IT must be Fall wood/pellet stove permits are comming in

elkimmeg Posted By elkimmeg, Oct 13, 2006 at 12:03 PM

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  1. elkimmeg

    Guest 2.

    I was wondering when the rush would occure. I thought maybe because I had so many last year, that possibly there would be fewer this year, that seems to be true. People are purchasing Pellet stove without locking in pellet purchases . Pellets are now back ordered and supplies are short around here. Good news for Harry. Most stoves are inserts. Quality of installations, is still very suspect from one local dealer a couple towns away. I'm working on this house and next door a wood stove is being installed, exterior class A chimney, . setup. Curosity takes over so a wander over and talk the installers a few questions. The one story ranch home, total run jog around the overhang about 10'. The verticle length in about 8' short of the 2/10 3 rule . I ask them how hard is it and how expensive is it to install such a setup. The guy tells me that this is his second install. I ask him if there are any special licences needed a or classes he should attend, to get into the installation business? He tells me it is actually pretty easy work except for the lifting and gets paid about 450 for that install and usually he can do 2 a day. Even paying his helper, he can net about $700 a day if he has two.
    You know where I am heading, so I ask him being in the construction business I thought permits are required to install wood stoves?
    He tells me he never pulls permits. So I asked him what would happen if he got caught working without one? He tells me the word out is that the inspector in this town is an arns hole. So I lead him one further I asked him what retailer he is subcontracted from?

    I thinking about purchasing a stove who should I speak to? If I buy elsewhere are you insterested in doing my install he gives me all his contact info ant the retailer who contracted the job. He tells me his next one is around the corner and that his buddy got him into the business and has done quite a few in my town this year.

    I then tell him I like the class a chimney but don't you thing its too short? I tell him I know masons have to obtain a certaint height above the roof line. I tell him I think there are codes governing the height. He tell me there probably are but between you and me
    the home owner is never going to ask or know .
    I reach into my back pocket and tell him here is my contact info. I will be getting in touch with you again and you can count on it. The business card happens to be my town Mechanical Inspector card. I start walking back to my job but turned around to get the facial expression when it finally hits him who he was speaking to.

    It hits him I asked him who is the arns hole now? I will be getting in touch with you again. Do me a favor tell you boss, the retailer, I want all records of wood stove sales in my town the past 3 years., I am going to check them for permits. Tell him, to please fax them in, the fax number is on the card. and finally that chimney is 8' too short. the fax has not arrived yet. Time to reach out and touch him. You guessed it,the same problamatic retailer I had the most headaches with. To be continued
  2. Marty

    Feeling the Heat 2.

    Jul 11, 2006
    Bad boys bad boys wat ja gonna do?... whennnn Mr. inspector man come for you?
    music fades

    Elk: ~walking away~ ~pauses~ ~turns and looks over his sholder~

    Contractor: Heyman does this mean you won't be needin that stove install?

    Elk: ~shakes head~ ~continues walking away~

    music comes back up
    Bad boys bad boys wat ja gonna do?... whennnn Misesr. inspector man comes for you?
  3. Gibbonboy

    New Member 2.

    Oct 3, 2006
    I guess it's human nature to try to "get one over on the man". When I worked in construction, we had a great relationship with our inspectors. We learned from each other, and kept all the work safe, which is the whole point of codes in the first place. When these morons kill someone, will they even feel bad? People used to ask me if I could recommend a contractor, I never would. It's like checking a used car for someone, when it breaks a year from now, it's your fault no matter what. I deal with situations all day that are a direct result of plain ol' stupidity- I look at it as job security. I'd feel bad if those people sold that house, and a few years down the road, it burned down because they didn't know that it was a crap install. Grr.
  4. senorFrog

    New Member 2.

    Aug 31, 2006
    Too bad you can't post the name of the retailer and save some folks some trouble.

    The original woodstove I had came with the house. An old franklin. It was installed about 35 years ago. I brought a sweep in to clean & inspect the chimney. He pointed out some code violations on his report. Since he was semi-retired and only does sweeps, I brought someone else in to fix these problems. I didn't do any of my own research and just assumed that: 1) I had some sort of historic stove which needed to be preserved and 2) A new stove would be cost prohibitive. Well, the stove wasn't historic and the guy I brought in to fix these code problems charged me $800, didn't pull a permit and didn't bring anything up to code. Like everyone else, when oil shot up I decided to take a second look at new woodstoves. I sure wish I put that $800 toward my new stove.

    I made sure to educate myself this time and not just take the installers word. I'd like to thank you guys for helping me out with various questions.

    Another story, my sister spent well over $5,000 trying with two diff large local companies trying to have here fireplace repaired. Still doesn't work. The third company she recently brought in reported that she had a chimney fire. She no longer uses the fireplace, but would like to. After spending all that money, she's not certain that anyone will or can fix her problem regardless of how much she spends on it. Maybe I can get some pics and start a thread on her situation.

    Elk, would you consider looking at her situation and make some recommendations or can you recommend a reputable local installer?
  5. Jill L

    Jill L
    New Member 2.

    Oct 11, 2006
    western Mass
    I can totally understand why Elk wouldn't 'name names' in a public forum like this because of the legal issues that could arise from being a paid government official --- but is there a forum FAQ or 'unwritten rule' that stops the rest of us from doing so? If someone was scammed by a local dealer or installer wouldn't this forum be the perfect place to alert and help others avoid the same potential scam? Sorry for being such a newbie and not explicitly knowing the forum rules.

