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Old 11-30-2011, 04:46 AM   #1
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Possible Non-Permitted Work with violations - New Purchase - Questions for my friend


Hello;

I have a good friend out of state that is working on purchasing a home. They love the home and are in the process with closing in the near future, unless these problems end up delaying it. They had a private inspector come through yesterday and look for problems.

Most noticeable problems were electrical in nature. The one of the most concern to me was this:

In her area in VA, most panels are outside. Someone at this home moved the panel inside, into a bedroom closet. Which I know is prohibited.

There may be some other issues, but the inspector might not have been totally up on some practices. The inspector seemed alarmed that there was a sub in the garage with a 200A breaker and only an 8 gage feed. I explained this was fine as long as the proper OCP was in place in the house and that in this case, the panel in the garage only serves as a service disconnect and the OCP in the garage would not matter.

There were also other issues that sound small'ish to fix such as a very small fuse panel in the laundry room that had copper wire in place of a fuse. I suspect I can walk her through the replacement of that panel without much trouble. Other issues with outlet upgrades and such won't be a problem for her.

If anyone knows; I'm wondering what she can do to protect herself. My concern is that she will go to sell in a few years and they will not want to approve an inspection due to the panel in the closet. That could be quite costly to move. She may be able to learn he skills necessary to move it herself, but it is still no small project.

Or worse if she does nothing now, but she goes to pull a permit later when she wants to do so work, if they notice the panel in the closet could they force her to change it, if the prior owners didn't have a permit for it?

We are unsure if proper permits were pulled by the prior owners and she is trying to find that out from the city.

If there was a permit and the AHJ signed off on the panel in a closet setup (They will NOT continue to use it as a closet and it did sound like it has the panel space requirements met), is she pretty much safe from it being a problem that blocks a future sale?

What would / should / can she do if she finds this install was done with no permit? (I rather suspect it was, because what pro would install a panel in a bedroom closet?)

Is her best bet to meet with the AHJ to discuss the situation in detail and to review any past permits that were pulled / approved? She was a little concerned with approaching the AHJ, being concerned that issues could get raised that would stop the sale.

Any idea what she should expect if she does contact the AHJ about the situation?

Thanks!

Jamie

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Old 11-30-2011, 05:09 AM   #2
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Possible Non-Permitted Work with violations - New Purchase - Questions for my friend


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Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
Hello;

I have a good friend out of state that is working on purchasing a home. They love the home and are in the process with closing in the near future, unless these problems end up delaying it. They had a private inspector come through yesterday and look for problems.

Most noticeable problems were electrical in nature. The one of the most concern to me was this:

In her area in VA, most panels are outside. Someone at this home moved the panel inside, into a bedroom closet. Which I know is prohibited.

It no matter where you are located the panel is not allowed in cloth closet it is stated clear in NEC code book ( I don't have the excat art number with me at the moment ) I know used to be in super old days but not anymore for many years.

I know in State of Va it kinda pretty common to have main panel located outdoor and one of the electrician in this fourm do live in that area so he will chime in one way or other.


There may be some other issues, but the inspector might not have been totally up on some practices. The inspector seemed alarmed that there was a sub in the garage with a 200A breaker and only an 8 gage feed. I explained this was fine as long as the proper OCP was in place in the house and that in this case, the panel in the garage only serves as a service disconnect and the OCP in the garage would not matter.

Well that did raise a red flag right there due the #8 gauge conductor that is only good for 40 amp ( copper ) or 30 amp ( Alum ) rated conductor but did the main panel in the house have proper sizing if have either 30 or 40 amp breaker ( depending on if alum or copper ) it may be ok if feed to the garage panel that is ok right there but the issue is the type of conductor or cable that may affect it.

The main breaker in the garage panel is used for a disconnect purpose only due it may have more than 6 throws ( either single pole or two pole or combation of both )


There were also other issues that sound small'ish to fix such as a very small fuse panel in the laundry room that had copper wire in place of a fuse. I suspect I can walk her through the replacement of that panel without much trouble. Other issues with outlet upgrades and such won't be a problem for her.

It will be a good time to deal with it right away if that person want to take the house and that will have to be addressed right away and that person will have to indentify what circuit it serves.


If anyone knows; I'm wondering what she can do to protect herself. My concern is that she will go to sell in a few years and they will not want to approve an inspection due to the panel in the closet. That could be quite costly to move. She may be able to learn he skills necessary to move it herself, but it is still no small project.
The best answer is take alot of photo and for the panel in closet most electrical inspectors will ask them to move it to different location I know it will not be cheap and do this person have basement in the house ? if so that will be the best area to use it if noting is blocked in 30X30 inch area.

Or worse if she does nothing now, but she goes to pull a permit later when she wants to do so work, if they notice the panel in the closet could they force her to change it, if the prior owners didn't have a permit for it?

