I'm in a dispute with an electrician, who wired my house with an
underground feed. After signing a contract in which he promised to do all
work, and supply all parts, to refeed the existing house from a new
building, he imposed an additional charge of $350 for an "underground pull
box", which is basically a 15" x 24" cement rectangle with a plastic lid.
The pull box had to be installed, according to the city, because there
were too many 45- and 90-degree turns in the wire run to do it in one
Does anyone know whether this is mandated by the NEC? It would make
resolution of the dispute easier if so.
Regardless, didn't you say it's required by the City? I believe the
city can have a stricter code as long as it satisfies the NEC as well.
Best to talk to a Professional Electrical Engineer to verify this.
** remove .invalid from my email address to reply by email **
I think you confuse "contractor liens" with "judgment liens" from losing a
Contractor liens are not judgment liens. In most juridictions contractor
liens expire after a year or so. It is just a way for a contractor to
encumber your property for the time it takes to negotiate and sue, not
forever. And it is nothing more than the contractor's unproven claim; he
still has to sue you to get paid. If he wins the suit, then he can use the
lien to collect. If you win, or if he just ignores it, then you
automatically go back to being unliened.
On Wed, 02 Jul 2003 22:04:26 -0400, "Thomas D. Horne"
|It has to be required by law. The inspector cannot make up rules based
|on personal judgment. Some states, such as Virginia, forbid the local
|AHJ from enforcing anything that is different from the state wide code.
| The city must adopt a code and make that code available if their
|state allows it. The inspector say's so is not enough.
Oh, I dunno about that.
I added a 160 sq ft laundry/sewing room and a large garage on my
house. The laundry was between the existing structure and the new
Although I plumbed in HVAC from the existing system, the duct was a
long way from the plenum and since it's a masonary house with a flat
roof and no crawl space I couldn't add a return duct.
Since the garage is also the workshop and it gets hot in Arizona, I
added a cooling system to the garage. I also planned to supply
additional cool air from this system to the laundry to augment that
I designed the addition but had a professional do the drafting and run
the plans through the county plans examiners. After approval, I began
construction. One of my inspections was for rough framing and
mechanical. The inspector blessed the duct that ran from the garage
into the laundry.
During the plumbing and electrical inspection, a different inspector
looked at the duct and said, "You can't have that duct run from a
garage into a living space."
I said, "Huh? This was blessed by the plans examiners and the last
He said, "I don't give a damn, you either tear it out completely or
replace it with a thicker gauge sheet metal and install a heat
operated damper, or your project stops here."
I went to the county plans examiners and told them what happened and
they were besides themselves. I appealed to the chief inspector and
his reply was, "I never overrule the inspector in the field."
I tore it out.
On Fri, 04 Jul 2003 00:45:23 GMT, "Doug Winterburn"
|You mean you didn't greet him with the obligatory bottle of hooch? No
|wonder he was snippy ;-)
Ain't that the truth. I've seen that in action.
Also, I often say that we have a true participatory democracy here in
our county. Our Board of Supervisors can be bought so cheaply that
anyone can afford it.
Please explain how that constitutes "make up rules based on personal
judgment." A fire wall between a residence and an attached garage is
required by all of the model building codes. A duct that pierces a
firewall must meet tougher standards than one that does not. That is to
protect you from a fire in your garage spreading so quickly that it cuts
off your means of egress before your smoke detector sounds. All plans
approvals are subject to verification of their effect by field
inspection. The fact that the inspector who actually had to sign off on
the job was stricter in his inspection practice than the folks who
signed off on the plans is often true. If you had the plans reviewed by
a licensed design professional they might have caught that problem
before you built the duct.
On Wed, 02 Jul 2003 22:04:26 -0400, "Thomas D. Horne"
All codes are up to the inspector's interpretation. If there's any
ambiguity in the code, then you'll have a hard time challenging the
inspector's decision. For example, does two 45 degree truns
constitute a 90 degree bend? What if they're a foot apart? Six
inches? How about three 22 1/2 degree bends, is that a 45 or a 90?
Keep in mind that in the US. 90% of all law is case law, not
statutory. All based on judgement.
I think the key thing is that the Electrician bid the contract to
*meet* code. He has to, there's no other way to bid the work. If
the Electrician didn't know the code, that would generally be his
problem. If he (electrician) added something that he did not
plan on originally because he missed it, that would generally
be at his own expense. After all, if I took his bid in comparison
to others that were higher, the price is the reason he go the job.
