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I’m interested in getting our main breaker panel and a subpanel in the garage upgraded and was going to have a few local electricians come out to give me estimates. The house has a bunch of issues that aren’t up to current code (double tapped breakers, GFCI outlets missing, no separate ground for the subpanel, low voltage light switches missing, etc.). We also have the wall in the bathroom open and it’s pretty obvious outlets and wiring have been recently replaced.

When the electricians come out to take a look at everything, is there any process by which they can report to the local inspector the existing code violations and/or that there is work in progress that may or may not be permitted? I want to get everything fixed and up to code, but don’t want an inspector at our door in the process if that can be avoided...
 

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I think the inspector is limited to inspecting what is being permitted, plus other closely related items. If the panel is being upgraded, you should expect to be dinged for double tapped breakers and the separate ground.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. I just mean if the electrician comes out and gives us an estimate that we don’t like, could he potentially report these things out of spite or boredom, if he is friends with the inspector, etc.?
 

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I would doubt an electrician would do that. He has nothing to gain, friends with the inspector or not.

And if the inspector does show up, you can honestly say "yes I'm planning on having some electrical work done. I'm just now in the process of obtaining estimates for the work."

If your electrician knows you will be doing work also, he may tell the inspector about it at inspection time so he doesn't get tagged for your work.
 

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Red Seal Electrician
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You don't have to let strangers into your house. Even the property assessment authority. BTDT.
 

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An inspector cannot violate your right to privacy by wandering around uninvited other than going to the inspection location and out. That has to be with permission. However, if the inspector sees a legitimate code violation in plain view while properly doing his inspection, it is his responsibility to note it and make sure it is corrected.
 
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Big Dog
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When I had my panel replaced, the only thing the electrician looked at was the panel, number of breakers and their sizes. The only thing he asked about was a 50 amp breaker that appeared not to be in use. Turns out this was for the old electric furnace before the previous owner converted it to natural gas.

Other than the garage where the panel is, he never set foot in my house.
 

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As a side note, I always meet my inspectors to show them what I worked on. That keeps them from snooping around looking to find out on their own.
 

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When I am at a job and if we see hazardous work. That wasn’t in job description we fix it anyways to an extend , but the Esa that’s who governors our work can make a homeowner fix any unsafe electrical that they see in the house during inspection, I’ve had it happened to me once Wasn’t fun .
 

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Most jurisdictions will have a "grandfathered" rule. If the panel was up to the code when the house was built, then it is fine now. Until you touch it to perform any work, then you "own it", need to bring it up to code.
The fact that you might have done work in the panel without a permit... it's for you to know, contractors and inspectors don't have time to go around to hunt for violators. They barely have time to inspect/perform their workload.
Not that the inspector couldn't get inside the house, in most jurisdictions the code inspectors are "Officers of the Law" and they can get a judge to sign a search warrant if he can point to a public risk (like fire that will extend to other houses, or even endangering the local fire fighters when responding to a fire in your house). "Public safety" is always put above personal liberty.

More, if you ever have a fire in your house, even if not electric, your insurance company will use those violations as an excuse to not pay you. If you pay mortgage, you will be then in trouble with the bank too.
Saving money by not pulling permits (even "owner permit") and having the work inspected is worth that risk?
 

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Possible, but highly unlikely. Been in the trade a long time and haven't
seen it happen.

EDIT: Above is in respect to original question regarding likely actions of
contractors. Nothing to do with inspectors.
 

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An inspector cannot violate your right to privacy by wandering around uninvited other than going to the inspection location and out.
Depends. If the scope of work is such that it triggers the requirement for smoke or CO detectors, then the inspector has the right, and obligation, to look in every bedroom for a detector. If that’s where code call for them.
 

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Possible, but highly unlikely. Been in the trade a long time and haven't
seen it happen.
The only time when I saw an inspector using his "officer of the law" prerogatives was like 20 years ago, on a job site inspection when he pointed a deficiency to the plumber contractor (I was the electrical). The plumber was not in a good mood (high?) and told the inspector to "f*** get of my jobsite" and "s* my d*".
The inspector pulled his gun, arrested him, and called for back-up (the Sheriff department). It was pretty intense. Sheriff booked the plumber contractor. He came back to work next Monday but the GC fired him nonetheless. I doubt he would get another commercial job, because the GC's talk to each other.
 

