NACHI, Illinois, and Massachusetts approved continuing education material

WillI am Joe T. and I was not offended at all. My message called attention to NACHI Educational Information and included material that covered some Physics. Your comments, based upon your training, seemed to show where some questions about clarity was brought to the table.The subject of my experience versus the HI Electrical experience has been discussed before. I believe that we could learn a great deal about this part of an inspection by an actual field inspection.We should sit down around a table at the convention and discuss this process through the eyes of those with knowledge and training in the electrical field, why we have some people here that have that experience and offer it freely. I too try to help and some do see where I am coming from, I think?

Joe T.;

That's kind of the point. All I needed to know to do a home inspection electrical inspection, following the SOP of the state and NACHI, I already learned (classroom and lab) in the state approved pre-license class, taught by experienced home inspectors who had been doing it for years and were themselves, licensed.

Now, with education, the rule is the more the better. But if I even attempt to do an inspection that comes anywhere near that that can be performed by a code inspector or a master electrician, I am just crusing for a brusin', liability and legal wise.

When you say 'actual field inspection' you are talking about a whole different thing than a home inspection. I don't think that you see the difference.

Will

When I mentioned a "field inspection" I was thinking about one where we would both go to a home and inspect the electrical system.

I would keep my mouth shut, while you made an inspection of the service equipment, removing the cover(s), and system grounding., later to do the same.

Believe me Will, I understand that you want to CYA, while I would want to be as complete as possible listing all of the defects, not just a few.

why do you feel you need to police Home Inspectors....like Will. Why do you find it necessary to try and find fault in an electrical panel inspection he has done. I think if he had something he was unsure of he has the necessary humility to ask for help but I think will is pretty competent and secure in what he does. Yet it seems from your posts that you are challenging him to show you a pic of an electrical panel and want to view his evaluation of that panel so you can ridicule it....like you did with that other bulletin board post.

Am I wrong....that is what I am reading into it Joe...maybe your coming on to strong.

Yes you are wrong, I deleted the last sentence and meant no harm and I am not policing anyone.

Guys;

This seems to be going far afield. This media is not the best place for trying to convey nuanced concepts. I will try to clarify.

I used to do handyman work, part time. I had a family that wanted a) Upgrade from 100 amp to 12o amp service, b) their entire basement (35 x 20) wired / rewired in preperation to finish it off as living space, c) add a bathroom. This family and I had a pervious relationship and the trusted me. They had been previously burned by a 'contractor' on an addition, where I had cleaned up the 'contactors' mess.

First , I took inventory of what I (and my brother) could do and what we couldn't do. (BTW: This was before I even thought about becoming an inspector.)

I called in an electrician I knew and had him a) coordinate with Com Ed to change the drop and the meter (equipped with an exterior disconnect), b) Change out the weather head to a new rigid pipe one (the old one was flexible cable) and c) run new 3/0 AWG service entrance conductor from the utility company splice right through to the old service equipment panel (no subs).

Next, I bought a new Square D 200 amp panel and breakers. On a Saturday, when the family was gone, I killed the power at the meter disconnect, removed the old panel and installed the new one. I then installed a new ground rod on the exterior and using rated parts, correctly bonded the ground rod to a #2 ground conductor which I pulled in via the service entrance rigid pipe.

I bonded the panel with the ground and neutral at the service equipment and made sure that all the old conduit (EMT) was also bonded. Then I hooked up the two legs, put in the breakers and hooked up the old branch service conductors, matching their gauge with the breaker rating. I had to pull one new branch (the wires were old and not long enough to reach the new breaker) on the kitchen refrigerator branch. I used 10 AWG for this (20 amp) and the old branch was on #14 (a defect right there, wire was #15, old breaker was 20 amp). I also had to run a new neutral from one bedroom because it was sharing its neutral with a bathroom. All the existing EMT was 3/4" so this was not a problem.

I made sure that all the bedroom branches had their own neutral and I installed AFCI breakers for the bedrooms.

