This House Met Code.

We’ve been hearing much from visiting Electrical Inspectors and instructors teaching us as to how they are forced to follow us up after a report and inform the seller how the HI’s write up is incorrect…because the condition mentioned in the report was allowed by the code at the time of installation.

Here is a story from today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch that should make them feel very proud.

Mike Witt, Electrical Inspector and instructor, on the Home Inspector who recommends the GFCI in a pre-1971 construction:

Code enforcers work for and are paid by the cities and counties that hire them. Those whose advice is limited to that from code enforcers (and their reference books) do not provide a useable service to the public. In fact, as illustrated in this article, they actually pose a threat to the public.

Citizens are best served by ignoring them.


As tragic as that story was and as much as it pains my heart to hear of that needless loss I can’t for the life of me see where that needless death has anything to do with home inspections or the compliance of the wiring system of the home where this accident took place.

I watched the video and within the first few seconds of the video the statement was made that she grabbed hold of a home made flood light that was placed so the kids could play in the pool in the dark.

The codes have always mandated that GFCI protection be installed around pools. Neither the codes, electrical contractors, electrical code officials or Home Inspectors can stop people from doing stupid things. The putting of a home made flood light in the area of a pool where kids are playing can not be controlled by anyone other than the responsible adult that was in charge of watching those children.

My prayers go out to both the families, the one who lost their child and the one where the accident took place. May God be with them, Amen.

In North Carolina the code officials get paid by the jurisdiction in which they work but are qualified by the State Department of Insurance and untimely answer to them.
They are a sworn officer and enforce the codes as they are adopted into North Carolina law.

Again I fail to see where anyone other than the person who put the home made flood light at the pool could be considered at fault in this tragedy. I did not read nor hear where there was any code violation mentioned.

Once again, May God be with all involved with this needless death, Amen.

Let me see if I can help you.

When I inspect a house that was built prior to 1971 for my client (who I know has a house full of kids) I will recommend GFCI’s for all of the outdoor outlets in my report.

You will visit the seller and convince him that the code in 1971 did not require it and I am wrong to include it in my report.

My client will buy the house without GFCI’s…aware of your learned rebuttal to my report…and next summer, he will inflate a temporary swimming pool and put it in the back yard for a few summer months…next to the trampoline…next to his temporary flood light.

Does that help you to understand?

But wouldn’t you be then exceeding the SOPs?


While the lack of GFCI may not be a code violation, it is a material defect in that it involves an unreasonable risk to people on the property. It is operating within and in accordance with the SOP that one would observe and report that material defect.


So let me understand…

Your contention was that it was the adult’s fault for plugging a home made light into the unproteccted receptacle.

The adult’s fault.

… Proving your elitism once again.

Would it have mattered it a radio was plugged in, or toaster, or microwave oven, or home-made lamp, or drill, or vacuum, or anything else?

Was it the child’s fault that they should have known better?

Was it the vintage of the home? Just because it’s a pool doesnt mean that electrical shenanigans cant abound.

Saw no GFCI protection at my brother’s own in-ground pool. The outdoor lighting circuits were not protected. The filter was 15’ from the water, with twist locks 20’ from the panel box. Passed inspection.

Is it right? Is it his fault if someone gets shocked. No, it’s MY fault for not opening my mouth. His own friends wired it. Career electricians. Eventually, GFCI protection was added to the lighting and filter circuits.

Took me raising awareness to get it done.

And your point was?

Originally Posted by rwand1
But wouldn’t you be then exceeding the SOPs?

But you said what you normally do in practice if the house is prior to 1971? Its not called for in the SOP, so you have to exceed the SOP to be able to call for something that the SOP does not cover fwiw.

I agree Jim.

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

When it comes to this type of description as Jim puts it, I would do the same thing. Call it out as a recommendation highly warranted and expressed.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

The SOP requires me to identify and document material defects. The lack of GFCIs, no matter what the code may say or not say at the time the house was built, is a material defect. I am operating in accordance with the SOP to report it. I have exceeded nothing.

I like to say to the client and in the report, while back in the old days when the technology may not of been available for Ground Fault Receptacles to be installed outside and inside your home, I know you value the life of another individual, so I highly recommend that you install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters, because for a small price, you may save a child’s life, or an adult.

And if there is anything you don’t understand about Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters and how they protect lives, I will spend the rest of the day here explaining until you do understand if necessary.

Jim and I agree (go figure).

Home inspectors are, first and formost, concerned with safety hazards, especially in used homes.

Just because it “complied” with local codes at the time the house was built does not mean that it is safe (according to current standards).

If there were exterior GFCIs, and garage GFCIs, this kid wouldn’t have died.

I would love to see the local code inspector, when asked why the kid wasn’t protected and why the house didn’t have GFCI protection, explain, “Well, it was in compliance when it was built.”

I always recommend upgrading to current standards when it comes to issues of safety.

This does not seem to be a position that code inspectors or some electricians seem to be able to understand.

Home Inspectors have to comply with a higher standard, even it is seems to exceed the SOP.

Otherwise, we can be found liable, as well as having trouble sleeping knowing that someone died because of your inaction.

But, all we can do is explain and recommend to the client.

Back in the old daze…err…days…nice way to put it. :smiley:

Glad you made it through today, Dale. All fixed up are ya?

Sounds to me that the SOP permit a great deal of latitude given the glossay of terms definition of ‘unsafe’. If there is that much latitude it may be arguable that the SOP permit flexability, thus exceeding the SOP were certain conditions exist. I think that is a good thing, and not to defer from James comments.

What a day of remembrance this will be.

Dale is up an kicking and we are all agreeing with Jim.

Jim, Good going.

Thank you for your consideration for safety.

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley: :smiley: :wink:

Yes, 'tis good to be alive! :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Thank you cause I can use all the help I can get.

Wrong remark here my friend. I do not ever for any reason say that the Home Inspector was wrong for calling out anything and if I was fortunate enough to get to see your report I would think that were slack if you didn’t call it out.
What I would do would be to advise my client that at the time of installation the codes did not require GFCI protection.
What you did was tell the buyer that they are an idiot if they decide to buy the house as is and don’t address the safety issue.

Yep I understand a whole lot better now.

Help me see if I got it right this time.

You told the buyer that there is a danger by not having the outside receptacle protected by GFCI and he decided to leave it like it was and test the thing by buying a tub that will hold water and jury rigging a light on a cord so it would reach all the way to this tub of water and sent his kids out to do the testing.

Yep sounds like an idiot to me. He should have listened to the professional that he hired don’t you think.

James, your on and I am here.


Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Hi Larry,

Nope, not repaired…the knife is next…:frowning: