permit inspections

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For people who have had to have inspections for permit work what are my rights as a homeowner?
I'm having an inspector come out to examine some work I did recently in the shop and am curious what my rights are as a citizen. Does the inspector have the right to roam freely about my house looking for problems and mistakes or is he/she constrained to just the task at hand?
The electrician who did the work made it sound like the inspector could pretty much do whatever they wanted once inside - which makes me wonder how that wouldn't violate my 4th amendment rights.
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Eigenvector wrote:

Inspections are by consent--if you decide to withdraw consent and send the inspector packing you should be able to, however if he doesn't get to inspect everything he thinks he needs to inspect then you don't get your Certificate of Occupancy.
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Yeah I guess that goes without saying. Its just one of those things I wanted to figure out before I dealt with in case my attitude problem ended up costing me thousands and thousands of dollars.
Too bad I can't force him to put on a black sackcloth bag over his head while I whirl him around 5 times then guide him to the place of inspection.
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I'm sure it varies quite a bit by location. Here in Tucson I'm building a workshop and doing some remodeling under a permit. The inspectors have been great. They have bent over backwards to be helpful, and have made an unmistakable point to not look at anything I haven't specifically invited them to look at.
I think where they can get invasive is when they have received a complaint, and the homeowner refuses them entry to the property. then they have to go get a search warrant, be accompanied by cops, and the whole thing is about problems.
but your locality may be different from mine, and your specific inspector may just happen to be a flaming asshole. ask around amongst your neighbors for someone who has done permit/inspections for the type of electrical work you're doing, and see what their experience was like.
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So they do have to have a search warrant and police escort to "just show up" unless invited. That was something I had never heard myself, having always assumed they could pretty much do whatever they wanted - in the name of "safety". That was based on stories of inspectors who walked down streets and knocked on people's doors that looked like they might have done work recently.
It's not my intention to be a dickhead about it and I don't have anything to hide regardless. Its just that I keep hearing these stories of inspectors finding small things and causing the person the spend thousands and thousands of dollars on items that simply shouldn't matter and didn't even pertain to the original inspection. The electrician told me about the story of the guy who finished his basement and was told to pull all the drywall down - since drywalling requires a permit.

I wanted to ask about firsthand experience from others before I tangled with the inspector and put myself into real trouble. The electrician who did the work made it sound like the inspectors were real mixed bags, some were ex-electricians, some were uneducated college kids.
I know in my area you cannot even paint your house without a permit which leads me to think these guys play serious hardball. Part of that has to do (I assume) with the fact that the city relies on permits from homebuilders to pad the city funds. Now that home construction has slowed considerably they're knuckling down on small permit items.
But I can live with it. I guess simply keeping my mouth shut and being polite will get the job done. I'd certainly not pull a lawyer stint on him and try to bully him around.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

So how is progress on the new shop Bridger?
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Generally, I've found that if you work with them, they will work with you. No worries and no attitudes is the best approach IMHO.
If you claim you know more (which you may) or have rights (which you do) and it is perceived as stepping on their toes or testing their influence, then you will have a nit picking, detail oriented person on your case for a long time to come.
Regards, Joe Agro, Jr. (800) 871-5022 01.908.542.0244 Automatic / Pneumatic Drills: http://www.AutoDrill.com Multiple Spindle Drills: http://www.Multi-Drill.com
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Eigenvector wrote:

As others said, I presume it can vary by locality, but where I've been (in VA/TN now KS), the inspection covers the work scope of the permit and _directly_ affected interconnection(s).
The only place I've ever seen any difficulties beyond that is if an obvious and imminent hazard is observed--they're obligated to note that and take action (and, of course, you would want them to in such a case).
They can't come to inspect a garage addition and use that as an excuse for a complete household inspection/witch hunt. The place where the garage feed ties into the existing panel or the new subpanel feed to from the old is, of course, in that jurisdiction as noted. If that shows an obvious fault in the main panel, he (rightfully) wouldn't be required to simply ignore it. OTOH, that an existing house is, say, 2-wire service, the addition extension inspection doesn't mean the whole house has to be brought up to current Code and can't cite old work that was adequate as a current defect.
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Alright, so he can't just roam around looking to ch-ch-ching ching the city's coffers. As you said, obviously if there was something faulty it would be good for him to point it out.
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I live in MA - since due to union influence, a homeowner is not allowed to do plumbing (even theoretically not allowed to change a faucet - rationale is "water safety), I hired a plumber to work with me, supervise me, and pull the permit.
All we did was redo some old cast iron piping and route a new drain and supply line for a basement utility sink.
The inspector is a really nice guy and works very well with the plumber. Nevertheless, in the basement he saw that there was an air admittance valve installed (by a previous owner) to vent a seldom used washing machine. This drain & vent run was not part of our work. Notwithstanding the fact that the drain was 2", seldom used, and probably would have worked fine without venting, the inspector cited GENUINE (and he was genuine) safety concern about sewer gasses and asked us to put in a proper vent. He was especially concerned when he found out that we had children. This despite the fact that air admittance valves are allowed in nearly all other jurisdictions.
But he wasn't being a dick -- he was genuinely concerned. In fact, he said he trusted us to fix it and signed off on the work without rechecking.
All in all, wasn't too bad because only cost me a few bucks for the fittings and some time -- and now everything is up to code. But it does show that at least in our town, if inspector thinks there is a saftey issue (and most code items are by definition safety issues), he can have you redo it even if it has nothing to do with your current permit.
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Is the inspector a town employee or a contractor.
If a town employee they can note obvious stuff, most will just restrict themselves to the permit items.
A contractor for towns that have adopted the UCC and require you to bring in a third party inspector will generally look just at what he is paid to look at.
Depends on how mercenary your municipality is.

