Old 09-16-04, 01:42 AM
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I would like to relate a success story. I ramble a lot so get something to drink before starting.

I have read a lot of posts on this site really good stuff. I continue to learn more about building every day. I also see that sometimes people look for the cheap or easy way out. [I have worked on renovation projects major and minor for ~20 years]

I own a building, it’s within the city limits and the downtown fire district DFD. That’s two sets of codes to work under. I wanted to renovate an unoccupied portion of the building.

Before I applied for a building permit I asked both inspectors to meet with me at the property to discuss what I wanted to do.

1. They walked through with me.
2. Pointed out or commented on several things that need fixed/added. Some were reasonable others I had???
3. I wrote down each one and did not say a word.
4. A couple of things they said did alarm me for instance DFD inspector said “Had a fire here about 35 years ago needs a new roof!” Now you are thinking is this guy #@#$ crazy? New roof? We are talking hardwood trusses ~40’ long and 5’ tall, 2”x 12” joists plus decking too! Besides this roof has lasted 30+ years! What are you thinking! Nope I did not say a word. I asked “I wanted to hire a Civil P.E. to come in and check this out, will his recommendations be considered? A professional engineer carries a lot of clout with building code inspectors (it must be that little red stamp).
5. I hired one. This is a small city I have known this gentlemen for 10+ years.
6. He came down took a lot of measurements and pictures.
7. Made his report (letter), and yes recommended some reinforcement (drawings) not a whole new roof.
8. I spent ~ $7000.00 on this (material and labor) but that’s way cheaper than a whole new roof on a 5,000+ ft2 building.
9. My renovation is proceeding.
10. When I call the building inspector or DFD inspector they are eager to answer my questions and help me out. I assume it is because I do not sneak or weasel around the codes. I now have a lot better roof than I had before too!

I wanted to share with everyone this story. Sometimes we are better off with all these codes and rules. The vast majority of them came to fruition because some bonehead tried to save a few bucks and really messed something or (God forbid) someone up. Most inspectors are just trying to do their jobs. Do not argue with these people get the facts and stay calm.
Old 09-16-04, 04:34 AM
Join Date: Oct 2001
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Congrats on your success! You are 100% correct about getting inspectors involved early.

I am an architect, do about 99% commercial work. It has always been my policy to meet with inspectors early in the design process no matter how small the project. I then meet with them again shortly before completion of final construction documents. I have yet to have an inspector not want to meet with me and most appreciate being kept up to speed on a project to be constructed in their city. The real bonus is that it saves a lot of "surprises" during the permitting and construction process.

A lot of people could save themselves a lot of trouble (and money) if they did things the way you did.

Old 09-19-04, 02:07 PM
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Building Inspectors

It is extremely important that Building Inspectors are involved from the very start and that everything is done to Code. The worst forum post on this website was from a realtor who reported that he had a house listed where the owner finished out a basement. There was no permit and the basement finishing job was not to Code. Thus, the basement remodel had to be torn out before the house was sold. There have been other posts where homeowners have built fences without permits and not to Code and had to be removed. When it comes time to sell a home, a home inspector will check to see if construction and improvements were permitted and meet Codes. Involving the Building Inspector ensures quality of construction and safety. While the National Building Codes are the guideline, Codes tend to vary from area to area. Thus, it is important to consult with the local Building Inspector. In many areas, especially rural, there may not be a Building Inspector and Codes are not enforced. In those situations, it is important to hire a home inspector to point out building defects.
Old 09-21-04, 10:38 AM
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Note that in rural areas you may be subject to one of the two situations:

The township may have their own building code / inspection division.

if not:

The state will have a building code / inspection division.

So - there is nowhere that doesn't have building codes.

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