Not sure how many inspectors are competent, as long as the HVAC and Plumber
is licensed and has a good rep. everything should be ok. I'm a licensed
General Engineer with a General A California License. My licensing
authority says I cannot work on Houses. But I can build Schools, Bridges,
and High Rise Buildings. I'm retired and do the remodel and handyman thing
to keep me busy and I enjoy it. I know code but I can't advertise that I do
this type work with my current license, ridicules!!! Homeowners need to do
some homework before hiring some Jose on the cheap.
Plumbing to me is really basic, it's not rocket science. Electrical takes a
little more initiative.
"You can lead them to LINUX
but you can't make them THINK"
You're probably better off not being licensed to do houses. Your
malpractice insurance would likely be more than you make (I'm
assuming your part-time status here). As long as you can find
enough fun stuff to do, lay low (and "advertise by word-of-mouth
I'm the opposite (though I'm an electrical engineer). Electrical,
particularly home wiring, is trivial stuff. Plumbing isn't really
all that involved either, I just hate doing it. ;-)
If you guys want to see the future, come to England (specifically England,
or Wales, but not Scotland or N Ireland because they're different...)
Went to see my local BCO (Building Control Officer or inspector). Over here,
Building Control goes way beyond matters of safety. We need officialdom to
change windows and external doors, heating (even vented CH), add insulation
and all manner of other nonsense. Needless to say, much of this never gets
Oddly enough, gas work isn't covered. You only need to be CORGI (government
approved scheme) licensed if doing for hire or reward (but you do need to
be "competant" if doing your own work).
Anyway, after an hour's chat over some plans I have for renovating a 1950's
bungalow, it was made clear to me exactly what he thought about of the
fluffy stuff that's been added to the Building regs here.
I feel extremely lucky to have an inspector who's general attitude was "I'll
help you make sure it safe, and about the fluffy stuff, do what you can but
I won't hold you bang up to current standards because we realise it's not
always practical with older buildings" (paraphrased).
Electrics has a lot of Councils flummoxed since it was brought under
building regs in 2005. I was given the choice to have my worked checked
over by a qualified electrician at some 300 pounds cost to me. Or get
myself qualified (but not a government scheme member) and the council would
accept my certification for work done by me on my own house.
I'm generally happy with electrics and can find my way around the IEE wiring
regs, so I signed up for a course leading to the basic domestic installer's
qualification, which wasn't hideously expensive and can be taken over 4
weekends. One more optional 3 day weekend has the option of obtaining a
fully recognised qualification in the regulations themselves, though that
goes beyond domestic work, covering industrial and agricultural. Had to go
and buy a Megger off ebay so I can formally test my systems, but that's a
good thing to do anyway.
Assuming the council don't change their mind, this is a fairly amicable
arrangement which suits me.
However, the problem is that the approach varies wildly from council to
council (the council which is responsible for buildings work and planning
is the district or borough council, which is one level below the county
council, so there are 100's of such councils over England). This is despite
the regulations being set by Westminster.
The policy could even vary from inspector to inspector, though the senior
inspector usually keeps his team singing roughly the same song.
It could so easily have been very very difficult to do anything due to the
near impossibility of implementing some current regulations in an old
Makes sense to me. Just because you know the codes for big buildings does
not mean you know the code for a house. Knowing the steel beam needed to
support a bridge does not correlate with the truss for a 20 foot wide roof.
No, it does not, but we have a system (screwy as it may be) with checks to
insure it is done properly. Get the proper license and you're covered.
I dropped one of my state boiler licenses to take a lesser rated one. Why?
The one that proves I have more knowledge does not allow me to be "in
charge" but the lesser one does.
A couple of years ago I upgraded my whole house air conditioning system.
This involved installing a new compressor and a new evaporator coil. The
evaporator is the part that cools. It was located in the attic and just
fit up the access hole.
A couple of weeks after a blister developed in one of the bedroom
ceilings. When I broke the blister about a pint of water spilled on the
bed below. I called the installer back and had them fix the problem. It
seemed that the apprentice they had stuck in the HOT attic failed to
properly install the condensate overflow.
Last year when I moved the painter had to replace two sheets of plaster
board in the ceiling that had been damaged by the overflow condensate.
There is no mandatory inspection in the county or city where I lived but
the installer was insured and honorable.
Yeah, like making sure things are all hooked up. When we moved into our
first house, friends helping us move told us there was a puddle of water in
the guest bathroom. Turns out the A/C installer (or plumber, neither would
admit to whose job it was) failed to connect the A/C drainage line to the
bathroom drain -- so all that June Dallas humidity was dripping into our
brand new cabinet and running onto the floor.
So you're saying just because they think they look good doesn't mean they
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough
I can probably go a good way to solving the mystery for you:
HVAC indeed ran the drain pvc. The sheetrockers covered it up behind the
drywall (by accident? ... maybe, but it could also depend upon whose
countries soccer team won the day before in the playoffs). The plumbers
never saw the drain line because it was behind the sheetrock and under a
cabinet/vanity to boot, and it is not the responsibility of the plumber to
know/guess what the AC guys did ... not in this day and age, in any event.