Checked everything, twice, turned on the power and everything worked. I double checked every outlet with a suretest. Everything OK. AFCIs worked and ground reading was > .4 ohms everwhere.

Next weekend I layed the new conduit for the basement. 6 new branches, 2 for wall outlets, 2 for lights (10 in ceiling can lights, 5 on each branch) 1 for the new bathroom outlets and 1 20 amp circuit for the bathroom ceiling fan which was also equipped with an electric heating unit. I checked the bonding of the ground all around. For the 15 amp circuits, I used 12 AWG. For the one 20 amp run I used #10. Hooked it all up, double checked it and switched on the power. I even ran 2 seperate (on two separate raceways to the bathroom) green ground wires for connection of the 2 GFCI outlets and the ceiling fan to a dedicated ground.

When the village inspector came (the owner had obtained the permits) he was floored. He said that he had never seen such careful work. He was a little perplexed that I had oversized the new wires by one size, but I explained that given the history of owner 'modifications' (the two sons were engineers and felt they were qualified to up breakers without upping the wire), I decided to over engineer it. He passed it right away.

He didn't quite understand why I put a weatherproof cable from the disposer to the jbox, but I explained that it was a wet area. Maybe electricians don't get shocked when they are under a kitchen sink, but handymen shure do, when the are changing out the kitchen faucet. Additional cost, $2.10. Well worth it.

As a handyman, I had different concerns for the electrical than an electrician would. My oldest friend, Master electrician, former asst chief electrical inspector for the City of Chicago and currently an instructor at the IBEW union school in Justice, IL, said that I over engineer. As an electrician, be does things to the lowest standard that he can get away with. More profit for him. As a handyman, I did things to a standard that would best serve the family I was doing the work for, make them happy with the job I did and make sure that they never had to call me back to 'fix' something that I had worked on.

Joe, if the NEC code was universal, if every AHJ in the country adopted the NEC exactly as it is written (and very few do, at least around here), maybe your position would be more tenable. But even if that is the case, there are plenty of things that are allowed under the NEC that are not the 'best' way to do it, nor are they the safest way for the consumer.

Local codes allow houses, built before GFCIs existed, to have bathrooms without GFCIs. It meets code, but is it safe.

I have, regularly, called out lack of GFCIs in older bathrooms and recommended evaluation by a licensed and isured electrican. More than once, I get a call from the sparky that the seller hired with him telling me that the house meets code. I then ask him is he is willing to put in writing (on his letterhead with his license number and E&O insurance certification (most electricians do not even carry E&O)), that the electrica system is safe. He just comes back with "it's code". He cannot possibly even concieve of the notion that there is any standard other than code.

He lives and works and understands things in a different worldview.

Home inspectors must live and work and understand things in a realm that, in many cases, exceed mere codes. This does not mean that codes are worthless of bad or that home inspectors shouldn't know and understand the codes (even though, where I work, there are about 25 very different codes that I have to know). It just means that codes are a minimum standard, denoting what must be met as a minimum by contractors in order to get local AHJ approval of their work.

Home inspectors must under, at least, our state's law, inspect to the standard of safety. A very different world.

Hope this helps.

[quote]
Home inspectors must under, at least, our state's law, inspect to the standard of safety. A very different world.
[/quote]

Will:

Please expand on this statement and direct me to the law you describe. :D

The state of illinois home inspection act, linked here:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1359&ChapAct=225 ILCS 441/&ChapterID=24&ChapterName=PROFESSIONS+AND+OCCUPATIONS&ActName=Home+Inspector+License+Act%2E

and the laws administrative rules, which stem from the law:

http://www.ilga.gov/commission/jcar/admincode/068/06801410sections.html

To make it easier, the state SOP says that inspectors must call out all 'significanty deficient systems, components or items'.

'Significantly Deficient', in the administrative rules 1410.100, a, 10 as "Unsafe of not functioning. If a water heater is 'not functioning', for whatever reason, it is 'Significantly Deficient' Unsafe is also defined, in 1410.100, a, 15:

"Unsafe: A condition in a system or component that is a significant risk of personal injury or property damage during normal, day-to-day use. The risk may be due to damage, deterioration, improper installation or a change in accepted residential construction standards."

