Renovation Permit

I'll try and make this as brief as possible. Any and all comments are welcomed.
- Had renovation work done last year by contractor that was let go 75 % into the job and who has consequently went bankrupt. - The work done was for a full bathroom in my basement with ceramic heated. - Had sewer blockage in mid-January. - It took a plumber 5-1/2 hours and 950 dollars to unblock finally it.
There is an issue with the way the clean out was installed and must be replaced. It is too small (3) and on an angle that does not meet code, and cannot easily be accessed to properly accommodate a rigid snake. Further, no back watch valve was installed.
I am a good citizen and did what I believed was everything by the book, including purchasing a building permit. The city asked for plans. I supplied them with plans. They were aware that the was plumbing and electrical work to be done.
After all this mess, I read up on building permits to find out what the actual purpose was aside from an indirect tax that will boost my evaluation up faster than my neighbors who dont bother with permits. From what I can gather, it appears that I could have asked the city to inspect the work that was done at certain junctures in the job to make sure that all was done and proceeding correctly according to spec. Nobody at that city told me this when I got my permit and it was not an obvious question for me to ask as I am not in the industry. Mind you, they were quick to come over and see the finished job once it was completed (no doubt, to increase my evaluation in time for next years tax bill).
Question: Does the city have an obligation to tell permit holders what services they can use (periodic inspections) ? Or is it my responsibility to be a mind reader ?
I would like to consider trying to recoup my past and future costs to repair what I believe was an avoidable situation.
Forgive my sarcasm.
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I have worked with numerous building departments in a number of areas of the country and no of not a single instance where they have failed to explicitly state the need for the periodic inspections if such are required. Almost without doubt the building department was not notified that the project was ready for a periodic inspection. See for yourself - visit the municipality's web site and check on the building permit process and what is required. Unless it's a total backwater you live in, it will be stated that periodic inspections are required, and that the party that pulled the permit must notify the building department that a particular phase of the project is ready for inspection. Like this from my town's building department web site: Q: How many hours in advance do I need to call to arrange for an appointment for inspection? A: Please call 72 hours in advance to arrange an inspection appointment. Since you procured the permit it is your responsibility to inform them. End of story.
That being said, the contractor, knowing there was a permit, should have expressed some surprise that there were no inspections performed.
There is always more to a story than what is posted on a newsgroup. Just saying...
R
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I'll try and make this as brief as possible. Any and all comments are welcomed.
- Had renovation work done last year by contractor that was let go 75 % into the job and who has consequently went bankrupt. - The work done was for a full bathroom in my basement with ceramic heated. - Had sewer blockage in mid-January. - It took a plumber 5-1/2 hours and 950 dollars to unblock finally it.
There is an issue with the way the clean out was installed and must be replaced. It is too small (3) and on an angle that does not meet code, and cannot easily be accessed to properly accommodate a rigid snake. Further, no back watch valve was installed.
I am a good citizen and did what I believed was everything by the book, including purchasing a building permit. The city asked for plans. I supplied them with plans. They were aware that the was plumbing and electrical work to be done.
After all this mess, I read up on building permits to find out what the actual purpose was aside from an indirect tax that will boost my evaluation up faster than my neighbors who dont bother with permits. From what I can gather, it appears that I could have asked the city to inspect the work that was done at certain junctures in the job to make sure that all was done and proceeding correctly according to spec. Nobody at that city told me this when I got my permit and it was not an obvious question for me to ask as I am not in the industry. Mind you, they were quick to come over and see the finished job once it was completed (no doubt, to increase my evaluation in time for next years tax bill).
Question: Does the city have an obligation to tell permit holders what services they can use (periodic inspections) ? Or is it my responsibility to be a mind reader ?
I would like to consider trying to recoup my past and future costs to repair what I believe was an avoidable situation.
Forgive my sarcasm.
*Like Rico said, the building department will usually supply you with a list of inspections that are required for each job. Since you furnished plans and details and had multiple permits there should have been rough inspections required for plumbing, framing, insulation, ventilation and electrical and then final inspections and then maybe a certificate of occupancy. However whether they did specify or not, the responsibility lies with the person who pulled the permits. The town is not responsible for what you know or don't know. It is not the responsibility of the inspectors to tell you how to do a job. They will only tell you if it is right or wrong and cite the part of the code that is relevant. Ignorance on your part is not an excuse.
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On 3/22/2011 3:04 PM, qcan wrote:

OK, so first you acted as the GC though you are not qualified... And paid a (perhaps small) price for that. That's life. If you are smart enough to know you need a building permit, you are expected to know that you need inspections at certain stages of the construction. And, no the building inspector doesn't know when you reach those stages, you call him and schedule the inspection.
Why building permits? One is to keep evaluations/appraisals accurate, sure. But keep in mind that anyone who improves without a permit can be required to remove (at their expense) those improvements, be required to pay a penalty, and suffer other consequences. You did the right thing getting the permit. You failed to schedule the periodic inspections for rough-in plumbing, wiring and framing for example. Had you do this you'd possibly have avoided the later failure, but since you don't say what failed I can't be sure.
As to your question: The city already told you you needed the inspections... It is an implicit requirement of all building permits, and is expected. Your lack of experience doesn't change that fact at all. In reality the builder/contractor should have been the one pulling the permit, not you--you were not sufficiently skilled as a GC to do that, even though it was your home. When you pull the permit it is understood you know what you are doing!
How was it avoidable? What really happened?
Recovery: No, nothing doing here--the builder is gone, gone, gone. Bankrupt means they are history, have nothing, no assets, nothing for you to recover.
Summary... Such is life, you learned a lesson: have the inspections as needed, and let the contractor pull the permits next time.
--
I'm never going to grow up.

