This is a First For Me

Merry Christmas

WasGSOHM

Senior Member
Location
Montgomery County MD
Occupation
EE
COULD NOT READ THE INFORMATION OF MY PRESSURE SEAL


Ask for that as a sworn statement & watch their smirks disappear.
Get everything in writing from you & them from now on.
 

Eddie702

Licensed Electrician
Location
Western Massachusetts
Occupation
Electrician
Maybe 10-15 years ago a city in MA near me they used to have 5 electrical inspectors and they cut the budget and kept 1 inspector and got rid of the clerk as well. They were told to share a clerk with the plumbing dept.

The inspector was overwhelmed and decided to stop all inspections and told everyone to call the Mayor with any complaints. That didn't last too long. He kept his job a few more years and then retired and they finally fixed things up
 

Tulsa Electrician

Senior Member
Location
Tulsa
Occupation
Electrician
That's just awful. Where i'm from the inspection Dept. Allowes an on- line app done in most case 12 hr or the next business day. As long as your submitting plans. I had pulled 32 permits in one day all approved with a number by 3:00 the next day. Plain nuts it takes 20 days for a service change. We were allowed to pull on-line then call the dept and let them know the address and we could preform work. They would do a quick check to be sure is was submitted. On jobs with plans all we need is the GC permit number and bang we're done in five minutes.
I say hold your ground that is the only way thing's will change.
Good luck
 

tom baker

First Chief Moderator
Staff member
Our electrical permitting and inspection is state wide except for about 10 cities. So the state with its volume of permits has had an on line system for some time. Last year 100% of contractor permits were on line, 97% of homeowners were on line
 

Fred B

Senior Member
Location
Upstate, NY
Occupation
Electrician
These guys are like mortgage underwriters, they pick up a package for an application, start to look at it, find one item not to their liking, report the need for the item clearification and stop the process right there. Don't look any farther into the app. When they get the requested item they'll eventually pick up the app again for review, get 4 more lines down, say the don't understand that one, ask for follow up, and set the app aside again until they get another response. Don't review the whole package and then say we need this, this and this, all in one shot.
Had one permit office like that. Great way to delay the whole process into weeks or months.
But for the OP situation sounds like the permit office needs a better scanner.
 

Josh111

Senior Member
Location
USA
Sometimes when dealing with permitting departments I have found that the people who are there to cooperate with your efforts to get things done (oftentimes actual inspectors who used to be contractors themselves) are usually there before 8 o’clock getting ready for the day and talking to them is productive. Sometimes it seems though that the people that show up at eight have different priorities. I would see if you can call or show up before official hours start.
 

goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I sent an e-mail to the DCA Code Assistance Unit regarding my issue and purposely did not mention the township. This was their response :
As per NJAC 5:23-2.16(a), any project may take up to 20 business days for a UCC permit application review. Most, if not all, local enforcing agencies try to push smaller jobs out faster if the workload allows for it. If you feel the local is treating you unfairly, you may file a complaint by visiting https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/codes/offices/regaffairs.html (see File a Complaint).


Code Assistance/Development Unit
NJ Dept. of Community Affairs
Division of Codes and Standards
101 S. Broad St.
PO Box 802
Trenton, NJ 08625
(609) 984-7609 (phone)
(609) 633-6729 (fax)
www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/codes

Please be advised, all responses to inquiries are issued under N.J.A.C. 5:23-3.9, Interpretations and opinions.

It appears I'm up against a bureaucracy and It also appears that I'm getting my chops broken. I'm not ready to burn the bridge yet but that may come sooner than later. :cool:
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
I sent an e-mail to the DCA Code Assistance Unit regarding my issue and purposely did not mention the township. This was their response :


It appears I'm up against a bureaucracy and It also appears that I'm getting my chops broken. I'm not ready to burn the bridge yet but that may come sooner than later. :cool:
Is there any chance of the project being declared an emergency repair?
 

goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Is there any chance of the project being declared an emergency repair?
I suppose I could do that but then again, if the EI happens to drive by and either sees me working or sees that that job was already done then he has one up on me and then he could file a complaint against me with the State. I'll bite my tongue for now and see what happens.
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
....20 days until a state legislator needs a new service in a hurry...
Nah..
For that they make a call directly to the mayor, governor, county commissioner, or someone along those lines and get it same day.
Won’t even need an inspection when complete

I did a job for a member of the House of Representatives some years back.
Service upgrade for a company to come in and install a 50kW generator.
Never saw an inspector…
 

goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
OK. Another first (unrelated to the original post). I installed ONE 30 amp, 120V feeder to a detached 3-car garage for a 5 unit apartment building. Inside the garage I installed a 4 circuit sub-panel. Each garage had ONE 15 amp breaker associated with it and ONE 15 amp breaker for an outdoor motion sensor light. Installation was overhead with a 2" gal mast. Inside each garage was a single receptacle for the door opener, a light, a switch and one GFCI receptacle.