Lay the blame as follows:
The builider for NOT supervising the work and not being experienced enough,
or caring enough, to anticipate the problem; the sheetrockers for being
careless and doing shoddy work; the HVAC contractor for not going back and
insuring that all drain lines were in place before firing up the AC units
for the first time.
BTW ... this is a common rookie mistake. And one, as a builder responsible
for supervising ALL work, I confess to having made myself. But most good
builder's only do it once ... at least so far! :)
As about as competent as the fashionable, three day stubble that goes along
with the territory can make them.
In our case, the condensate pipe was not covered by sheetrock, it was just
sticking out the wall; an equivalent attach point on the bathroom sink
drain was similarly setting there. The only problem was the intervening air
gap of about 8 inches and an elbow that, for some reason, the water failed
to follow instead of flowing out the pipe onto the vanity floor.
Absolutely. Builder went to great lengths outlining their quality
construction and attention to detail. Seems like that's kind of a big
detail to miss. If I were a builder, I'd have a checklist of items prior
to closing out a site. Verifying A/C drainage would be one of the things
on that checklist.
In this particular case, I can't fault the sheetrockers
This was a name-brand builder, they should not have made this mistake.
OTOH, all of the AC units in the whole neighborhood failed multiple times
in the immediate years after the warranties ran out. Turns out the builder
went with the low bidder (explains the hook-up issue) who had purchased a
warehouse full of closed out A/C units and who failed to match inside and
outside units during installation. Installer just went to the warehouse,
grabbed a compressor and condenser and took to the job site. Builder
narrowly avoided a class-action lawsuit (which I normally abhor, but in
this instance was certainly justifiable) because the organizing group was
collecting legal funding around Christmas time.
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough
"Mark & Juanita" wrote
covered by sheetrock, it was just
Another excellent reason why a buyer should _always_ require a 3rd party
inspection before closing on a home. AAMOF, most lenders are now requiring
one ... a good thing!
As I mentioned before, this happens enough that it is almost automatic to
check before firing up an AC in new construction. IOW, what happened to you
is indeed inexcusable, and one of the reasons the "trades" are not paid in
full until the building final is passed, and with all systems going full
blast, giving me the opportunity of doing a "backcharge" under their
contract in the event of a similar, expensive to repair, incident.
In your case, the builder should have been all over the plumbing contractor
for missing the connection; and the HVAC subcontractor for not insuring that
both drainage and overflow lines were operational (attic insulation is often
the last thing to go in and it is very common to see the overflow pan drain
stopped up with insulation _before_ the units are even powered).
When I was selling my previous house, the prospective buyer hired an
inspection company to look at my place. The chap they sent out was a
disaster. His crowning achievement was in a spare bedroom where he
found NOT ONLY a dead electrical outlet, but also a switch that "didn't
seem to do anything". You guessed it: a wall switch that controlled an
outlet. There were a couple minor items on his list that I fixed but
nearly all were similar if not quite as spectacular as the switched outlet.
The buyer was a PITA who thought if he could keep grumbling and bitching
that I would give him the house. I got tired of it, told the real
estate whiz bang to put it back on the market. The buyer then buys it
"as is" for the price I had listed. Once in a while there is justice.
Luck of the draw ... I've had the "wall switch" issue to deal with numerous
times. On one recent inspection, the inspector spelled commode "kamode", and
condenser "condinsir" three times each on the same report ... obviously not
Worst I've had recently is when a 3rd party, PE, moonlighting as a home
inspector and who charged the buyer $650 for the inspection when the average
going rate is $350, apparently tried to turn a faucet head in the 2nd floor
utility room that didn't turn; broke the faucet, causing a leak under the
sink, didn't say anything about it, and 18 hours later I had to deal with
water damage to the first floor ceiling.
The buyer's were apologetic, but didn't offer to pay anything, apparently
betting, correctly, that I wasn't about to let the cost of repairs to me,
the builder, kill a $650K deal, so we ate it.
The same inspector scared the hell out of the homeowners with totally false
information about the safety of the code required arc-fault breakers in the
bedrooms, and wrote up the wrong AC unit for what was an unnecessary
"repair" in any event ... and, back on your topic, as he was walking out the
front door after being paid, told the buyer that the wall switch to turn off
the upstairs balcony lights didn't work ... you guessed it ... it was a
three way switch! :(
I've got plenty more "3rd party Inspector Closeau" stories, but I'll quit
Or backs up or lets in noxious gases . . .
And if it leaks in an inconspicuous place and the leak decides to
drain outside under the siding then your first notice of it may well
be when you put your foot through the floor.
I don't really want to argue with the above statement, but most places that
I am aware of (in Canada) the permit fees do not come anywhere close to the
actual cost of inspections and any effect on property taxes, other than for
the most major types of renovations or additions, is negligible.
Didn't say that. Here if your home has gone up lets say 100,000.00 and you
add an attached porch, guess what? You get reassessed and you are now
paying taxes on the added value of the porch and the 100,000,00 it's now
worth. That's kinda reversed in the last 2 years with folks contacting
the County Tax Man to reassess what the home is worth today.
"You can lead them to LINUX
but you can't make them THINK"
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.