Agent

Building department not liable for faulty electrical work

Final inspection takes place before the power is turned on

DEAR BARRY: About five years ago, we built a detached garage in our backyard. All of the work was inspected and passed by the county building inspector. The electrician who was hired to do the wiring installed a recreational vehicle (RV) receptacle, but we never used it until just recently when we bought a new 5th wheel camper. When we plugged the RV into the outlet, the power fried all of the built-in appliances. The outlet that the electrician installed was intended for a 110-volt plug but was wired to a 220-volt circuit. We tried to call the electrician, but he is no longer in business. The only other responsible party is the county building department. Are they liable since they approved the work? --Cathy DEAR CATHY: Municipal building departments and their inspectors are exempt from liability when they make errors in their inspections. In fact, that exemption is actually written into the building code. The building inspector, however, may not even be at fault because ...