In other words, if something poses a 'significant risk' of personal injury or property damage. 'Significant Risk' here has been shown, in case law to mean if the risk itself is significant, not if the risk is probable. A 1% change of death is significant risk. A 80% chance of cutting yourself is not significant risk. The risk is a measure of the damage or injury, not the probability of damage or injury happening.

Notice the last phrase. Sure, we all know about outlets that are damaged, deteriorated or improperly installed. That a code inspection would find and defect. But the last sentence is what I am talking about. "change in accepted residential construction standards". Not local codes or even NEC changes (although NEC would have greater weight than the local codes of the Village of Riverwoods). If an "accepted construction standard" changes, like the rules on GFCIs and AFCIs, which the NEC now requires because they are safer than before, we, as home inspectors must recognize the new standard of safety and call it out.

True Sory, from 5 months ago:
House built in 2005. Built in the Village of Round Lake (about 25 miles north of me) by Pasqinalli builders. No AFCI protection. Village code does not require AFCI protection (even though NEC does).

By 'Code' and according to the AHJ code inspectors, who I talked to, and the builder and the Union Journeyman, who I also talked to, OK. And I agree, as far as code goes.

My state mandated job, according to the law I just quoted above, and that anyone is free to check for themsleves as I (and my Lawyer) has, is to recognize the new 'accepted construction standard' as set forth, in this case, by the NEC, is to call out the lack of AFCI protection as a 'significantly defective' component.

If I don't and a fire starts because some jamoke had his dresser sitting on an extension cord and a the house burns down, I am liable. Not the AHJ, not the builder, not the electrician (a good guy, BTW, who agreed with me but wanted to keep his job with the builder) and not you. Just me. My E&O takes the hit. I loose my license forever (probably) because I ignored the state SOP and I loose my NACHI membership because NACHI requires that I comply with every state law.

If you inspected it, you would say "it's code" and you would be correct.

But would it be safe.

When we broke bread together, I posed such a question to you and you warned me that if I followed this course of action I "would be laughed off the place" by the electricians.

You live in the world of electricians, where "code" is the highest authority. There is nothing 'wrong' with that. That is your job and you are, not just good, but a wonder in your field. You are a good man. You are very highly accomplished. I also had the privledge of observing you teach, and you are also a great teacher. You are blessed with gifts in that you a) "know your fecal material" and b) know how to teach. A rare combination.

But in the world of home inspectors, especially in licensed states with other standards from the world you live in, you are, I am deeply sad to say (because I like and respect you, both as a man and as an educator), dangerous.

This is because you seem to be incapable of extending yourself out of your world and your experience and your routine and your deep love for what you do (and do well) into another, wholly different world.

You have had, in the past (and the past is past, at least in my book) chosen to take a financially advantagous trip into our world, found it 'curious' and went back to your world and had a good laugh with your buddys. But, Joe, it was at our expense.

I really, truely and prayerfully, hope that you can understand this. I, and many others, would simply LOVE for you to finally understand this difference in worldview and "come on down" to our side. You are a resource. I can't say it any more respectively or hopefully.

But that is just me. :mrgreen:

Hi Joe,

That is the same point I was trying to make with you on the LIRR.

Will,

Thank you that is the same way I felt after meeting Joe in Long Island.
Very well said.

Greg;

Please understand. I am, in myself, a jerk.

I don't want to start anything here, but I constantly fight against myself.

Joe is a good guy. He just doesn't get it.

I am 6'8" tall and hate basketball (I was a member of the 1979 American National Team in Rugby, though). People look at me and say, like my Mom, "G_d gave you height. To not play Basketball is against His will". (I love my Mom, but she is an incurable 'jock'!)

Joe does what he does, and very exceptionally. Like I said, I broke bread with the man and that is not something I do without thought (especially when I am paying for it!).

I am begging Joe out of his comfort zone. Out of his worldview into ours.

