Codes Inspectors Miss More than You Think...

Home Inspector with Complete Home Inspections, Inc. TN Lic#050

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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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... 

Sep 05, 2011 02:09 AM #14
Mike Cooper
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales 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.

Sep 05, 2011 02:14 AM #15
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.

Sep 05, 2011 02:57 AM #16
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.

Sep 05, 2011 02:57 AM #17
Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Helping you find your way home.

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.

Sep 05, 2011 04:04 AM #18
Robert and Lisa Hammerstein -201-315-8618
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

Sep 05, 2011 04:33 AM #19
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.

Sep 05, 2011 04:41 AM #20
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.

Sep 05, 2011 04:44 AM #21
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

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


Sep 05, 2011 05:02 AM #22
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?

Sep 05, 2011 05:19 AM #23
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!

Sep 05, 2011 05:34 AM #24
Steven Cook
No Longer Processing Mortgages. - Tacoma, WA

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".

Sep 05, 2011 05:46 AM #25
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.

Sep 05, 2011 06:06 AM #26
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


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

Sep 05, 2011 06:22 AM #27
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker

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!

Sep 05, 2011 06:53 AM #28
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.

Sep 05, 2011 09:25 AM #29
Pat, Ben and Martin Mullikin
M3 Realty - Brookfield, WI

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

Sep 05, 2011 10:39 AM #30
Corinne Guest
Barrington Realty Company - Barrington, IL
The Choice of Professionals for Luxury Home Buying

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.

Sep 06, 2011 02:20 AM #31
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Hun... - 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.

Sep 07, 2011 12:28 PM #32
Will Nesbitt
Nesbitt Realty at Condo Alexandria - Alexandria, VA
Nesbitt Realty is a family-run brokerage.

Very informative article and useful information to have.

Sep 21, 2011 10:08 AM #33
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