Department of State Codes Division Southern Tier Regional Office Newsletter

Electrical Permits and Inspections -part II

Imagine that you are a code official and you have just done a plumbing inspection in a new house under construction. The plumbing work was poor and incorrect. You told the contractor that he would have to make changes before the work would be approved.

A few months later, you drive by the house and find that it is has been completed and somebody is living there. You stop to ask the man answering the door what is going on and he tells you that he does not have any idea what you are talking about. He states that his contractor handled all of the arrangements including the inspections. A few day later you see the contractor and he tells you that after your inspection, he hired another Code Official who approved the work and granted a Certificate of Occupancy after the final inspection.

Not possible you say? Every body knows that you can’t just go out and hire a different code official to do the inspections, right? Well, maybe. If fact it happens quite often - maybe with your inspections.

In last months news letter, I discussed electrical inspections and the importance of requiring permits for electrical work. Unless you are performing you own electrical inspections, you are replying on a third party agency.

As some of you know, I am on he Board of Directors of the Genesse Chapter of the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. The is an organization whose membership is comprised of electricians, electrical, inspectors, and power company members. One of the complaints that I hear frequently at these meetings is they type of problem that I have listed above.

An electrical inspector will visit a job site and make note of one or more electrical violations. He gives the list to the contractor. Many times, that particular electrical inspector will not hear from the contractor again. Later he will find out that the contractor went to another electrical inspector who approved the original work complete with the violations.

Since you are relying on the electrical inspector as your eyes on the job, you have now issued a Certificate of Occupancy on a building that contains violations. Rochester Gas & Electric used to get hundreds of poor quality inspections each year on electrical services. Those bad inspections ranged from grounds not being connected to having a final inspection and the house has not yet been built. Now RG&E makes each electrical inspection agency sign a contract before RG&E will accept their inspections.

How can you avoid this situation? Get to know your electrical inspector. You are the one who qualifies him or her to perform inspections in your jurisdiction. If you haven’t read part one of this subject, in the previous newsletter, click here