Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 47 seconds
Our building inspectors who were with me during my formative years have either retired or are moving on. New ones are being hired and the turnover is impressive. The area is growing and as busy as Boise is, the neighboring cities are struggling to keep up. Some old-timers remain. Tony Young calling me out in front of a homeowner, “This is the first time I have seen this tricky framing done correctly on my first visit” I remember David Hannah delivering a code book to me when I needed one for a class late in the day. Daryl DeGrange met me at a jobsite to untangle an electrical mess in a very professional manor. These guys are my heroes and cheerleaders, they had my best interest at heart and helped make my practice better.
Although I interact with them less, I include the, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical inspectors who are always there to answer questions and help resolve problems with me. My favorite thing is that they always have the time to play, “Stump the inspector”
The Role And Responsibility
The role is regulatory and ideally instructional. Most develop that muscle over time. They are walking encyclopedias of the code and are enforcing it in the field. Sometimes corrective action seems petty, but this is how we learn. Thankfully we are able to send a picture to clear up unresolved minor issues. We learn to get along and play in the sandbox well together. I am excited to visit with an inspector so I can show off my good work. It can be super disappointing to hear that corrective action is required.
We Want To Do It Right Too
These guys are under a ton of pressure. “The city does not want to be sued again” Sometimes common sense takes a back seat. It is aggravating to be stopped for no good reason, it is an embarrassment and waste of time and money. Lawyers are sewing the city for bad workmanship however this is not the responsibility of the city to inspect. . Minimum code is all they inspect for. It is a huge distraction and it lingers in the minds of the inspectors,
Property lines are very important to be correct as well. There are several ways to verify them. A survey is nice to have but takes some time to create. We take this seriously but have been slowed down by inspectors a time or two over them.
When Houses Slipped Down The Hill
Nobody wants to take responsibility. Or shall I say everybody wants to shed responsibility. This has caused Architects, Surveyors, and Engineers to take it on. They are just as frightened so they go overboard and call in special inspections to shed responsibility too. Where does it stop? Hey, I know, how about Licensing Contractors? No, that would raise the hurdle for contractors to get into the industry and the legislature does not want to do that. We are in a heightened state of awareness because of the Terra Nativa subdivision issue.
Will the Pendulum Swing Back
I don’t know. Getting to know and work with a new inspector can be difficult. Not everyone is a good fit for the job. One guy is amazed with our work and the next finds fault in everything. Where does it end? I am the eternal optimist but I am occasionally shaken by those who cannot use common sense to work through unusual situations. Fortunately these things are rare and there is a process of escalating issues up the ladder for a second opinion. The bottom line is that we always figure it out together.
May they all quickly gain the wisdom of their predecessors. May they not be so busy as to not have time to look at notes in the system or call to give us a heads up to meet them on the site. Finally, May they always have the time to resolve any issues in person.
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