Codes Inspectors Miss More than You Think...

By
Home Inspector with Complete Home Inspections, Inc.

Codes Inspectors Miss More than You Think...
loose wiring in panel     I am critical with electrical issues especially when it comes to safety. While inspecting a new construction property located in the of Middle TN area, I was surprised to see so many problems in a recently installed panel.
     It has always been my practice to give the "tug test" on all wiring connections in panels. During the inspection of one of the sub-panels, I found one of the main leads to the was loose at the connecting lug.
     To me, this is a potential shock and fire hazard as aluminum wiring will expand and contract more than copper and can eventually work its way out of the connection. There were also several breaker connections that were loose as well. I often wonder how some of these issues get by the codes inspectors.

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Complete Home Inspections, Brentwood TN 615.661.0297
 

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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
1,052,616
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents

The problem is in some areas everything is not inspected or testes. It is "looked at" which is a big difference. A glance over a panel is no way an inspection. On the other side there are so few inspectors they have to complete a specific amount of inspections within a day. No one is following behind them to check on the checker per say. In our own new homes we have our own compliance and QC policies that check such work before the inspectors come. It is our name on the new home after all... 

September 05, 2011 09:09 AM #14
Rainmaker
776,606
Mike Cooper
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro

Michael, I just took an REO, and it had so many code violations that I called the county to see if this couple ever had a final.  Not only did they have a final, they also had an occupancy permit.  I've been through hundreds and hundreds of my own electrical inspections, and I can guarantee they would never had passed mine with the same flaws.  No way!  Good for you for checking those connections.

September 05, 2011 09:14 AM #15
Ambassador
986,242
Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

There are two things I will NOT mess with even in my own home: Plumbing and Electrical. Good thing these buyers had you on the job to notify them of this potential hazard. Well done my friend.

September 05, 2011 09:57 AM #16
Rainmaker
688,263
Cindy Edwards
RE/MAX Checkmate - Johnson City, TN
CRS, GRI, PMN - Northeast Tennessee - 423-677-6677

This does not surprize me.  have a great labor Day.

September 05, 2011 09:57 AM #17
Ambassador
984,597
Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Evanston & Northshore of Chicago real estate

sometimes it's a simple matter of "where" the inspector came from.  If he originated as an electrician... he pays particular attention to those things electrical.  If he was once a roofer, well, you know he's gonna walk that roof with a critical eye... and if he was a general contractor, you know he's not going to pay much attention to anything, and he'll show up late...

Oh, wait... did I say that out loud?

Mea Culpa.  Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa.

September 05, 2011 11:04 AM #18
Ambassador
768,145
Robert & Lisa Hammerstein
Keller Williams Valley Realty - Hillsdale, NJ
Bergen County NJ Real Estate

Michael - We too don't mess with electrical. It's a good thing you were on the job in spotting these issues. You guys are always worth your wait in gold in my opinion... Have a great Labor Day

September 05, 2011 11:33 AM #19
Rainer
232,378
Mike Yeo
3:16 team REALTY - Frisco, TX

Inspectors are human too. They too make mistakes and that is why an independent inspection is always advised.

September 05, 2011 11:41 AM #20
Rainmaker
313,610
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

"Tug Test?" I'll have to remember that one. Hope your clients appreciate the experience you bring your work.

September 05, 2011 11:44 AM #21
Rainmaker
421,295
Leslie Ebersole
Baird&Warner Fox Valley - Saint Charles, IL
REALTOR - Chicagonulls Western Suburbs

And what happens when you tug and it comes apart? Are you allowed to put it back together?

 

September 05, 2011 12:02 PM #22
Rainmaker
286,717
Barb Van Stensel
Chicago, IL

Inspectors for the City are pretty loose over here and they do not check alot of things because they may know the company that does the work and so it passes.  That isn't an inspection in my book and not what we pay for in money for the permits.  I am so glad that you have posted this because a good home inspector may just find out these things but have to admit, we don't have home inspectors as "anal" as you.  Maybe you could move?

September 05, 2011 12:19 PM #23
Rainer
177,469
Rosalie Evans
Meritus Group Real Estate - Sioux Falls, SD
The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale

People get lulled into complacency when buying new and they shouldn't be! Some builders are hiding stuff and cutting corners just as much as remodelers! It's very important to protect your own interests!

September 05, 2011 12:34 PM #24
Rainer
277,179
Steven Cook
No Longer Processing Mortgages. - Tacoma, WA
- Pierce, King, Kitsap, Thurston, Mason Counties

We were putting in electical service meter box at site one time, and due to distance from nearest transformer, had upped the size of wire we were using.  It just didn't want to fit into the clamps.  Inspector came by and looked at it, and said was OK by him if OK by Electric Company (though he thought they might want small change).  When Electric Company rep shwed up, he though the electrical inspector wouldn't like it - but it was fine for them.  All three of us had performed "tug test".

September 05, 2011 12:46 PM #25
Rainmaker
123,638
Iran Watson
Georgia Elite Realty - Marietta, GA
Marietta Real Estate Agent - Photographer

Code inspectors, like the rest of us, are human and mistakes and oversights will be made from time to time.  It's not always the inspector, however, as builders and remodelers have ways to mask and quick fix certain problems just to get the county inspector to sign off on it.  I don't think it happens as much as we fear it does, but there is always the possibility...

Having said that, the best possible protection for issues like what you mentioned is a home inspection from a qualified home inspector.  I tell clients that its the best money you can spend prior to closing.

September 05, 2011 01:06 PM #26
Rainmaker
648,060
Evelyn Kennedy
Gallagher & Lindsey, Alameda, California - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA

Michael:

How can the inspectors be so lax.  This is a testimonial for a property inspector to inspect the home before it is purchased.

September 05, 2011 01:22 PM #27
Rainmaker
856,684
Wayne Martin
Michael Saunders & Company - Sarasota, FL
Sales Manager - New Homes & Condominiums Division

You would think a little tug on the main supply lines would get someones attention. There are some things where you just have to be hands-on! Glad you caught it! Enjoy your day!

September 05, 2011 01:53 PM #28
Ambassador
1,505,924
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Michael, when you were pulling on those wires did you have a nice insulated pair of pliers, or the bare finger approach? Very few inspectors will give a big pull inside the panels.

September 05, 2011 04:25 PM #29
Rainmaker
71,450
Pat, Ben and Martin Mullikin
Mullikin Family Realty Group Realty Executives - Integrity - Brookfield, WI

Very frightening that someone's lax performance of their (government) job puts people's lives at risk.

September 05, 2011 05:39 PM #30
Rainmaker
561,039
Corinne Guest
Barrington Realty Company - Barrington, IL
Barrington's Country Suburban Home Matchmaker

This really does not bode well for the home owner. And then there are the home owners that don't get permits. Home inspections are a must when you buy a home for these 2 reasons alone.

September 06, 2011 09:20 AM #31
Rainmaker
984,233
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, Huntsville AL - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

Michael, I'm a little surprised at the number of home buyers that don't think it's necessary to have a home inspector because because they're buying new construction.   I've seen inspectors catch really big problems in new construction and the buyers are now believers.

September 07, 2011 07:28 PM #32
Rainmaker
711,604
Will Nesbitt
Nesbitt Realty at Condo Alexandria - Alexandria, VA
Nesbitt Realty is a family-run brokerage.

Very informative article and useful information to have.

September 21, 2011 05:08 PM #33
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Michael Thornton

Home Inspector - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.0297
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