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  1. #1
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    Default Verify Ground Connection

    Am I being paranoid
    1) To call for a licensed professional electrician to "verify and/or correct ground wire connection" when the SE ground wire goes into the dirt beside the house but the connection to a rod(s) or ufer lead is not visible for my inspection. I don't think so. If it was me I would want to know for sure. There is always the possibility that the connection was there when code inspected but torn up or cut off when backfilling foundation, grading yard, or sod installed.
    2) Call for an electrician to check the installation, correct, and/or add a cover over a low-voltage transformer mounted in the ceiling of a bedroom closet. Yes, surface mounted to cover of junction box in ceiling; wired the transformer through the cover, exposed low-voltage side, probably for doorbell.

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    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Transformer does not need a cover. Low voltage.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Transformer does not need a cover. Low voltage.

    I agree Gunnar, if it was in the hall, utility, master bedroom, or linen closet. But in a bedroom that could be used by kids is, in my catalog of personal experience, asking for trouble. Not that I was overly destructive (I was the most destructive child, according to my older sister) but when I was 8 to 15, give me a science book, a Popular Mechanics, Popular Electronics, or maybe a Boy's Life magazine, and I just had to see how things worked and what they would do. I had access to tools, and could always come up with a good story as to why I needed some wire, or potassium nitrate and sulfur (had charcoal).

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Let's see, how much trouble is it to find a paper clip to insert in an outlet? Or take the outlet cover off to fool around inside the box?

    We can't protect against everything.

    As for the ground...since the ground rod is supposed to be all the way into the ground, we may not be able to see the top, or the clamp, or the ground wire attachment. If I can't see the ground rod, I will sometimes give the ground wire a yank and see if it comes out of the ground.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    ...since the ground rod is supposed to be all the way into the ground, we may not be able to see the top, or the clamp, or the ground wire attachment. If I can't see the ground rod, I will sometimes give the ground wire a yank and see if it comes out of the ground.
    I agree. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean you should call for a sparky to verify. There's lots of things you can't see. It's supposed to be a visual inspection. I think you need a reason to be suspicious of the attachment to the grounding electrode.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    If I can't see the rod I report that grounding was not confirmed and do not make an issue of it. Like Jack, if I see the conductor I'll give it a tug. If it doesn't pull out of the ground I'm happy.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    If I could not see the connection of the ground rod, I always wrote up to have the electrical contractor verify proper grounding while on-site doing other repairs (and I cannot think of one single house which did not need an electrical contractor to come out and make other repairs - thus, if you are worried about the cost factor, and we HIs should not worry about that), there is none ... UNLESS ... they have to dig and dig and dig and dig and then still don't find (or do eventually find) the ground rod connection - either way, though, it is worth it to your client to have that dug up, exposed, and checked. Even then, though, the cost is only around $50 ... because they are "already on-site" doing other repairs.

    I've had electricians dig along the grounding electrode conductor for quite a ways before finding it loose at or from the ground rod, or cut off underground.

    Just because you can't pull it out does not mean it is connected to anything.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    (and I cannot think of one single house which did not need an electrical contractor to come out and make other repairs

    Are you serious? You never did an inspection and DIDN'T call for an electrician?


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    No to the door bell transformer cover; If the grounding wire disappears into the ground and is 'secured' to something, it's good enough.

    I don't call out a framer to verify top plate overlap that I can't see...

    It's a visual inspection.

    We know why you fly: because the bus is too expensive and the railroad has a dress code...
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    Are you serious? You never did an inspection and DIDN'T call for an electrician?
    Dead serious.

    Are you saying you have found a house which had *NOTHING* electrical wrong with it?

    All I can say is ... Holy Cow! Batman.

    You are serious, aren't you?

    EVERY receptacle was grounded, had GFCI protection, and it all worked, and there was NOTHING wrong with the service, service equipment, panels ... NOTHING WRONG with any electrical anywhere in the house?

