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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio
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    50

    Default I thought I had seen it all....How could this pass city Point of Sale Inspection????

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    This masthead was 62" off the ground to bottom of drip loops, and wires came down and were touching a steel pole used as mounting anchor and the masthead was not even securely bolted. The wire insulation was frayed/damaged in places. The entire mast was being held up by the wires against the steel pole!

    This home just has and passed a point of sale inspection by the city. How did the utility company hook this up originally? Was this height ever not controlled by code back in 1954?

    The Seller's Realtor argued with me that "the City passed it so it must be grandfathered".
    I called the building dept and left two messages with no return call.
    Their website does not show any local ordinance regarding service entrance wire heights at all.

    To me, this seems like a death trap..They have small children that can reach that high...???

    I feel like I should warn the current occupants or call the utility??? What is my obligation here to to others besides my Client who does not live here yet??

    OH YEAH...and all going to Federal Pacific StabLoc service equipment

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    Last edited by chris vis; 08-11-2015 at 06:54 AM.
    F.I.R.E. Services

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,246

    Default Re: I thought I had seen it all....How could this pass city Point of Sale Inspection?

    A) Go by the city and show the photos to the building official. Ask if that is okay with them. If they say 'No.', then they will likely take it from there. If they say 'Yes.', ask them to put that in writing so you can give it to your client for your client's record. I suspect the ultimate answer will be 'No, that is not acceptable. '

    AND

    B) Call your local utility company and get the email address of their legal department - send them the photos and ask them to have them provide a letter that the installation is okay, unless it is not okay, and that your client's insurance company is also getting a copy of your question to keep in the file.

    I suspect the ultimate answers will be that it needs to be corrected ... if not ... those letters are in your file should anything happen.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
    5,005

    Default Re: I thought I had seen it all....How could this pass city Point of Sale Inspection?

    The Realtor should be horse whipped. Better to have kept their mouth shut than display outright stupidity!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
    5,005

    Default Re: I thought I had seen it all....How could this pass city Point of Sale Inspection?

    Ya that's a familiar line...


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Chicago IL
    Posts
    1,984

    Default Re: I thought I had seen it all....How could this pass city Point of Sale Inspection?

    You have to write this up as dangerous & hazardous regardless of how others want to blow it off.
    'The City approved it' is always a BS excuse. When an agent tells me that I either roll my eyes or let him have it depending on my mood. 'Where you here when the City was here, do you know what the City did or did not look at, what City inspector was here, a building inspector a plumbing inspector, etc, who? Their answer is usually 'No or I don't know'
    Then I tell them 'you don't know what the City saw or what they approved or not' and of course I have to refrain myself from adding 'then keep your stupid mouth shut about things you don't know'

    - - - Updated - - -

    You have to write this up as dangerous & hazardous regardless of how others want to blow it off.
    'The City approved it' is always a BS excuse. When an agent tells me that I either roll my eyes or let him have it depending on my mood. 'Where you here when the City was here, do you know what the City did or did not look at, what City inspector was here, a building inspector a plumbing inspector, etc, who? Their answer is usually 'No or I don't know'
    Then I tell them 'you don't know what the City saw or what they approved or not' and of course I have to refrain myself from adding 'then keep your stupid mouth shut about things you don't know'

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: I thought I had seen it all....How could this pass city Point of Sale Inspection?

    UPDATE FROM HELL.....

    Received this email today from the Seller's Realtor stating the utility company CEI was out to look at the service and they said:

    "The owners were able to get CEI out this morning.
    CEI said that the masthead is fine. The height is about 15 feet which is more than adequate. The technician said that the loose insulation is typical and not dangerous. They will have their contractor secure the masthead with a clamp.
    CEI was not willing to put anything in writing but said that the buyers should feel free to call them and get the details.
    The masthead has now become a non-issue."

    Now the masthead is only 5.5 feet off the ground? What are they calling the masthead? I thought the masthead was also called the weatherhead, and the code required the drip loops to be 10 feet up, not the point they secure to the home or the pole, as that has its own set of regulations. Jerry and others....Am I crazy??????



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    26,246

    Default Re: I thought I had seen it all....How could this pass city Point of Sale Inspection?

    Quote Originally Posted by chris viscomi View Post
    UPDATE FROM HELL.....

    Received this email today from the Seller's Realtor stating the utility company CEI was out to look at the service and they said:

    "The owners were able to get CEI out this morning.
    CEI said that the masthead is fine. The height is about 15 feet which is more than adequate. The technician said that the loose insulation is typical and not dangerous. They will have their contractor secure the masthead with a clamp.
    CEI was not willing to put anything in writing but said that the buyers should feel free to call them and get the details.
    The masthead has now become a non-issue."

    Now the masthead is only 5.5 feet off the ground? What are they calling the masthead? I thought the masthead was also called the weatherhead, and the code required the drip loops to be 10 feet up, not the point they secure to the home or the pole, as that has its own set of regulations. Jerry and others....Am I crazy??????
    Chris,

    I am sure that you told the agent who said ... "CEI was not willing to put anything in writing but said that the buyers should feel free to call them and get the details.
    The masthead has now become a non-issue.
    " ... that what they said was an oxymoron, or at least oxymoronic ... right.

