In truth, I almost never say this to anyone. I’m very respectful of my competitors and electrical contracting businesses are highly regulated. That being said, the work that we do can be quite complex and if not done correctly, it can potentially be dangerous.
Most contractors are trying to provide their customers with a safe, quality service at a reasonable cost; however, every once in a while, I see an installation that simply did not seem to meet the most basic standards of workmanship.
This was the case a couple of months ago, when I personally responded to an urgent Monday morning request for service from a busy Toronto tire shop. The customer was referred to us by another contractor and was quite panicked as her compressor was not working – which, of course, is the lifeline of a tire shop.
We were fully booked that morning, so I offered to head over myself and see what I could do. When I arrived, I was able to determine that one of the two compressors was working so the matter was not critically urgent.
Before I was able to even start to diagnose the issue, my attention was drawn to the generally poor quality of workmanship. All of the wiring to these two relatively new compressors had been done with cord as opposed to armoured cable. There were two control boxes and two more isolating switches – and even the cable feeding from the nearby splitter was installed in a sloppy manner. The whole thing seemed like overkill for this fairly simple install.
The real surprise came when I opened one of the two control boxes. A big pack of wires unfolded from the cover to the controls. Inside was a small programmable logic controller and a bunch of relays. The box to the left contained more relays and some fuses. The main feed was from one source and some of the controls were fed from another source. I commented to the customer that this “looked like it was built in someone’s basement.” She looked at me sheepishly and replied that she had suspected for some time that she was not receiving quality work.
So, what was the installer intending with all these controls? Well it’s hard to say with no drawing and no numbering system. There was no real way for me to follow the control wiring. I was able to determine that two of the fuses for one of the compressors had blown, so I replaced the two fuses and the compressor started. I took voltage and load tests; the compressor seemed to be in perfect condition. Unfortunately, the fuse holders were buried in a box full of live 600 volt cables, so this was not really a do-it-yourself change for the tire shop.
Over the next couple of months, we responded to the same call on two different occasions. As far as I was concerned, the only sensible solution was to remove all the wiring, back to the main disconnect, and then supply and install a new control panel with proper wiring and an ESA inspection certificate.
Eventually, the customer gave in and we replaced all of the wiring. The new controls are quite simple and there is a drawing in the control panel. Needless to say, the calls about blown fuses have stopped and the customer is now ready for the busy changeover season from winter to summer tires.
There’s a saying…
-PICK ANY TWO-“
I’m not sure that the previous contractor was even providing one item from this list. For most customers, it’s very difficult to assess the quality of an electrical installation. Over the years, we have developed a solid reputation based on trust and quality. We are always pleased to hear our customers tell us that they deal with us because we do it right the first time with no call backs.
You can read these client testimonials for yourself! If you aren’t sure if your electrical contractor is performing the highest level of quality and service, please give us a call (416-490-8093) to set up a no charge site visit.
Yours in safety and performance,