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Got Boned By The Building Dept

 
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Old 11-14-2008, 10:18 PM   #41
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Re: Got Boned By The Building Dept


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Originally Posted by Greg Di View Post
Aside from the DenShield go/no go issue Mike had, what continually baffles me is the total lack of accountability that most building departments have.

You call them, you always get voice mail where you leave a message and they never call you back.

If you have an unusual circumstance you want to run by an inspector prior to submitting the permit, they won't talk to you. You have to guess what they want to see and if you're wrong, the mysteriously lose the plans on their desk for a few weeks.

They miss an inspection causing all sorts of cost delays and scheduling problems and they don't care.

They go on vacation without any coverage.

They approve one thing on the plans, then see the job and decide everything's suddenly wrong and has to be changed.

They don't understand that WE are their customers. If I treated my customers like I get treated by some buidling departments, I'd be out of business.

OTOH, some BIs are great and go out of their way to help me get things done. They'll fast track a permit, or inspect on MY schedule, not theirs. I always make sure I tell the good BIs that they are really doing a great job and thanks for making my life easier.
You'd love the building inspectors out here, they dress up like cops and wear their shiny badges and radios prominently displayed (In many suburbs, in Chicago, they don't, they're usually family members or friends of other city officials and most solicit bribes) and are under the impression that they can do what ever they like and go where ever they choose. I've had two confrontations with building inspectors that ended up with the cops being called, no arrests. I have yet to see an inspector check/verify a ledger board connection, but God forbid your graspable handrail return has a gap or doesn't extend beyond the top riser to the arbitrary distance they choose. The biggest problem is they don't know sh!t about building or the codes.

But as you said there are some on the other end of the spectrum that are knowledgeable, helpful and not jerks, unfortunately they're rare out this way.




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Old 11-15-2008, 10:48 AM   #42
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Re: Got Boned By The Building Dept


Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Di View Post
Aside from the DenShield go/no go issue Mike had, what continually baffles me is the total lack of accountability that most building departments have.

You call them, you always get voice mail where you leave a message and they never call you back.

If you have an unusual circumstance you want to run by an inspector prior to submitting the permit, they won't talk to you. You have to guess what they want to see and if you're wrong, the mysteriously lose the plans on their desk for a few weeks.

They miss an inspection causing all sorts of cost delays and scheduling problems and they don't care.

They go on vacation without any coverage.

They approve one thing on the plans, then see the job and decide everything's suddenly wrong and has to be changed.

They don't understand that WE are their customers. If I treated my customers like I get treated by some buidling departments, I'd be out of business.

OTOH, some BIs are great and go out of their way to help me get things done. They'll fast track a permit, or inspect on MY schedule, not theirs. I always make sure I tell the good BIs that they are really doing a great job and thanks for making my life easier.
You hit just about all the issues. When it breaks down it breakdown bad and the wheels fall off. There certainly are good and bad building depts and inspectors. On bigger jobs we usually average 3-4 different inspectors we will deal with and it never fails that it breaks down something like this:

1 will be a total asshole and you're lucky if you rub his belly and stroke his ego a bit he will pass you.

1 will be green as can be and he is either trouble or not, depending if his greeness surfaces as trying to cover his ass at your expense or if it surfaces as everything will pass cause he knows no better.

1 will be just a regular good guy, usually an older guy who was a contractor and has the mentality of being on your side and as long as he thinks you're not trying to get away with anything he is going to do what it takes to keep you on schedule and stay out of your way. These are the guys who will sign off and either tell you to do something and trust you will do it or will sign off and make a note to verify on final.

1 will just be a time clock puncher, you can tell he could careless about anything going on, he will not bother you if you don't bother him and keep him away from getting the hell off your site.
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Old 11-15-2008, 10:49 AM   #43
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Re: Got Boned By The Building Dept


Ok I will chimein Mike come 4.5 hrs north and you can avoid those inspectors except electrical and there is a box you check if you want it inspected and it is an extra $50 hmnn let me think on that. Now I cut my teeth back east where you had to have an inspection to walk across the street and have had my go arounds with inspectors. The down side of not having inspectors Man have I seen some SH-- here we are under the ibc but with no inforcement it is bad. There is one guy here building new houses with a 32" stem wall code here requires 48" + 8" of exposed foundation. He puts in 3-0 3-0 bed room windows I guess he never heard of secondary egress and the list goes on. Point, when I bid against him it is tuff when the field is different. the only way to over come the $ difference is to tell the ho his work is not to code then you look like you are just talkin trashabout the comp. So i have seen the lack of a building dept and it is kinda like a brand inspector for cattle "he doesn't need to inspect my herd but I damn sure want him at the neibors" Here it would level out the field a bit Imagine a big city with no building department illeagals and HACKS would be a blip on th radar.
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Old 11-15-2008, 11:11 AM   #44
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Re: Got Boned By The Building Dept


I have lots of good inspector stories.

The best story happened about 9 years ago. We had been contracted to build some outside balconies on a low rise condo building($ stories).
We had 3 levels of 20 continuous decks with rails.
The inspector, who was on the site every day, (this was his first major project of his own, so he was still very gung ho in a totally misguided way)never once looked at our work until we were all done. We had asked for an inspection of our first installations. Of course, he waited until we were complete.
Then he wouldn't pass our work. He said the railings were no good.
The owner of the project, who himself was a structural engineer, analysed our rail and stamped the detail I made.
Still no pass.
The owner was infuriated, because without this pass he couldn't get his monetary draw.
When asked by all of us why he wouldn't accept even an engineering drawing, the inspector said it wasn't his job to tell us what was wrong, and that if we didn't know we shouldn't be in the business.
Finally, the owner went to City Hall and after 2 days got in to see the head of building enforcement.
After an extended site visit; me, my partner, the owner, his chief superintendent, the architect, the inspector, his supervisor, and the big shot from City Hall, it turned out that there was an obscure clause in the Ontario Building Code that a wood picket in a rail has to support 30 lbs of dead weight from it's middle when suspended horizontally!!!! I don't think that in the past 30 years anyone has ever asked to enforce this law.

