Problem with electrical inspector

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jm1470

Senior Member
Im a electrical contracting in NJ I work for a company that uses my license for there business and I sign and seal permits. We did some work for a homeowner in a town ( wont name the town). We are having issues with this inspector and the building department in this town.

Let me start at the beginning a permit was taken out for a receptable, a central air unit, and a air handler. The permit was issue by the town and the work started, upon completion of the job the final inspection was ordered and the electrical inspector came out and fail the job. It was minor stuff that was fix then we called again for another inspection and again we failed for something he didn't see the first time.

So this issue was fix and we call again, but this time there is a problem with the permit, and we get fine. We fill out the permit with the wrong license number and was fine for misleading statements. I started working for this company in january and it took a couple of months for the business permit to be issue from new jersey, in the mean time the company i work for was using another contractors license until the transfer was complete. For the past month they have been using my license and we are waiting for the seal to arrive in the mean time we have a letter from the state until the seal arrives.

The women who fills out the permits made an honest mistake and wrote the wrong license number down and we recieve a fine from this towns building department. This town has threaten to turn us into the state and has given us a hard time for this.

My question is this can I turn this towns building department into the state, I admit a mistake was made on our end, but also someone at the building department didnt do there job and check the paperwork or the license number for the permit. I feel that this could have been handle differently on both ends and this messy situation could have been avoided.
 
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infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
I would start with speaking to Trenton and see what they have to say. From what I've heard battling towns and inspectors can be an uphill battle. I would start with Suzanne she has stated that she's an advocate for EC's as well as the code expert. If she cannot help then maybe she can at least direct you to someone who can.

(609) 984-7609.
Suzanne Borek
DCA
Code Assistance Unit
 

emahler

Senior Member
My gut feeling is that the hvac company you covering probably has gotten themselves a pretty not so good reputation....and you getting caught in the crossfire.
 

satcom

Senior Member
My gut feeling is that the hvac company you covering probably has gotten themselves a pretty not so good reputation....and you getting caught in the crossfire.
It would not be a surprise when someone operates under anothers license, they are not the ones that risk loosing a license, the license holder is.
 

ceb58

Senior Member
Location
Raeford, NC
Let me start at the beginning a permit was taken out for a receptable, a central air unit, and a air handler. The permit was issue by the town and the work started, upon completion of the job the final inspection was ordered and the electrical inspector came out and fail the job. It was minor stuff that was fix then we called again for another inspection and again we failed for something he didn't see the first time.

So this issue was fix and we call again
Its no wonder the inspector is looking at every thing. I will say I am no where near perfect but to fail twice on a install like this..... If you are pulling the permits under your license you need to be looking at the work your self. If every thing would have passed chances are the clerical error would not have been caught and if it were it probably would not have been a big deal.
 
I would start with speaking to Trenton and see what they have to say. From what I've heard battling towns and inspectors can be an uphill battle. I would start with Suzanne she has stated that she's an advocate for EC's as well as the code expert. If she cannot help then maybe she can at least direct you to someone who can.

(609) 984-7609.
Suzanne Borek
DCA
Code Assistance Unit
Its no wonder the inspector is looking at every thing. I will say I am no where near perfect but to fail twice on a install like this..... If you are pulling the permits under your license you need to be looking at the work your self. If every thing would have passed chances are the clerical error would not have been caught and if it were it probably would not have been a big deal.

Sometimes we fight the battle, and sometimes we move on.

Your situation seems to me to be one to move on. Your issues will not stand up too well and failing 2 inspections on such a simple job is beyond my belief in regards to work quality. As the license holder I would be peeved that the workers in this company failed any inspection for this simple installation. Maybe demand more training for them.
If I, who am a contractor advocate take this kind of stand, imagine what the state will do to you......
 

jm1470

Senior Member
Let me clarify some things. As the license holder I insepct 95 percent of the jobs done under my license, we pass 95 percent of them the first time, I do admit we do fai linspections for minor issues a starp missing on a pipe, the installer forgets to re-identify the wire, and other minor issues. These were the issues we fail for, but here is my problem with this he fail us for re-identify the white wire, then comes back and tells us about the strap. Then decides to run the license number and realizes the wrong license number is on the permit, after the fact, and his office issues the permit, withe the wrong license number. I have talk to other electricians and other inspectors and have gotten some negative feedback about this guy. I feel that he know the license number was wrong and let it go though because he did want to fine us. I hope this isntt the case but feel this guy is out for blood. On a sidenote I have final inspection tomorrow on this job again and will be meeting him out there. I cant wait to meet him. :mad:
 

hillbilly1

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,Ga
If your not a local contractor, some municpalities try their best to make it hard on you because your an outsider. We run into this all the time because we do work in 48 states. They may just be protecting their local guys, or just part of the good ol' boy network. Either way I've seen recently inspected work by a local contractor that passed and looked pretty bad, but then the inspector nit pick us to death on very small details. It's always been that way, and It will never change, just get used to it. I had one inspector that wanted me to fix a local guys mess not realizing it was done and passed previously by another contractor.
 

growler

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,GA
As the license holder I insepct 95 percent of the jobs done under my license, we pass 95 percent of them the first time, I do admit we do fai linspections for minor issues a starp missing on a pipe, the installer forgets to re-identify the wire, and other minor issues.
Did you get a chance to stop by and inspect this job?