He has so much to offer, to teach, to give in service.

Joe, would you rather be comfortable or would you rather have joy?

You choice.

Always has been.

Hope this helps

Baruch HaShem

I have no ill feelings toward Joe. Like you I respect him. I too feel that Joe has a wealth of knowledge that would benefit all home inspectors.

Totally and without reservation, agree!

Just needs to join us in our world.

I truely hope he does.

(That will make my job WAY easier!)

It comes down to one simple concept: Teaching is an ART, and not a SCIENCE.

Joe T does have a lot to offer. Transitioning from a purely electrician-based view of inspections, to the HI's view of the world is his challenge. I believe he will make it.

It's funny, because here in NY, the AHJ can be any number of entities. In portions of Westchester County, the power company (ConEd) is the AHJ, and they are often not "code purists".

NY State is also not recognizing the current version of the NEC. AFCIs are not required on new construction.

So, once again, the inspector is caught in the middle. We need to recognize things, and know how to report them, even when it is not technically a "code ciolation" . As to Illois, I always knew it to be a scary place... up until now, I had no idea HOW scary.

Wow...

To Will, Joe T, and Greg... this was a really good thread.

To Will, the Physicist... you aint on a high horse.... In this game, there arent may absolutes. Always more than one way to skin a cat. Keep up the great work, guys!

OK, I am on your side. I will look forward to the convention where we can listen to the instructors teach about home inspections.

I am sure we are attending some of the same seminars. I understand the process, and wonder how many other Home Inspectors around the country call out the AFCI requirements. The existing wiring and equipment may not be suitable for that type of device.

Until the exception, permitting a device other than an AFCI circuit breaker becomes available, I am wondering how I would install an AFCI CB in a Zinsco or Bulldog type panel?

Joe;

AFCI breaker in a Zinsco or FPE bulldog (really, Stab-Lok) panel!

This problem will haunt me for years!

Thank you, Joe T., ever so little.

How about this. A debate! Schedule a debate! During the convention!

Many would pay, good money. The "Phyisist" V.S the "Code Guru"!!!!

I would pay good money for that!

Anyone want to join us?

I will pay, personally, pay for the room. There! I have publically posted it.

Hope we are all winners!

Anyone?

Note to Nick and Paul. Want to REALLY shake up those NAHI guys?

Get on board!

:D

Will:

I accept, but let's really make it interesting and add 5 more Home Inspectors, that's 6 against 1 which is typical when it comes to the issues at hand.

Let the audience ask the questions, and have Aimee as the moderator with the replies coming from the members on the panel.

I am sure questions will arise that will be answered very easily when related to the safety of an installation and typical defects. Here are a few. :mrgreen:

  1. How do you install an AFCI CB in an existing 40 year old Zinsco or Bulldog Panel panel?

  2. Why is it so important to be concerned about the condition of an existing properly maintained installation? Can it be rebuilt and cleaned up a bit?

  3. Can I go beyond the SOP and add additional recommendations to my report based upon the national fire and shock problems cited by the CPSC?

  4. What's your idea of what is considered as a safety defect? Is a missing plate, or wall switch installed upside down a problem, or how about the panel directory, can it a problem when inaccurate?

Also the members of this panel should come from around the country - from East to West and in between.

I can think of a few who who add some good conversation and discussion.

http://www.cpsc.gov/library/fire96.pdf

Please save the wise cracks for the convention!

Wise cracks? Me? Surely you jest!

\:D/

Will:

Some good comments, thank you Sir, and some I will agree with. The title you propose for this debate would be easier to deal with if we agreed to call it the "Home Inspector's Electrical Inspection Round table", even if all we see are those sitting at the table.

Can we look at some images and discuss what's wrong here?

You have many images, and so do I, and they can cover old and new installations in different areas.

How many old Zinsco or Bulldog Panels are still serviceable, and what if the replacement of a defective breaker was all that was needed?

I think that Paul made a comment recently about some of the other panels that are also responsible for a fire because of a malfunction.

\:D/ \:D/ \:D/