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Tool Fetish
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As others have said I try to turn it into a teaching/learning moment. God knows I do not know all of the nooks and crannies of the NEC or any other code there is.
I tied into an MSHA inspectors over ground fault outlets. Management at a company level had rolled on the issue costing our little facility $3k in parts labor was free. The guy wandered into a shovel we were working on with out the proper PPE. I escorted him to the lift and rode down with him.
Went to my truck got him a set of eye protection and we went back to the work area. Bosses found out and they panicked big time. These guys can shut down the site if need be. We started a dialog and it ended up with me asking him why he was inspecting areas of the mine that were not in his jurisdiction. Never got an answer but I believe it was MSHA flexing muscles after a particularly bad safety year. Mining IS dangerous. After that when ever he came to our facility I was his driver. Even MSHA inspectors are not allowed to drive around a active mine with out all of the training.
Aren't MSHA inspectors always required to be escorted while on site inspecting? I had one tell a customer that they had 15 amp receptacles throughout their shops and all of the breakers were 20 amps and wanted 50 or so receptacles replaced. I asked inspector if he had 20 amp devices in his kitchen at home??? I then had to dig my wrinkled and wet code book out of the truck and show him the article that states that 15 amp devices can be used on 20 amp circuits. OK, agreed.
 

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I ALWAYS challenged them if I knew I was right. It was a public service to educate them so they don't continue to do it to other people. If I was unsure, I asked them for a code reference so I could learn.
A few inspectors were far more educated on code than I was and I learned from them. Most were not.
If they don't have a reference number, I called them out and they would back down or some times try to look it up.
 

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One of my co-workers last week got challenged by an inspector on the SO cord being rated for outdoor use. This SO cord was part of an outdoor light pole fixture, straight from the manufacture. Seriously? If you run into this type of inspector, good luck on whatever method you use to speak to them.
 

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Chief Flunky
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I found most inspectors to be very reasonable around here. We do have a process if you disagree with an inspector and you are getting nowhere with your case.

There are some inspectors who are on a power trip. I have run into them also and it usually doesn't end well. I heard that one inspector in our area refuses to inspect my jobs because I gave him so much grief and I also reported him.

I hate it went that far but when you make it rules then IMO you need to fight back.... If the code is not clear cut then I will fix the issue but let them know I don't agree with their interpretation.
The easiest tactic is to ask for a Code reference so you can both agree what section is violated and what it actually says. You say something like not disagreeing with your interpretation but can you give a specific Code reference. Then you pull the book out and read it first then read it aloud or ask questions. Usually the inspector backs off voluntarily.

For example had a switchgear replacement job inside a basement. There was clearly a ground rod connection under the switchgear but no indication there were two ground rods and no way to tell what it is. So either we’d be blowing holes in poured concrete to run another ground or prove it was under 25 ohms. We just did the test and left the meter up long enough to satisfy the inspector.
 

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One of my co-workers last week got challenged by an inspector on the SO cord being rated for outdoor use. This SO cord was part of an outdoor light pole fixture, straight from the manufacture. Seriously? If you run into this type of inspector, good luck on whatever method you use to speak to them.
I would think that you would need something like SOOW for wet locations.
S = Service cord O = Oil-resistant outside jacket W = weather and water resistance
 

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Electrical contractor 37 years. Electrical inspector 2 years
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I would think that you would need something like SOOW for wet locations.
S = Service cord O = Oil-resistant outside jacket W = weather and water resistance
Also sunlight resistant.
 

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What has your experience been with challenging the inspector on what they are calling out as wrong? Have you found it best to go along with what they're saying as to not have them nit pick more? Theoretically the inspector would have to prove what they're saying is by code or their job is at stake through complaints
In this neck of the backwoods inspectors (UDC-uniform dwelling code) were given licenses after passing a simple test and paying a nominal fee around 50 bucks. They are responsible for inspecting foundations, carpentry, plumbing, heating, electrical, insulating and everything in a new house. 1 guy being a so called expert on all that. I ask for code references for anything he flags. He has been proven wrong on the few things he tried to get me to change. I have even sent a few of his attempted rejections to the state so they could use them as examples in electrical continuing education classes.
 

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The easiest tactic is to ask for a Code reference so you can both agree what section is violated and what it actually says.
I was having a discussion about protecting residential NM in/on a block wall that was furred out only 3/4". I knew it had to be protected running horizontally through the furring strips but that was it. He insisted that it had to be protected everywhere. He disappeared for a while and I walked outside to see him searching through his white book.

I remember the code specifically stated horizontal runs and had an and/or that he was disregarding. He was showing it to me and turned to a page that had an illustration that showed the EXACT scenario. He tried to quickly turn the page again but I asked him to go back and look at the picture. He learned something that day so it was productive.

