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Old 08-10-2010, 09:18 PM   #1
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Torque Letter?


Hello all!

For those of you that have been following my saga, here's one last turn! When the city inspector came out to inspect my electrical work on my triplex in California, he told me that he'll pass me as soon as I give him a torque letter to take the liability off of the city and put it on me. Makes sense. What the heck is a torque letter? I have no problem performing what needs to be done to say that I performed a torque test and writing a letter to that effect. Is it basically tightening the lugs in the service panels and load centers to the required torque? What sort of tool would I use to do this? Thank you all once again for your continued support!

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Old 08-10-2010, 09:28 PM   #2
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Torque Letter?


Are you sure he didn't say "Tort"?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tort

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Old 08-10-2010, 10:06 PM   #3
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Torque Letter?


If indeed he did say torque you would need a torque wrench and the proper size allen wrench. I would think you would need to reterminate the conductors as torque has already been applied and trying to torque them now would result in a different end result due to conductor changes.
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Old 08-10-2010, 10:25 PM   #4
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Torque Letter?


I too, would guess he said tort letter. You need to be careful there. If your house has an electrical fire your insurance may bulk at covering it if a tort letter is on files.
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Old 08-10-2010, 11:37 PM   #5
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Torque Letter?


I'm about 99.9% sure he said "torque letter" and not "tort letter." So, basically I should loosen all the wires in the service panel (power shut off, of course) and the load centers, then check the torque with a torque wrench and make sure I'm applying the right amount of torque to each lug on every wire plugged into the service panels and load centers? After I have checked that, I can write a letter saying I applied the proper amount of torque to each lug on each wire according to manufacturers specifications using a specific torque wrench?
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Old 08-11-2010, 12:44 AM   #6
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Torque Letter?


Ouch I would hate doing that. I would get a lawyer involved to determine if it is safe to sign that or not.

Even if something completely out of your control happens, like the house is hit by lightning, or someone plugs in a lamp with a bad cord, or a light switch happens to be faulty (but worked fine when you had the house) and it starts a fire, they can just blame you for it. Heck, pipes can burst at any time. It's rare, but it happens. Too many things in a house can go wrong and be out of anyone's control, don't want to sign anything that puts you as being responsible.
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Old 08-11-2010, 07:46 AM   #7
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Torque Letter?


The inspector wants a "Letter of Tort" in which you release the inspector and the city from all liability in the event that the property or anyone on the property is damaged or injured.

I advise you to get your attorney involved.
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:20 AM   #8
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Torque Letter?


Not sure about how to go about or whether to go about writing and signing a tort release letter.

You can probably retorque the connections (screws and set screws) in the panel and also on any receptacles and switches you have a chance to get at, by yourself without special tools.

Undo the screw a quarter turn and then tighten it quite snug but not with tremendous muscular strength. If you found any of them loose in the panel you really should go through and retorque all of them.

But save the biggest lugs in the main panel (where the service wires come in) for an electrician to do.

A torque wrench or screwdriver (usually L shaped with a dial or readout) will make things a little easier.
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:55 AM   #9
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Torque Letter?


You are the guy who has done all the illegal electrical work on his apartment building, correct?
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:12 AM   #10
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Torque Letter?


Proby,

Perhaps I'm mistaken, but in my years of being a property owner, never have I been told it is illegal to do work on my own property. I'm not misrepresenting myself as an electrician, so, what's the problem? Unfortunately, I don't have very much money at the moment and I was forced to do some electrical work myself because I couldn't afford to pay a licensed electrician. Is it so wrong that I have put in sweat equity? The city inspector doesn't have a problem with it, per se, he just wants to make sure that I'm confident enough to stand by my work, which I am. Although I may be asking people here for help on electrical, that doesn't make me a fool or a bad person. The quality of all of my properties surpasses that of their respective neighborhoods. I understand there are a lot of property owners out there lovingly called "slumlords," but I am far from that. I take quite a bit of pride in what I have achieved and it upsets me that you would undermine my efforts without seeing the property for yourself. All I ask is for you to be a little more open-minded.
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmacfann View Post
Proby,

Perhaps I'm mistaken, but in my years of being a property owner, never have I been told it is illegal to do work on my own property. I'm not misrepresenting myself as an electrician, so, what's the problem?
The problem is that you can't do electrical work on a multifamily dwelling without an electrical license in California. Maybe the inspector is being nice and giving you an "out" with the letter of tort instead of doing what most inspectors would do- fine you and make you rip open walls and pull wires.
Quote:
Unfortunately, I don't have very much money at the moment and I was forced to do some electrical work myself because I couldn't afford to pay a licensed electrician. Is it so wrong that I have put in sweat equity?
It's illegal. It's also extremely dangerous. You showed your hand in the other thread, you showed us that you don't know even the basics of electric. Now you are going to profit off of that building, you are going to make money off of people who expect a safe place to live, but it is far from safe if you wired it up.

