Abusive small town building inspector


Old 04-26-08, 04:09 PM
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Abusive small town building inspector

I would really like to start a thread about, you guessed it, abusive building inspectors that misuse their power to bully people, making any new construction or remodeling projects extremely difficult and wasteful. We have a big problem in our town.

Can anyone tell me a good forum to post this kind of thread, if this is not a good place.

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Old 04-26-08, 05:55 PM
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Try General Chats and Discussions at the bottom of the forums page. We talk about anything on that one (within reason, of course). I sympathize with your problem, as we had one where I used to live (you may have him now) who was just a bully, that really wasn't up on code, and when you called his hand, he got even more belligerent. He got beat up a couple of times for being in the wrong place with the wrong people, and I'm not advocating that at all. So you may want to start a thread there, since it really isn't only an electrical problem. Be specific so we can respond accordingly and air it out.
Old 04-26-08, 06:05 PM
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Problems with the local building inspector. Contact your state Building Code office. You can always confirm state codes with the state office. Local codes can be more stringent than state codes. Even so, those codes should be on record at the state office.

As indicated, local codes can be very, very strict. I once attended a local Home Builders Association meeting where locals showed up to protest the new requirement for an electrical inspection for anything electrical. All one lady wanted to do was add one electrical outlet. When it pinches the pocketbook, you will certainly hear protests.
Old 04-26-08, 06:11 PM
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this is pretty wide defendtion of this one but however some inspector may not know all the current code or situation the inspectors are human just like us.

but really both state and city halls will have the state/ local regulations there. [ they are useally founded in building inspection dept or planning dept one of the two ]



Any hint of threat or insult anything like that it will be close promtely.

Old 04-26-08, 08:18 PM
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I’ve just got to say – and this is as someone who grew up in Chicago – that I never really understood how corrupt a AHJ could be until I helped my father wire my parents summer home in a small town in Michigan a while back.

When we called for the electrical rough-in the inspector (don’t remember if he was state or local) showed up, said that he would not pass any homeowner’s work unless it had been thoroughly checked out by an electrician, and suggested that his son was the right man for the job.

Son shows up, never looks at the work, drinks up all my elderly father’s beer for the next two hours, hands us a bill for his time, collects his check and leaves... inspection completed (and passed).

Even your typical Chicago reptile isn’t quite that bald about it - they might take your money, but they won't waste you time.

And they don't take your beer.
Old 04-27-08, 05:13 AM
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Just like all walks of life there are good and bad inspectors. I used to work with one VA inspector, he'd pull up in the driveway, honk the horn [if he saw my van] and ask me if the house looked ok, he would then sign off on my say so and never get out of his car How did he know that was the house

In fla, there was one that would nick pick a house to death. When the fireplace mantle wood was 1/8" too close the to fire box yes 1/8" he red tagged the house. He red tagged a condo I was painting because the water/sewer lines on 1 unit were 1/4" too close together. He even left a notice in the kitchen of 1 home because the address wasn't clearly marked - I had just painted over the spray painted # on the front stucco

I had a service inspection on a bldg I built on the lower part of my property. The elec inspector turned out to be an electrician I'd worked with in the past. He was willing to pass me even though there wasn't a ground wire/rod - but wait, it was there, just neatly tucked under the plywood and down the corner of the block to where it exitted thru to the outside

All that said, you can't underestimate the value they give - what would happen if nobody caught any of the errors made during construction!
Old 04-27-08, 04:58 PM
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A similar situation to Michael Thomas':
Fire Stop (caulk) caused the Fire Marshall to fail inspection three times in a new nursing home. The Fire Marshall recommended a "consultant" to take care of the "problem". The consultant is an electrician from a city 100 miles away. Hmm ... they both have the same last name.

Plumbers, HVAC, and electricians were put through their paces to keep redoing their work, yet nothing was good enough.

A few of the things that the consultant flagged:
-- Different manufacturers' brands of fire caulk cannot be used on the same pipe or penetration, even though the formula is identical.
-- Different shades of red colors cannot be used on the same pipe or penetration, even if they are different lots from the same manufacturer.
-- Smurf tube for low voltage systems must be caulked, even though it does not penetrate the entire wall. (It stubs from a box in the wall to the plenum on the same side of the wall.)
-- Caulk cannot be applied to drywall mud around pipe penetrations. The mud must be removed and replaced with caulk.
-- Blown-on insulation on the beams is not adequate. Fire caulk must be mixed with a thinning agent and applied with a sprayer to the insulation ... even though it causes the insulation to fall off the beams 24 hours later.

I don't know if this is all according to code. All I know is, a $50,000 check to the consultant stopped all of this lunacy the very minute the money changed hands, and the building passed the next inspection.
Old 04-27-08, 05:29 PM
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-- Smurf tube for low voltage systems must be caulked, even though it does not penetrate the entire wall. (It stubs from a box in the wall to the plenum on the same side of the wall.)
-- Caulk cannot be applied to drywall mud around pipe penetrations. The mud must be removed and replaced with caulk.
those two, I believe, are correct.

the reason for the smurf tube one is that part of the wall was compromised ot no longer carried the same rating as the rest of the wall and the second on because the fire caulk is intumescent and for it to be effective, must be IN a hole. Other than that, it would simply sell up and most likely fall off when exposed to the heat of a fire.

I presume everybody is aware that in most states, the inpectors decision can be appealed to the state level, right?

for $50k I would have seriously considered this option.
Old 04-28-08, 04:53 AM
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Or a couple of phone calls to the nearest big newspaper or TV station; they all have reporters who love that stuff.
Old 05-07-08, 10:16 PM
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I just don't know how one would ever initiate a discussion regarding graft of 50k with an inspector? I'm sure its been done but I'm too dumb to do it. Would you say "is there any way we can make this easier for both of us?" What if he gets PO'd and makes your life even more miserable?
Old 05-08-08, 05:01 AM
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I feel for you guys. I've had great experiences with the inspectors here in Cincy and Springdale. Only things they flagged were on the level. When I did my pool wiring the inspector even came out before I started to look it over and let me know exactly what he was expecting.

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