    Wow.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gault View Post
    If the grounding wire disappears into the ground and is 'secured' to something, it's good enough.

    I don't call out a framer to verify top plate overlap that I can't see...
    Mike,

    You are talking about two entirely different aspects here.

    One is like saying 'I can't verify how many nails are in each stud, what the spacing of the drywall screws/nails are, etc., how many nails are in each piece of sheathing, etc.'.

    The other is checking the grounding of the entire house to its grounding system.

    To each their own, but if I can't see it attached to the grounding rod (many times on older homes they used the wrong type of clamp above ground, and when that clamp is used below ground it's even worse), I always wrote it up.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    Are you serious? You never did an inspection and DIDN'T call for an electrician?
    If you can't find at least a couple of things wrong on ANY house, you're not looking close enough. I've never met any EC who was flawless, on roughs or finals. And if this is an existing house especially an older one, it should be easy to spot at least some violations.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    A confession. I've seen plenty of electrical, plumbing, HVAC, roofs, attics, exteriors, basements and crawls that I've made no comments on. And often, the conditions are not textbook, to the letter, absolute perfection.

    Some of you may be astounded to hear an inspector actually admit to this. And others may understand that this can be a completely acceptable practice.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    If I can't see the rod I report that grounding was not confirmed and do not make an issue of it. Like Jack, if I see the conductor I'll give it a tug. If it doesn't pull out of the ground I'm happy.
    Jack & Eric
    If the GEC is not properly attached to the rod, it may come off when you pull it. This can be dangerous or even fatal.


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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    If I could not see the connection of the ground rod, I always wrote up to have the electrical contractor verify proper grounding while on-site doing other repairs (and I cannot think of one single house which did not need an electrical contractor to come out and make other repairs - thus, if you are worried about the cost factor, and we HIs should not worry about that), there is none ... UNLESS ... they have to dig and dig and dig and dig and then still don't find (or do eventually find) the ground rod connection - either way, though, it is worth it to your client to have that dug up, exposed, and checked. Even then, though, the cost is only around $50 ... because they are "already on-site" doing other repairs.

    I've had electricians dig along the grounding electrode conductor for quite a ways before finding it loose at or from the ground rod, or cut off underground.

    Just because you can't pull it out does not mean it is connected to anything.
    Thanks Jerry - This is exactly the case. There was a basement family room with what looked like a new ceiling fan and light fixture that would not work. Bulbs were clear and I could see intact filaments. From the DED principle for HI - Detected: Non-working fan and lights; Evaluation: Possible improper wiring or faulty circuit that could manifest into other problems causing damage including personal injury; Direction: Professional licensed electrician repair as required. Also, had a missing wall receptacle cover and then, there was the ground wire. Ok, maybe I went a little overboard on the transformer in the bedroom closet ceiling, but then it was something else the electrician could check and let him/her, the qualified professional specialist, say it was low-voltage and not a safety issue.

    Note on other comments:
    I think just noting that you observed a ground wire but could not verify connection to a grounding device with out some kind of direction leaves the door open to a suit if ANYTHING in the electrical system causes damage or injury. Doesn't have to be a valid suit. Could be easily proved or disproved. But, there is the cost, lost time, frustration, and if you have E&O, a smudge on your reputation because the Insurer settled.

    I'm not too sure how a paper clip and fiddling around inside a receptacle is going to prove a viable ground system. It might show how vulnerable one is to electrocution or how fast a circuit breaker trips. Not my job. Now, if I'm in a pre-70's house with 3-conductor outlets, I will pull of a random receptacle cover to check if a grounding wire is installed vs. a bootleg ground.

    Maybe I'm weird, ok, I am, but I work for the client and I try to do every inspection like it was my own or for one of my kids. I learned early in my electronic/electrical training and experience, "Be Aware of the Assumptions You Make"

    No one is forcing the client to do anything. I tell them that I try to give them the information they need to make decisions concerning the property in question. Nothing in the directions is a "DO THIS OR ELSE" mandate. Who does it, when its done, or how its done, if at all, is entirely up to them with the aide of their realtor (if there is one).

