Electricity is Usually Easy
From the Electricity Series of Articles
If youre a property manager who is preparing for the REAC inspection you should know that guarding the rather large electrical deficiency deductions is usually fast, easy, and inexpensive.
Step 1: Secure all electric boxes
Secure them. I dont care if theyre
- on a roof that’s inaccessible to the residents
- in a locked closet or locked cage
- in a basement room that nobody ever enters
- and I dont care if you have to open a bank vault safe to get to the electric box (see the Electrical Devices in Locked Rooms or Cages article in this website)
Wherever they are, secure them. Without a doubt, secure all of them.
Use padlocks, use padlock seals (second photo), use zip‑ties (third photo), or be creative (within, of course, the permissions of the Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) listing of the device). And:
- If you use a padlock that requires a key, dont leave the key in the padlock.
- If you use zip‑ties, be careful because some of them are rather thin and may not withstand a tug from the REAC Inspector. Give the cover a good tug yourself, just to be sure.
And keep an eye on outside contractors. They may frustratingly and without your knowledge remove a lock or a tie from an electric box.
Step 2: Except
Don’t secure or lock up or block the covers of electric boxes that contain circuit breakers or screw in plug fuses unless you are able unlock or unsecure them quickly and easily for the REAC Inspector.
Theres a deficiency called “blocked access” that can be applied if the REAC Inspector feels that access to emergency disconnect switches (circuit breakers or screw in plug fuses) are blocked.
Step 3: Watch Out For Holes
and Make Sure Receptacles and Light Switches Have Their Covers
Any one of the conditions photographed above can, under easily achieved REAC circumstances (see the What is an Electrical System Deficiency and Boy Does it Matter article in this website), cause your property to lose double digit points during the REAC inspection. The correction of the conditions photographed above will cost you, at most, say, $3.75 each.
If you think that a certain electrical device with a missing knock out or a missing cover wont be recorded by the REAC Inspector because its way up on the ceiling or too far from anyones reach — the best you can hope for is that the REAC Inspector wont see it.
Another thing to keep in mind is that REAC Inspectors are instructed to record exposed electrical components like missing receptacle and light switch covers when they have been removed because a room is being painted or renovated. This is especially important to remember when vacant units are subject to inspection.
When Isnt It Easy, Fast, and Inexpensive?
- When an electric box is not designed to be secured shut
- When an electricians or contractors initial error left a gap between the safety covers and the internal electrical components and the error has to be corrected by an electrician
- When an electrical component is so corroded it has to be replaced by an electrician
There are, of course, REAC inspection electrical subtleties and I’ve got complaints to make about the writing of electrical deficiency instructions. These are covered in other articles in this website. But, as a property manager who’s interested in a good REAC inspection score, please follow the recommendations contained in this article before you go on to read my ravings about grammar, and logic, and clear writing.
Last modified: February 28, 2011