Who's responsible -Electrician or Homeowner?


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Old 04-26-14, 12:14 PM
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Who's responsible -Electrician or Homeowner?

In this specific case of my uncle.

New panel was installed. The electrician pulled new wire from the closest junction boxes into the new panel. One of the boxes they were pulling new wire into was grossly overfilled and a larger box should have been installed.

At that point, is it the responsibility of the electricians to make the job even harder and put in a larger box and otherwise rewire a circuit downstream of the new panel to make it safe/compliant? Or is an electrician only responsible for what is written on the invoice/work order?

Another way of asking, does an electrician "own" an existing problem once they get there hands into it sort to speak?
 
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Old 04-26-14, 12:25 PM
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One of the boxes they were pulling new wire into was grossly overfilled and a larger box should have been installed.
An already overloaded box should not have wires added to it.

No an electrician doesn't "own" an existing problem and he has a voice. We run into "surprises" all the time. It can be a handshake agreement or a written change order to remedy the situation. It is not automatically the responsibility of the electrician. It doesn't sound like we're dealing with a large sum of money here.
 
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Old 04-26-14, 12:42 PM
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An already overloaded box should not have wires added to it.
So is it in the best interest of a homeowner to call back after realizing this, say 60 days down the line and say "hey, you pulled wires into a grossly overfilled box and I want you to come back and fix it?".....

Then who is responsible ?
 
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Old 04-26-14, 01:05 PM
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Did you know of the already overloaded junction box before thew service change or have you just discovered this now... after the fact. If you feel it is not safe..... tell the electrician that. If he disagrees tell him you'll have the inspector look at it.

Can you post a pic of it.

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html
 
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Old 04-26-14, 01:27 PM
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Not to sway this off topic with the specifics of the overfilled box, it was not know though until the electricians opened up the box... they did put on a box extension but its still technically overfilled by the standard nec table.


For example this service has already been installed, paid for and pass the inspection (however, the inspection didn't go into the detail I am describing here).... technically a contractor could tell a homeowner to get lost at this point correct? There was plenty of things that were done during this service change that went beyond the scope of a service change and what was on the work order.


Generally, if an electrician touches something... does that imply a warranty?
 
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Old 04-26-14, 04:19 PM
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Is this the same problem as a week ago or so?
 
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Old 04-26-14, 06:28 PM
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So is it in the best interest of a homeowner to call back after realizing this, say 60 days down the line and say "hey, you pulled wires into a grossly overfilled box and I want you to come back and fix it?".....
Yes. It needs to be corrected.

Then who is responsible?
The electrician for the work and the homeowner for the additional cost, if any.
 
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Old 04-26-14, 06:35 PM
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Who's responsible

The electrician would be responsible for his installation, not the existing junction box.
they did put on a box extension but its still technically overfilled by the standard nec table.
He did add an extension which would appear that he/she did take box-fill into consideration. I assume the inspector saw the "closet junction box" and the job was approved. Without a picture it is hard to know if the box is really over-filled or not. What is a "Closet Junction Box"? Is the box a 4S box, flush in the wall of the closet, on the surface of the closet wall or in the attic above the closet?? If you think its over-filled, add another extension ring, it would'nt be the first time a retro-fit job had a box with two extension rings. You can always take the blank cover and second extension ring off should you need to get into the box again. Not the normal situation but its been done.
 
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Old 04-26-14, 06:40 PM
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I think they may mean the closest junction box, not closet.
 
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Old 04-26-14, 07:27 PM
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One of the boxes they were pulling new wire into was grossly overfilled and a larger box should have been installed.
It would normally be assumed that all junction boxes existing should be compliant and if there is one that was non-compliant, it would be an extra charge to the customer to make it compliant. It sounds as if the electrician did his due diligence by adding the extension ring. I hope your uncle was charged for the extension ring, but I am guessing the electrician just threw it into the job.
 
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Old 04-27-14, 05:04 AM
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Throw the specific case aside (BTW I wrote closest not closet). And trust me, I don't need to post photos to show you overfill... Im well versed in the NEC tables for that. And BTW: Adding 2 extension rings is not a fix. I digress though...

My general (or not so general) questions remain....

