City Electrical Inspection Incident.

City Electrical Inspection Incident.

I am paying to own my own home.  Over time, I have come to realize the deficiencies our house offers  because builder took shortcuts or was stupid.  One issue is that our front hall closet has no light.  When we open the closet we almost need a flashlight to see what is inside.  Why not install a light?  I have tried placing battery wall lights but they did not work out.  The best option is to install a new electrical fixture.  But what if the a hall closet light is left on with the door closed?  Might that cause a fire?  With the new LED lights, there is almost no heat generated that can cause a fire.

I do my own electrical work.  My wife and daughter went on a week’s vacation and I thought it a good time to rectify this particular builder not doing a good enough job of making our home.

From pulling prior city permits, I know that current load is a big deal.  I got a prior permit held up until I showed up with a database listing all the outlets in our house and which phase they used.  You can not just add an electrical outlet and not take into consideration the current load and how balanced the load is on the two 120 volt circuits.  Our house has one 120 volt circuit for all the first floor lights and a second circuit for all the second floor lights, which makes a lot of sense.  I was adding 10.88 watts by using GE, 24 inch LED, 961 lumens (30878 26742), under cabinet light.  I was attaching it to the inside, over the door part of the wall but screwed into the ceiling.

I sent the following e-mail to a friend in our city government:

I called this morning to find out when the city inspector would show up to do my first or rough electrical inspection.  It is just a simple electrical wiring to a switch and then a hall closet light.  I was told the inspector would show up any time after 12 noon.  It took me hours to get things ready for the inspector:

  • I unscrewed a drywall temporary opening under our stairs leading up to the second floor to show the inspector where I tapped off juice from an existing hallway switch.
  • I placed a construction light into the dark room like space to show my electrical work.  You can craw into this enclosed room only with some difficulty and it is pitch black inside.  I had to run a long electrical line to feed our hall light from this point.
  • I opened the hall way switch which now has the new ROMEX wire used to feed the new light and pull the wires out so the inspector could view all the existing and new wires.
  • I placed a light into the hallway closet to properly illuminate the electrical work that I completed.

I went down for a nap at 11am and woke up just before noon.  I went to the front door to find a note saying that the inspector showed up before the time I was told over the phone, at 11:30.  I was at home.  I never heard anyone knock.  No one called to alert me that they arrived.  I quickly called and the lady at  city hall and  tried to get the inspector to come back but his schedule was full and i have to wait until Tuesday for him to come back.

I have a couple of points to make:

  • I was given a window of 5 hours where I was required to say at home and pay attention to anyone arriving.
  • I was given incorrect information as to when the inspector would show up.  This wastes the time for your inspectors and the customer.
  • It takes me time to make the inspection a quick process by providing illumination and opening up spaces.  I now have to go through this process again?

After fuming for about one hour I thought it smart to try communicating to the city and let them know my viewpoint.  I sent an e-mail to the Director of Administrative Services at about 1:22pm, same day:

I called this morning to find out when the city inspector would show up to do my first or rough electrical inspection.  It is just a simple electrical wiring to a switch and then a hall closet light.  I was told the inspector would show up any time after 12 noon.  It took me hours to get things ready for the inspector:
  • I unscrewed a drywall temporary opening under our stairs leading up to the second floor to show the inspector where I tapped off juice from an existing hallway switch.
  • I placed a construction light into the dark room like space to show my electrical work.  You can craw into this enclosed room only with some difficulty and it is pitch black inside.  I had to run a long electrical line to feed our hall light from this point.
  • I opened the hall way switch which now has the new ROMEX wire used to feed the new light and pull the wires out so the inspector could view all the existing and new wires.
  • I placed a light into the hallway closet to properly illuminate the electrical work that I completed.
I have a rare form of blood cancer called Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia disease.  I have to take at least two naps a day as I get tired.  I went down for a nap at 11am and woke up just before noon.  I went to the front door to find a note saying that the inspector showed up before the time I was told over the phone, at 11:30.  I was at home.  I never heard anyone knock.  No one called to alert me that they arrived.  I quickly called and the lady at City Hall  and  tried to get the inspector to come back but his schedule was full and I have to wait until Tuesday for him to come back.
I have a couple of points to make:
  • I was given incorrect information as to when the inspector would show up.  This wastes the time for your inspectors and the customer.

  • It takes me time to make the inspection a quick process by providing illumination and opening up spaces.  I now have to go through this process again.

  • You better believe that I have told my friends about this which does not enhance the city’s reputation.

The Director of Administrative Services responded quickly at 2:11 pm, same day with this e-mail:

Hi (Score Card). What is your address?
Thank you.

Then at 3:15pm, same day the Director of Administrative Services sent me this e-mail

The inspector is on his way now.   Thank you.

The city inspector showed up and passed both my rough and final!  I sent this to the Director of Administrative Services at 3:18, same day:

The city inspector just showed up and passed me for BOTH rough and final!  I owe you! What is your favorite drink?  I will buy you a bottle – not kidding.

Then at 4:05, same day, I got this response:

Not me sir.  The Development Services Team jumped right on it.  They are a great staff and wanted to deliver the highest quality service to one of our fine residents!
Thank you for your support over these many years.
Best wishes.

Maybe the reason I got such spectacular response is that I volunteered for the city CERT program and I am a current member of RACES.  The RACES meetings are at city hall and the Director of Administrative Services would sit in, some times, for our meetings.

When you give, you sometimes get.

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