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With all plans submitted to the Building Dept. in my County plans are inspected, and highlighted if needed for considerations and approved. Along with the approval come a Building Permit Inspection Sheet. This sheet is to be used by the General Contractor to fulfill all job inspections at the time of construction. That would be concrete, footings, pressure test for new plumbing (baloons are placed in ahead of the repairs and water filled to a 10' height to inspect for problems) Also some lines are inspected prior to covering so that if a problem exists it can be seen and repaired then re-ispected. It seems to me, you have a permit, and never got the necessary inspections. Now if the City only wants revenue and cares less about inspections then it may be up to you and or the builder to get these inspections for your assurance that the job will fly! The lines should also be inspected prior to covering......for the proper placement and sizes and cleanouts.....Also is the subgrade properly compacted, lines can settle. Many ideas, and I can keep going.... You have a court issue. jloomisconstruction.com
I'll try and make this as brief as possible. Any and all comments are welcomed.
- Had renovation work done last year by contractor that was let go 75 % into the job and who has consequently went bankrupt. - The work done was for a full bathroom in my basement with ceramic heated. - Had sewer blockage in mid-January. - It took a plumber 5-1/2 hours and 950 dollars to unblock finally it.
There is an issue with the way the clean out was installed and must be replaced. It is too small (3) and on an angle that does not meet code, and cannot easily be accessed to properly accommodate a rigid snake. Further, no back watch valve was installed.
I am a good citizen and did what I believed was everything by the book, including purchasing a building permit. The city asked for plans. I supplied them with plans. They were aware that the was plumbing and electrical work to be done.
After all this mess, I read up on building permits to find out what the actual purpose was aside from an indirect tax that will boost my evaluation up faster than my neighbors who dont bother with permits. From what I can gather, it appears that I could have asked the city to inspect the work that was done at certain junctures in the job to make sure that all was done and proceeding correctly according to spec. Nobody at that city told me this when I got my permit and it was not an obvious question for me to ask as I am not in the industry. Mind you, they were quick to come over and see the finished job once it was completed (no doubt, to increase my evaluation in time for next years tax bill).
Question: Does the city have an obligation to tell permit holders what services they can use (periodic inspections) ? Or is it my responsibility to be a mind reader ?
I would like to consider trying to recoup my past and future costs to repair what I believe was an avoidable situation.
Forgive my sarcasm.
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Against what party? The bankrupt contractor? That ain't happening. The municipality? Eh - where's that going?
Rule number one in any building department - cover your ass. Asking people to believe that a municipality that requires periodic inspections would ignore the fact that those inspections weren't performed and passed, and then would perform a final inspection and sign off on it, is simply beggaring belief.
There's more to this story. Way more. The OP is being disingenuous.
R
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Thanks you all for your replies. Just to clarify. The city never gave me a sheet of instructions outlining when inspections should take place. The "clerk" never verbally gave instructions as well. As was pointed out, I was unfortunatly ignorant of the situation. I should have had the contractor himself get the permit and follow up with inspections. This was neither mentioned to me by the contractor himself as I beleive he probably thought that the job was being done properly under code and did not feel it was neccesary to contact the city for any inspections.
A valuable lesson at a great expense has been learned.
Thank you.
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On 3/23/2011 12:34 PM, qcan wrote:

What he (the contractor) feels is of no importance, inspections are required (by the city) and his feelings are a moot point. Face it, if every builder could skip inspections because they thought they did an acceptable job, they would not have inspections at all--because all builders believe that!

Yep, you know for the next time.
--
I'm never going to grow up.

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I build it better than the inspection required. Sometimes I have to "teach" the inspector on the how's and why's I learned by the seat of my pants, and as a laborer watching and remembering all the details. Tough lesson to have to learn. jloomisconstruction.com

Thanks you all for your replies. Just to clarify. The city never gave me a sheet of instructions outlining when inspections should take place. The "clerk" never verbally gave instructions as well. As was pointed out, I was unfortunatly ignorant of the situation. I should have had the contractor himself get the permit and follow up with inspections. This was neither mentioned to me by the contractor himself as I beleive he probably thought that the job was being done properly under code and did not feel it was neccesary to contact the city for any inspections.
A valuable lesson at a great expense has been learned.
Thank you.
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<%-name%>
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