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Old 07-21-2009, 03:16 PM   #1
dwo
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The past owner's work count against me during inspections?


Hello,

I have a question about how extensive an electrical inspection might be for my situation. I became a homeowner in November. Within the first week we found out water would pool in a bathroom and eventually spill into the basement when someone stepped in the tub. Since then I have gutted the bathroom, the adjacent master bath, and some cheesy framing and finish work done by the past owner in the basement directly below. We waited so long to simply fix the water damage that now we have ideas to do more extensive remodeling. I will get permits and have inspections done.

What Iím concerned about is if the inspector will notice violations with the past owners work (not related to my project) and therefore not sign off on mine. Iíve noticed several things that might be in violation for my area, like splices inside the service panel. Will the inspector make me correct old wiring like this before I proceed?

Thanks for any insight.

~Dave from Washington State

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Old 07-21-2009, 03:27 PM   #2
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The past owner's work count against me during inspections?


Splices in the panel do meet code so long as they have a wire cap

He should be inspecting only what the permit covers
But if it never met code then you may be required to fix it
And if the work was completed without a permit you may be required to bring it up to code

What other issues are there?

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Old 07-21-2009, 03:30 PM   #3
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The past owner's work count against me during inspections?


Hard to say Dave. It really depends on the jurisdiction.

As an inspector it can be a challenge too. If something related to the permitted work is unsafe, I'll likely require that it be corrected. If I notice something that is completely unrelated to the work I'm there to look at I may mention it but won't require it to be worked on in nearly all cases. The exception would be if I notice something that is an imminent hazard to the occupants of the building...Something that is a big deal and is likely to burn the place down or kill someone in short order. If is a big gray area and is often quite a challenge. I've often made recommendations in writing to cover my butt and asked that the homeowner sign the inspection sheet to recognize receipt of the recommendation and express their awareness of the situation...That's often more fair than picking apart work that I'm not even there to inspect.

My advice is to talk with the building official in your town. Let him know that you just got this place and have intentions to permit various scopes of work in the future and you intend to make the wiring safe as the various projects progress. Let him know he'll have access to each and every project as you do it and that you want to do everything to make it safe and right. Such a discussion will often help you determine if he's going to be a pain or if he's eager to work with you in the interest of getting everything done to code.

For what its worth, splices in the panel should not be a code issue if they're done with listed connectors.
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Old 07-21-2009, 03:43 PM   #4
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The past owner's work count against me during inspections?


I knew you would explain it better
My last house I actually went to the building Inspector before I bought the house & asked him about possible issues with the house
I corrected those issues as soon as I bought the house
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Old 07-22-2009, 11:40 AM   #5
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The past owner's work count against me during inspections?


Look at it this way and you will cover your butt. If you touch it, open it, replace it or extend it, you will have to make it code worthy. So, stay away from anything that you do not want to repair completely.
Your inspector is the only one who can make this call.
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Old 07-22-2009, 12:17 PM   #6
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The past owner's work count against me during inspections?


Thanks for the great replies.

J.V., that's the problem, I'll have to touch a little of what the past owner did with each remodel I'd like to do!

I'm very confident the electrical is safe as is, there's just a lot to go through.

Thanks again!
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Old 07-23-2009, 11:46 AM   #7
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The past owner's work count against me during inspections?


Dave,
This where your inspector can be your friend or be a total ass. I understand your situation. Talk to the inspector and explain what you propose to do. He or she can give you their position. This way you know what they want and you do not get a surprise during the inspection. Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 07-23-2009, 11:50 AM   #8
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The past owner's work count against me during inspections?


Here in Louisville, the inspector will inspect what the permit was for. If he/she sees something that is dangerous to the point of being a life threatening condition or a fire hazard, the inspector can have the electric meter pulled until it's fixed. That's rare though.

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