Was there even an electrician on this job? If there was an electrician then how come he didn't know about strapping and re-identification of the white wire.

The inspector may suspect that there is no real supervision on these jobs and that the company is depending on him to find all the faults and inform them of such.

The inspector didn't see those other 95% of the jobs done by this company he only saw this particular job and there were simple violations.

I was on a job once where the HVAC contractor failed the inspection about six times and they were a well known large local company. The reason they kept failing inspections is that where this crew normally worked the inspectors would let almost anything slide and the crew got really sloppy. When they had to pass a real inspection they were no longer ready because they had been getting away with to much before and just couldn't understand what was happening.
 

cowboyjwc

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Simi Valley, CA
Did you get a chance to stop by and inspect this job?

Was there even an electrician on this job? If there was an electrician then how come he didn't know about strapping and re-identification of the white wire.

The inspector may suspect that there is no real supervision on these jobs and that the company is depending on him to find all the faults and inform them of such.

The inspector didn't see those other 95% of the jobs done by this company he only saw this particular job and there were simple violations.

I was on a job once where the HVAC contractor failed the inspection about six times and they were a well known large local company. The reason they kept failing inspections is that where this crew normally worked the inspectors would let almost anything slide and the crew got really sloppy. When they had to pass a real inspection they were no longer ready because they had been getting away with to much before and just couldn't understand what was happening.
Your last comment is an excellent point. That is why I always say that if an inspector is not looking at your work, he's really not doing you any favors.
 

Strife

Senior Member
I ran into an inspector like that in a job one time (as a project manager). Matter of fact City of Palm Beach inspectors were famous for doing this if you had a state license and not a PBC license.
This guy stopped at the first strap missing, failed inspection and left. Next time same thing, even though we had a guy following him ready to fix these minor things. It didn't matter that by the time he turned around the strap was installed. He claimed we're not ready and left.
I can understand his point of view (if there's a strap missing or a coupling not screwed we're not ready), but it was still annoying as hell the fact that he just left at the first thing he found wrong. At least walk the job a little. If there's missing straps at every turn you make, sure, fail me, but if out of thousands connectors and couplings there's 3 or 4 not tight give me a chance to fix it right there. In a job that has over hundred thousands feet of conduit it's bound to have a few missing straps here and there.

As far as the second part.... Sure, you can do whatever you want. I don't thing it'd be a wise decision though.
Down here we have a saying:"Fighting with an inspector is like mudwrestling a pig. After a while you realize the pig enjoys it."

Im a electrical contracting in NJ I work for a company that uses my license for there business and I sign and seal permits. We did some work for a homeowner in a town ( wont name the town). We are having issues with this inspector and the building department in this town.

Let me start at the beginning a permit was taken out for a receptable, a central air unit, and a air handler. The permit was issue by the town and the work started, upon completion of the job the final inspection was ordered and the electrical inspector came out and fail the job. It was minor stuff that was fix then we called again for another inspection and again we failed for something he didn't see the first time.

My question is this can I turn this towns building department into the state, I admit a mistake was made on our end, but also someone at the building department didnt do there job and check the paperwork or the license number for the permit. I feel that this could have been handle differently on both ends and this messy situation could have been avoided.
 

renosteinke

Senior Member
Location
NE Arkansas
I have not had very many of my posts be edited by the moderators, but I did have a thread vanish once. It was a thread I started, using a CL posting as an example. It described exactly the employment situation you described.

Maybe it's a sign of the times, but there seems to be no shortage of folks who wnat you just for your license number - and at minimal wages at that. They're quite blunt in the ads that you won't ever become a partner, or even part of the management team. They have no interest in you actually doing anything - they have their own 'crew' to do the work. They just need you to pull their permits.

Legalities aside .... as far as I'm concerned, this is nothing more than fraudulent use of your licence .... I have absolutely no sympathies for these firms. So every day laborer is an electrician? Sure he is. The sooner these handyman installs become too expensive - due to fines and reinspection fees- the cheapskates might actually start hiring qualified personnel.

