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Thread: What Would You Do?

  1. #21
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    Mar 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldstar View Post
    You're probably right. Aside from the Code violations that already exist would I be making the matter worse by replacing the main ?
    I can't imagine how. Put the 100A MCB to have the proper fuse size on the service, correct those other minor issues and you're good to go.


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  2. #22
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    Feb 2003
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    Thank you all for your opinions. This is what I ended up doing. While I thought that changing the MCB was a good idea, the HI's report clearly stated that the house was equipped with a 200A electric service. I wouldn't expect that a HI would pick up on the fact that the breaker panel was changed out without permits or inspections and that the SE cable and meter enclosure were not changed. By the same token, neither the HI or the potential new buyers are not my customer. So, I ended up correcting all the violations cited by the HI and billed my customer for the work and materials. In addition to my invoice I provided a list explaining the corrections I made. I then sent my customer a letter detailing the defect and code violation in the electric service along with a proposal to correct the violation.

    I did this because I didn't think that broadcasting to the new potential buyers, and their lawyer was a good idea since they weren't my customer. I didn't see any benefit in stating that this was a gross Code violation and that they really didn't have a safe 200A service. Now, IMHO, my customer has the onus of responsibility to bring this subject to the forefront if he chooses to do so.

    To add insult to injury, as I was making the corrections cited by the HI I couldn't help but notice more Code violations that he didn't pick up on.
    • As I walked around the back of the house I noticed an extension cord plugged into an outdoor receptacle (I didn't even look to see if it was GFCI). What struck me as odd was the cord disappeared into the ground and after looking around I saw a 10' x 10' shed that was being powered by this cord.
    • While correcting issues in the garage I noticed MR-11 recessed light fixtures in the ceiling along with a ceramic tiled floor. I can't imagine that a car was ever parked in there (and yes, there is living space above the garage).
    • Every room that I walked into had a motion sensor associated with the lighting (bathroom included). Not sure if that is a Code violation or not.
    • There were no working smoke alarms in the house at all
    • Two out of four kitchen counter receptacles were wired on the same circuits as the basement receptacles

    None of this was brought out in the HI's report nor did I bring any of this to the attention of my customer. As far as I'm concerned I was hired to correct the violations cited. The HI stated in his report that the current HO should have a licensed EC come in to further inspect the house. IMHO, just because the HI made this statement doesn't put me on the hook for any additional work or corrections.

    Any further opinions would be appreciated?

  3. #23
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    Dec 2007
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    NE Nebraska
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    32,587
    Quote Originally Posted by goldstar View Post
    Thank you all for your opinions. This is what I ended up doing. While I thought that changing the MCB was a good idea, the HI's report clearly stated that the house was equipped with a 200A electric service. I wouldn't expect that a HI would pick up on the fact that the breaker panel was changed out without permits or inspections and that the SE cable and meter enclosure were not changed. By the same token, neither the HI or the potential new buyers are not my customer. So, I ended up correcting all the violations cited by the HI and billed my customer for the work and materials. In addition to my invoice I provided a list explaining the corrections I made. I then sent my customer a letter detailing the defect and code violation in the electric service along with a proposal to correct the violation.

    I did this because I didn't think that broadcasting to the new potential buyers, and their lawyer was a good idea since they weren't my customer. I didn't see any benefit in stating that this was a gross Code violation and that they really didn't have a safe 200A service. Now, IMHO, my customer has the onus of responsibility to bring this subject to the forefront if he chooses to do so.

    To add insult to injury, as I was making the corrections cited by the HI I couldn't help but notice more Code violations that he didn't pick up on.
    • As I walked around the back of the house I noticed an extension cord plugged into an outdoor receptacle (I didn't even look to see if it was GFCI). What struck me as odd was the cord disappeared into the ground and after looking around I saw a 10' x 10' shed that was being powered by this cord.
    • While correcting issues in the garage I noticed MR-11 recessed light fixtures in the ceiling along with a ceramic tiled floor. I can't imagine that a car was ever parked in there (and yes, there is living space above the garage).
    • Every room that I walked into had a motion sensor associated with the lighting (bathroom included). Not sure if that is a Code violation or not.
    • There were no working smoke alarms in the house at all
    • Two out of four kitchen counter receptacles were wired on the same circuits as the basement receptacles

    None of this was brought out in the HI's report nor did I bring any of this to the attention of my customer. As far as I'm concerned I was hired to correct the violations cited. The HI stated in his report that the current HO should have a licensed EC come in to further inspect the house. IMHO, just because the HI made this statement doesn't put me on the hook for any additional work or corrections.

    Any further opinions would be appreciated?
    Before doing any work you should have addressed each item the HI had in his report with the owner. At that point the 200 amp main breaker with only 100 amp service conductor could have had two options for correction, one to swap the main breaker for a 100 amp breaker, the other to increase service conductor and possibly meter socket to allow for the 200 amp capacity of the main breaker. You may find occasional items on a HI report they bring up but don't really know what is right - you as the electrical professional are able to tell them it is right or there needs to be a change to comply with codes. You also would have the opportunity to inform them of other items you may have seen that need attention. From there you can let them decide what work they want completed.

    A lot of the things that get done may not require permits to do. But if they do, (replacing the service cable and meter is a good example that likely will in a majority of jurisdictions) then you must include anything in the scope of work that your AHJ will require to finalize that permit.