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Dead serious.

    Are you saying you have found a house which had *NOTHING* electrical wrong with it?

    All I can say is ... Holy Cow! Batman.

    You are serious, aren't you?

    EVERY receptacle was grounded, had GFCI protection, and it all worked, and there was NOTHING wrong with the service, service equipment, panels ... NOTHING WRONG with any electrical anywhere in the house?

    Wow.
    Many, many times on new or near new houses.....

    So, it sounds like you're saying there is nobody (or, at least not in Florida) capable of properly wiring a house?

    There is no such thing as correct..... EVER?


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    Many, many times on new or near new houses.....

    There is no such thing as correct..... EVER?
    Never found it ... especially on "new or near new" homes.

    Most of my business the last 3-4 years was "new homes".

    "There is no such thing as correct..... EVER?"

    No, "never", at least not that I was able to find.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Eric:

    Beware. You are dangerously close to possessing common sense.
    JLMathis


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    A confession. I've seen plenty of electrical, plumbing, HVAC, roofs, attics, exteriors, basements and crawls that I've made no comments on. And often, the conditions are not textbook, to the letter, absolute perfection.

    Some of you may be astounded to hear an inspector actually admit to this. And others may understand that this can be a completely acceptable practice.
    Agree - acceptable practice. In fact, I think it would be hard to complete an inspection otherwise. But, it then comes down to individual opinion/experience/training as to what is notable and what isn't and to what degree. Look at NC home inspectors, the realtors got a licensing requirement, but when they found out that didn't make every inspector see everything the same way or report everything the same way, it upset their expectations. The realtors are now having uniform report forms required, by law. ( another subject). I'll tell any client that much of HI is subjective and another inspector could walk in right behind me and end up with a much different report.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by John Allingham View Post
    Jack & Eric
    If the GEC is not properly attached to the rod, it may come off when you pull it. This can be dangerous or even fatal.

    Bumped because of importance.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    John,
    Please explain


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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    John,
    Please explain
    I'm not that John, but I suspect he means if the service neutral is bad you can have enough current returning to the source by way of the grounding electrode conductor that if you grab it and it isn't properly clamped to the electrode then you can become part of the path and get zapped.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    I'm not that John, but I suspect he means if the service neutral is bad you can have enough current returning to the source by way of the grounding electrode conductor that if you grab it and it isn't properly clamped to the electrode then you can become part of the path and get zapped.

    Exactly. Check this out.
    Grounding Electrode Conductors


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    I can say that I haven't really given that much thought. I do check to see if the panel is hot before I touch it, but I can honestly say I haven't been checking the ground wire (being hot), and have yanked on thousands. I have even touched loose ground wires to tie my orange tape to it for the photo.

    Great - now I have something NEW to worry about. I do touch my contact voltage tester to the panel before I touch it, I guess I just have to do more now.
    JF


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    What that linked to article is explaining is something which as been asked and stated here before:

    How many use the clamp on ammeter to check the current on the grounding electrode conductor / grounding electrode?

    All should, for the reasons stated in the article. Using a tick tracer on it 'may' (but also *may not*) indicated it as 'hot'. This is because enough current would need to be flowing to create a voltage drop across the grounding electrode conductor / grounding electrode, whereas a clamp on ammeter will tell you 'how much' current is flowing.

    'How much' should be -0-, zip, nada, zilch. The more you read, the greater the indication of a problem there is.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  26. #26
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    John A. - both of you!

