Came on this thread with interest and it even prompted me to sign up here... I've always lived in much "mellower" states than MA but now facing a situation where I might want to do some work on my own house... I've kinda been warned about the anti-DIY sentiment you can run into in places but hoping its not too bad.
To the inspector who says "I give homeowners one shot to get it absolutely perfect and if they don't then I screw them" - well thats a really great way to encourage people to not ever go near you. Real smart. I mean you COULD actually give people valuable input and advice so they learn from your inspection and learn to do things right and get rewarded for dealing with you... and you COULD constructively point out why you can't pass them yet and even advise them to go work with a licensed electrician to finish the job without being punitive about it, but nawww who'd want that. Instead just prove how smart and powerful you are - that's a much better idea.
Anyway... our place is old ungrounded stuff everywhere and with more than a few legacy polarity faults from original construction 70 years ago or whatever it was. I can't afford to pay an electrician to do everything, but we ARE paying him for parts of a renovation and putting in a new service entrance and main service panel. I am hoping to both enhance the safety as well as the capacity of the system over time myself - replacing the ungrounded service that the electrician won't be doing in the first round as well as things like expanding the service in the garage for instance.
Sadly if it comes down to the only choices be "go with the union / inspector monopoly cartel and pay full freight" or nothing, the answer for us would have to be "OK then we'll stick with crappy old less safe and more overloaded wiring". But I'm hoping there's a more sensible route in the middle.
BTW unlike some in this thread who were obviously abused by bad electricians when they were young, I have every respect for good tradesman and for safety and for high quality craftsmanship. But I also know that I am smart enough to learn the basics and do a quality job as long as I don't get over my head and I get good advice and coaching. I work with high voltage electronics sometimes (400-500-600V vacuum tube amps anyone? 1KV CRT supplies?) so I have a full appreciation of the dangers as well as some of the specific considerations involved like why ground loops are bad etc etc...
My intended approach was going to be to pay my electrician for some time to be sure my design / materials plan is up to snuff, and then have him come out and give the job an eyeball again after I'm done before having the inspector come out. I know lots of friends/family that have done that in other states, but any comments on that? Does that work in MA or am I likely to run into trouble?