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less-than-thorough rough electrical inspection

Posted by codnuggets (My Page) on
Mon, Nov 13, 06 at 18:27

The inspector was just here to check out the rough electrical in my DIY kitchen/bathroom remodel. I completely rewired a total of 8 circuits, rerouted 2 knob and tube circuits (splicing in romex to span the gaps), and added a few lights to an existing circuit. I spent a great deal of time labeling every circuit to aid in the explanation of my work which was time well spent for my own comfort if nothing else. The inspection consisted of a very brief check of a few receptacle boxes to make sure I had the proper staple spacing, the right type of connecters, and the proper amount of sheathing inside the box. The only question she asked was if I had 2 appliance circuits. Inspection approved! She didn't look at any of my rerouting work and didn't go into the basement to look at the feeds to the breaker box. I expected a great deal of scrutiny considering the age of my house (1923) and the amount of work i did.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I spent so much time preparing for the inspection because it helped me fully understand what I was doing and that everything I did is in fact up to code. I just expected a more thorough inspection to make sure I didn't overlook something. Is this typical of the inspection process?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: less-than-thorough rough electrical inspection

It is long recognized that sampling can accurately predict the quality of the whole thing. The inspector knows the areas that typically will be below standard and looks at those first. Also the inspector probably is overloaded with inspections to make. I sense that you would have liked a compliment from the inspector. In a sense, you received one in that the whole job was not inspected with a magnifier. That probably would have happened if the first couple of items were wrong. So accept my Attaboy and enjoy the remodeled areas.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sampling standards


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RE: less-than-thorough rough electrical inspection

bus driver is correct. There is no practical way an inspector can inspect everything in job. The sampling shows your quality and the "conversation" was probably part of the inspection as well. If they liked what they did see and you sounded knowledgable and appeared that you made all efforts to follow code, they will assume the rest of your work is similar in quality to what was actually inspected.

Take it as a compliment. If the inspector saw something blatantly wrong, you would more than likey would have recieved a much more thourough inspection.


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RE: less-than-thorough rough electrical inspection

I guess in part I was looking for some kind of nod that my work was up to par, but it just seems odd to me that she was more concerned about staples than actual circuitry. I have 8 circuits running from the kitchen down to the basement service panel and she has no idea what I did down there. Inspecting a fridge outlet box and looking for a ground screw in a metal oven box hardly seems like a representative sampling. I can live without the gratifying approval, but I'd like to believe that my permit fees are buying me safety checks and not just padding the bureaucratic coffers. I guess I can come back down to earth now and be happy that I'm getting little check marks on my inspection report and can move forward. If I'm satisfied that I've done it correctly, I guess that will do.


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RE: less-than-thorough rough electrical inspection

I guess in part I was looking for some kind of nod that my work was up to par, but it just seems odd to me that she was more concerned about staples than actual circuitry. I have 8 circuits running from the kitchen down to the basement service panel and she has no idea what I did down there. Inspecting a fridge outlet box and looking for a ground screw in a metal oven box hardly seems like a representative sampling. I can live without the gratifying approval, but I'd like to believe that my permit fees are buying me safety checks and not just padding the bureaucratic coffers. I guess I can come back down to earth now and be happy that I'm getting little check marks on my inspection report and can move forward. If I'm satisfied that I've done it correctly, I guess that will do.


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RE: less-than-thorough rough electrical inspection

Though there is some validation to bus_drivers post, I have seen the complete opposite. I have seen what have appeared to I be a perfectly wired house except when you got to the breaker box and meter can, etc. Things like 14-2 on 20 amp breakers, improper splices in the box, and the line and load reversed on the meter can. All simple fixes, but they may or may not be apparent to a DYI'er or a home owner having a house built.

The point isthat most muni-type inspections are merely another form of taxation and are rarely about quality control. Some inspectors do the bare minimum to enforce codes that are considered the bare safety minimum. Most of the time you cant blame them, they are typically overworked, underpaid employees. How can someone with 10-20 inspections per day, scattered all over the city/county perform a thorough inspection? One other point that people are shocked to hear about is that most muni-type inspectors and building permit depts. are "immune" from any responsibility for their errors & omissions.

Codnuggets- This post and your plumbing post are a great examples of why I am always promoting the use of 3rd party independent licensed inspectors and/or engineers to inspect a house, whether you are looking for affirmation of your work, or your hired contractors work. These inspectors typically only schedule only 1-2 home inspections per day, and although usually limited, they are responsible for some liability through licensing and errors and omissions insurance.

And before someone asks, no I am not an inspector but I have seen how bad things can get in situations just like this. Just look at the numerous examples of the bad inspections/permitting or lack of inspections/permitting that is occurring on the "Building a Home" posts.


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RE: less-than-thorough rough electrical inspection

I've spoken/corresponded with plenty of inspectors. When they are expected to do 20 (or more) inspections a day, how much can they really look at? I am one of those 3rd party inspectors that rarl is referring to. Due to the rural nature of the area I live in, I'd be hard pressed to do 8 inspections in one day.

Tom


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RE: less-than-thorough rough electrical inspection

Most of the time you cant blame them, they are typically overworked, underpaid employees
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Uh, Ya. The inspector in my area makes around $150k a year. That's about 3 times the average income per capita.


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RE: less-than-thorough rough electrical inspection

WOW! Dozer I don't know where you live, but the city of Houston lists a salary range of $27,000 to $50,000 for its inspectors. Also, one of the local news stations did a story on how the some city inspectors were caught "slacking" on the job. Some were at the gym, others were at home, and still others performed drive by inspections with out ever getiing out of their cars...all while on the city clock!

I guess I should update my statement and say that some are under paid and overworked, and some are just flat out over paid for what they do!


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RE: less-than-thorough rough electrical inspection

Well, I guess I should chime in here. A couple years ago I had a new service installed in one of my rental houses. (I hire electrical work on the rental units because that's the law and also because I don't want the legal liability if anything goes wrong.)

The inspector dinged him for not putting Noalox on the meter pan and main bus. (He swore to me that he had - "but a very small amount.") OTOH, the inspector said nothing about the branch circuit NM that wasn't stapled anywhere near the main panel. So how thorough was this inspector? You tell me.


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RE: less-than-thorough rough electrical inspection

>>>The point isthat most muni-type inspections are merely another form of taxation and are rarely about quality control.<<<

I have to agree with this. While I feel that the vast majority of inspectors strive to do a good job and be as thorough as possible, who is liable if a problem arises? The inspector or the contractor? The inspection means squat in terms of liability.


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RE: less-than-thorough rough electrical inspection

Inspecrtors are almost always protected from any mistakes they make short of outright fraud (taking a bribe).
With zero liability and budget pressure thay take a quick look and move on.
If they see neat workmanlike installations they often think the work is being done well and may miss other things.
In large buildigs a site engineer may be the final inspection. Only the largest cities have inspectors that can deal with the calculations and installation for a 10 or more story building, or even a large factory.
On these projects I inspect and stamp. It is on my head if anything goes wrong, even years after the fact.
I get paid a lot more than any municipal inspector gets for the liability I have assumed the PE approving the work.


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RE: less-than-thorough rough electrical inspection

I agree with the original post from '06. There is good and bad in every job, every discipline, every profession. Maybe you got a not-so-good electrical inspector. I would have at least went into your basement to check the routing of the wires to the panel box. After all, that is a 'rough-in.'

Here is a link that might be useful: Electrical Code Expert


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