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Updated Permitted? Service With Issues


dtontarski
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Greetings..

This message is directed at New York State Home Inspectors that are also qualified to complete electrical code inspections in the Rochester area.

But....please...anyone that can share some insight on this - please do.

I observed an updated service last week that appeared to be installed by someone totally clueless to state mandated code requirements.

I explained to my customer that the work did not appear to be professionally completed, explained several issues that required correction in detail both at the inspection and in my report, and recommended that the work be verified as permitted and inspected.

The issues included, but were certainly not limited to:

1. The main service panel was designed for vertical installation. It was installed horizontally, so that the entire upper row of vertically installed circuit breakers were on in the down position.

2. What appeared to be an updated distribution panel (sub-panel) was installed in the attached garage. This was fed by a 3-conductor feeder and the grounded conductors (neutrals) and the equipment grounding conductors (grounds) were bonded.

I assumed that because of these two issues and the many additional issues I discovered and reported on, that this work was not permitted and inspected, and that as such the seller would be required to resolve these issues when this was verified.

Now I hear that this work was permitted and inspected, and therefore the current owner is not willing to correct these issues.

(And therefore of course I look like an alarmist to both the listing and the referring realtor, and foolish to everyone else involved in the transaction)

I understand that code inspectors have some room for interpretation, but can these interpretations totally ignore the intent and purpose of the state mandated requirements?

Any light that can be shed on this would be much appreciated.

Thanks.

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Now I hear that this work was permitted and inspected, and therefore the current owner is not willing to correct these issues.

Around here, if it is inspected and permitted, there's a green sticker on the main panel that tells the date and who inspected and approved it.

No sticker = not approved.

Did the buyer obtain, IN WRITING, the approval from the local code inspector?

Or just the realtor or seller saying it was inspected and approved.

Ask for the name of the person who approved it, take your pictures and reference sources to that person, and "seek learning & understanding so you don't make the same mistake again" !!

Maybe you can teach them a thing or two!!

-

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Erby,

I didn't observe a sticker...I usually do, and I did not see any written documentation regarding it being inspected.

I received a call from the current owner questioning my findings. He told me that the work was permitted and inspected.

I told him that my client would need documentation verifying this.

Good advice on trying to track down who signed-off on this. I will try to do this.

Thanks!

Dave

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Hey all we can do is to report what we find. No sticker in my area means no inspection, from my end. I have found stickers dating back to the 70's inside panels.

When and if the subject comes up about an electrical panel being permitted and inspected I look for the Green sticker in the panel. If I don't find a sticker, I report that no permit sticker was found and I can not verify that is was permitted or inspected. End of story.......

I would not spend time searching for a permit or who signed off on it unless I was paid to do it. This is the owners job, not the home inspectors.

Just stick by your findings and let them know that you really do not care if the corrections are made as you are just reporting what you have found. I might also let them know that a permit does not mean that the job was done correctly or that it is safe.

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In cases like this, I often find that there was a permit taken out but that it was never inspected or finalled.

In my area, I can go online and, within a few minutes, view the complete permit history for a house. It seems like most of the permits that are taken out never get their final inspection.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Don, call the town/ village/ city and ask if the work was permitted and if a final was performed. Ask them who did the electrical inspections. It's public information.

Call Kurt Kronenburg from Middle Department and explain the situation to him. There are more AHJ's that suck at their jobs than home inspectors that suck at theirs.

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In NY the municipal enabling legislation gives the building inspector his authority.

His obligation is to inspect all construction. This includes electrical work.

The enabling legislation can be written such that it allows the municipality to delegate the electric inspection responsibility. If this is done, the legislation must also state the standard of competence that the private third party electrical inspector must meet or exceed. This is because the electrical inspectors are not licensed or certified by NYS. This is just like the electricians. Come to think of it, NYS does not license builders, plumbers, roofers, etc..

I only know of one municipality within 100 miles that has done this correctly.

By the way, NY uses the 2006 I codes with NY modifications.

Tom Corrigan

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Highly doubt it was permitted and inspected. It may have been permitted but not inspected. This happens all too often. At the end of the year I find lots of open files where people never called for inspections but they had a permit. Don't sweat this one, you are covered. If the reputation thing bothers you then spend the time to do a permit research.

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I completed a permit search. Not permitted as was expected.

My buyer walked away from the deal. They did not wish to purchase a home if a credible disclosure statement was not forthcoming.

A new home search is underway, and with luck I'll be booking another home inspection for my client soon.

Thanks for all of the good advice.

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There are more AHJ's that suck at their jobs than home inspectors that suck at theirs.

Some here may recall my tale from last summer about the second story deck that was hanging onto an apartment building by a thread. It had just been inspected by a city-employed code enforcement official who failed to mention it in his inspection report. My call to the codes enforcement office informing them that the deck was in imminent danger of collapse was ignored. It took an email and conversation with the mayor to get the deck condemned.

So yesterday, while I was doing an inspection in the same city, a municipal inspector came in to do the Certificate of Occupancy inspection. I said hello as we passed each other. He ignored me. Naturally, I assumed he was just totally focused on the job at hand, rather than just being a rude d*ckhead. Heads must have rolled in his department I thought, as this guy is all business. A few minutes later, while he was in the basement, I passed through the kitchen and saw his open briefcase on the counter. I must say, I was pretty curious about the periodical that he had attached to his clipboard. If I can learn something new, I don't mind humbling myself. I meant to ask him about how it helps him in his job, but I was outside when he left. Darn!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Inspector Joe-

What you never stuck the newspaper into your computer bag to take to the office? Look into my computer bag and you may find Library books that I'm dropping off during the course of the day. Magazines I have been given / purchased to read at a later time. Magazines that I'm going to pass on to another person in the near future when our paths cross.

DVDs to be dropped of at the Red Box. I even have an MP3 player in there, that I use when in the office.

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