If an electrician alters or touches a circuit that is not referenced in a work order, is he now responsible for the entire circuit?

When an electrician touches an installation, does it imply a warranty? What if there is no mention of a warranty on the work order/receipt?

If the work has been completed, paid and inspected and passed.... a contractor could essentially tell the customer to get lost at this point correct?


And another scenario... my uncle is not really satisfied with the quality or workmanship of the electrician the company sent to do this work.... questioning this work will send the same guy back, who likely would have a chip on his shoulder at this point..... do you persist with the same contractor (yes if they are responsible in this case) or if they are not responsible, would you seek another contractor all together?

My uncle doesn't speak English and can only ask me for advice which I have no experience or reference in this type of situation. That is why I ask here.
 
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Old 04-27-14, 05:17 AM
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If an electrician alters or touches a circuit that is not referenced in a work order, is he now responsible for the entire circuit?
That is an arguable point. In my opinion.... no.

When an electrician touches an installation, does it imply a warranty?
It's the electricians responsibility to make sure anything he worked on is working properly but a warranty on work he didn't install.... no.

If the work has been completed, paid and inspected and passed.... a contractor could essentially tell the customer to get lost at this point correct?
Yes.... if the electrician has no ethics.

Most of us will go out of our way to satisfy a customer. Most of our businesses rely on "word of mouth" for additional work.

There are those who couldn't care less. In your position I would call the owner of the company and discuss your concerns with him.
 
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Old 04-27-14, 05:25 AM
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You're right. You don't have to post pictures requested. We don't know how versed you are in box fill, thus the request. We are. A picture would help us give you better information. But that's moot, now.

Why did he "touch" a circuit that was not on the work order? If there was something leading from or to that box, then it becomes "discovery". There are additional charges made, the problem fixed, or the electrician should walk away from it.

Most tradesmen imply workmanship warranties. That is not to say it is universal. If it is not mentioned specifically on the invoice, then there is no warranty.

If you feel the inspector made a bad pass on it, call his hand and have him look at it again to either belay the anxiety or red flag it. Just be nice. He has to pass the final again, and may have a spur under his saddle.
 
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Old 04-27-14, 05:40 AM
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Some states have specific contractor laws that deal with warranties, but if a warranty wasn't spelled out in the contract then it probably does not exist. That's a quick phone call to your local building inspector.

In any case, the warranty would only apply to materials and workmanship -- performed as part of the contract -- that failed during the course of normal use. It would not apply to a job that was completed, legally inspected and paid in full.

As I understand your question, If an electrician alters or touches a circuit that is not referenced in a work order, is he now responsible for the entire circuit?... If you are referring to touching the box that you're claiming is overfilled, and that box has circuits other than those he is adding, then his responsibility ends after he makes sure that all circuits running through that box are working. You can't ask him to fix a receptacle at the end of one of those circuits, for example.

That said, if it was me I would want to make sure the customer was happy, even 60 days later. It's too hard to get new customers these days, so it's really important to keep the existing ones and hope they spread it around via word of mouth.

I would call and ask to speak to the president of the company. Explain your situation (nicely) and ask the same questions. You may be pleasantly surprised.
 
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Old 04-27-14, 06:10 AM
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thx for the great replies.

In general (not directly related to overfill boxes etc), say you weren't satisfied with the contractor and you had to call another contractor to diagnose a problem the other contractor caused and then went ahead and paid for that repair with the new contractor....

can you take that invoice to the other contractor and say 'look here, I had to fix your mistakes... reimburse me'....

im guessing they would tell me to go get ##%%#%
 
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Old 04-27-14, 06:15 AM
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You would probably have to get a legal judgment first before it would be enforceable. Otherwise he could tell you to jump rope.
 
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Old 04-27-14, 10:13 AM
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Thanks again.

Uncle (and me) are in a situation where to call the contractor back to fix the boxfill issue (which is only one part of a larger troubleshooting issue)would me they would send back the same guy that I am not totally comfortable with as far as his ability. Now if I am certain doing extra work on these same circuits would entail extra cost, I just assume find another electrician and pay him instead.

I am unclear if getting another electrician involved at this point is a smart idea.

Of course I left out all the details of the issues as it would just confuse my intent with posting here....
 