These wood pickets are manufactured locally, and at the time, you basically couldn't build a deck in the province without them, to the tune of millions of pickets a year.

Anyway, the inspector insisted that we pick pickets at random to test them.
We had to run and get a scale, find a dead weight of 30 pounds, and then pull 30 pickets at random, including the 3rd story. We were a whole day on site, wasting everyone's time except the junior inspector.
Amazingly, all 30 pickets passed.
The following day we had our approvals.
3 months later ths inspector was promoted!

More stories another time.
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Old 11-15-2008, 11:16 AM   #45
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Re: Got Boned By The Building Dept


Quote:
Code changes made to improve
residential construction practices
call for the use of DensShield® Tile
Backer by Georgia-Pacific Gypsum
in place of Greenboard or moisture
resistant gypsum board as tile
backer in tub and shower areas.
Why hasn't anyone here picked up on the above misrepresentation by GP?

What is stated on their website (the above paragraph) is an out and out lie. The "code changes" don't mention Denshield anywhere that I know of. The code changes only approve a category of a manufactured product that Denshield falls under. GP makes it sound like the code insists you use Denshield and only Denshield.

Am I wrong here?
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Old 11-15-2008, 11:22 AM   #46
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Re: Got Boned By The Building Dept


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Originally Posted by Stone Mountain View Post
I have lots of good inspector stories.

The best story happened about 9 years ago. We had been contracted to build some outside balconies on a low rise condo building($ stories).
We had 3 levels of 20 continuous decks with rails.
The inspector, who was on the site every day, (this was his first major project of his own, so he was still very gung ho in a totally misguided way)never once looked at our work until we were all done. We had asked for an inspection of our first installations. Of course, he waited until we were complete.
Then he wouldn't pass our work. He said the railings were no good.
The owner of the project, who himself was a structural engineer, analysed our rail and stamped the detail I made.
Still no pass.
The owner was infuriated, because without this pass he couldn't get his monetary draw.
When asked by all of us why he wouldn't accept even an engineering drawing, the inspector said it wasn't his job to tell us what was wrong, and that if we didn't know we shouldn't be in the business.
Finally, the owner went to City Hall and after 2 days got in to see the head of building enforcement.
After an extended site visit; me, my partner, the owner, his chief superintendent, the architect, the inspector, his supervisor, and the big shot from City Hall, it turned out that there was an obscure clause in the Ontario Building Code that a wood picket in a rail has to support 30 lbs of dead weight from it's middle when suspended horizontally!!!! I don't think that in the past 30 years anyone has ever asked to enforce this law.

These wood pickets are manufactured locally, and at the time, you basically couldn't build a deck in the province without them, to the tune of millions of pickets a year.

Anyway, the inspector insisted that we pick pickets at random to test them.
We had to run and get a scale, find a dead weight of 30 pounds, and then pull 30 pickets at random, including the 3rd story. We were a whole day on site, wasting everyone's time except the junior inspector.
Amazingly, all 30 pickets passed.
The following day we had our approvals.
3 months later ths inspector was promoted!

More stories another time.
That's a great story. Sounds like that inspector got promoted for the same reasons some people make rank in the military. He'll probably end up running the department.

Sometimes it's the impractical nitpickers that get ahead. A guy like that who can't see the forest for the trees will sometimes miss the really important details that actually do matter.

I've noticed over the years down here in LA that a lot of these inspectors that come and go seem to like to brag about the days when they were in the contracting business themselves.
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Old 11-15-2008, 11:28 AM   #47
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Re: Got Boned By The Building Dept


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
Why hasn't anyone here picked up on the above misrepresentation by GP?

What is stated on their website (the above paragraph) is an out and out lie. The "code changes" don't mention Denshield anywhere that I know of. The code changes only approve a category of a manufactured product that Denshield falls under. GP makes it sound like the code insists you use Denshield and only Denshield.

Am I wrong here?
Just a bit of presumptive marketing/advertising. It did stand out to me as well, GP was probably lobbied to get the code change.





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Old 11-15-2008, 11:37 AM   #48
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Re: Got Boned By The Building Dept


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Originally Posted by mickeyco View Post
Just a bit of presumptive marketing/advertising. It did stand out to me as well, GP was probably lobbied to get the code change.





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Similar situation exists in the research reports with Building and Safety in Los Angeles in regards to Simpson Strong Tie products VS other brands that are equivalent. Simpson got in there years ago and lobbied and stroked to get their snouts in the trough, so I'm told.

I once failed inspection on a Hardy Steel Frame install because the inspector cited how a Simpson Strong Wall would have been installed and didn't know his own department's code on the Hardy.
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Old 11-15-2008, 06:01 PM   #49
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Re: Got Boned By The Building Dept


[QUOTE=Mike Finley;533722]Got boned real good this week by the Denver building dept.

Monday the electrical inspector doesn't show for his inspection. Tuesday is memorial day, shows up Wed, says he went to the wrong house on Monday. That cost me about $250.00

there's your problem, you're several months behind, when you catch up to veterans day you'll probably know about that code change!

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