    Make sure that YOU state ... IN WRITING ... TO ALL ... in response to the above ... that "CEI was not willing to put anything in writing" makes it A MAJOR ISSUE.

    If they had put - in writing - that they accepted it, then you could use that for your clients benefit. But by not putting that - in writing - CEI accomplished nothing.

    Call the CEI offices as I stated previously, get the email addresses of the head honco, the head of their legal department, and the head of their technical department and send them your photos (encircle the issues in the photos and label the heights above grade so their eyes will see what YOU are showing them), include a copy of that email with what was 'purportedly' said (that may not be what was said, and the beauty of it not being in writing is that whoever purportedly said it can backpedal and say the opposite when confronted by higher-ups in CEI).

    I suspect that YOU, the inspector, will be the one who will get someone off their butt who understands the situation and their liability to go out there and properly look at it ... and that I doubt they will put anything in writing either ... instead they may well turn the power off until it is corrected.

    Don't let others do your work for you and then tell you what the answer was - MAKE THE CALLS and send the emails YOURSELF.

    That is THE ONLY WAY YOU - yes, YOU - will know that it was indeed inspected by the utility company and that YOU will know what they said/did.

    Otherwise ... keep leaving it to the agent and keep letting them tell you what they say was done ... but we already told you to make those calls and send those emails ... didn't we?

    Did you call the utility company? Did you email them? If not - you were expecting a different result?

    Tomorrow is Saturday, utility companies still come out on Saturdays and Sundays ... at least they do down here.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
    5,005

    Default Re: I thought I had seen it all....How could this pass city Point of Sale Inspection?

    Yup without anything in writing its a case of he said/she said. The buck has not stopped at any ones desk without something in writing. Legally everyone has left themselves open for a big fat lawsuit should some come to harm as a result which is clearly an accident waiting to happen.

    The purchasers require this to be resolved prior to close of title by the vendor in order they the purchaser(s) are not left holding the cost to upgrade what is contrary to well established electrical codes.

    Where is the purchasers agent in all of this? They should be demanding proper answers and actions on behalf of the client.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: I thought I had seen it all....How could this pass city Point of Sale Inspection?

    IRC E3604.2.2 Vertical clearance from grade.
    Overhead service conductors shall have the following minimum clearances from final grade:
    1. For conductors supported on and cabled together with a grounded bare messenger wire,the minimum vertical clearance shall be 10 feet at the electric service entrance to buildings at the lowest point of the drip loop of the building electric entrance and above areas or sidewalks ...

    Bold added by me.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    eastpoint fl
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: I thought I had seen it all....How could this pass city Point of Sale Inspection?

    Quote Originally Posted by chris viscomi View Post
    UPDATE FROM HELL.....

    Received this email today from the Seller's Realtor stating the utility company CEI was out to look at the service and they said:

    "The owners were able to get CEI out this morning.
    CEI said that the masthead is fine. The height is about 15 feet which is more than adequate. The technician said that the loose insulation is typical and not dangerous. They will have their contractor secure the masthead with a clamp.
    CEI was not willing to put anything in writing but said that the buyers should feel free to call them and get the details.
    The masthead has now become a non-issue."

    Now the masthead is only 5.5 feet off the ground? What are they calling the masthead? I thought the masthead was also called the weatherhead, and the code required the drip loops to be 10 feet up, not the point they secure to the home or the pole, as that has its own set of regulations. Jerry and others....Am I crazy??????
    So, the agent told you he heard from the owner that an unnamed individual from the utility said it was OK but they would not put it in writing. Even if the owner told you directly, that's secondhand from an unknown person. This is thirdhand, if that's a real term.
    Even if the unnamed utility guy was willing to put it in writing and sign his name, it does not make 5.5 feet turn into 15 feet.

    If someone working at an engineering firm signed a letter stating that a certain deck was supported by 12-inch, through-bolted steel beams when it was obvious to casual inspection that it was supported entirely by 1x6 pine boards and the only steel involved was drywall screws, the deck does not become safe based on that signature.

    Choose one of the following:
    1) There was a visit by the utility company, but they inspected the wrong house.
    2) There was a visit, but the utility guy can't tell the difference between 15 feet and 5.5 feet.
    3) The utility guy never came, but told the owner over the phone that he did and all is fine.
    4) The owner talked to some utility customer service person over the phone and expressed vague concerns about the masthead. The person on the phone said mastheads are at least 15 feet up, don't worry about what looks like loose insulation but probably isn't really. They'll look at it when someone is in the area. The owner magnified the vague reassurances into something a bit stronger when he later spoke to the agent - who in turn upped the puffery when he spoke to you. One more "telephone game" relay and the wire would be made of solid silver with silicone insulation rated to 10kv at 1200 degrees, certified for underwater installation in swimming pools.
    5) There was no conversation with the utility at all, the owner flat lied to the agent.
    6) The agent is the liar, not the owner.

    For extra credit, imagine a couple of other scenarios, or ways that more than one of the above can be true at the same time.


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