Service Drop Within Reach of Deck

I saw this condition today - the service drop cables were within an 18" reach of a second story deck. The cables are wrapped through and around a tree and the hangar is a piece of wire tied to a limb. The owner stated they had a letter from LIPA (utility) stating the installation was safe and within local standards. :roll:

A small child could grab these cables from at least 3 places.
I asked to see the letter but it was “misplaced” at the time.

Any thoughts?

These are the rest of the pics.


Just out of curiousity…

If they had the letter and showed it to you, would it make any difference as to what you wrote in your report?

No, I just didn’t believe they had any letter.

I’m with you. It’s hard to imagine anyone putting in writing that they either performed or condoned such unsafe work.

I work in a county with no building codes or licensed contractors. Shoddy electrical work is a way of life and people are burning to death in fires, quite often. The solution to that problem is…there are no fire marshals to investigate fires and place blame.

The idea of leaving behind a signed confession is not believable at all.

I really don’t think so!!!

Nice to know you have easy access to electrical for your kids treehouse:shock:

That’s just goofy. They don’t have any letter. It would make a difference in what I wrote though if they had one. I’d add get a second opinion because the utility guy does not what he’s taking about.

Your opinion counts. Write hard because someone could get killed.

Hey Guys,

Clearly these images are “shocking” to me ( pun intended ) but a sad fact is that if those conductors are run by the local utility and they did this CRAPPY work that again the NEC would not allow as a minimum safety standard, it is not covered by the NEC so in most cases a local municipal electrical inspector could not do anything other than the condition from the point of attachment which is too close ( less than 3’ and could fail the inspection but does not kill the war, this would only work on new construction however ). Now, as an HI you call it out…and be VERY specific about it and letter or no letter, this will not effect what you put in your report as it is dangerous and VERY poor workmanship by the local utility.

If you call the utility ( which I have done for the City of Richmond ) and told them that I wanted to ensure them that they are liable for any death or injury due to this poor workmanship that I would be the first in line to get on the witness stand in court to support the victims family…and a so called “letter” would only support the victims claim of neglect. No local code is going to endorse putting it’s community at risk over something the NESC probably prohibits anyway…BTW, the NESC is the code the utility work under if you did not know that.

Bottom line is this, put it on the report as a serious concern. Make the future buyers aware of it and you are done at that point. The choice is theirs to fight the fight but you did your job and moved on…you simply can’t fix STUPID, only aid in guarding against ignorance.

Once more…(sorry, Paul)…we see how the AHJ is limited to narrow confines of the code book.

Home inspectors are not.

Where code inspectors are controlled by the authors of the code and sometimes a politically motivated interpretation of it, we have at our disposal all sides of every issue to present to our clients in our reports to educate them, guide them, and help them live safely in their homes.

Call it what it is and recommend that it be changed to be more safe. Let others argue against it for whatever reasons they wish while you are assured that they have something OTHER than your client’s best interest as their reasoning and motivation.

Dude…did you only READ that portion of my statement?

Did you not see this portion…lol

I read your whole post and it seemed to me that you were pointing out what we (or many) already know…that the NEC does not conflict with the actions of the power company.

Why bring that up?

In my state, where the major portion of the geographical area is governed by no codes, Bubba gets a ladder and strings his own wire from the pole whenever and wherever he wants, assuming he doesn’t kill himself in the process. No codes…no inspectors. When the houses burn to the ground…and people die…nothing to worry about, since there are no fire marshalls to investigate and officially place blame for the fire.

Many states have no codes and many more have codes that are not enforced or are too weak to matter.

Home inspectors are not limited to them. Code inspectors are. You and other code inspectors have to accept and eat the errors made by your power company…but not all of us do.

sounds like a good story for the local tv station:D

film at 11:00

Why bring it up…WHY bring it up you ask…well because education knows no bounds and many might want to know how the whole picture plans out versus being closed minded to only HI world issues…:wink:

lol…it’s YOUR power company also…unless you live in the sticks with no Electricity my friend…lol

BTW, my client called me and told me the seller had sent her a copy of “the letter” that the seller provided. The letter stated that “after inspection of your trees, the trees are not impending harm on (Utilities) cabling. Thank you for your concern”. The “letter” in no way shape or form addressed the service drop and its close proximity.

There are a couple of issues here.

  1. Why isn’t the seller concerned about his/her and family safety?
  2. Why wouldn’t the utility take a more pro-active approach at looking into this problem? Maybe they were at the property before this condition existed.
  3. The more I do inspections; the more I realize how clueless some are.:roll:

Many times (and in this case) the buyers are young, newly married, inexperienced, new home buyers. These two were both young school teachers and had no clue. If I would have told the young man to reach out and grasp those cables, he probably would have.

Of course, letter or no letter, the safety factor remains and would not, should not and could not affect the report.

I firmly believe that my job as an inspector is not only to give a condition assessment of the property but also to educate the buyer, especially in the case of first time buyers.

Just imagine this couple moving into this house, throwing a party; drinking on this balcony; a little horseplay and a call to 911.

I emphatically recommended my clients have their lawyer pursue this issue with the seller’s attorney with an adequate resolution and repair prior to closing. I also told them I would be glad to re-inspect after the work was completed at no charge.