Now, I'd cut a guy some slack if he came from out of the area and
wasn't familiar with local (non standard) code. I'd also cut a
legit guy some slack if he failed to notice an item like this and
it was required by code, after he humbly explained that it was
his fault and that his kids would not eat this week if he had to
do it at the contract amount. In this case he should charge the
consumer parts cost and eat the labor.
However, in this case it appears that he was less than courteous
about the increase - and that he is claiming that it is *not*
required by code, he just decided to add the box for kicks.
Very weird, I can't see how the customer should pick up the
You'll lose, in court. If the extra work needed to be done, then
it doesn't matter whether the cost of is was included in the original
quote. Only if the original quote was both a firm quote instead
of an estimate, *AND* it includes phrasing like "and any other
incidental work" that implies doing whatever it takes to get the
job finished do you even have an argument. And it's unlikely
that both of the above will be true at the same time. Then,
given that small claims courts are courts of equity, you're unlikely
to be able to get the judge to let you make a profit off of the
tradesman's mistake, unless you can show that he did it on purpose,
or was exceptionally negligent or incompetent, *AND* that the
resulting mistake cost you _extra_ money. Which it didn't,
as the additional $350 is just what it would have cost you had
he (or some other, smarter electrician) gotten the quote right, the
first time. I suppose you might have an argument if you
can show that $350 is excessive for a pull-box.
On what are you basing this position? That would certainly not be the
outcome in many states. Home improvement contracting is much more
heavily regulated than most other kinds. As a licensed electrician I am
responsible for the completeness of the job. If my work fails
inspection my residential customer does not have to pay me for the work.
State or local law requires that the work be executed to comply with
code. It is the contractors responsibility to plan a compliant
installation. Because a home owner has no way to judge the completeness
of the proposed work the law in most places is that compliance is the
Exactly. If you do this type of work as a contractor, it is your
responsibility to make sure your bid/estimate/quote/whatever covers
all the code requirements. You can't put the burden on the customer,
even if it's just the financial burden ("I have to charge extra
because I neglected to design the job up to code").
Maybe if the customer did not provide adequate information, or
intentionally withheld something the contractor could not learn on
their own, then the contractor could be in the better position. A
smart contractor would choose not to do the job if they suspected
anything like that was happening.
It wasn't an estimate -- it was a binding agreement.
He also attempted to overbill in other ways. For example, he
installed stove outlets (huge, 30 amp outlets) in a room
he knew to be a workshop with 20 amp outlets, then tried to bill
me for the cost of changing the outlets to what was specified on
the plans *he* wrote up. he also inflated the number
of outlets in the building by 30 percent.
: Goedjn wrote:
:> :> Les Fingers wrote::> :> :>>How can an electrician develop a contract to perform electrical work:>>and not understand the local code requirements. He needs to:>>understand electrical work more than he understands contracts. This:>>is called ignorance of the law...on his part.
:>>Sounds like you need to take the electrican and the documentation to:>>small claims court.:> :> :> You'll lose, in court. If the extra work needed to be done, then:> it doesn't matter whether the cost of is was included in the original:> quote. Only if the original quote was both a firm quote instead:> of an estimate, *AND* it includes phrasing like "and any other:> incidental work" that implies doing whatever it takes to get the:> job finished do you even have an argument. And it's unlikely:> that both of the above will be true at the same time. Then,:> given that small claims courts are courts of equity, you're unlikely:> to be able to get the judge to let you make a profit off of the:> tradesman's mistake, unless you can show that he did it on purpose,:> or was exceptionally negligent or incompetent, *AND* that the:> resulting mistake cost you _extra_ money. Which it didn't,:> as the additional $350 is just what it would have cost you had:> he (or some other, smarter electrician) gotten the quote right, the:> first time. I suppose you might have an argument if you:> can show that $350 is excessive for a pull-box.
: On what are you basing this position? That would certainly not be the
: outcome in many states. Home improvement contracting is much more
: heavily regulated than most other kinds. As a licensed electrician I am
: responsible for the completeness of the job. If my work fails
: inspection my residential customer does not have to pay me for the work.
: State or local law requires that the work be executed to comply with
: code. It is the contractors responsibility to plan a compliant
: installation. Because a home owner has no way to judge the completeness
: of the proposed work the law in most places is that compliance is the
: contractors responsibility.
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