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Old 02-28-2009, 08:35 AM   #1
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Is NEC only as good at the inspector?


I have been reading this forum for a bit of time now. I actually think I am addicted to it. Every minute I have time off I am here reading. I have even stopped playing Call of Duty because I am here all the time. I believe this is a great forum and would like to thank the many people that willingly share their knowledge and time with those (like me) who are willing to learn and ask questions BEFORE taking on a project.

I am curious about something though. From what I read it takes on the average 6 to 8 years to become a Master Electrician. Lots of hard work and time. Now, what does it take to be an inspector? Are all inspectors Master Electricians? Who writes the NEC?

I know there are some inspectors that are great. On this forum KC sounds like he would be the kind of inspector I would love to have inspect my work. He is very knowledgeable, knows that beauracracy (spelling?) exists and seems to be quite fair. Others on this site all they do is quote the NEC code on every single answer which makes it look like you have real inspectors and then you have NEC experts. With this being said who would or would not pass inspection on the following photos and who thinks they can do a better job. The pictures here passed inspection yesterday. These pictures are at a commercial site and most of it is pre-existing for about 8 years. Who would of pass or fail this install 8 years ago?
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Is NEC only as good at the inspector?-0227092038.jpg   Is NEC only as good at the inspector?-0227092038a.jpg   Is NEC only as good at the inspector?-0227092038c.jpg   Is NEC only as good at the inspector?-0227092039.jpg   Is NEC only as good at the inspector?-0227092113a.jpg  


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Old 02-28-2009, 08:39 AM   #2
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Is NEC only as good at the inspector?


More photos.
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Is NEC only as good at the inspector?-0227092116.jpg   Is NEC only as good at the inspector?-0227092115.jpg   Is NEC only as good at the inspector?-0227092112.jpg   Is NEC only as good at the inspector?-0227092112a.jpg   Is NEC only as good at the inspector?-0227092039b.jpg  


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Old 02-28-2009, 08:51 AM   #3
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Is NEC only as good at the inspector?


My understanding is that an inspector can only approve/deny new work....not existing.

A firemarshall, could deem something unsafe....so I was told.

That being said, I sure would be "pissed" about that install. Non fastened, too much coiled (heat buildup), etc.
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:58 AM   #4
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Is NEC only as good at the inspector?


WOW!!

I couldn't pass it with bare wires uncapped
Even abandoned in place wires should be marked

Existing work is not inspected, only new work
But still

I've always hated all the wires bunched up at the sill plate
I moved them out onto a 1x4. I also seperated wires & ran them down different floor joist areas instead of all in one place. The electrician that replaced my main box seemed puzzled as to why I did this. But it is more organized, no bundling at all

One problem is a lot of business do not want to pay to have old work made "neat" & organized

Could I do a better job?
Yes....but how long would it take for anyone to do this & can the business afford to have electric service shut down or interrupted during that period
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Old 02-28-2009, 09:04 AM   #5
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Is NEC only as good at the inspector?


Did you guys notice the "permanent" orange extension cord? Actually, the fire marshall passed his inspection also but warned that the building inspector might not. Which I really don't get. The electrical inspector passed, the fire marshall passed, and now they are waiting for the building inspector?

Good point about a business not able to afford not having electricity for a day. But even when this was done 8 years ago I would never thought it would pass inspection. There has been plenty of time to do one circuit at a time. Thanks for your time and input.
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Old 02-28-2009, 09:08 AM   #6
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Is NEC only as good at the inspector?


Fail.

Can I do better? Have you seen photos of my work??

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Old 02-28-2009, 09:08 AM   #7
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Is NEC only as good at the inspector?


That is an extension cord?
I have seen orange wire - I thought it was a #10 run
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Old 02-28-2009, 09:13 AM   #8
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Is NEC only as good at the inspector?


Jamie,
I have seen your work. Very good. I think anyone that has spent 2 hours searching and reading this forum and really paying attention could of done a better job. Which is kind of my point. I am not an electrician but work like this (done by a licensed electrician) gives a bad name to electricians that have spent so much time and money in becoming the best at what they do. Some of us understand that this is the exception, others think this is the way all electricians work.
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Old 02-28-2009, 09:32 AM   #9
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Is NEC only as good at the inspector?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bocolo View Post
Jamie,
I have seen your work. Very good. I think anyone that has spent 2 hours searching and reading this forum and really paying attention could of done a better job. Which is kind of my point. I am not an electrician but work like this (done by a licensed electrician) gives a bad name to electricians that have spent so much time and money in becoming the best at what they do. Some of us understand that this is the exception, others think this is the way all electricians work.
The thing is that there are bad eggs in every trade / profession. Bad doctors, lawyers, etc. The bad ones make people generalize and hate the rest, how many lawyer jokes have you heard due to bad lawyers? I think it is just the way life is.

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Old 02-28-2009, 09:57 AM   #10
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Is NEC only as good at the inspector?


The code committees(panels) consist of many different people from many different organizations,companies, trade industries, trades people, etc.

