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Building Inspectors- Your friend or enemy.

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Published On : 08-26-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
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Funny how some people -when given resposibility- feel it necessary to exert their power excessively to prove a point. Why is that? Do they think it makes you any more willing to do what you can to accomodate them?

Recently a local municipality has gotten a new building inspector. This has happened a few times in the past many years I've been involved in construction. Some inspectors ease into it, others feel like they have to be a hardnose about every little thing in the book whether or not circumstances require other solutions that are perfectly acceptable. There is a difference between doing your job, and just being a jerk. Sometimes, circumstances are such that you just need to analyze the situation and not necessarily let things go, but be nice about it. Stopping construction because the builder forgot to sweep the remaining 3' of the 80' frontage is a little excessive, and while the inspector thinks he is exerting his power to gain respect, he - in fact- loses it.

This is merely an example of how things can go. Luckily the new inspector in our area has been relatively easy to work with despite some unusual requirements. I just met him the other day when I dropped off my home plan for the permit application process. I can tell he will be requiring some things that the previous inspector did not which I don't feel are really neccessary. But, its easier to accomodate people than to create enemies because you never know when it will come back to bite you.

My word of advice to those of you who plan to build your own home is this. Respect the inspector from the beginning regardless of what you have heard about him; and wether or not you agree with what he requires... try not to fight him about it. If you do this, he'll be your friend. If you fight every requirement, he'll just get more and more hard to work with.

Enough of the moral lessons of life. I'm sure you don't care to hear this from me... but I think its useful for those thinking of building their own home.

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