Originally Posted By: jgallant
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Thanks Dan for your most excellent story. I wrote the seller the letter below and sent it this morning:
Dear Mr. so-and-so,
Regarding the defective wiring in your electrical system's sub panel (the one to the left of the main service panel), this condition existed before I performed my inspection. In no way did I perform any action that would cause any problems with your wiring. As I mentioned twice in the note I left for you in your kitchen, I hadn't even removed any panel cover yet, I was only unscrewing the screws holding the sub panel cover on when the incident occurred. Simply removing panel covers will not cause damage to wiring where the wiring is installed correctly. As such, I will not assume any responsibility for repairs needed to this system.
Most professional organizations for home inspectors, including the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) and the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) have Standards of Practice that require home inspectors to remove all accessible electric panel covers so inspectors can describe and evaluate the wiring and interior components. For example:
American Society of Home Inspectors Standards of Practice
Section 7.1.A.5 ELECTRICAL SYSTEM
The inspector shall inspect the interior components of service panels and sub panels.
National Association of Home Inspectors Standards of Practice
Section 9.2.3 Procedures for Inspection
Inspect the main and branch circuit conductors for proper over current protection and condition by visual observation after removal of the readily accessible main and sub electric panel cover(s).
I've included a copy of the American Society of Home Inspectors Standards of Practice for reference.
Your expecting me to be responsible for repairs to this system is analgous to me walking on your deck, the deck collapsing, then your expecting me to pay for repairs to your deck. I merely found an existing problem with your wiring. I did not create a problem. I genuinely regret your being incovenienced by this, but I also feel fortunate that I or my clients weren't seriously injured, or worse, by this defective wiring.
For the record, I made every attempt to contact you as soon as possible regarding this, including:
1. Writing a note describing in detail exactly what I did and didn't do in attempting to evaluate the sub panel
2. Asked both the buyers' real estate agent and your agent for your phone number(s)
3. Left a message on your answering machine when I returned home
Owner, All Point Home Inspections - Poulsbo, WA www.allpointinspections.com
Co-founder, ReportHost (Web-based report writing service) www.reporthost.com