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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I am new to General Contracting, but was a frame/finish carpenter for 6 years befor getting into the flooring industry. Within the last two years I have done many full remodels due to the demand of my skills.

I decided a good way to get my feet wet in GC would be to build my own home. Thought it might be a good way to learn the ins and outs of paper work, permitting, etc. I have made a few calls to our local Building Inspector to ask some very simple, but important questions pertaining to requirements about my blueprints. He has been nothing more than a JAG with his answers and feel as if he is mad all the time.

I don't want to start off on the wrong foot with him, but feel as if I need to ask him what his problem is. I know it is not his job to teach, however two thoughts come to my mind. 1. He was once a greenhorn and somebidy had to teach him. 2. As a current tax payer in the same town, my property taxes pay his salery.

Now, I am a calm, cool and collective person, but we all have our breaking points.

Any suggestions?
 

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stacker of sticks
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1) ask your questions here
2) take him to lunch, nothing's free. I spent a lot of money, and worked for little pay forany years for my knowledge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Lunch would be fine if I thought he would agree to it. I have worked many years as well for my knowledge. Not asking for alot, just a professional attitude.

If I talked down or had his attitude with my potential clients or current clients, I would not be working....ever!!
 

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His salary is to be a BI, not a instructor at the local votech
Agreed. Most inspectors don't give advice about how things should be done unless they already know you well. It's potentially a huge time waster for them, and they have to deal with homeowners who don't understand or mess it up, and say, "But you told me to do it that way!" Much easier for them to stay inside the lines of their job descriptions. I can't really blame them. Most places have an inspector to answer specific code questions; they're not usually tolerant of "how should I do it" questions.
 

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stacker of sticks
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If I talked down or had his attitude with my potential clients or current clients, I would not be working....ever!!
I agree with your statement, but he's the king of the castle. I've spent years sucking up to my inspectors. It doeant mean I like them. But they can make your life a living Hell, or smooth sailing.
 

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So, I am new to General Contracting, but was a frame/finish carpenter for 6 years befor getting into the flooring industry. Within the last two years I have done many full remodels due to the demand of my skills.

I decided a good way to get my feet wet in GC would be to build my own home. Thought it might be a good way to learn the ins and outs of paper work, permitting, etc. I have made a few calls to our local Building Inspector to ask some very simple, but important questions pertaining to requirements about my blueprints. He has been nothing more than a JAG with his answers and feel as if he is mad all the time.

I don't want to start off on the wrong foot with him, but feel as if I need to ask him what his problem is. I know it is not his job to teach, however two thoughts come to my mind. 1. He was once a greenhorn and somebidy had to teach him. 2. As a current tax payer in the same town, my property taxes pay his salery.

Now, I am a calm, cool and collective person, but we all have our breaking points.

Any suggestions?
What kind of questions?

A bad policy through out the country allows home owners to design an build their own property. As a taxpayer you should have that right, but home do get sold and banks own homes so the building inspectors are hired by the State to enforce a code on behalf of the insurance industry. They cannot take responsibility by advising people, even though they sometimes hint. Otherwise it could get misinterpreted and we have a "you said I can" situation. Asking advice for Technical conflicts are understandable, if it goes beyond that its a liability.

Unfortunately most states, mine included do not require a carpenter to know anything but carry insurance.
 

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I think the type of questions you're asking might be the problem. I have never had an inspector take issue with me for asking for advice or code interpretation.

Recently I was asked to bid a food trailer park. There is no code reference to the design of these, however there are rules for RV parks. I asked the BI how what design criteria he was going to use, and he didn't know - this was the first in our area. He contacted the state licensing and regulation dept. and got back with me. These are the type questions they should be obligated to answer, not basic code or "how do I" questions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yea, I know what you guys mean by the "how do I" question, but as stated I am fluent in home construction. My questions never pertained to the BI doing my job. They were more in the way of "is this acceptable". I am just making sire I have a my ducks in a row so there are no hangups when I submit documents for permitting. You could say I am trying to make it easier for the BI to do his job by being thorough. I guess I just did not expect the attitude!!
 

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stacker of sticks
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Yea, I know what you guys mean by the "how do I" question, but as stated I am fluent in home construction. My questions never pertained to the BI doing my job. They were more in the way of "is this acceptable". I am just making sire I have a my ducks in a row so there are no hangups when I submit documents for permitting. You could say I am trying to make it easier for the BI to do his job by being thorough. I guess I just did not expect the attitude!!
I've noticed a lot of BI must have been picked on their whole lives, then they get a position of power, and make it difficult for the rest of us.
 

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It sounds like you might be asking him for advice that, as a building professional, you should already know. It also sounds like you are drafting your own construction documents and the first sentence also applies to that aspect of construction.

Their job is to review and/or inspect, not give a bunch of advice. My experience with inspectors and plan checkers is some are nice and some aren't so nice but they're all busy and expect the people who interact with them to know their side of the business. Once that has been established I've gotten some good, and some not so good advice from them but it's only been on unusual situations where the code isn't clear.
 
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