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Self-Inspections Alarm New Orleans Officials and Electricians
Scripps Networks, Inc. ^ | October 9, 2006 | Richard Wall

Posted on 10/12/2006 11:59:02 PM PDT by kingattax

Under an emergency ordinance, electricians may inspect their own work; officials worry about fraud.

October 9, 2006—A member of the New Orleans City Council is pushing for rescission of the city's emergency ordinance allowing homeowners to waive inspections before restoration of electricity at their Katrina-flooded houses. The ordinance has been criticized by city officials and electrical experts as a failure in basic building safety.

"I am not comfortable with the self-inspection program," says New Orleans District B City Councilwoman Stacy Head. "I am going to push for a revocation of that rule. If the city needs to hire more inspectors to ensure electrical safety in homes, we need to hire them. It's a life and safety issue."

Head expects to bring the issue before the council's Housing Committee this week, then bring up self-inspection for immediate revocation by the full council at its next meeting, scheduled for November 1 according to the city's website city's website. She says electrical contractors will present evidence to the committee about the poor work found in quality-control checks of self-inspections and the dangers that could result from the illegal reuse of wiring and electrical equipment that was submerged in the flood.

The decision about the self-inspection solution is one result of the irregular dynamics of storm restoration. The same problems faced other Gulf Coast communities, which handled them in different ways. In New Orleans, though, the major reconstruction effort, coupled with the loss of most of the city's electrical inspectors, has led to an extraordinary backlog of permit requests for an inspection department that is extremely understaffed.

(Excerpt) Read more at hgtvpro.com ...


TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: electricians; inspections; neworleans

1 posted on 10/12/2006 11:59:04 PM PDT by kingattax
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To: kingattax

Inspection is just more big government regulation. Cut the red tape and let the market forces work.


2 posted on 10/13/2006 12:27:04 AM PDT by sedwards
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To: kingattax
"I am not comfortable with the self-inspection program," says New Orleans District B City Councilwoman Stacy Head.

This exemplifies the problem with government people who have no clue as to what they're talking about. Who will bet me a million bucks that this woman knows what Ohm's law is? What real electrician ever wanted to wire a house and then have it burn down? The reality is that the government red-tape encourages people to skip using a professional and do it themselves and that is where the trouble starts!

3 posted on 10/13/2006 12:38:22 AM PDT by gr8eman (Everybody is a rocket scientist...until launch day!)
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To: gr8eman

If there is some provision for an inspection as soon as practical after the fact, then that ought to be enough. Exception being houses that were waterlogged to the depth of their lowest electrical wiring or more.


4 posted on 10/13/2006 12:42:33 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck
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To: kingattax

Self-inspections in New Orleans--this makes a great joke except for the wholesale violation of safety regulations that will occur--and the people who will be harmed as a result. Only in NO---legalized crime.


5 posted on 10/13/2006 4:17:35 AM PDT by Clara Lou (I love my Firefox 2.0.)
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To: gr8eman

"What real electrician ever wanted to wire a house and then have it burn down? "

One who wanted to make a profit using aluminum wiring instead of copper?


6 posted on 10/13/2006 4:20:02 AM PDT by Rb ver. 2.0
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To: kingattax
Most inspectors just inspect the permit to see if the tax (fee) has been paid.
It's revenue enhancement ... period.
7 posted on 10/13/2006 4:38:09 AM PDT by THEUPMAN (####### comment deleted by moderator)
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To: THEUPMAN

"It's revenue enhancement ... period."

That sums it up.


8 posted on 10/13/2006 4:40:46 AM PDT by caver (Yes, I did crawl out of a hole in the ground.)
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To: Rb ver. 2.0

True...but I think that was mainly big construction companies in the 50's: (see Levitt) I am pretty sure they do not make insulated Aluminum wire for electrical purposes and I know for sure it is damn difficult to get the fixtures needed with aluminum wire use.


9 posted on 10/13/2006 7:02:57 AM PDT by gr8eman (Everybody is a rocket scientist...until launch day!)
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To: sedwards; gr8eman; caver; THEUPMAN

"Chief Electrical Inspector Chan says recent quality-control checks of self-inspections revealed an alarming percentage of poor work "We've done 53 quality-control checks of these self-inspections, and only two jobs passed with no problems," says Chan. "Twenty-one of the jobs had to be redone because of major code violations—a lot of them life-threatening."




I don't know what expertise you have on this subject, but as a contractor I know this is insane, especially in the wild west contractor atmosphere that is going on in New Orleans at this time, with money flowing and every failed contractor in America migrating into the area.

These senseless drive by comments, like saying that inspectors only check to see if the fee is paid and that they don't actually inspect the work, can only be claimed by guys that know nothing about the building trades.



10 posted on 10/13/2006 10:24:02 AM PDT by ansel12 ( sin holds a sway over their lives to the point where boldness begins to be craved.)
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To: ansel12

"I don't know what expertise you have on this subject, but as a contractor I know this is insane, especially in the wild west contractor atmosphere that is going on in New Orleans at this time, with money flowing and every failed contractor in America migrating into the area.

These senseless drive by comments, like saying that inspectors only check to see if the fee is paid and that they don't actually inspect the work, can only be claimed by guys that know nothing about the building trades."


