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#9948 - 05/23/02 11:11 PM Crossroads...  
sparky66wv  Offline
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,236
West Virginia
I'm having a bit of a dilemna. At lot #6 at the Greenbrier Resort, (I thought final punch-out was two weeks ago!) Musser and myself have been "coming through" due to the absence of the EC who first got the job. A few fixtures had come in when we were there taking care of an aux pump for the dryer vent, and we were asked to hang them. While looking at the parts of the lumunaires (which were from Italy), I noticed that the only thing UL labelled was the strap and socket. No "listed UL assembly" sticker at all. I mentioned something about it. Then I removed the plastic lampholders from the ceiling and lo and behold (metal boxes were spec'ed for the job) the boxes were NOT bonded, and the EGC's were merely twisted together, no wirenut, Greenie, or crimp. Not only that, but one box had twisted and taped hot and neutral splices! I mentioned these as well. Then, to repair a botched job the other EC did at installing a GFCI in a wet bar, we had to replace the 3x2x1.5" metal box (with 45º corners) with a 3x2x2, and the conductors were about 2.5" long... The botched part was that the mounting screws had come through the front of the bar! Otherwise, the other thing would have never been seen. Rumors of hidden junction boxes when the interior designer was unhappy with locations were also heard... Plus a 240V 20A receptacle for a Washing Machine was wired for 120V, AND was damaged in the wall. (Continuity between the white wire and ground even when both the neutral and ground were disconnected from the bus, 2 volts max reading between white and black, connected to a 1-20 breaker and the recept was a 250V 20A).

[Linked Image]

Anyway, I was about fit to be tied about the lack of quality in a $M house, just to get an hour long "discussion" on bad attitudes and pessimism.

So, for double my normal rate of pay, and atleast 10 years worth of work, should I suck-up and be a "yes" man and make decent pay for this area, or should I hold to the letter of the code and go lobby for mandatory electrical inspections for all new construction in WV?

I'm only half kidding about the lobbying part... If I could get a gov't grant to do a study to show that it is an important thing...


Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
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#9949 - 05/23/02 11:59 PM Re: Crossroads...  
amp-man  Offline
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 141
Sacto, California US of A

I feel your pain...been there.

Like you, I've charged the GC or homeowner premium rates in such situations. Remember, you're the last one to touch it, and so you are the first one they'll go after in case of trouble.

About trying to lobby for inspections--could the fire service in your neck of the woods be an ally? But, like anywhere else, $$ talks. Another option to really try to make something happen would be to get someone to lobby who's suffered a death in the family due to an electrical fire caused by bad work.

Another ally could be the fire insurance industry. They have a profit motive to see that wiring is fire safe, at least.

But I gotta tell you, you're not going to be popular if you push for inspections. The builders won't like it and the hack electricians really won't like it.

Good luck.


#9950 - 05/24/02 12:30 AM Re: Crossroads...  
sparky66wv  Offline
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,236
West Virginia
OK, if I were to get serious with this lobbying thing, (I haven't the slightest idea where to start...) would it be better to not be an inspector? My thinkng is alterior motives... If I'm not an inspector, I'd seem more genuine... I don't know...

Guess I'm looking for an excuse as to why I haven't taken the test yet...

Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI

#9951 - 05/24/02 04:22 PM Re: Crossroads...  
gpowellpec  Offline
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 127
Irving, Tx USA
Knowledge is sometimes a dangerous thing. And sometimes knowledge is more harmful to the person who possesses the most. Not that I know all there is to know about electrical and safety, but being an instructor that taught Code and OSHA was a big factor in shutting down my electrical contracting business. I could not see ethically performing and installing on the same level of safety and quality as the competition in my marketplace. To compete with companies that were doing safe and quality work would have meant being owned (and controlled by) a bank or venture capitalist. Code enforcement in the counties is nonexistent in Texas and lax in most towns.

I did not want to be in a witness chair defending myself against a lawyer for an employee who got burned or fell, and claimed I didn't give him or her proper training, equipment, specific instructions or had rushed the work. What answer could I give to the question "Do you not teach Electrical Safety Related Work Practices and know the danger to which you were exposing this employee?" and not look to a judge or jury as being negligent. We're talking careful documentation and a good lawyer to overrule the impression just the question makes. The same scenario can be made for any Master Electrician that was accused of doing sub-standard work.

Unless you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth or just plain lucky, an independent, ethical person has to make some hard choices to get to the level of achievement that makes them happy and secure. Just don't get into a financial condition where you can't afford to be ethical.

But isn't life all about choices? I made the choice to shut down a business with a great potential and have not regretted it. I feel fortunate to have had another option. Am I really making you more conflicted? Sorry about that.

Gerald Powell

[This message has been edited by gpowellpec (edited 05-24-2002).]

#9952 - 05/24/02 08:01 PM Re: Crossroads...  
sparky  Offline
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,311
On many occassions i have found myself in the same situation. I politely try to point out no-no's to customers, like your imported lights.
A respected inspector once told me, "safety first, code second" .
Do you suppose he forsaw the day i knew i was violating the code and tossed the proverbial coin?

[This message has been edited by sparky (edited 05-24-2002).]

#9953 - 05/25/02 09:28 AM Re: Crossroads...  
pauluk  Offline
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
It's a tough call. I've had a few jobs along these lines, and I will always report anything dangerous with my suggestion as to how it should be corrected.

Ultimately, though, if the owner/contractor says leave it, what can you do?

I will make a note on my final invoice pointing out the problems, though.

#9954 - 05/25/02 02:48 PM Re: Crossroads...  
Bjarney  Offline
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 2,527
West-Southern Inner-Northeast ...
It’s a bit time consuming, but if you deem it serious enough, letters sent to the building owner/tenant (certified with return receipts) are clearly in order. The CYA routine sometimes has to be clearly invoked with the dipsh*t litigation mentality these days. I’ve had to do it once, in a place that was a glaring, absolute and immediate death trap. (The occupant's complaint was that two breakers tripped when a single overhead light was turned on.) It may seem drastic, but CCs the to associated inspection authority, electric utility and health department shouldn’t be ruled out. (In my case, the gnarled, beat-up leads out of a salvaged, paint-layered meter entrance cap outside of the building should have been an immediate clue.}

[This message has been edited by Bjarney (edited 05-25-2002).]

#9955 - 05/26/02 06:36 AM Re: Crossroads...  
sparky  Offline
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,311
Unless you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth or just plain lucky, an independent, ethical person has to make some hard choices to get to the level of achievement that makes them happy and secure. Just don't get into a financial condition where you can't afford to be ethical.

well put Gerald. [Linked Image]
In contemplation, I find my halo somewhat tarnished....
Yet the powers that be advocate this, having arranged much regulation, without so much as a boy scout for enforcement, leaves little incentive.

#9956 - 05/26/02 07:36 AM Re: Crossroads...  
Gwz  Offline
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 197
A dedicated electrical inspector must have the support of the superiors.

Inspector 'Good ole Charlie' ;
Can get along with everybody.
Does not need to get into the details of the NEC.
Never opens enclosures to see what was actually installed.

Dedicated inspector ;

Studies the NEC.
Opens enclosures.
Finds violations.
Is told by the installer " Have always done it that way and never have had a problem. "


Until a catastrophe happens ( which may be many years later ), who is the " Good Guy " ?

Superiors need to be safety conscious (understand the code) also.

#9957 - 05/26/02 01:12 PM Re: Crossroads...  
sparky66wv  Offline
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,236
West Virginia
I couldn't have said it better myself...

Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI

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