My new mission in life is to agitate with city gov't to force the city
govt to do something more useful than pass the buck. They have elevated
passing the buck to an art form, so I figure that there should be new
challenges. They may also have killed three or four people through
Question: It is logigal to me that in-process inspections should serve
a purpose. I'm tired of reading about lousy roofs and dippy concrete
pours. Is it reality, anyplace, that inspectors care what kind of work
is done and actually force corrections for bad work before the job is
done? Does anyone know of citizen groups that have banded together to
get their municipality to do better?
It certainly does happen here (Pacific, Washington, a small town
south of Seattle, east of Tacoma.) But there are limits. Permit
fees don't nearly cover the cost of a detailed inspection, and
citizens are loathe to raise taxes for any reason. There's only one
inspector for a workload that could easily keep two working full
So if you really want to be sure your work is being done to spec, you
can't rely on the building inspector alone. Get your own expert to
supervise and/or inspect.
Also, the city's inspector may not even see a job if it's being done
without permits, and you can bet a lot of jobs get done without
permits that they should have had -- how many people really get
permits to replace a water heater? (How many people realize that an
improperly-installed water heater can destroy their house?)
email@example.com is Joshua Putnam
The problem is money. Inspectors may be doing 40 a day, they won't see
much. In SW Florida a new home will probably cost you a half million.
In that price will be about $8,000 in various fees and taxes.
TWO HUNDRED bucks goes to the building department. For that you get
administration, zoning review, plan review and 21 inspections
Pay a guy $9 for an inspection (and all that other stuff), you get a 9
Not only money and time is the problem, but what are they actually looking
Where I live the only things that get "inspected" is the structure.
Basically if it don't fall down it is fine by them. I have a friend that is
an electrical commercial inspector supervisor, due to vacations and sick
leave he ended up inspecting some million dollar semi custom homes. The very
first one he found 7 electrical code violations and 2 mechanical violations.
He was politely told "we do not look at that stuff in residential."
Nothing was changed or repaired.
If you want the inspection process to change then you need to go to city
hall. Dog the managers until they bark. Then and only then the process
I am not sure were you are but that is not true here. You don't need
to pull a permit and get inspections to have the tax assessor find
you. It is two totally separate departments. The building inspector
barely has time to look at the stuff he has a card on. They don't care
if you are building without a permit. That is another department too.
The "code enforcement" guys only respond to complaints so if your
neighbor does not rat you out nobody cares ... until the tax assessor
comes around. These days they use satellite photos.
I would like to see a reasonable workload for building inspectors but
nobody seems willing to pay for it.
I am also not sure how much a private inspector will be able to do for
you. The builder still owns that house and they have no obligation to
allow access to a private inspector or to do anything when the private
inspector sees something. Most builders around here would simply
refund your money and sell the house to the next person on the waiting
Impact fees in Southern Florida (Palm Beach County) are in the 10-12K range
now. and that's for a house 400K. They just got a raise in the fees claiming
they needed it for the new schools but forgot to mention that the citizens
here voted in a 1/2 percent increase in sales tax to pay for the new schools
so they are 'doublebanging' us.
So you're in Lee County too, do you work for Centex?
I'm in the Cape, self employed, and just about all of my work is out on the
islands, Useppa, Cayo Costa, etc.
Amazing how the prices have went through the moon around here, eh?
My understanding is that the impact fees were raised, again, a month or 2
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