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Thread: Training The Public

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    The incredible, yet very expensive, Hudson Valley, NY NEC 2008

    Re: Training The Public

    [quote]Originally posted by bphgravity:

    I guess what it comes down to is that a little bit of information can be a lot more dangerous than none.
    Mike, Dutchess County, NY

  2. #12
    Join Date
    May 2004

    Re: Training The Public

    I truly believe that the DIY trend involving electrical is at epidemic porportions, I alone have been in the trade only 8 years and I could go on forever with dangerous stories and problematic scenarios, I am sure most of you do as well. I believe we need to unite to get laws changed. Possibly a law restricting purchase of certain electrical supplies to licensed contractors. In my area it is this way with furnaces, why not panels?

    I have thought of setting up an NPO doing public messages on the hazards and the facts of what they are messing with. I dont know about you guys but I would be willing to chip in some money time etc. to get the msg. out there or a law changed.
    Master Electrician

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    Re: Training The Public

    IMO, if localities demanded inspections on anything beyond the most simple device R&R it would solve a lot of problems with bad DIY work.

    I always swap horror stories with the inspectors I use. I cut one j-box out with all wires intact for one guy to use in the JC code class he teaches as an extreme example of how not to do it. One j-box had about a dozen individual code violations in it...

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Seattle, WA

    Re: Training The Public

    What gives this store the authority to present such classes? The answer was provided in the statement of the question:
    During the presentation, many questions of the "what if" nature came up from various people, and the only answer they got was, "just follow what we say, and don't do anything else."
    If someone does get hurt, it will not be the fault of HD, because the homeowner obviously did not follow what HD said.
    Charles E. Beck, P.E., Seattle
    Comments based on 2017 NEC unless otherwise noted.

  5. #15

    Re: Training The Public

    Most AHJ's do require permits for anything beyond a simple R&R. Mine does and so do all the neighboring AHJ's.

    The problem I see is how do they enforce it? If they don't know somebody is doing work how can they require a permit be pulled?

    I have a couple of solutions:
    1. Make permits easier to pull. Make over the counter permits easily available online. It can cost $100 in permit fees and $300 (or more) in time (including driving and parking) to pull a permit for a $500 job. If it's pulled online there should be a discount on the permit (as no staff time is involved) and it reduces the labor factor down to about five minutes. No customer wants to pay $400 to pull a permit for a $500 job. Nor does a contractor want to eat the $300 in time, nor put up with the two (more or less) inspections that are required. The numbers are worse if you're not within 30-minutes driving time to your AHJ and they don't allow permits by mail; FAX; phone; etc.

    2. Maybe certain electrical parts should be registered. Kind of like a 1099 for electrical parts. If you buy a panel then it's registered with the AHJ and somewhere a permit has to cover it. In this day of computerized databases and persistent Internet connections it would not be that burdensome. But, the permit process has to be cost-effective (time and money). Like 1099's it would be an imperfect system. There would not be a permit tied to each and every panel on a one-to-one basis. If a company is doing a multi-panel job there might only be one permit-- but there would be a permit. If a DIY was doing one panel in their lifetime this registration would require that they pull at least one permit.

    3. It needs to be easier for people to report work in their area. Each AHJ should have an anonymous way to report jobs in progress.

    The overhead in administrating the jump in permits would be offset by the increased revenue to the AHJ.

    If permits are easy and if parts are registered then permits would be pulled and jobs would be inspected. The end result would be safer jobs and less bootleg or DIY jobs.

    I welcome all helpful comments about this. Please fill in any gaps.

    In San Francisco you can pull an over the counter permit from home in less than five minutes and pay with your air miles credit card. My only objection is you have to pay $5 premium to pull permits online. Online should be like ATM at bank. ATM costs bank less than teller transaction. Online permit pulling should cost AHJ less than clerk pulling. I guess it's new enough that they have to recover their R&D costs for the new system. Over time I would hope they would give a discount to online permit pulling as it must save them money in admin costs.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2003

    Re: Training The Public

    A lot of mention about how to deal with the symptom, but what is the underlying issue that causes people to take on DIY projects of this nature? IMO MONEY. Hiring a professional is added cost and someone may think they can do a suitable job with the help of some free advise. Secondly, a permit means notification of improvement, which can mean the possibility of reassessment of property taxes. So, for what in the long run is saving a few dollars, someone is willing to put others at risk.

    Change that culture, mentality, mind set, whatever you want to call it and the problem will fix itself. How do you convince someone that will spend easily spend $5-6k for a home theater system to add another 10% on that for a professional electrician to do any required upgrades? Maybe I'm out in left field on this one.

    Wayne I do have a question on ATM usage, if it costs my bank less money for me to use my ATM card then why do a get a surcharge for excessive ATM usage each month? Shouldn't I be getting at least a thank you, or possibly a rebate since I am using more frequently than they expected, thus saving them more money?


  7. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2003

    Re: Training The Public

    The DIY aspect is not really the issue of this thread. I personally like to do my own work on my own home. My concern is the nature of the classes and how they misrepresent the whole picture and aspect of such major installations.

    I talked to a manager today at the store and shared with him some of my concerns. He said that what they were doing was nothing different than what can be seen on every home improvement TV show. He also said that the store assumes that those attending the classes have already made a decision to do the work themselves regardless of the fact that the store provides a class on the subject, and that this was one way to provided a visual of the materials and equipment.

    His claim is that the class only lists and clarifies the manufactureres instructions provided with the materials and equipment. This is why many aspects and side issues are not covered specifically. He also stated that electrical department employees are trained to recommend licensed electricians to customers with complicated problems or extensive installations.

    Just though I would pass that on.
    Bryan P. Holland, MCP
    NEMA - Codes & Standards

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    Re: Training The Public

    I guess its not illegal to give bad advice, only to take it.

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