I happen to live in a county that is recognized to have one of the most stringent building codes in the country. And I can tell you that a lot of it has nothing to do with safety. It does indeed have to do with generating revenue and make work for the inspector. The inspector may very well be doing his job, but it's a bunch of nonsense. I have to have a permit to build a frigging doghouse. What is the reason for that?

Rather than allowing shoddy contractors to do more work, I'd rather see inspectors shut them down until they are deemed competent. That would reduce the need for all these inspections.


11 posted on 10/13/2006 10:35:49 AM PDT by caver (Yes, I did crawl out of a hole in the ground.)
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To: caver

"Rather than allowing shoddy contractors to do more work, I'd rather see inspectors shut them down until they are deemed competent. That would reduce the need for all these inspections."




I am a competent contracter and I know that inspections keep contracters from cutting corners, from ignoring codes that they think don't serve an important purpose (or that aren't worth the overhead), and I know that an inspecter can often catch mistakes that truly dedicated contracters have made, but didn't catch.

Even work that has been done perfectly by the boss can have a flaw in materials that only shows up in the test required for signoff, tests that so often seem like an unnecssary, time consuming expense, because you put every piece together yourself and you just know it is perfect.

What county is it that requires a code for a dog house, I'll look it up maybe you were misled.



12 posted on 10/13/2006 11:42:20 AM PDT by ansel12 ( sin holds a sway over their lives to the point where boldness begins to be craved.)
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To: gr8eman

I didn't notice anyplace in here that indicated "electircians" were necessarily the ones doing the work.


13 posted on 10/13/2006 11:43:41 AM PDT by G Larry (Only strict constructionists on the Supreme Court!)
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To: ansel12

I agree with you, there is a need for inspections. Like anything though, it's a question of where to draw the line.

Bartholomew County, Indiana is the place.


14 posted on 10/13/2006 12:16:41 PM PDT by caver (Yes, I did crawl out of a hole in the ground.)
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To: caver

"It's revenue enhancement ... period."

"That sums it up."




I shouldn't have wasted time time on this.


15 posted on 10/13/2006 1:01:27 PM PDT by ansel12 ( sin holds a sway over their lives to the point where boldness begins to be craved.)
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To: ansel12
I shouldn't have wasted time time on this.

Don't let armchair quarterbacks discourage you. There are plenty of them here, but your comments are valuable to some of us, actually knowing what you're talking about and all. :-)

16 posted on 10/13/2006 1:07:05 PM PDT by TChris (The United Nations is suffering from delusions of relevance.)
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To: TChris

Thanks


17 posted on 10/13/2006 1:28:12 PM PDT by ansel12 ( sin holds a sway over their lives to the point where boldness begins to be craved.)
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To: ansel12

"I shouldn't have wasted time time on this."

I agree.


18 posted on 10/14/2006 5:44:56 AM PDT by caver (Yes, I did crawl out of a hole in the ground.)
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To: kingattax
Electrical codes for a City that is below sea level....

The irony is staggering. lol

19 posted on 10/14/2006 5:51:01 AM PDT by verity (Muhammed is a Dirt Bag)
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To: TChris
I spent most of my life as an independent contractor, and a large part of my life as a commercial superintendent on small to medium projects(10 - 50 million dollar).

Any one who thinks the inspection process has anything to do with safety or code standards probably hasn't gone through many inspections.
If you happen to have encountered inspectors who know what they are looking at , I would say that is the exception rather then the norm.
The main thing that is inspected is the permit.
And thats to make sure the fees are paid.

Now I'm sure that there is a place for inspections and inspectors ... some one needs to make sure that little Johny helper doesn't just go buy a truck and some tools from the pawn shop and go at it wide open with no oversight.
But the truth is , that most people who "do" the work everyday keep up with the changing dynamics of the materials and the installation recommendations a lot closer then the guys in the white hats and shiny black slick soled shoes.

The problem is especially bad in the residential field.
Most of the inspectors are guys who couldn't cut it as contractors , so they got a job with the gov.
... yes , now there are certification programs to make sure that minimum knowledge standards are met,but these programs are becoming more of a "job protection" program for incompetent government employees.
They close the field to outsiders and only those in the field can advance in the field.
SOP in so many fields today.

The only real exception to this is the State fire Marshal inspections, those are for real.
20 posted on 10/15/2006 8:39:44 PM PDT by THEUPMAN (####### comment deleted by moderator)
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To: Timeout
Did you see this? Unbeleivable! Can you imagine staying at a "restored" hotel in that hellhole?

I wish everyone of these "nightmare in New Orleans" stories would be countered with a story of what is going right in other parts of the Gulf Coast.

21 posted on 10/18/2006 4:14:24 AM PDT by REPANDPROUDOFIT
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To: REPANDPROUDOFIT

Yes, just caught up with you. So much for ever staying in NO again, huh?

To those who say inspectors are just revenue generators...I, too, am in residential building/remodeling. I can't imagine setting sheetrock before an inspector looked at the electrical. And I have a great electrical contractor! But anyone can make a mistake. And, believe me, our inpectors will catch it! (Mobile, AL)


22 posted on 10/18/2006 2:27:41 PM PDT by Timeout (I hate MediaCrats! ......and trial lawyers.)
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