    Im a Mass resident and have a couple of elderly clients who live in the Dedham/Norwood area (Im in the elder care/social services industry), I would love if Elk could PM me the name of this retailer and this contractor so I can add them to my personal list of companies/contractors/retailers in the south shore / southern mass area who have no qualms scamming our state's elderly residents. One of the services I take care of is in 'elder safety'. That can involve having an elder's home inspected for any potential problems like unsafe stairs, making sure there's plenty of heat, and furnace inspections and cleanings and such, and getting them repaired for them. A hazardous dirty chimney would obviously be part of this (or an illegal non-code install of a chimney!), and hiring chimney sweeps and such to take care of potential problems is often a part of my job.

    There are far too many of these types of businesses around who get away with such shoddy work and scams simply because nobody tells others when they are ripped off because they are embarassed about it --- this is especially true among our vulnerable senior population.

    Would any of you want these clowns that Elk busted, doing any type of fire/heating related installs for your parents, grandparents or friends?

  6. HarryBack

    New Member 2.

    Dec 27, 2005
    Western Massachusetts
    Love this post, Elk! Cept for one thing: The retailer doesnt HAVE to supply you with squat. They arent governed by the Freedom of Information Act, like you are, as a public servant. Remember this in your correspondence as well....everything you put on paper can and will be used against you. I think it would be better, in fact, and more productive, to send a little letter to the folks you know of who had their units installed by these folks, asking for a permit, and reminding them that if they have a "mishap", their insurance likely wont cover it. Be very wary of Libel and Slander a small town, your town liability coverage wont protect you personally if you are involved in such activities. Just hiring the dang attourney will be expensive.

    And why is the fact that pellets are in short supply "good news for Harry"? Bad press is bad news. Actually, there really isnt a shortage of pellets. The problem seems more to be that folks are unwilling to buy softwood pellets (us hardheaded New Englanders have always been taught that hardwood is the King, and softwood is garbage). Quite alot of them available, actually. Im trying them myself this isnt cold yet, but i gotta tell ya, these Premium Softwoods are burning clean and far, so good!
  7. elkimmeg

    Guest 2.

    Really it is not my job to be companies quality control agent. This same outfit has had many good sucesfull installs.

    the homeowners have to take some responsibility here as well. The proper sequence is to obtain the permit first. Asking me to do the inspection after it is installed is a bit un fair. You get free advice your installation is discussed you are told what to expect.
    you also have the oppertunity of making final payment upon sucessfull inspections. ITS a lot harder to get an installer back when he has been paid for a faulty installation. The same token it is equally as important that the homeowner pay the contractor for code compliant work At one time we had a real good working relationship I would make the inspection just as the installers were finishing if approved I would tell the home owner to pay the men. I believe that the installers should be obtaining the permits should they not get paid we issure compliance to the t person who paid for it. In the Satte of MA the installer muct have a GC licence andinsurance before a permit is issued. Excersizing the homeowner exemption allows you to hire un licenced un insured contractors. these contractors can under bid me every time they pay nop insurances no comp no licencing fees and never have to charge for a premit.
    This is who is doing 90% of the installs. I cannot get a licencced revolked from one without one
  8. webbie

    Seasoned Moderator 2.
    Staff Member

    Nov 17, 2005
    Western Mass.
    After you put the poor man through all that, you should not have played your ruins the whole fun!

    Also, I thought that inspectors (at least in NJ) were not supposed to contact work in the same town that they inspect least that was our local rules. Made certain there was no conflicts of interest.

    Now don't be too hard on the dealer or installer! You want to bring them into future compliance, but if they commit suicide, you will feel bad.......
  9. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart LLC Mid-Atlantic Division 2.
    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    Northern Virginia
    Or do like the guy that built my house and punch out the building inspector.
  10. elkimmeg

    Guest 2.

    About 8 years ago my son and I were residing a home we removed the junk hardboard siding and were installing cedar clapboards along with project we replaced every window to Anderson’s.
    Is mid afternoon and a guy stops buy and is talking to my son I’m around the corner here in the conversation. The guy asked my son if he had a permit for the work we were doing. About that time, I figured I should but in. He then repeated the question to me about having a permit? I asked why he wanted to know? He then tells me he is the building inspector. I tell him I have to check my truck and I get in the truck and pull it right behind him blocking his exit. I get on the cell phone and call the office and tell my boss there is a guy down here impersonating him and please call for two cruisers to enter from both directions of the circle road. So I exit my truck and tell the guy I must have missed placed the permit since I could not find it. He then asked me what was it worth for him to ignore the fact that I did not have a permit? (Stalling) I asked him if it were ok for me to obtain one tomorrow and I would meet him first thing at the office to obtain one. Just so you know who I am here is my business card. I hand him the deputy inspector card. I mean the expression he made was priceless With in a minute or so, the police arrived. This guy was dazed in shock; he lay on the grass and received the cuffs.

    It seems he had been shaking down builders and remodelers all over the area.

    To answer Craig’s question: Since I am not a full time employee of the town I can seek and I am able to work within my inspecting town. Full time I could not. Quite a while ago an incident occurred. A person I was doing work for, decided they were not going to pay me for my work. They called the town administrator, trying to hurt me in any way they could. Figuring I would back off and forget about the money. The call was too close so it was decided that I do commercial inspections and Mechanical inspection area I usually do not work on or even bid on. I figured if being a mechanical inspector I might as well self educate what I’m supposed to do. That was 11 years ago and I am still learning and forums has been a great educational tool Thank to all
  11. elkimmeg

    Guest 2.

    To answer other post I feel I cannot name the retailer or retailers in question. IT is not my purpose to hurt their livelyhood. What I can do is require them to make code compliant installs. The same set of codes that govern all installations. I would rather work with them than being against them. I thought we had a decent understanding and working relationship. but they hired new installers, that are not up to speed as to being compliant. I hope and think we both want what is best for the end consumer. We had a little phone discussion today and cleared up a lot of concerns.
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