    I concede - an excellent point.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Eric, you can inspect my house when I sale it. As for Jerry, I think the whole Inspection News brotherhood knows now that by his own admission he is a over inspector and tries to find problems with malice. The true self proclaimed deal killer with malicious intent against the seller under the guise of protecting his client. Why would anyone want to boast that there is not one house in what must be 10's of thousands that he has not sent a electrician out to repair something. I'm thinking big ego problem here for I have had many houses that have not had one single recommended repair throughout the whole house. You mean that I could find one thing wrong with the house? No, I could not find one thing wrong with the house that would have a material adverse affect to the house. Jerry has a lot of answers for us here on this board, but I doubt that there is a single person that would want him to inspect our house.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Mount View Post
    I have had many houses that have not had one single recommended repair throughout the whole house.
    I have no doubt that is a 100% true statement.

    but I doubt that there is a single person that would want him to inspect our house.
    You mean as buyer or as a seller?

    EVERY SELLER would love to have you inspect their house for their buyer - I have no doubt about that.

    However, when I was inspecting, I was inspecting for ... the buyer. The seller did not even come into the picture, nor should they have - as a Home Inspector, your obligation is to you client ... the buyer, they are the one you are contracting with and the one writing the check. The seller ... they ain't a got nuttin' ta do wit it.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  29. #29
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    What's wrong with being a deal killer? Are some of us here really covert realtors? If a sale falls through because of a thorough and honest inspection (Assumption: the inspection was made on behalf of the buyer), and not because of ineptitude or the lack of communication skills, then why would the inspector be labeled a deal killer unless there was someone involved who really didn't care about ehtics, morality, or good business acumen, but only interested in making the buck. Hope I'm not stepping on any toes here. And I certainly wouldn't want to horn-in on anybodies feud, but take a look at the following.

    The derogatory phrase "deal killer" is often used in the real estate industry to describe
    independent home inspectors who give buyers objective information in an inspection report, which may lead the buyer to renegotiate or to look at other properties.

    Many real estate agents view independent home inspectors as a challenge to their ability to generate income. They view these "deal killers" as foes and will use a number of tactics to make sure that their buyers do not retain independent home inspectors. For instance, in the first stage of discussion about having the home inspected, the real estate agent may recommend to the buyer a "good" home inspector with whom they have worked for several years.

    Some agents may have a list of three inspectors who have been carefully screened not to be deal killers. The list, however, will be long enough to protect the agent from any referral liability should the buyer want to blame the agent for any inspection mistakes. This gives the agent the perfect combination of:
    a) no liability for the referral;
    b) the buyer ultimately "chooses" an inspector the agent prefers; and
    c) the buyer’s choice is confined to dependent home inspectors who will not hurt a sale.
    The above excerpt is from Ohio Inspections 2000 Regarding proposed State laws governing Inspectors
    The following excerpt quoted from What should I look for in selecting a Home Inspector?

    5) Let the Choice Be Yours: When choosing a home inspector, let the final selection be your own.
    Don't rely on others to make the choice for you. New and inexperienced inspectors are often able to obtain professional recommendations, regardless of their actual levels of thoroughness, competence, or lack thereof. What you want is the most meticulous, detailed home inspector available--the one who will save you from costly surprises after the close of escrow. The best inspectors are often labeled as "Deal Killers." This
    tongue-in-cheek appellation generally connotes those inspectors who provide the best level of consumer protection.
    Excerpt from the Code of Ethics of the Real Estate Council of Ontario
    2.10 No Member should make a practice of Steering any Clients or Customers to a particular person for other services that may be required in connection with any Transaction.


    My 2 cents worth for the day - Back to work!