The last time I had to challenge an inspector was at my current house when I upgraded the service. I had done this kind of project hundreds of times since the mid 70's. He tried to tel me that my water bond had to be attached above the main shut off valve. When I told him that was not correct he said "Im not going to argue with you about it" but he gave me a green tag :)

I don't miss jumping through hoops.
 

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He tried to tel me that my water bond had to be attached above the main shut off valve.
Sign of someone who hasn't got a lick of common sense.
 
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What has your experience been with challenging the inspector on what they are calling out as wrong? Have you found it best to go along with what they're saying as to not have them nit pick more? Theoretically the inspector would have to prove what they're saying is by code or their job is at stake through complaints
I recommend not making anyone on the whole project upset with you. One of the other trades on the job could easily cut some wires after you have gotten a rough-in inspection, and after the wallboard is up, you would play hell trying to find the damage someone has done. Keep peace!
 

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Here in north central Indiana I have yet to meet an inspector that knew anything about electrical. They are taught a few codes at a conference and that is all they know how to look for. For example, fire caulking. Jeez they must love teaching about fire caulking. I was in a basement in Carmel Indiana and they had them fire caulk in every hole drilled through the floor joists in an open basement. But I guarantee they wouldn't know if a junction box was over filled. The first big job I ever did on my own was a new build on a poll barn house/garage combo. The garage was like 2000 sq ft and the attached apartment was 500 sq ft. So I had the main 200 amp panel in the garage and a 100 amp sub in the utility room of the apartment. The inspector said I needed a 300 amp service because I had a 200 amp and a 100 amp sub. I argued with him for an hour straight and he refused to change his mind so finally I said, "Well we are just not going to agree on this so I need to appeal this. Just tell me what I need to do next to appeal this." The next day I went out on the site and his sticker of approval was on the meter. Later the local city inspector was replaced by a retired sherif who had no construction experience at all. Me and this guy have a long history of not getting along and he was ready to stick it to me as soon as he got the job. I knew all the other people in the building department besides him and got along with them and they even told me things he said about me, i.e. purposely not showing up on time to an inspection just to mess with me and the sort. So when he tried to knit pick my work I pushed back right away and pulled out the code book every time to back me up. After a few times he completely backed off. You just have to show them that you know what the heck your doing and don't take their sh*t.
 

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I tend to get pushy with inspectors...most around here both in NJ and PA were not any type of trademans. Rather they took a course at the community college...passed a test and they hand them inspectors licenses.

You used to need to be a carpenter to be a building inspector, a plumber to be a plumber inspector and and electrician to be an electrical inspector. Now its a side job for most of them.
 

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I tend to get pushy with inspectors...most around here both in NJ and PA were not any type of trademans. Rather they took a course at the community college...passed a test and they hand them inspectors licenses.

You used to need to be a carpenter to be a building inspector, a plumber to be a plumber inspector and and electrician to be an electrical inspector. Now its a side job for most of them.
Yeah and a lot of them are sitting ducks coming into our world. Doesn’t take much to humble them.
You can pretty much tell right away which ones are the ones who use to run/ work on jobs.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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309a Construction & Maintenance
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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Thanks to everyone who took the time to reply to this thread. I assumed it is best to guage how the inspector is, give them the common respect but dont be a pushover and let their bad day affect your job.

Was surprised to read some areas don't require previous electrical experience for being an inspector...I looked up salaries and assumed it was a lucrative job but the pay doesn't indicate that...perhaps for chief inspectors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
I recommend not making anyone on the whole project upset with you. One of the other trades on the job could easily cut some wires after you have gotten a rough-in inspection, and after the wallboard is up, you would play hell trying to find the damage someone has done. Keep peace!
I wasn't referring to challenging other trades...I agree though...keep the peace
 

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A Good Electrician
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I would agree primarily with 99cents Approach. I usually bring a note pad and take notes. This makes them know I'm serious about what the truth is and that I will be looking into things. The other thing is to really know your code. When I have felt like something was ridiculous, rather than trying to point out why they are wrong, I would site the code that I believe is right. Then in order for him to continue he has to address the code I've referenced. This is all done with respect and professionalism.Typically resulting in a discussion. At least in my experience, Works every time.
 

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A Good Electrician
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I don’t challenge inspectors, I turn it into a discussion. Show some respect but make it obvious you know what you’re talking about and that eating bull chit isn’t on the menu. If the inspection report doesn’t cite code rules just ask him to show you the rule so you know for next time (that usually slows the rule inventors down).
I would agree primarily with 99cents Approach. I usually bring a note pad and take notes. This makes them know I'm serious about what the truth is and that I will be looking into things. The other thing is to really know your code. When I have felt like something was ridiculous, rather than trying to point out why they are wrong, I would site the code that I believe is right. Then in order for him to continue he has to address the code I've referenced. This is all done with respect and professionalism.Typically resulting in a discussion. At least in my experience, Works every time.
 
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