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#50396 - 04/01/05 04:01 PM vacancy inspection  
Bert66  Offline
Member
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 80
Belle Chasse, La. USA
In my area when a house has been vacant for a period longer then 6 months an inspection needs to be filed. My question revolves around up grading to current codes. I believe the you are required to upgrade when remodling but are you required to do so based on the above status. Keep in mind that this was a rent house and was kept up very well. All recpt., light switches, fans, kitchen appliances, etc. were in perfect condition. But what raises a question to me is that this house is dated and only has a 70 amp main service and no grounded recepticals, just the two slots (hot & nuetral).
Any feedback would be great.

Thanks Bert


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#50397 - 04/01/05 07:36 PM Re: vacancy inspection  
BobH  Offline
Member
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 135
Newfane, N.Y USA
I'm no expert but I would seriously doubt that a city, town or AHJ could force a homeowner to bring a house up to current codes just because it was vacant for over 6 months. That could run into obscene dollars if you consider all the systems that could need updating.


#50398 - 04/02/05 06:23 PM Re: vacancy inspection  
harold endean  Offline
Member
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,233
Boonton, NJ
Most times the AHJ would ask the EC to go into the house and check it out to make sure that the wiring is OK in the dwelling. Then the EC would get an inspection from the AHJ and if that passes, the AHJ would send it a cut card to the POCO to restore power to the building. The AHJ wouldn't try to get the home up to the latest code. but just to make sure that the house is safe to bring power back to the house.


#50399 - 04/02/05 06:47 PM Re: vacancy inspection  
northstar  Offline
Member
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 42
Long Island, New York
DITTO BOB H


#50400 - 04/03/05 09:26 AM Re: vacancy inspection  
DougW  Offline
Member
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
North Chicago, IL
In our area, any addition that doubles the ft2 of the building, or remodel of more than 50% requires an update of the existing structure.

Requiring a structure to be upgraded after a vacancy? If that's the law, it's only because nobody's retained a lawyer and gone before the building and zoning board yet...

Where most of the upgrades of structures like the one in question come up is actually from banks / mortgagers, who'll refuse to finance a house that isn't at least 100A.

[This message has been edited by DougW (edited 04-03-2005).]


#50401 - 04/03/05 11:56 AM Re: vacancy inspection  
Alan Nadon  Offline
Member
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 399
Elkhart, IN. USA
In my jurisdiction being vacant is not enough by itself to require an inspection. BUT, if the elctric service has been disconnected either by being cut or meter removed by the utility company then it starts a process that includes the inspector O.K.ing the reconnection. Since my signature is on that release I require a minumum 100 amp. service; GFIs; no bare closet lights; and smoke detectors (battery OK). Banks and loan companies were the ones requiring 100 A minimum services but, the last Code changes now require it for all Single Family Dwellings. Two wire recept.s are Ok on most general use circuits. I have not seen any 70 amp services. I have seen 30, 60 and larger, but, never a 70. Is it fused or a circuit breaker ? What size cable feeds it ? I am curious. Alan


Alan--
If it was easy, anyone could do it.

#50402 - 04/04/05 08:53 AM Re: vacancy inspection  
Bert66  Offline
Member
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 80
Belle Chasse, La. USA
I was thinking along the lines with Doug, about up grades if more then 50% was effected. The house is about 900 sq/ft if that. As for Alan's question it has a 70amp breaker fed with #4 wire.
Thanks for all the feedback.


#50403 - 04/04/05 09:21 AM Re: vacancy inspection  
earlydean  Offline
Member
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
Griswold, CT, USA
Alan,

If you are requiring an existing building to meet current codes when it is re-energized but not re-modeled, then you are opening a major can of worms. Some day, you may be sued for the changes you required above and beyond the code. You may have to pay for the changes you required out of your own pocket, and you will probally lose your job, too. This is a major abuse of the power you hold as an inspector.

Requiring unsafe installations to be made safe prior to re-energizing is one thing, requiring an existing building to be brought up to current codes is quite another.

Insurance companies and banks are allowed to require such things because they require it contigent upon issuing the insurance or loan. You can always decline and use another company. The inspector is an arm of the law, and as such, he cannot require anything beyond the minimum required by law. Unless there is a law in your area requiring such action, what you are doing is illegal.


Earl

#50404 - 04/04/05 11:52 AM Re: vacancy inspection  
Alan Nadon  Offline
Member
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 399
Elkhart, IN. USA
Earlydean
I do not require more than the Code. Existing installations that have not been permanently disconnected are "grandfathered". GFI's, and smoke detectors have a track record of saving lives. I can document that bare bulbs in closets cause fire. I consider those things basic safety and not "Code" items. That makes them easier to defend in court.
I do not disconnect houses. When they are disconnected I determine if they are safe enough to be reconnected. I cannot make anyone do anything. I can withold my approval.
My local ordinance requires a 100 amp. minimum service (since 1985) and enpowers me to do inspections. My decisions can be appealed to the Local Review Board or the Building Commissioner. If still not satisfied they can be appealed to the State. And there is always the courts. GFI's, battery smoke detectors and removing bare bulb fixtures in closets can be done by a homeowner. No license required.
I've been doing it this way for 25 years and while I've been called many names, "loser" after going to court, is not one of them. The liability of connecting a house without GFIs or Smokies if someone is shocked / killed or if there is a fire with injuries / death, far outweighs the potential of requiring too much. Which headline hurts the trade more; BUILDING INSPECTOR TOO STRICT; or FAMILY DIES AFTER HOUSE INSPECTED.
I still have over a dozen homes with 30 amp. services, but I know where they are, and someday when they are disconnected they will get upgraded or sit in the dark. Alan.


Alan--
If it was easy, anyone could do it.

#50405 - 04/04/05 03:53 PM Re: vacancy inspection  
earlydean  Offline
Member
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
Griswold, CT, USA
Alan,

I applaud you for following your conscience. May you never be challenged.

Your statement: "I still have over a dozen homes with 30 amp. services, but I know where they are, and someday when they are disconnected they will get upgraded or sit in the dark." indicates to me that you will be exceeding your authority by requiring these homes to be upgraded, even though no actual construction will be taking place in them.

I also take exception to another statement: "GFI's, battery smoke detectors and removing bare bulb fixtures in closets can be done by a homeowner. No license required." Any wiring in my state must be done by a licensed electrician. While it is allowed for the homeowner of a single family dwelling to do his own wiring, it is not to be encouraged, as most homeowners do not know what they are doing. Permits are required in any case, as I'm sure they are in your jurisdiction.


Earl

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