grant special permission, (the authority having jurisdiction may waive specific requirements in this Code or permit alternative methods where it is assured that equivalent objectives can be achieved by establishing and maintaining effective safety). All of these enforcement requirements are on the shoulders of the local inspectors in Mass. And in fact those inspectors make interpretations every day and they stick unless the appeals process or the interpretation process in initiated (by either the inspector or the contractor)
Yes the State Fire Marshal’s Board of Fire Prevention Adopts the NEC as amended in 527CMR 12:00. But I disagree that municipal inspectors are not the AHJ in local matters of Code enforcement.