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"Eigenvector" wrote in message

I deal with municipal building inspectors on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis, in reportedly one of the toughest jurisdictions for residential construction in the country, and have yet to have an inspector look at anything except what he was called out to inspect ... mostly they don't have the time to do otherwise.
Providing you don't have the mafia involved in your local government, I don't think you have anything to worry about in most locales.
AAMOF, welcome the inspector with sincerity, take the opportunity to ask questions of him which you may not be sure about, and you'll probably enjoy the process.
My favorite inspectors are the toughest ones. They ultimately make my job easier, and more profitable, as a builder by allowing me to hold "the trades" feet to the fire.
The inspectors are, in effect, doing you a favor by their presence, especially when it comes to putting your house back on the market in a few years ... which we shall all do in one way or the other. Homeowners need to be aware that lenders are really getting into requiring "3rd party" inspections prior to closing on home loans in the wake of the mortgage crisis ... and these guys are hired to be junk yard dogs on _your_ house.
The local building inspectors are pussycats by comparison.
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Sounds like common sense rules here.
Be polite, diplomatic, and accomodating and the inspection should be just fine.
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When we upgraded our electric panel for the house (which is located on the outside of the garage) the electrical inspector wanted to see the inside of the garage and my garage building permit...which was completed and signed off 6 months earlier!. He also changed his mind on how he wanted something completed half way through the inspection - this ended up costing me an extra $500 in the end (I had a permit for a attached garage...but he said it was detached...so it changed the inerpretation of the electrical code.). The final straw was when the power company called me at work and said " your power has been disconnected...what do you want us to do now?" It seems the inspector took it upon himself to call the power company and arrange my power to be cut before my electrician was prepared for the transfer. The inspector shouldn't even have been making that call.
Then again, I live in an area where a new door requires a permit.
SB
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com writes:

Denver? Integra Engineering?
s
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

As far as I'm concerned most permits are to generate taxable income. Anything not structural or electrical should not need a permit.
Rich
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but you can't make them THINK"
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"evodawg" wrote

If you would add but Plumbing and HVAC to that, both of which cry for inspection to protect the unwary, I would mostly agree.
That said, the permitting process is used to enforce building standards and to protect the unwary against the practices of shoddy remodelers and builders, whose numbers are legion.
... and, just wait to see how those legions will multiply most don't speak English.
IOW, with regard to building permits/code enforcement, you ain't seen nothing yet! ... and be thankful for it! :(
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Swingman wrote:

leaks. Pretty stupid simple. But to protect the innocent then ok.
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evodawg wrote: ...

Not always so simple, no.
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Absolutely agree ... it's amazing, how the interconnected complexity of a plumbing system, discounting leaks, including hot and cold supply lines, drain lines, water heating/distribution, the proper flushing of commodes for the next 50 years or so, can all be problematic and are subject to a good many scientific principles.
(That said, the only thing quicker to chill the bone's of a builder, other than the sight of an electrician with a sawzall in hand, is a plumber with one!) ;)
Despite the need for a good design and ductwork, HVAC has a good bit of 'plumbing" involved as well ... Freon lines, drainage, both primary and backup for the evaporator coils/air handler units, which are often in attics where they can cause a great deal of damage when not designed properly fail/get stopped up. While these guys aren't plumbers, they still need a lot of the same skills for proper installation.
All in need of competent "inspection".
I can guarantee, unequivocally, that _most_ builder's, particularly the Italian loafered, khaki pants/ blue button down shirt variety, driving from jobsite to jobsite in a Lexus complete with wraparound Armani's, are NOT the people you want making sure these things are done correctly!
DAMHIKT ... :)
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