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Everyone is making many valid points on this issue. I think it is a credit to our business that one question about a ground connection can spark such a lively debate.
    For what it's worth:
    - If I don't see the connection to the ground rod, it doesn't exist for me. Pulling on it is not good enough. I will note it in my report that it needs to be verified.
    - I am adverse to 'always' telling clients to get a 'licensed' electrician. In some instances using the word 'professional' is sufficient. Let the client decide on their own definition of the term.
    - The reality in our area at least, is that many 'licensed' electricians don't want to be bothered with little nuisance jobs like that. There isn't enough money in it for them. If you are really looking out for your client I think it is important to give them real world information, not just info that covers your ass.
    - Realtors hate me. I rarely get a referral from a realtor. They see me and other thorough inspectors as deal killers. From the posts that I have seen, I have to agree with Tony that it does seem like Jerry as a bit of an adversarial attitude. As much as I respect much of what Jerry has said on this site, I am not sure your attitude is good for our profession. I guess a key point to remember is that the Realtor doesn't get paid until the deal closes. Their outlook on the situation is significantly different and ulterior than ours.
    - I have inspected homes that had only minor problems not requiring 'licensed professionals'. Not often but it does happen.
    - Maybe an ongoing discussion about 'unofficial' professional standards might be in order. Might help the community.
    My two cents, Markus
    Have fun gentleman

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  31. #31
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    - I am adverse to 'always' telling clients to get a 'licensed' electrician. In some instances using the word 'professional' is sufficient. Let the client decide on their own definition of the term.
    They are not "professional" unless they are also "licensed", presuming that licensing is a requirement in your area.

    - The reality in our area at least, is that many 'licensed' electricians don't want to be bothered with little nuisance jobs like that. There isn't enough money in it for them. If you are really looking out for your client I think it is important to give them real world information, not just info that covers your ass.
    So, you are saying it only costs a pittance? Yeah, we know that. BUT, (and still) the "electrician" *needs to be* "licensed".

    - Realtors hate me. I rarely get a referral from a realtor. They see me and other thorough inspectors as deal killers. From the posts that I have seen, I have to agree with Tony that it does seem like Jerry as a bit of an adversarial attitude.
    Not so much as an adversarial attitude as a attitude which does not take crap from real estate agents. If they are nice, so am I. Once they are not nice, don't expect me to be nice back. Home inspectors are not there to please *the agents*, home inspectors are their to inspect for their clients - the buyers.

    I guess a key point to remember is that the Realtor doesn't get paid until the deal closes.
    Which is not our (HIs) problem. Maybe I've got news for you, but whether or not the deal closes *IS NOT* the home inspectors concern.

    - I have inspected homes that had only minor problems not requiring 'licensed professionals'. Not often but it does happen.
    *IF* repairs are being made to a house, whether required by law (as it is in Florida and apparently in Washington I think it was), *ALL* repairs *SHOULD* be *ONLY DONE* by licensed contractors.

    It's not like the seller or a handyman is going to live there and take care of poorly repaired items, your client needs to know that there was a licensed professional there and that (to some degree) there is something backing the purported knowledge and someone to complain to (whether or not it does any good is a different matter).

    - Maybe an ongoing discussion about 'unofficial' professional standards might be in order.
    Okie dokie, I'll start.

    A "professional" is one who has met all required qualifications for what they are doing, which includes being "licensed" (where licensing is applicable).

    Where there is no licensing, there are no "professionals".

    It's that plain and simple.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  32. #32
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    I inspect for lots of agents and have found lots of things that could have been a deal killer if the agent had not already advised the buyer of a potential problem before the buyer signed the contract. I have educated my regular agents as to what might be a problem so they have already alerted the buyer before I inspect the house. This includes old roofs, HVAC, FPE, Zinsco, poly, and hardboard siding.

    Of course there may be some hidden things in the crawl or attic but a good RA can do a pretty good assessment of a house even before you get there.


  33. #33
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    I inspect for lots of agents and have found lots of things that could have been a deal killer if the agent had not already advised the buyer of a potential problem before the buyer signed the contract. I have educated my regular agents as to what might be a problem so they have already alerted the buyer before I inspect the house. This includes old roofs, HVAC, FPE, Zinsco, poly, and hardboard siding.