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The basic rule is, anything you mess with, you have to bring up to code. If you're replacing the panels anyway, get ones with enough spaces that you don't have to do double taps. (Actually, there are a few panels for which the breakers are listed to be double tapped. But if you're going to replace the panel anyhow, de-complicate your life and put each incoming circuit on its own breaker.) If the sub-panel doesn't have its grounds and neutrals separated, you will have to correct that. But the fact that you worked on your panels doesn't give the inspector the right to go into your kitchen to see whether or not you have GFCIs there. When you re-wired that bathroom, you did bring it up to code, right? If you still have the walls open, now's the time.

The only time I've ever heard of a tradesman going to an inspector to blab about a violation was when the GC ordered him to do something in a non-compliant way.
 

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I’m interested in getting our main breaker panel and a subpanel in the garage upgraded and was going to have a few local electricians come out to give me estimates. The house has a bunch of issues that aren’t up to current code
Most jurisdictions will have a "grandfathered" rule. If the panel was up to the code when the house was built, then it is fine now. Until you touch it to perform any work, then you "own it", need to bring it up to code.
It's not quite that harsh... there's a common-sense to it. For instance if you have a 3-wire garage subpanel that is grandfathered, and you add an EVSE circuit to it, you touched it but it doesn't oblige you to upgrade merely because of that.

SoNic; post: 6404216 said:
(double tapped breakers
May be legal. I've double-tapped breakers myself on Pushmatic. That or QO, I wouldn't bat an eye at a double-tap on those. They are listed and labeled for double-tapping. NEC 110.3(B). If in doubt, post a close-in picture of the breaker.

GFCI outlets missing
As long as they are GFCI protected (lose power when you trip a GFCI device elsewhere), they are a Code violation only because they lack a "GFCI Protected" sticker. That sticker is serious business when it comes to inspections.

But again, grandfathering applies. While bathroom and kitchen GFCI is so important I would retrofit it, you're not required to necessarily.


no separate ground for the subpanel
That is a Code change that occurred in the last 20 years. 2002? 2005? so it very well may be grandfathered.

It's a very good idea for reasons. Also keep in mind, non-flex metallic conduit is a ground path. My whole site is EMT conduit, miles of wire, none of it green.


We also have the wall in the bathroom open and it’s pretty obvious outlets and wiring have been recently replaced.
As long as that work is to Code, that's mainly an entitlement issue (the right to build).
 

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wrbrb - A qualified licensed and insured electrician does not play games like that. They need to maintain a reputation as many of their jobs come from referrals.

Replacing panels etc are safety issues that must meet certain standards/codes. These electricians should know what they are. For a project like this the electrician should be pulling a permit. Most electricians who have worked in your area prior basically knows what the inspectors they have worked with on other jobs look for specifically. Also these electricians will know more codes dictated by AhJ (authority having jurisdiction).

Call a few local electricians. Let them give you written estimates. Make sure they are licensed and insured. Compare the estimates - cheapest is not always the best. Let them give you an education of what needs to be done. You will be able to tell from what they say if you feel comfortable working with them.

You may have to spend some money but you will sleep better at night at the end.

When I went out to do estimates I would hear what the customer wants. Even if I felt the job was not for me for one reason or another I would still give the person information of what to look for or other tips to help them understand. I would answer their questions also.
 

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My whole site is EMT conduit, miles of wire, none of it green.
I guess I worked too long in commercial and military world. Here we (all the contractors) never install EMT without the green wire. It's allowed to use the EMT for that, but... why?
Same with double tapping. Might be allowed, and you can see it in existing installations, but we never plan to do that in new.

Like I said, NEC/NFPA70 is the minimum acceptable, not a design manual.
 

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Depends. If the scope of work is such that it triggers the requirement for smoke or CO detectors, then the inspector has the right, and obligation, to look in every bedroom for a detector. If that’s where code call for them.
An inspector still does not have the right to wander around looking for conformities or violations or to go anywhere without permission (from the person with a privacy interest). If he has a legitimate reason to look at something, he can ask for permission. If permission is denied, his remedy is to issue a stop work order, withhold a C of O and exercise legal options, or in extreme cases to ask a judge for a search warrant then go with a cop to serve it. That rarely happens.
 
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