Originally Posted By: jfarsetta
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I respect your opinion, but I feel that in this instance you are wrong. The only acceptable route is to write it up as a recommended improvement. For the past month I have read your commentary regarding electrical codes, and spouting all sorts of stuff. You are a really knowledgable guy, that's for sure. But I also feel that you sometimes need to decide which hat you wear. You are either a code enforcement official or you are a home inspector. Sometimes the two run contrary.
Some Code officials up my way would actually be advising sellers to sue you, because, in fact THEY decide the applicability of the codes, not the HI. They have seen this kind of reporting before, were dragged into the fray by a frantic seller or attorney, and are starting to get really pissed at what they perceive legally and ethically, as the HI overstepping his/her bounds. And whether you approve of the practice or not, each municipality enforces the rules differently. For instance, AFCIs are NOT required on new housing up my way, old armor sheathing on BX cable is an acceptable grounding conductor, etc. So, in the end, it's HOW things are worded to make the correct point; and, there's a clear distinction between saving the sale by soft-selling things, and what we are speaking of here. The two should not be mixed, and in my style of reporting, never are.
So, again, I respect your level of knowledge and certifications. I also respect your opinion, but there is definitely areas where simple black and white will not suffice. There are areas of grey, and for that matter, shades of grey. This is one of them.
So long as the HI notes or suggests the need for improvement in the report, we have done our jobs. To state that something is now "not allowed" is an absolutely false statement. The electrical code has evolved, and continues to evolve. Things which were installed or engineered to yesterdays standards are still allowed to exist. Upgrades are NOT an automatic requirement of law. Tere are millions of grandfathered electrical installations throughout the us. To believe that each standard which has been improved upon automatically warrants an upgrade is ridiculous.
Sorry for the outburst, but the finite interpretation of the electrical code, and its applicability to each house we inspect, especially older homes, is not what our jobs are about.
Bob Badger had it right. He is the guy who will be called to the house when we call out todays standards on a 1950's house, and when it's not black and white, will look at the client or seller, scratch his head, and say "Huh?"...
To Rob O's point, he's right in that you will rarely get the electrician to put it in writing. Regardless of if they do or not, the HI is rarely there at the time the electrician shows up. In the end, whether in writing or not, this guy's opinion will probably hold water in the client's and the seller's eyes. In some instances up this way, the electrical inspector has gotten involved and DID put some things the HI called out as "not allowed" in writing as false statements. There's the danger of playing code enforcer/interpreter. These guys look at the applicability of the codes at he time of construction or upgrade. They also may spin things. And that is the point.
Use common sense. So, for me: Do I comment on double tapped neutrals? Yup. Do I recommend they be separated? Yup. Do I state that the electrical code doesnt permit it? Nope. Because, in fact, I dont know if the AJH permits it. Do I recommend GFIs where there are none? Yup. Do I call it a defect? Nope. Not if it wasnt a requirement to have them when the home was built.
We're getting lost in the sauce here...
Illigitimi Non Carborundum
"Dont let the bastards grind you down..."