First off, I had to wait 2 weeks to get an inspection. Then the clerk tells me that the EI inspects between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM (a 6 hour span). I arrived at the site at 9:00 AM and began to call the bldg dept to see where my inspection was in the scheme of things. I get a recording "there is no one in to take your call at this time, please leave a message and we'll call you back at our earliest convenience." I called every hour on the hour and got the same message. I finally contacted the town clerk and asked whether there was anyone in at the const. dept. She said there was but that she was there alone and asked me to be patient and understanding. Only one person there - Is that my fault ??? This is in an affluent town in Bergen County, NJ. This is a travesty and has to stop. I'd rather not file a complaint but I would do that for the trade if I knew it wouldn't fall on deaf ears.

Anyway, the EI shows up at around 2:30 PM and was a perfect gentleman. He knew his stuff and pointed out a few discrepancies :
  • Instead of having individual breakers for each garage there should have been ONE disconnect. My comment was that this was ONE 30A, 120V circuit. He said it didn't matter but allowed the installation. My other reason for doing it this way is that if any of the garage renters used a high amperage appliance, the 15 amp breaker would trip before the main 30 amp breaker and therefore not inconvenience the other garage renters.
  • He had me install ONE ground rod in the event of a lightening hit. I disagreed but installed it anyway.
Just looking for opinions if Is anyone in agreement or disagreement with his recommendations.
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
OK. Another first (unrelated to the original post). I installed ONE 30 amp, 120V feeder to a detached 3-car garage for a 5 unit apartment building. Inside the garage I installed a 4 circuit sub-panel. Each garage had ONE 15 amp breaker associated with it and ONE 15 amp breaker for an outdoor motion sensor light. Installation was overhead with a 2" gal mast. Inside each garage was a single receptacle for the door opener, a light, a switch and one GFCI receptacle.

First off, I had to wait 2 weeks to get an inspection. Then the clerk tells me that the EI inspects between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM (a 6 hour span). I arrived at the site at 9:00 AM and began to call the bldg dept to see where my inspection was in the scheme of things. I get a recording "there is no one in to take your call at this time, please leave a message and we'll call you back at our earliest convenience." I called every hour on the hour and got the same message. I finally contacted the town clerk and asked whether there was anyone in at the const. dept. She said there was but that she was there alone and asked me to be patient and understanding. Only one person there - Is that my fault ??? This is in an affluent town in Bergen County, NJ. This is a travesty and has to stop. I'd rather not file a complaint but I would do that for the trade if I knew it wouldn't fall on deaf ears.

Anyway, the EI shows up at around 2:30 PM and was a perfect gentleman. He knew his stuff and pointed out a few discrepancies :
  • Instead of having individual breakers for each garage there should have been ONE disconnect. My comment was that this was ONE 30A, 120V circuit. He said it didn't matter but allowed the installation. My other reason for doing it this way is that if any of the garage renters used a high amperage appliance, the 15 amp breaker would trip before the main 30 amp breaker and therefore not inconvenience the other garage renters.
  • He had me install ONE ground rod in the event of a lightening hit. I disagreed but installed it anyway.
Just looking for opinions if Is anyone in agreement or disagreement with his recommendations.
I agree that it's frustrating. These towns are doing their best with limited resources but overall no one really cares. They operate these building departments on a shoe string budget and there is really no downside for them other than people like you complaining. Trenton doesn't do much of anything. The last great move from the State was to remove a bunch of items from the list of required permits like roofs which no longer require a building permit. Turns out those never got inspected anyway. Other than that it's pass the buck and blame Covid or something else that is actually under their control.

The problem is complicated. With the highest taxes in the country Trenton doesn't want to impose more stringent requirements on the building departments because they will need to raise taxes to hire more people. The mindset of building permits fully funding building departments is flawed.

Regarding the second part of your post if you have a feeder to a separate sturucutre it requires a GES. I'm surprised he allowed a single rod without testing for 25Ω or less as required by the NEC.
 

goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Regarding the second part of your post if you have a feeder to a separate structure it requires a GES. I'm surprised he allowed a single rod without testing for 25Ω or less as required by the NEC.
Interesting. I had been under the impression that if you had more than 2 circuits it was then that you needed the rod(s) for the GES supplement.

BTW, I've been at the front desks of some bldg. depts., heard the phone ring and no one made an effort to answer the phone and just let it go to voice mail. I don't want to file a complaint for fear they'll go Postal on me. :)
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
Interesting. I had been under the impression that if you had more than 2 circuits it was then that you needed the rod(s) for the GES supplement.