    Of course there may be some hidden things in the crawl or attic but a good RA can do a pretty good assessment of a house even before you get there.
    This is key to the issue of "deal killer". A reputable RA doesn't want anyone to be stuck with a bad deal, seller or buyer. Up front disclosure and good advise. RAs are like anyone else, 90% are honest and forthright and would never consider doing anything that could be considered a ripoff. BUT, there's the other 10% who are typically labeled as "bottom feeders". They've been around a while, learned to read people, know how to walk the line, and their only concern is getting the commission.

    And, to be fair, there are El Jerko inspectors who treat minor issues with the same ardor as a major structural defect. Or, they make careless or just plain stupid remarks to the client that would send most anyone running out the door. They may be technically proficient but have poor communication skills.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Brooks View Post
    And, to be fair, there are El Jerko inspectors who treat minor issues with the same ardor as a major structural defect. Or, they make careless or just plain stupid remarks to the client that would send most anyone running out the door. They may be technically proficient but have poor communication skills.
    Some day I hope to be "technically proficient", in the meantime, though, I will just rely on my good communication skills and let my client know what is not right, what the effects are, and let them decide, NOT downplaying anything which might otherwise 'jeopardize the deal'.

    El Jerko Deal Killer

    (I've never killed a deal ... I have, however, help bury some which were DOA.)

    ME (Medical Examiner) explaining the 'Cause of Death' in the in$pection report: Death By Homicide, death was not a result of "natural causes", help was provided by persons unknown. Recommend obtaining DNA of 'builder'.

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

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    We all know that there are "deal killers" out there. If you are not reporting all defects in the proper perspective, some clients may be unnecessarily scared out of buying a perfectly good house, which is a disservice to your client. I hear of way too many stories of inspectors who don't know what they are talking about and/or scare the buyers out of a good house.

    On the original question, I always state that the electrical grounding connection was not visile and should be verified by a licensed electrcian. The possibility of an electrical system that is not properly grounded is a huge potential safety issue.


  36. #36
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Some day I hope to be "technically proficient", in the meantime, though, I will just rely on my good communication skills and let my client know what is not right, what the effects are, and let them decide, NOT downplaying anything which might otherwise 'jeopardize the deal'.

    El Jerko Deal Killer

    (I've never killed a deal ... I have, however, help bury some which were DOA.)

    ME (Medical Examiner) explaining the 'Cause of Death' in the in$pection report: Death By Homicide, death was not a result of "natural causes", help was provided by persons unknown. Recommend obtaining DNA of 'builder'.
    Jerry! Dude! I wasn't pointing a finger. I don't agree with you on every point every time,but, I'm with you in this thread. Really, my goal is to be considered a deal killer by that other 10% of RAs. There is a long time inspector operating in Northern Virginia, highly respected, who did have "deal killer" web page. He said the same RAs that called him a deal killer would call him to inspect a house somebody in their family was buying.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  37. #37
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Stuart, As home inspectors we have to assume a lot of things doing a visual inspection. That's why the SOP is so important to our industry. The standards protect us from errors that may come up later because we do not do technically exhaustive inspections. It would be impossible to check everything that may or may not be connected under ground or covered by sheet rock or in the attic. There has to be a common guide line by which we all inspect to make our industry worth while to the public. Being a generalist we have some knowledge about all aspects of the construction and well being of a house. That being the case we have to be confident in what we see with our eyes and not be paranoid as to what might happen or what might be under the ground. As home inspectors we therefore have to assume that when we see a ground wire going into the ground it is correct. Other wise the report would be filled with numerous paranoid request for further evaluations by licensed people checking sewer lines, gas lines, electric lines, wiring under insulation and walls which would make an home inspection worth less. We should not place undue concern in the heads of our clients that there "could" be a problem when it "looks" perfectly alright.