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Old 04-27-14, 10:23 AM
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Just curious...... how did you pick your current electrician ?
 
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Old 04-27-14, 10:28 AM
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PJmax


Just curious...... how did you pick your current electrician ?
I know your thinking I will say "he was the cheapest" but that's not the case, they are prominent name in the area, wasn't the cheapest and I had used them about 15 years ago for something very minor.

So if someone hired a new contractor, is that confusing maters as in perhaps they find something not up to snuff that would be the responsibility of the other contractor. Then do I pay the new guy to correct it on the spot or do I bark up the other tree.

As for choosing electricians, that's another hard one for me. I want that master electrician that does everything by the book and is an awesome troubleshooter. Old school type of guy (probably like some of you here) but usually I call an electrician (or another tradesmen for that matter) and get an apprentice or that guy that seems like he's nursing a hangover or something. Then I find myself second guessing them.

Of course an electrician reading this will say I am a typical asswipe homeowner... mr know it all.
 
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Old 04-27-14, 11:31 AM
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No....I wasn't thinking cheapest.

Recommendations..... ask a friend or relative in the area. A smaller company will usually give you better service. As companies become larger..... their smaller customers don't mean as much.

Once you hire a new electrician.... you're basically shutting the other one out.
 
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Old 04-27-14, 01:11 PM
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I can't answer from a legal aspect but if I had run a new home run the the junction box and saw it was overfilled I would have added an extension ring and been done with it. The ring is a code acceptable means of adding space. If I opened the box and had crumbled insulation that was going to take additional work I would have pointed this out to the homeowner and worked up a price.

Why not cal the contractor and ask someone to stop by after explaining your concerns? Someone at the shop is holding a license the work was performed under. They should see the work.
 
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Old 04-27-14, 05:25 PM
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I knew I could find an example. We were rewiring for can lighting above a drop ceiling when we found 2 of these. 9 cables in a single 4x4 box. All work ceased and the owner was called to give the go ahead to fix the problem at a cost. Had she not approved it, we were not proceeding. It became a safety issue at that point. It wasn't something we could predict, nor see at first sight.

Name:  Jbox nightmare.jpg
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Old 04-27-14, 06:46 PM
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say you weren't satisfied with the contractor and you had to call another contractor to diagnose a problem the other contractor caused and then went ahead and paid for that repair with the new contractor....

can you take that invoice to the other contractor and say 'look here, I had to fix your mistakes... reimburse me'....
No. You didn't have to call a different contractor. You chose to call a different contractor. That's your choice, your action and your responsibility.

Think about it. If that was allowed, wouldn't we see all of the original work going to the lowest bidder, all of the follow-up work going to the most reputable, and the original low-bidding contractors held liable to pay the follow-up contractors? How long would that economy function?

If you're not satisfied with the way something was done by a contractor you hired, your only course of redress is through your agreement with that contractor. You can choose to work with them to have something changed or you can choose to hire someone else to do that. Your choice.

One of the consequences of working with your original contractor are that you, and that company, will have a chance to heal your relationship. Unless you contact them, they have no way of knowing that there's a problem. And there is a problem, whether there's anything wrong with their work or not: You're not satisfied. Most of us care deeply about that. Satisfying our customers satisfies us. And only satisfied customers help us build our business.

They want to help you. They want you to be satisfied. And until and unless they decide that satisfying you is not possible, or just not economically feasible, they'll do everything they can to satisfy you. Keep that in mind when you call. Especially since this job is completed, inspected, passed and paid for. That leaves you relying on their goodwill. But trust me, as PJ implied earlier, with a very few exceptions you'll find that most contractors have an ample supply of that.
 
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Old 04-27-14, 07:58 PM
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Of course an electrician reading this will say I am a typical asswipe homeowner... mr know it all>
I'm guessing that it must be difficult for you to hold that opinion of your impression on professional tradespeople and, at the same tome, deal with them in a successful manner.
 
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Old 04-27-14, 08:54 PM
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There's that old saying that for every satisfied customer only 2-or 3 persons may hear about them, but 10-20 people will hear about a contractor from a dissatisfied customer.

HowStuffWorks "How Customer Service Works"
 
 

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