Quote:
The city inspector doesn't have a problem with it, per se,
It seems like he does, which is why he wants this letter.

Quote:
he just wants to make sure that I'm confident enough to stand by my work, which I am. Although I may be asking people here for help on electrical, that doesn't make me a fool or a bad person.
No, asking for help doesn't make you a fool or a bad person. However, doing electrical work on an apartment building when you don't even know that you need a neutral to get something to work (nevermind not having a license) makes you a criminal. Whether it also makes you a fool and bad person is a matter of opinion.

Quote:
I take quite a bit of pride in what I have achieved and it upsets me that you would undermine my efforts without seeing the property for yourself.
I've seen your work, you showed it to us in the other thread. I believe that anyone in their right mind who saw those pictures would agree that you should not be doing electrical work on an apartment building.

Quote:
All I ask is for you to be a little more open-minded.
You come to a DIY forum explaining that you are breaking the law and doing bad electrical work illegally on an apartment building. What would you like me to open my mind to?

I'm all for DIYing. I've spent around 400 posts here in the last month trying to help people with electrical problems. But what you are doing is simply wrong. If you can't afford to hire an electrician to service your apartment building, you've got a much bigger problem on your hands. As I said in the other thread, I feel really bad for the danger you are putting your tenants in. Your inspector is OK with a letter reliving him from liability, but there is no letter than can save the life of the tenant who suffers from the fire you caused.
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:52 AM   #12
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Proby,

For your information, a multi-family dwelling in the State of California is defined as 5 units or more. The property I am referring to in this case is a triplex. Triplex means 3 units. 3 units qualifies it as a single family residence. Also, for your information, the majority of the work originally performed was by a licensed electrical contractor. He removed all of the original electrical work from the 1970s and replaced it all. This included all the wire, receptacles, switches, load centers, and service panels. After he was done, we easily passed our electrical inspection with the city on the first try. Southern California Edison did their inspection, they approved it on their first shot as well and proceeded to put in electrical meters. After that, however, is when I hired a "handyman" for some additional work. This was a mistake on my part. I have been remedying his work ever since. The inspection I am referring to in this thread is our final inspection. Ask yourself this question, if I am such a horrible human being, why am I asking people to help me do something the right way?
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Old 08-11-2010, 10:53 AM   #13
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Torque Letter?


Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmacfann View Post
Proby,

For your information, a multi-family dwelling in the State of California is defined as 5 units or more.
That is incorrect. To do electrical work on any residence of 2 or more families requires an electrical license. I just confirmed that on another forum with a licensed electrical contractor in the state of California.

Quote:
After that, however, is when I hired a "handyman" for some additional work. This was a mistake on my part. I have been remedying his work ever since. The inspection I am referring to in this thread is our final inspection.
You are in no position to remedy his work.

Quote:
Ask yourself this question, if I am such a horrible human being, why am I asking people to help me do something the right way?
First, I didn't call you a horrible human being, I simply outlined where you broke the law and put people's lives into danger.

Second, you are NOT looking to do it the right way. The right way would have been to call a licensed electrical contractor. You are looking to get out cheap, and by proxy, dangerous.

What's done is done. You did the deed, now you have to get the paperwork to relieve the inspector of liability. I wonder how your insurance company feels about this, oh that's right, they don't know...

Good luck with the letter and I sincerely hope nothing goes wrong in your building.
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Last edited by Proby; 08-11-2010 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 08-11-2010, 11:38 AM   #14
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Torque Letter?


Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmacfann View Post
Hello all!

For those of you that have been following my saga, here's one last turn! When the city inspector came out to inspect my electrical work on my triplex in California, he told me that he'll pass me as soon as I give him a torque letter to take the liability off of the city and put it on me. Makes sense. What the heck is a torque letter? I have no problem performing what needs to be done to say that I performed a torque test and writing a letter to that effect. Is it basically tightening the lugs in the service panels and load centers to the required torque? What sort of tool would I use to do this? Thank you all once again for your continued support!
The more I read this original post, the more I've come to realize that the OP knew exactly what the inspector wanted. As a matter of fact it was stated in the post why the inspector requested a "Letter of Tort" before the property would be allowed to be occupied.
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Old 08-11-2010, 11:40 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fabrk8r View Post
The more I read this original post, the more I've come to realize that the OP knew exactly what the inspector wanted. As a matter of fact it was stated in the post why the inspector requested a "Letter of Tort" before the property would be allowed to be occupied.
If you read the last thread he made you would see that he is pretty sly.

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