For example, the 2005 NEC is made up of 19 different panels consisting of roughly 30 people per panel.

Many localities are different as to the qualifications needed to be an inspector, whether it be electrical, building, mechanical or whatever, and some are cross trained.

Inspectors should know and interpret the code as it is written.

People "quote" code because that's the way it needs to be done at minimum, and not what you can get by with or what the inspector will let slide, etc. If you do it to the letter of the NEC, then you have met the minimum standard. You can do more than, but this is what you have to do.
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:07 AM   #11
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Is NEC only as good at the inspector?


Thanks for your kind words Bocolo. Inspectors have to deal with the real challenge of walking that fine line between being reasonable and fair and rigidly enforcing the code, which doesn't have "reasonable" built in.

That is sure some ugly work. If it was permitted and passed 8 years ago someone wasn't doing their job. There's definately some substandard things going on there. What was the inspector there to inspect yesterday? A new circuit or what?

When someone pulls a permit to run a new circuit for instance, I'm often faced with the challenge of opening that panel up and finding things that are certainly not up to current code. Often, some of the things I find weren't ever up to code. So I'm now in a moral dilemma. It isn't fair to make someone bring unrelated work up to code just because I was in the building and saw it. The code doesn't really give me the right to do that, but it does give me the right to require just about anything I want (some inspectors take too much liberty with that). Doing that just discourages people from getting the permit for the new work. But, just ignoring really dangerous things (improperly phased MWB circuits for instance) isn't good either. I'll usually speak with the property owner regarding what I'm seeing and will let them know why it is unsafe. My inspection report will also include verbage recommending immediate repair of the electrical deficiencies, and the building owner signs it to agree that they're aware of the condition. I'll also expedite permits and make it really, really, really easy for them to pull a permit to make the changes if they choose to.

As for inspector qualifications, it varies. No we're not all master electricians, plumbers, etc. I'm not. Some are. Many inspectors were tradesmen first, and therefore specialize in that area of expertise. I'm a combination inspector, so I inspect every phase of construction and every trades' scope of work. I have to have a strong understanding of the scope of work in all those trades...Stong enough to tell them they did something wrong and offer solutions to the problem (unless they throw a tantrum). My background is years of framing and building, as well as a BS degree in Construction Engineering. I've been to hundreds upon hundreds of hours of continuing education in trades and codes related programs. 90% of what I know was learned on the job and by studying, not in school or seminars. The ICC also has a certification program that many jurisdictions' inspectors are certified through....The tests aren't easy....Basically getting the CBO certification is the inspectors' equivalent of a masters license. One of my weaker subjects is electrical...On some of the larger projects I often refer back to the codebook or the NEC handbook to double check myself. I wish I had the understanding of the NEC that some people on this forum demonstrate!

Don't just assume because sparky has a masters license that he's a good inspector. Don't just assume that because the inspector has one that he's a good inspector. The work is only as good as the man doing it.
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:18 AM   #12
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Is NEC only as good at the inspector?


I understand about bad apples. There is more than one failure here. The electrician failed, the inspector failed. That's my view. Which leads to the original question. What does it take to be an inspector? Also, what exactly are "pre existing" wires? If I run 20 circuits without a permit, then go and pull a permit for only 2 additional circuits. When the inspector comes he could only look and inspect the 2 circuits I ran and disregard the 20 circuits because they are "pre existing"?
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:27 AM   #13
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Is NEC only as good at the inspector?


KC and WireNut thanks for the explanation, very informative. I always, always follow the law. Mainly because if it was not for bad luck I would have no luck at all. I got inspected once by a building inspector and failed inspection because the faceplate on a switch was cracked. Then I see work like this that passes inspection and feel like just sending everyone to hell and just doing my work without permits. Or course I don't but I am surely tempted. The inspection was for a new circuit that was run to a refrigerator. Thanks for your time and input.
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:36 PM   #14
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Is NEC only as good at the inspector?


The inspector knew how bad the workmanship was and the issues with the wiring installation of the past. He was there to inspect the new circuit to the refrig...took some guts to permit that new circuit knowing what the existing looked like....

I would only be surprised that he did not write a deficiency report to make the owner aware of the poor existing wiring. I think KC mentioned this. Sloppy work but I'm not seeing something that would close the building down. There are indeed violations that jump out at you. But fire hazards would be hard to prove from what I'm seeing. Those exposed wires are not handled properly and if they are hot that is a rather stupid thing to allow. I think under the circumstances if I had inspected that fridge wiring I would have probably given a 60 day start work permit to bring the existing up to workmanship standards. It is usually counter productive to be a hard @#@ for existing work. Make it easy for the owner to correct the existing on a reasonable time table and then you have made a friend and not an enemy.
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Old 02-28-2009, 04:09 PM   #15
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Is NEC only as good at the inspector?


Thanks for the input Stubbie. I was surprised to hear the fire marshall let this go but again I am no electrician. To me it just looked terribly wrong. I don't mean the asthetics I mean the exposed wiring, the extension cord, all the wire sitting on top of each other. Thanks for your time and input.

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