What Is Professional Responsibility?

Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

As a home inspector in Connecticut I am a licensed professional service provider. There are many licensed trades and professions in my State, many of which are associated with people's homes. A license requirement means there is a defined amount of training involved in order to ply that particular trade or profession. A license also implies a higher level of skill and most importantly responsibility.Wrong way

The license holder is held ultimately responsible for the work they perform. Lose the license, lose your livelihood.  In other words if you or someone working under your license screws up, you are held accountable.

On a recent home inspection I discovered a common issue with an electric sub panel located inn the basement. The panel had been incorrectly wired rendering it unsafe. Most often this is due to a do it yourselfer or general contractor doing the wiring instead of a licensed electrician. In this particular instance however, a licensed electrician had very likely been inside the panel.

You see there was a second sub panel in the garage. It had been added during the homeowner's most recent addition to the home as stated in the disclosure. This panel was fine, most likely done by a licensed electrician. My issue is that the power feeding this panel was taken from the mis-wired sub panel in the basement. A breaker was installed in the "bad" panel and wires run out to the new panel in the garage.

And no one noticed the panel in the basement was unsafely wired. Which by the way means that panel in the garage is not safely wire either. Putting in a breaker and running new wires takes a little time. It also involves connecting wires to the correct terminals. There is absolutely no excuse why the wrongly wired panel should not have been caught and corrected.Right way

A licensed tradesman should be exercising professional responsibility. Even if the homeowners balked at the extra expense or some other such nonsensical excuse, the electrician could have pushed the matter. This wiring is unsafe! Is there really any excuse for letting it go?

I think not.

Someone needed to step up and take responsibility. Too bad no one did.



James Quarello
Connecticut Licensed Home Inspector
2010 - 2011 SNEC-ASHI President
NRSB #8SS0022
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

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James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

 ASHI Certified Inspector

To find out more about our other high tech services we offer in Connecticut click on the links below:

Learn more about our Infrared Thermal Imaging & Diagnostics services.

Serving the Connecticut Counties of Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, Southern Litchfield and Western New London.


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Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

You are so right in someone taking responsibility.  I get so weary of everyone passing the buck with these issues.

Feb 01, 2011 12:40 AM #1
Tom Robinson
Keller Williams Realty Kingstowne/Alexandria, VA Office - Fairfax, VA
Experienced Real Estate, Professional Serving No. VA and DC

Thanks James. I have a contract on a potential future retirement home that has been upgraded but does have some aluminum wiring in it. Before I rent or move in the home, I am going to call a licensed electrician I know to review all of the circuits. The home inspector, who is very thorough, thought the panel had been upgraded professionally but agreed I needed to have an electrician look at some of the circuits and make sure each of the outlets was to code for safety.

Feb 01, 2011 12:43 AM #2
Diane Osowiecki
Diane O and Friends - Benchmark Realty - Franklin, TN
Greater Nashville Real Estate

How about an HVAC company installing heat and air in a garage.  No big deal right?  Well not until they installed the air intake in the garage as well.  Carbon monoxide anyone?

Feb 01, 2011 12:55 AM #3
Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

Once again you make my point why I am adamant about my clients having a home inspection performed by a LICENSED home inspector.

Feb 01, 2011 02:04 AM #4
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Licensed, Licensed, Licensed, can we say this enough? Guess not... I saw a furnace that would have made you hair curl, or fall out. The wires coming out of it were.... scary.... it was a total mess, the potential buyers were horrified when they looked at it. Bet Uncle Louie fixed it... and Uncle Louie ain't licensed for anything but to drink beer.

Feb 01, 2011 02:10 AM #5
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Mr James,

FYI, I have arrived home as of today. I rescued myself.


Feb 01, 2011 03:24 PM #6
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Good point made about the responsibility of a licensed pro!  Great catch on the panels too!

Be sure to see HOW Nutsy made it back...

Feb 01, 2011 10:24 PM #7
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Paula, It unfairly gets passed onto the home inspector quite a bit in my experience.

Tom, Aluminum wiring should be repaired to protect against arcing. There is no "code" defining this, just industry knowledge.

Diane, A return air duct in a garage!? Sounds like an Uncle Bob job.

Craig, Licensed is a good start.

Andrea,Ah yes good old Uncle Louie. You just have to pay him in beer and pizza...and pray everything works right after he's done.

Nutsy, How nice for the boss.

Jay, Thanks. I will check out the infamous squirrels return.

Feb 02, 2011 12:17 AM #8
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Delivering the Unbiased Truth.

Was that third panel ever inspected?  From the photos, it looks like the repair would have actually been quite simple.

Feb 02, 2011 02:00 PM #9
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James Quarello

Connecticut Home Inspector
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