  4. #24
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    Feb 2003
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    New Jersey
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwired View Post
    Before doing any work you should have addressed each item the HI had in his report with the owner.
    That was done several days before I began work on the corrections.
    At that point the 200 amp main breaker with only 100 amp service conductor could have had two options for correction, one to swap the main breaker for a 100 amp breaker, the other to increase service conductor and possibly meter socket to allow for the 200 amp capacity of the main breaker.
    The only option I gave him was to upgrade the SE cable, meter enclosure and grounding. The Hi's report stated that the service was 200A. I felt that changing the breaker out would have squashed the deal.
    You may find occasional items on a HI report they bring up but don't really know what is right - you as the electrical professional are able to tell them it is right or there needs to be a change to comply with codes. You also would have the opportunity to inform them of other items you may have seen that need attention. From there you can let them decide what work they want completed.
    The only problem I have with this is the word "them". The HI, the potential home buyers and anyone else involved are not my customers. My customer is the seller. I informed him of the defect in the electric service in writing. If he wants to bring it up to his lawyer and they decide to make the change, so be it. Irrespective of what was written in the HI's report, I did the work I was contracted to do. I wasn't being paid to investigate what other problems the house had.

  5. #25
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    Feb 2003
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    Massachusetts
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldstar View Post
    Any further opinions would be appreciated?
    You asked.

    My personal opinion is simply this. Making way to much of this.

    Do the work you where asked to and answer the questions that the person paying the bill requests. Collect your money, move on.

    Regardless of what you feel should have been addressed it really is no ones business but the buyer and the seller.

    In the end some violations where corrected that would not have been without an HI, the house will sold and you will have profited.

  6. #26
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    Feb 2003
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    I'm in total agreement.

  7. #27
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    Sep 2009
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    966
    Quote Originally Posted by goldstar View Post

    To add insult to injury, as I was making the corrections cited by the HI I couldn't help but notice more Code violations that he didn't pick up on.
    • As I walked around the back of the house I noticed an extension cord plugged into an outdoor receptacle (I didn't even look to see if it was GFCI). What struck me as odd was the cord disappeared into the ground and after looking around I saw a 10' x 10' shed that was being powered by this cord.
    • While correcting issues in the garage I noticed MR-11 recessed light fixtures in the ceiling along with a ceramic tiled floor. I can't imagine that a car was ever parked in there (and yes, there is living space above the garage).
    • Every room that I walked into had a motion sensor associated with the lighting (bathroom included). Not sure if that is a Code violation or not.
    • There were no working smoke alarms in the house at all
    • Two out of four kitchen counter receptacles were wired on the same circuits as the basement receptacles
    The cord going into the ground I would have immediately unplugged it, on autopilot without thinking about it. I would have explained the danger to the owner and explained that liability would belong to the person who plugged it back in. I could not but he was welcome to. (done that before, part of the routine).

    When I was a small child I was informed I had a small cousin in another state who died instantly. She was swimming and stepped on the extension cord connection that was powering the pool filter. Ever since then, I find I have gotten out the dikes and started cutting up extension cord wiring, especially old 1950's zip cord stapled in place with octopus blocks, before even realizing I have chopped out their power.

    If they want to sleep in the garage, they are welcome to imo, idc. Better than under the bridge. There is an artificial shortage of fine living units based on town refusal to issue permits, forcing people into substandard and expensive accommodations. Not my area to involve myself, unless I was building competing housing and the town was refusing my permits.

    No smokes, if I had detected that, must advise of this deficiency in writing. Then I could walk away and sleep well.

    The service, changing the main simply would not have occurred to me. SER and the meter sockets do not last forever. They leak and corrode. The tells, homeowner changed the panel, homeowner buried extension cord to power his shed, tell me he hacked and made unsafe everything he touched.

    Proper repair imo is to bring the service up to where he said it was. 200 amp service change includes the meter socket, riser, panel GFI outlet, and service grounding. It's a good bet the old riser and socket are in the same condition as the old panel when it was changed, and also need replacement with new.

    I would feel my obligation is to give good advice, the advice I would want to receive when I need a professional's opinion. How they spend their money is entirely at their discretion. Enforcement is not the problem. The problem is maintaining your position as expert witness and not as named defendant.
    Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate

  8. #28
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    Dec 2007
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    NE Nebraska
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    Stating it is a 200 amp service kind of doesn't mean anything. Yes in this case the service conductors supplied a single 200 amp breaker, and therefore are required to be 200 amp or more rated conductors. Reality is you could have had two 200 amp main breakers supplied by this cable and would have been code compliant if the total load calculation were equal or less then the ampacity of said cable.

    HI could have said it was a 100 amp service and wouldn't have been any more right or wrong in that as he was in saying it was a 200 amp service.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    966
    I never expect anyone to know load calc methods or conductor protection requirements for code compliance. That's what they should hire me for.

    What I expect everyone minimally competent to do is to be able to read the label if it says it is a 200, there is an assumption of trust by all parties this is a true statement, and there is an assumption of trust by all parties each has met his own obligation to the truth that this work meets code fully.

    The reality is that anyone saying this is a 200 amp service is a liar and the person performing the work has done crime. It is separate and unrelated to the question of if a 100 or 200 is a better choice.

    By the time I do that work, load calc it to see if the 100 is a good fit (no central air, hot tub, or electric heat), inspect the grounding, buy and change the main, inspect the meter socket for water and corrosion, I could be halfway through changing the socket, riser, and grounding to 200.

    The owner is trying to cheat the buyer out of a service change.
    Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate

  10. #30
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    Feb 2003
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    New Jersey
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    Quote Originally Posted by __dan View Post
    The owner is trying to cheat the buyer out of a service change.
    That may very well be the case but I still think the onus is on him (and his lawyer) and not me to bring these facts to the table at closing time.

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