  38. #38
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Mount View Post
    Stuart, As home inspectors we have to assume a lot of things doing a visual inspection. That's why the SOP is so important to our industry. The standards protect us from errors that may come up later because we do not do technically exhaustive inspections. It would be impossible to check everything that may or may not be connected under ground or covered by sheet rock or in the attic. There has to be a common guide line by which we all inspect to make our industry worth while to the public. Being a generalist we have some knowledge about all aspects of the construction and well being of a house. That being the case we have to be confident in what we see with our eyes and not be paranoid as to what might happen or what might be under the ground. As home inspectors we therefore have to assume that when we see a ground wire going into the ground it is correct. Other wise the report would be filled with numerous paranoid request for further evaluations by licensed people checking sewer lines, gas lines, electric lines, wiring under insulation and walls which would make an home inspection worth less. We should not place undue concern in the heads of our clients that there "could" be a problem when it "looks" perfectly alright.
    Agreed - But perhaps because I'm of the Electric/Electronic engineering ilk, I tend to be cautious about things like grounds since it does have the possibility of causing personal injury. That's why I asked. There are responses in the thread that support both sides.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  39. #39
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    If I don't see it, I don't write it. If the ground rod isn't sticking out of the ground enough to see the attachment, it doesn't exist. Older homes that haven't been upgraded won't even have a ground rod. Newer homes should have typically at least 3 ground paths - ground rod, water main and utility line. All would have to fail to have a D&H condition.
    Licensure does not equal competence. Licensure shows primarily 2 things: 1- financial ability; 2- the ability to successfully take a test. To assume that someone licensed is by such licensure a 'professional', as Jerry appears to, must be a wonderfully naive position to take. Jerry's contention that a person is only a professional if licensed should be considered an insult to many fine trades people in difficult situations.
    I don't know what it takes to get an electrician's license in Florida, I do know that it is very difficult in Illinois. Much of the test is not just about knowledge but also math and concept. Trades people do need various forms of licensing in Illinois/Chicago. Maybe hiring only licensed people works in Florida. I can assure you however that residential construction and rehab would come to a virtual stand still in Chicago people only hired licensed 'professionals. Even though it is illegal and frowned upon renting out your license is common practice in the trades.
    I recently cost an agent an additional $8000 in commission. Upon my inspection the client chose not to buy the 1st house inspected (more expensive one) and chose to buy the 2nd house (less expensive one). The agent could barely look at me at the 2nd inspection let alone talk to me. I guess it didn't help that I told the agent to be careful on the stairs and then she fell.
    The reality is that as much as agents play their little 'I'm here to help you' game, they have ulterior motives. The agent is not on the same page as the Buyer or HI.
    I agree with all of you that it is important to provide to client with realistic information. Some HI make mountains out of mole hills. That is just as bad as doing a poor inspection.

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

  40. #40
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    Older homes that haven't been upgraded won't even have a ground rod.
    Huh?

    Ungrounded house wiring systems, i.e., receptacles, lights, etc., still had *the service* grounded at either a ground rod or (more common of real old homes) the metal water service pipe, or both even.

    Newer homes should have typically at least 3 ground paths - ground rod, water main and utility line.
    The water main is typically not metal on newer homes and thus is seldom used for "grounding" any more. However, "interior" metal water piping systems are required to be "bonded" to the service grounding system.

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

  41. #41
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Clearly regional differences continue...
    - Our area only allows roll copper water service mains, older homes not upgraded continue to have lead mains.
    - A ground rod around here for discussion purposes is considered to be a 1/2" x 10' (8') copper rod inserted almost fully (6"-12" remain above grade) into the ground under or close to the meter bank. The rod and meter bank are connected by conduit and wire from the rod to the ground buss at the meter housing.
    It appears that we are all clearly concerned about safety and providing good service to our clients.
    I find the disagreements based on regional differences to be quite enlightening.
    Have fun.

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

  42. #42
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  43. #43
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    Default Re: Verify Ground Connection

    Michael,

    That's one real hard lesson that person just learned, and they may not even survive to benefit from that lesson.

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

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