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Old 02-01-2009, 10:27 AM   #1
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question about code


i recently posted for an electrical upgrade on a online site to have my electrical service upgraded from 60 amp to 200 amp service. the electrician came out and told me that he could do the job for 2,400. the electrician never bothered to learn the electrical code in our city. all he did was put a new electrical box in and still used only 4 of the breakers on the new box. he didnt bother installing any grounded outlets or GFC outlets in the kitchen and all of the other necessary code upgrades. after the inspector came the house didnt pass inspection. Since the inspection the electrician had been slowly doing the other upgrades. He finally finished and the house has passed inspection. Now the electrician has sent me another bill for $1,500. I never signed any paperwork or agreed to pay one penny more for any other work done on the house. I feel this is the electricians fault and he should be held liable for any additional cost. Am I correct? Many things happened throughout the upgrade process as well. At least 5 times they said that they would show and never did, they showed up late all of the time, they actually helped themselves to using my supplies and since they bypassed the utility company to supply me with electric I came home one day just in time to catch the utility company from shutting off my power.

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Old 02-01-2009, 10:51 AM   #2
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save your paper work and let him take you to court.

Like everything else, theres two sides to every story. maybe you'll be on TV one day.

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Old 02-01-2009, 10:53 AM   #3
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why did you hire this guy?did you get any other estimates from local electrical contractors who have been in buisness for along time?Is he even licenced in your area?No contract is never a good idea .Aparently there is no paperwork

Last edited by Tom Struble; 02-01-2009 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 02-01-2009, 11:21 AM   #4
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Lesson learned, I hope. As said above, you should have gotten at least three bids for the job. Then do background checks on each. Price is a concern but not the most concern. Good quality and compliant work is not cheap.
Never ever let an unlicensed uninsured person ever touch your electrical system.
So, you only signed off on the $2400.00 right? Then he added the $1500.00 for the additional work right? Or was everything a verbal contract?
You very well could sue HIM. Don't pay another dime if you only agreed to the original amount. The additional work should have been presented to you and you MUST agree to it. If not, there is no contract for the additional expense. IMO.
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Old 02-01-2009, 11:24 AM   #5
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I'd say it's half your fault.

You should know enough to have a contract in writing. He certainly should know.


Typically, for us, a service upgrade is a completely seperate project. Different areas of the country have different requirements as far as code upgrades. Here, generally, the only upgrages included are grounding (ground rods) and bonding (gas and water pipes) and the $2400 is not out of line.

It does sound like your guy wasn't very professional though.

Split the extras with him and consider it tuition. Next time, get it in writing. That's why they call it contracting.
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Old 02-01-2009, 11:25 AM   #6
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it was the first time that i have ever hired a contractor and i have learned from this big mistake. they are licensed.
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Old 02-01-2009, 11:31 AM   #7
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the first cost of 2400 was in writing and i agreed to pay that. when the inspection wasnt passed he mentioned that they would write up an estimate for the additional work. I responded that I wasnt going to be held liable for the cost of additional work as he should have known the code if he is doing business in this city. I was never given another estimate and now he finished the additional work and now he is submitting a bill for 1,500
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Old 02-01-2009, 12:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
the first cost of 2400 was in writing and i agreed to pay that.

Read the contract carefully. Post it if you'd like. Mine say specifically "Code upgrades other than grounding/bonding are not included" because different standards apply to different jobs. If a hard nosed inspector wants extra work done, I'm not going to be liable for it. Like I said different areas, even different inspectors, have differnt criteria.



Quote:
when the inspection wasnt passed he mentioned that they would write up an estimate for the additional work. I responded that I wasnt going to be held liable for the cost of additional work as he should have known the code if he is doing business in this city.
Judge Judy would point out that you allowed him into your home to do the additional work therefore consenting to it.

Split it and forget it.
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:05 PM   #9
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Depends upon the circumstances
Doing a service upgrade in some cases does not mean you need to update the house to meet current code. I had my panel replaced & the electrician asked the Inspector in advance if anything would be inspected as a result, answer was No.

So my panel was replaced (200 to 200), feed buried. That was all that was inspected & passed

He never agreed to do additional work for free & indicated there would be additional cost. You should not have allowed work to continue without:

A) agreement that extra work was included in original cost
OR
B) Additional work would be be "x" dollars

And he should not have done the extra work without the same agreement
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:24 PM   #10
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Although a contract is important, you didn't hire him to do substandard work. If he didn't pass code for the service upgrade, which is a minimum standard, that is his problem. As a professional electrician, he should bid every job up to code. I wouldn't give him one red cent in addition to the pre-agreed upon amount of $2400, and I certainly wouldn't split the additional charges with him. Let him take you to court. Get the inspection reports from the City as well as the applicable code sections that he failed to meet, and take them with you to show the judge. The inspector will probably be more than happy to assist you with obtaining the information.

Furthermore, if he is licensed I would file a formal complaint with the City, County, and/or State licensing board if he continues to pursue you for extra money.

You've been sufficiently chastised for not getting a contract up front. Definately a hard lesson to learn. Let us know what transpires.
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
You've been sufficiently chastised for not getting a contract up front. Definately a hard lesson to learn. Let us know what transpires.
She did have it in writing up front. No problem there.
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Old 02-01-2009, 05:10 PM   #12
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Is it standard practice to expect an electrician to bring the entire house up to code if he/she has been hired to perform a certain scope of work? The electrician was hired to bring the house to 200 amps and it sounds like he/she did that according to code. What was not done to code were GFCI outlets and "all of the other necessary code upgrades."

Edit:
Also, did the electrician ever say that the additional work was included?

Last edited by finnimus; 02-01-2009 at 05:15 PM. Reason: Forgot 2nd half of post
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Old 02-01-2009, 07:16 PM   #13
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In most places replacing a panel or an entire service does NOT trigger a requirement for the whole house to be brought up to code. This must be a local thing.
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Old 02-01-2009, 08:28 PM   #14
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Many times there is a minimum percentage of remodelling that must be done to bring the ENTIRE installation up to code. Here in Chicago, I believe that number is 60%. Upgrading a service doesn't always mean reworking the whole house.
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Old 02-01-2009, 09:48 PM   #15
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For the record, I do think it stinks that a service upgrade would trigger other generally unrelated issues in other parts of the home. But, if that is a local requirement, albeit silly, the electrician bears the responsibility of knowing that.

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