Now there's a novel idea!
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
I ran into an inspector like that in a job one time (as a project manager). Matter of fact City of Palm Beach inspectors were famous for doing this if you had a state license and not a PBC license.
This guy stopped at the first strap missing, failed inspection and left. Next time same thing, even though we had a guy following him ready to fix these minor things. It didn't matter that by the time he turned around the strap was installed. He claimed we're not ready and left.
I can understand his point of view (if there's a strap missing or a coupling not screwed we're not ready), but it was still annoying as hell the fact that he just left at the first thing he found wrong. At least walk the job a little. If there's missing straps at every turn you make, sure, fail me, but if out of thousands connectors and couplings there's 3 or 4 not tight give me a chance to fix it right there. In a job that has over hundred thousands feet of conduit it's bound to have a few missing straps here and there.
I can't. Walking off the job because there's one strap missing is unprofessional. An inspection of that nature benefits no one unless the guy is paid according to the number of visits he makes to inspect.
 

hillbilly1

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,Ga
Just got through an inspection a couple of weeks ago, I was rushed to get it ready because the supply house was late with the material, and the inspection was already scheduled. I had left off two strut straps at the panel because I forgot to get back to it, the inspector caught it, but allowed me to install them while he inspected another contractor on a different floor of the building. He came back, and signed off on it with no problem. Very proffessional of him. He thoroughly inspected every inch of the 2-200' runs of pipe.
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
I have not had very many of my posts be edited by the moderators, but I did have a thread vanish once. It was a thread I started, using a CL posting as an example. It described exactly the employment situation you described.

Maybe it's a sign of the times, but there seems to be no shortage of folks who wnat you just for your license number - and at minimal wages at that. They're quite blunt in the ads that you won't ever become a partner, or even part of the management team. They have no interest in you actually doing anything - they have their own 'crew' to do the work. They just need you to pull their permits.

Legalities aside .... as far as I'm concerned, this is nothing more than fraudulent use of your licence .... I have absolutely no sympathies for these firms. So every day laborer is an electrician? Sure he is. The sooner these handyman installs become too expensive - due to fines and reinspection fees- the cheapskates might actually start hiring qualified personnel.

Now there's a novel idea!
Unless I have grossly misread the OP's original and follow up comments, there is absolutely nothing fraudulent about the license use. In NJ, I can start an electrical contracting business without having a licence AS LONG AS I have a license holder who works for me and signs and seals the permits, drawings, and what not and is the person in responsible charge for the electrical work. His seal is issued by the state, and it will have my business name and his license number on it. When he goes to work for someone else, that seal goes back to the state and I find another license holder to work for me, and the state sends another seal with my business name and his license number. All above board.

What happened here is that things got screwed up in the transition period. Depending on the circumstances, you have 30 days to 6 months to get your new guy on board. In that time, you don't have a seal and, as they did, you get a letter from the state. We have an employee who will be our new license holder, he passed the NJ exam 6 weeks ago and STILL no word.
 

renosteinke

Senior Member
Location
NE Arkansas
There's the key ... 'responsibility.' If you don't have any say over the jobs, and you are not able to inspect them or control them, then you're just renting your license. If it's "a big state" and you just can't be expected to be at both ends, then you can't exercise your duties either.

Please note that I am using the term 'you' to adderss every reader, now or in the future. I am not speaking to any specific person. These ads sprout like weeds after a spring rain. I'm not in any position to review a specific employment situation. But, by golly, if the crew is thought of as a 'company crew' and not 'your crew,' you're on thin ice.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
I have not had very many of my posts be edited by the moderators, but I did have a thread vanish once. It was a thread I started, using a CL posting as an example. It described exactly the employment situation you described.

Maybe it's a sign of the times, but there seems to be no shortage of folks who wnat you just for your license number - and at minimal wages at that. They're quite blunt in the ads that you won't ever become a partner, or even part of the management team. They have no interest in you actually doing anything - they have their own 'crew' to do the work. They just need you to pull their permits.

Legalities aside .... as far as I'm concerned, this is nothing more than fraudulent use of your licence .... I have absolutely no sympathies for these firms. So every day laborer is an electrician? Sure he is. The sooner these handyman installs become too expensive - due to fines and reinspection fees- the cheapskates might actually start hiring qualified personnel.

Now there's a novel idea!
Around these parts these day laborers, if doing electrical work, need to be registered as electrical apprentices and need to be supervised (on site supervision) by a licensed journeyman or higher licensee that is otherwise licensed for the job being performed. I don't recall the ratio of apprentices to licensed invividuals but if there is several apprentices on the job there may need to be several license holders
also.

Also around these parts I suppose one could be a licensed contractor and pull permits for an employer that is not a license holder. I can't say I have ever seen this situation. The license holder is responsible for work done under his permit and there must be proof of liability insurance on file before they will issue any permits. I suppose the employer could hold the insurance.

If the employer only wants you for your license and does not let you have much say over what happens with the permits you pull, I would be looking for another place to work.
 

hillbilly1

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,Ga
The ratio here is 3 apprentice to each journeyman or EC who is on the job. Not phone contact or "He went for parts."

I do not look at every job nor should I have to. Small jobs that require repeated inspections should be a flag to everyone. Not good.
Most inspectors look closer at small jobs than big ones, I do both, and have found they spend about the same amount of time inspecting both, so it is easier to find something on small jobs.
 
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