Wednesday, September 09, 2015


Anything goes as long as you don't get caught too soon....

Please note that certain identities have been obscured to protect me from the wrath of the guilty.

I hark back to my second post:
Don't put yourself in Danger!

I have been a Philadelphia Licensed Electrician since 1979.
I was a Philadelphia Licensed Electrical Inspector from 1987 until 1994.
I still answer questions on All!

They have disclaimers attached, and some of the electrical advice I read is still absolutely frightening!
People who claim to be skilled professional electricians don't always know what they are talking about!
The DIY sites are even scarier.
Read what is offered in these sources, but check to make sure what they say is right. You are your own ultimate quality control expert. Control the quality of the advice you follow, or risk the consequences!

Now comes the scary part that motivated this newest post.

I recently was called to install a GFI receptacle at an existing kitchen location to satisfy a home inspector so a home could go to settlement. What I found was a nightmare.
In 2000, a retired widow bought a little condo in a high-rise to enjoy a stress-free residence. She had the apartment decorated and the kitchen remodeled to her tastes. She hired a licensed general contractor, who hired a "professional" electrician.
The Township in question [TIQ] required that the electrician be licensed. The electrician was licensed.
The TIQ required a permit. The electrician had a permit.
The TIQ required third-party inspection. A licensed inspector inspected the rough wire and the completed work.

Can anyone explain to me how a homeowner can hire a contractor who is licensed [and therefore supposedly skilled] and gets a permit to install wiring, has an inspection performed by an underwriter and nobody is responsible when an installation is found to be substandard because numerous defects are discovered during the new buyer's homeowner inspection when the house is sold fourteen years later?

I asked my insurance agent about the risk accepted by the contractor's insurance company under a liability policy and how long is it in force. The insurance company does not take on any liability. An insurance policy does not cover poor workmanship. If the poor workmanship caused a fire, then the insurance company would pay for the damage caused by the fire. This is assuming the fire occurred within 7 years of the performance of the work. Seven years is currently the standard of time before the contractor is no longer responsible.

The inspection agency [the one that performed the inspections] says that an inspection is only valid for one year.
The argument is that the now deceased 70 year old homeowner (little old lady) might have ripped open the tiled wall and modified the wiring she hired the contractor to install.
I have no idea what the position of the inspector's insurance company is. I can guess.

I asked the TIQ. They keep records for four years. License, permit, inspection report - trash. "That is a civil matter!"
The inspection agency in question is still authorized to inspect in the TIQ.

Home Improvement Contractors are now required to register with the Attorney General's office. I suppose it is because of all the con artists "painting" driveways, absconding with deposit money or charging two million dollars to replace a sewer line.

Pennsylvania Home Improvement Contractor Registration # PA057101
73 P.S. 517.1 - 517.19 also known as

Link opens in new window

"The official registration number of Robert Wilber can be obtained from the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection by calling toll-free within Pennsylvania 1-888-520-6680.
Registration does not imply endorsement."

Registration is NOT a Trade License

The AGs office said basically that it sounded like a civil matter and they hadn't received a complaint anyway.
I have suggested the victim's daughter file a complaint with the PA Attorney General's Office.
I thought that they might take an interest in that one might expect the statute of limitations to start at discovery, rather than at the time of the bad act.

So I guess the old rules apply:
Caveat Emptor!
Anything goes as long as you don't get caught too soon....
Nobody really cares.

(LIFE SAFETY WARNING! [disclaimer]

Electricity is dangerous!

You can be injured or killed!

Improper installations can cause fire, injury and death!

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