BTW, I've been at the front desks of some bldg. depts., heard the phone ring and no one made an effort to answer the phone and just let it go to voice mail. I don't want to file a complaint for fear they'll go Postal on me. :)
You said that you ran a feeder which requires a GES.
The building department thing is a catch-22. You might get some satisfaction by complaining but then you may make some enemy's. The problem needs to be solved at the state level. I wouldn't hold my breath. :rolleyes:
 

garbo

Senior Member
Just venting here. :cool:

I've been in the trade since 1971 when I got out of the Marine Corps. Worked for an EC and worked in NYC for 10 years. I got my electrical license in 1973.

Now that that is out of the way, I'm sure we've all had instances or discrepancies with EI's or municipalities and I'm sure the sagas about these can go on and on. I submitted a permit app 2 weeks ago to a municipality in NJ. It was TYPED and perfectly legible. ALL my information was clearly printed on the sheets, including my license #. I placed a call to the town yesterday asking what the status of the permit was. The clerk told me that they are running 20 BUSINESS DAYS for approvals. I mentioned that this was for an electrical service upgrade (pretty basic thing I would guess). She said it didn't matter - it's 20 business days - 20 business days is 4 weeks, last time I checked. I believe the law in NJ is 3 weeks or 15 business days. There is no plan review required. I'm not putting an addition on a house.

With that I contacted the DCA and inquired about this. They advised me to wait another week before filing a complaint.

Low and behold, an hour later the clerk called me and stated that the EI COULD NOT READ THE INFORMATION OF MY PRESSURE SEAL and could I send them a copy of my license and business permit. ARE YOU KIDDING ME !!!

I'm at the point where I'm nearing the end of my career and I'm not one to take any crap. I purposely did not mention the town but has anyone else run into this type of abuse ?

I hope they're prepared for a fight. I'll keep you posted
I bren a sparky a year longer then you across the Delaware river in philly. 4 years ago it took one of our sparkies 11months to get a license due to 7 times he went to the Municipal Service building they said at first paper work was incorrect. He fixed that and then they said they are short handed. Took second coworker 5 months to have them issue him a license ( pre pandemic ). Have to do an OSHA 10 or 30 class and prove you have vehicle insurance. In my 50 plus years never performed electrical work while driving. Dukes of hazzard Pa has been talking about going with a state electrical license since 1964. Some townships in Pa will issue you a permit same day for service upgrade while can take a ling time at some hick towns. Once had to supply 3 sets of drawings just to install a 200 amp single & 3 phase service in a commercial building. My brother in law worked for one of the largest AC/Refrigeration comoany in my area. He gave a retired L&I worker money every week to go downtown with several sets of drawings for several permits. Most of the time he came back by noon time with petmits. Philly only location in Pa that goes by 2 codes. 2017 for 1 & 2 family residental and 2014 for everything else. Glad that I' m retired. Going away Thanksgiving week for my third vacation this year. Another bad thing abiut some hick towns in Pa you can go out to their township building and look over a 10.page amendment tobthe present NEC perform the job and have your inspector pass it to only have local guy fail you because he has some unwritten codes of his own. Had one hick town inspector fail me because I had one #12 wire spliced inside of a panel. Have to hate how every slow down is blamed on the pandemic.
 

goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Just thought I'd post here what the end result of this mess was. I did, in fact, file complaints with the NJ DCA regarding two townships that I've had problems with. I received a call from the DCA several days after the filings and was told that the DCA has no control over how townships operate their building depts. While they stated that they "felt my pain" they could not intervene on my behalf. My option was to start by contacting the building inspector and if the situation could not be resolved, file a formal complaint with him. If I get no satisfaction then I could go to the town manager and then the mayor. If I choose to go that route then I'm certain I'll be burning a bridge.

It seems there are numerous government agencies that protect the consumer against unscrupulous licensed electricians like us but there are no agencies that protect us from unscrupulous municipalities that PURPOSELY take 20 business days to approve a simple permit application, irrespective of whether they need the time or not. I'm not sure where to go from here but it looks like I don't have a friend at the State level. :confused:
 

Jraef

Moderator
Staff member
Location
San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
We are hearing about sporadic delays in permitting and inspections around here. My most recent project was no problem at all, but a friend in the next town over has been waiting a month. His is a solar installation and the federal tax break changes after Dec 31, so the end user is in a meltdown panic.
 

ggunn

PE (Electrical), NABCEP certified
Location
Austin, TX, USA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer - Photovoltaic Systems
It seems to me that there should be a deadline for plan permitting; if the AHJ does not provide a judgement within X number of business days, the permit is automatically issued. :D
 
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