We are unsure if proper permits were pulled by the prior owners and she is trying to find that out from the city.

If there was a permit and the AHJ signed off on the panel in a closet setup (They will NOT continue to use it as a closet and it did sound like it has the panel space requirements met), is she pretty much safe from it being a problem that blocks a future sale?

What would / should / can she do if she finds this install was done with no permit? (I rather suspect it was, because what pro would install a panel in a bedroom closet?)(A good pro contractors will never install it in the closet at all)

Is her best bet to meet with the AHJ to discuss the situation in detail and to review any past permits that were pulled / approved? She was a little concerned with approaching the AHJ, being concerned that issues could get raised that would stop the sale.

Any idea what she should expect if she does contact the AHJ about the situation?

Thanks!

Jamie
my answer is in bleu.

And just wait for few other members they will have few other suggest with this as well and be aware some area may have NO inspection of whatever so just prepare for that answer.

Merci,
Marc

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Old 11-30-2011, 07:13 AM   #3
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Possible Non-Permitted Work with violations - New Purchase - Questions for my friend


French coverd the questions.....my input....

Go down to the city and get a list of any permits that were pulled. It is public record so you should not have any issues getting them.

With that in hand, compare the permits to the work that was done....if there are no permits for the work that was done, you then have a few options.....it is at this point that it becomes very obvious why all work should be permitted.....

1. This is your 'get out of jail' card....in other words, your friend can get out of the purchase and get all their money back.

2. Present the seller with the list of issues and failure to pull permits and insist they bring all the issues up to code and pull permits where necessary.

3. Or use it as leverage to get significant reduction in price.

The issue to the seller now is that everyone knows unpermitted work was done...they either fix it...compensate you to fix it or risk the city finding out and getting fined for unpermitted work.
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Old 12-02-2011, 02:18 PM   #4
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Possible Non-Permitted Work with violations - New Purchase - Questions for my friend


HI;

Thanks for the feedback and suggestions. She went to the city and surprisingly the main panel (in the closet) was permitted, inspected and signed off on, she has the paperwork on it. I assume there is not much to be done about this since the AHJ signed off on it. I still have to wonder why a inspector would have okay-ed it.

She is asking for seller consideration /or repair on the other items that are amiss. I've looked at some photos and it doesn't look like most of it will be a huge deal to repair.

Thank You;

Jamie
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Old 12-02-2011, 02:26 PM   #5
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Possible Non-Permitted Work with violations - New Purchase - Questions for my friend


I live in Mathews county VA and I see panels in closets in newer homes all the time that have passed inspection.
My own home was rewired in 2001 and they put the panel in a bedroom wall and it passed inspection.
Not saying it's right just some places let it go.
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Old 12-02-2011, 02:37 PM   #6
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Possible Non-Permitted Work with violations - New Purchase - Questions for my friend


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I live in Mathews county VA and I see panels in closets in newer homes all the time that have passed inspection.
My own home was rewired in 2001 and they put the panel in a bedroom wall and it passed inspection.
Not saying it's right just some places let it go.
Thanks Joe. I know that many homes in these area don't have basements. This same friend recently had to have a outdoor panel replaced on another property she owned. Internally the panel was highly corroded. I'm not sure if it is just the climate or being somewhat near the ocean.

With the corrosion I saw on that box, I can see why people would want the box indoors to protect it and extend the life span, but don't understand why they can't place the panel in the hallway or somewhere else outside of a closet.

Thanks
Jamie
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:30 PM   #7
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Possible Non-Permitted Work with violations - New Purchase - Questions for my friend


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With the corrosion I saw on that box, I can see why people would want the box indoors to protect it and extend the life span, but don't understand why they can't place the panel in the hallway or somewhere else outside of a closet.

Thanks
Jamie
Probably because the panel is something most people would rather not have to look at all the time.
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Old 12-03-2011, 05:57 AM   #8
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Possible Non-Permitted Work with violations - New Purchase - Questions for my friend


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Probably because the panel is something most people would rather not have to look at all the time.
Just hang a picture or mirror over it.
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Old 12-03-2011, 11:02 AM   #9
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Possible Non-Permitted Work with violations - New Purchase - Questions for my friend


I have seen lots of closet panels in mostly older home. mostly sub panels. lots in apt. houses, also. they are never fun to work on. very tight quarters. I'm not 100% sure what the code says but it is mostly disregarded anyway. I would not use a closet.
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Old 12-03-2011, 11:55 AM   #10
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Possible Non-Permitted Work with violations - New Purchase - Questions for my friend


Hope the inspection was a contengincy on the contract. If so the buyers should write an addendum asking for all the items they want fixed. There is usually a time frame to submit this. They buyer and seller need to agree what needs to be accomplished or the contract can be voided. I hope they have an agent that is on top of it. If it is a bank owned home the bank might not have agreed to repair any of the repairs.

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